One of the distinguishing features about pandas, one that separates them from other mammals, is their curiosity. Sure, they can get a bit lazy and too preoccupied with bamboo (we can’t blame ’em). And yet, they go out and poke things with their fluffy paws, do somersaults until they learn something new about their environment.
And that is one of the reasons why we, dear pandas, can’t get enough of the r/todayilearned subreddit which never fails to keep our inner pandas somersaulting from all the new things we learn. Whether it’s bits of trivia related to hit TV shows like “Friends” or something new about the always weird, always surprising Weird Al Yankovic, we couldn’t help but handpick the tastiest facts for your curious inner pandas.
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TIL after the fires that followed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many insurance companies tried to avoid covering the losses, except for Lloyd’s of London: “Pay all of our policyholders in full, irrespective of the terms of their policies.” This cemented Lloyd’s reputation in the U.S.
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TIL in the early 1930s, Cadillac’s policy was to not sell cars to black people. In 1933, Nicholas Dreystadt, a middle manager at General Motors, crