100 Fun and Interesting Facts about Everything Would Blow Your Mind! (Part 2)
Fact #34: The British Empire was the largest empire in world history
According to the World Atlas, an empire “is a group of nations or people that are under the rule of a powerful government or an emperor of a territory usually larger than a kingdom.”
The British Empire covered 13.01 million square miles of land - more than 22% of the earth's landmass. The empire had 458 million people in 1938 — more than 20% of the world's population. The British Empire began with overseas colonies and trading posts and in the end comprised dominions, protectorates, and mandates, as well.
|Photo: The Sounding Line|
It was made up of 13 million square miles of land - more than 22% of the earth's land-mass. In 1922, the Empire had a population of 458 million people or about 20% the global population, Business Insider cites.
Fact #35: Irish bars used to be closed on St. Patrick’s Day
You might associate St. Patrick’s Day with wearing green and drinking so much you think you actually see leprechauns.
|Photo: NY Daily News|
However, until 1961, there were laws in Ireland that banned bars to be open on March 17. Since the holiday falls during the period of Lent in the heavily Catholic country, the idea of binge drinking seemed a bit immoral.
Fact #36: Nikola Tesla hated pearls
Tesla could not stand the sight of pearls, to the extent that he refused to speak to women wearing them. When his secretary wore pearl jewelry, he sent her home for the day, PBS cites. No one knows why he had such an aversion, but Tesla had a very particular sense of style and aesthetics, Carlson said, and believed that in order to be successful, one needed to look successful. He wore white gloves to dinner every night and prided himself on being a “dapper dresser.”
Every photograph of Tesla, he said, is very carefully constructed to capture his “good side.”
Fact #37: Pregnancy tests date back to 1350 BCE
Based on an ancient papyrus document, Egyptian women urinated on wheat and barley seeds to determine if they were pregnant or not, according to the Office of History in the National Institutes of Health. If wheat grew, it predicted a female baby. If barley grew, it predicted a male baby. The woman was not pregnant if nothing grew. Experimenting with this seed theory in 1963 proved it was accurate 70 percent of the time.
Fact #38: Martin Luther King Jr. got a C in public speaking
Everyone remembers Dr. King as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement and often quotes his “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered in 1963. However, over a decade before his legendary speech, while attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, he earned a C in public speaking during his first and second term. Bad grades don’t change anything about these 8 inspirational quotes from MLK.
Fact #39: Bees can make colored honey
|Photo: Daily Mail|
Mars Incorporated has proclaimed that “Chocolate is better in color” with its M&Ms. But French beekeepers may beg to differ on that, News Feed Time cites.
Since August, beekeepers near the town of Ribeauville, in the northeastern region of Alsace, have been reporting their bees are producing blue and green honey, according to Reuters. And they’ve traced the cause back to a biogas plant that processes waste from an M&Ms factory.
Fact #40: Wimbledon tennis balls are kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit
|Photo: Trivia Genius|
The temperature of tennis balls affects how the ball bounces. At warmer temperatures, the gas molecules inside the ball expand making the ball bounce higher. A tennis ball at lower temperatures causes the molecules to shrink and the ball bounces lower. To make sure the best tennis balls are used, Wimbledon goes through over 50,000 tennis balls.
Fact #41: Adult cats are lactose intolerant
Just like people, cats can be lactose intolerant. And although we tend to think that’s a problem, it’s actually completely normal, says Linda P. Case, MS, adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and author of The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health.
“The only time animals are exposed to lactose is when they’re babies -- in their mother’s milk," Case says.
To digest lactose, a milk sugar, the human and feline digestive systems must contain the enzyme lactase. We have plenty of this enzyme in our systems at birth, and it helps us thrive on our mother’s milk, as cited by WebMD.
Fact #42: Albert Einstein’s eyeballs are in New York City
|Photo: Quizz Club|
They were given to Henry Abrams and preserved in a safety deposit box. Abrams was Einstein’s eye doctor. He received the eyeballs from Thomas Harvey, the man who performed the autopsy on Einstein and illegally took the scientist’s brain for himself.
His eyes remain in a safe box in NYC. Not only did the doctor who illegally performed Einstein's autopsy steal his brain, he also stole his eyes. He gave the eyes to Einstein's eye doctor, Henry Abrams. They are kept in a safety deposit box in New York City to this day.
Fact #43: The Pope can’t be an organ donor
Pope Benedict has a soft spot in his heart for organ donations but his body parts can’t be donated to save lives after he dies, the Vatican says.
A doctor in Germany had been using the fact that the pope possessed an organ donors’ card from a medical association to advocate the practice. The Vatican asked him to stop but he did not, as cited by Reuters.
To settle the matter, the pope’s secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, sent a letter to the doctor and the missive was reported in the German program of Vatican Radio.
Fact #44: The first stroller was pulled by a goat
This is one of the many interesting facts that had us scratching our heads. Or a dog or a miniature horse, but not by parents. William Kent, a landscape architect, invented the first stroller for the third Duke of Devonshire in 1733. By the mid 18th century, strollers were still pretty unstable, but they had handles so parents, not animals, could pull the baby behind them, as cited by Reader's Digest.
Fact #45: The inventor of the tricycle personally delivered two to Queen Victoria
In 1881, Queen Victoria was on a tour on the Isle of Wight when her horse and carriage could not keep up with a woman riding a tricycle. The Queen made her servants identify the woman so she could demonstrate the tricycle to the Queen. Intrigued by the bike, the Queen proceeded to order two. She also asked that the inventor, James Starley, arrive with the delivery. Though you might associate tricycles with toddlers, Queen Victoria made them cool among the elite. Special deliveries are definitely a royal bonus.
Fact #46: Boars wash their food
National Geographic reported that at Basel Zoo in Switzerland, zookeepers watched adult and juvenile wild boars pick up sandy apples and bring them to a nearby creek in their environment to wash before eating. Though some items like sugar beets were eaten without the human-like behavior, the boars brought a whole dead chicken to the creek to wash before chowing down. One ecologist called this a “luxury behavior.”
Fact #47: The French-language Scrabble World Champion doesn’t speak French
|Photo: Deutsche Welle|
New Zealand native Nigel Richards memorized the entire French Scrabble dictionary, which has 386,000 words, in nine weeks to earn his title. He has also won the English world Scrabble Championship three times, the U.S. national championships five times, and the U.K. Open Scrabble tournament six times. This comes 20 years after first playing Scrabble when Richards was 28 years old.
Fact #48: A woman called the police when her ice cream didn’t have enough sprinkles
The West Midlands police in England released a recording of a woman who called 999 (the U.K. version of 911) because there were “bits on one side and none on the other,” she says in the recording. She was even more upset when the ice cream truck man did not want to give her money back.
Fact #49: The inventor of the microwave appliance only received $2 for his discovery
Percy Spencer was working as a researcher for American Appliance Company (now Raytheon) when he noticed a radar set using electromagnetic waves melted the candy bar in his pocket. He had the idea to make a metal box using microwaves to heat food, but the company was the one to file the patent. He received a $2 bonus but never any royalties.
Fact #50: Creature is a vegetarian
|Photo: Prospect Magazine|
Victor Frankenstein’s Creature is actually vegetarian. Frankenstein and Creature are fictional characters created by Mary Shelley in her novel, Frankenstein. In the novel, Creature says, “My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment.”
For a work that has received and unusual amount of critical attention over the past twenty years, in which almost every aspect of the novel has been closely scrutinized, it is remarkable that the Creature’s vegetarianism has remained outside the sphere of commentary…
The Creature includes animals within its moral codes, but is thwarted and deeply frustrated when seeking to be included within the moral codes of humanity. It learns that regardless of its own inclusive moral standards, the human circle is drawn in such a way that both it and the other animals are excluded from it.
Fact #51: Medical errors are a top cause of death
According to a Johns Hopkins research team, 250,000 deaths in the United States are caused by medical errors each year. This makes a medical error the third-leading cause of death in the country.
|Photo: Physician;s Weekly|
Other studies report much higher figures, claiming the number of deaths from medical error to be as high as 440,000, reported CNBC. The reason for the discrepancy is that physicians, funeral directors, coroners, and medical examiners rarely note on death certificates the human errors and system failures involved. Yet death certificates are what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rely on to post statistics for deaths nationwide.
Fact #52: Ancient Egyptians used dead mice to ease toothaches
In Ancient Egypt, people put a dead mouse in their mouth if they had a toothache, according to Nathan Belofsky’s book Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Age. Mice were also used as a warts remedy during Elizabethan England.
Fact #53: Humans have jumped further than horses in the Olympics
The Olympic world record for the longest human long-jump is greater than the world record for the longest horse long jump. Mike Powell set the record in 1991 by jumping 8.95 meters, and the horse Extra Dry set the record in 1900 by jumping 6.10 meters.
Fact #54: Pigeon poop is the property of the British Crown
|Photo: wanna fact ph|
In the 18th century, pigeon poop was used to make gunpowder, so King George I confirmed the droppings to be the property of the crown.
He even put guards at sites where the birds perched to enforce his edict. He was no birdbrain. There was a practical reason for his order: Pigeon manure was used in making gunpowder, Chicago Tribune cites.
Fact #55: Onions were found in the eyes of an Egyptian mummy
Pharaoh Ramses IV of Ancient Egypt had his eyes replaced with small onions when he was mummified. The rings and layers of onions were worshipped because people thought they represented eternal life. This aligns with the reason for mummification: to allow the pharaoh’s body to live forever.
Fact #56: Beethoven never knew how to multiply or divide
|Photo: Mental Floss|
Ludwig van Beethoven is arguably one of the greatest composers in musical history. The renowned pianist went to a Latin school called Tirocinium. There he learned some math, but never multiplication or division, only addition. Once when he needed to multiply 62 by 50, he wrote 62 down a line 50 times and added it all up. Here are 12 easy math tricks you and Beethoven will wish you knew sooner.
Fact #57: The word aquarium means “watering place for cattle” in Latin
In the classic Latin language, aquarium means a “watering place for cattle.” However, aquariums these days aren’t for cows—instead, they are a place for the public to see sea creatures. The first aquarium that looks like what you’d imagine now was created in 1921 and opened in 1924 in England.
Fact #58: Turkeys can blush
When turkeys are scared or excited—like when the males see a female they’re interested in—the pale skin on their head and neck turns bright red, blue, or white. The flap of skin over their beaks, called a “snood,” also reddens.
According to Live Science, when a turkey becomes frightened, agitated, excited or ill, the exposed skin on its head and neck can change from its usual pale pink or bluish-gray color to red, white, or blue. And during mating season, the male turkey's wattle turns scarlet to reflect his elevated sex hormone levels. The fleshy flap of skin that hangs over the gobbler's beak is called a snood and also turns bright red when the bird is excited.
Fact #59: The man with the world’s deepest voice can make sounds humans can’t hear
When you think about it, our ears are pretty extraordinary. They take simple vibrations in the air and translate them into something that is imbued with meaning and significance—A fire alarm, our favorite song, or words of comfort from a friend. Our ears allow us to interact with the world around us in ways that would otherwise be impossible. However, as it turns out, there is a lot that our ears are missing, as cited by Futurism.
Tim Storms boasts a vocal range of 10 octaves and his lowest note is so deep it can only be heard by elephants.
Fact #60: Cows don’t have upper front teeth
They do have molars in the top back of their mouths though. Where you’d expect upper incisors, cows, sheep, and goats have a thick layer of tissue called a “dental pad.” They use that with their bottom teeth to pull out the grass.
A cow’s teeth are distributed much differently than humans’ teeth are. Unlike humans, cattle can be born with or without teeth. When they obtain their permanent teeth, after 30 months, they have 12 premolars top and bottom, 12 molars on top and bottom, and only 8 incisors which are all found on the bottom of their mouths. Instead of upper incisors, a cow has what is called a dental pad, a patch of tough skin covering its gums, as cited by Quizz Club. Not just cows, sheep, and goats, but all species of ruminants lack top incisors. All these animals have a tough wad of gum on their top lip instead of front teeth, and a huge gap between the dental pad and the back teeth.
Fact #61: There’s only one U.S. state capital without a McDonald’s
For the most part, yes. In 49 out of America’s 50 state capitals, there is a McDonald’s within the city limits. The odd city out? Montpelier, Vermont.
To be fair, though, it’s not as glaring an omission as it might seem. We often think of state capitals as large, bustling cities, but in over half of U.S. states, the capital is actually not the biggest city, Business Insider reports. What’s more, Montpelier is the smallest state capital in terms of population, with only about 7,500 people. In addition to being on the small side, Montpelier tends to favor local businesses over large chains, so McDonald’s shouldn’t take it personally. It doesn’t have a Burger King either.
Luckily, if you find yourself craving McDonald’s fries in Montpelier, you don’t have to travel too far. There’s a Mickey D’s in the neighboring city, Barre. And it has a Burger King, too! The two chains face each other on Barre-Montpelier Road, which connects the two cities.
Fact #62: Movie trailers originally played after the movie
Movie trailers have been around since at least 1912, but they didn’t always run before the movies they’re attached to, Forgotten History Blog cites.
|Photo: Rotten Tomatoes|
In fact, movie trailers (as you might guess by their name, trailers) used to trail behind films in theaters, not before them. Nowadays, the thought of showing advertisements for upcoming films after movies instead of before them makes little sense, because with the main attraction over with, why would the audience stick around to watch commercials?
Above: A screencap from the “Casablanca” movie trailer The answer is that often times in the early days of movies, the main attraction wasn’t over when the movie finished. It was common in the early decades of movies to show them in double features– i.e. one movie right after another. In the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and so on, trailers would often play after the first movie and before the second (which was often the blockbuster movie that people had come to actually see; the first was often a B-movie).
Fact #63: Humans aren’t the only animals that dream
Studies have indicated rats dream about getting to food or running through mazes. Most mammals go through REM sleep, the cycle in which dreams occur, so scientists think there’s a good chance they all dream. Here are 13 more interesting facts about dreaming.
Fact #64: The word “fizzle” started as a type of fart
|Photo: Mental Floss|
In the 1400s, it meant to “break wind quietly,” according to English Oxford Living Dictionaries.
While today fizzle has such noble meanings as "to fail or end feebly especially after a promising start," the word has origins of a baser sort, as cited by Merriam Webster. Fizzle is thought to be an alteration of the Middle English fist ("flatus"), which in addition to providing us with the verb for breaking wind quietly, was also munificent enough to serve as the basis for a now-obsolete noun meaning "a silent fart" (feist).
Fact #65: Thanks to 3D printing, NASA can basically “email” tools to astronauts
|Photo: Vernon Morning Star|
Getting new equipment to the Space Station used to take months or even years, depending on the launch resupply schedule. According to The Brain Maze, on some exploration missions, re-supply with tools is almost impossible even if it is a life or death matter. But thanks to the 3D technology, the tools needed in the Space Station can be ready within hours.
Made In Space Inc., is a northern California company that NASA contracted to design, build and operate 3D printers that are sent to the space station with the intention of securing tools needed by the astronauts in the fastest wat possible. This means that the whole process can be conducted via an email with the 3D design sent from Earth, and a few hours of the 3D printer in space working to bring the tool to life.
Fact #66: Most Disney characters wear gloves to keep animation simple
|Photo: Madly Odd|
Walt Disney might have been the first to put gloves on his characters, as seen in 1929’s The Opry House starring Mickey Mouse. In addition to being easier to animate, there’s another reason Disney opted for gloves: “We didn’t want him to have mouse hands because he was supposed to be more human,” Disney told his biographer in 1957.
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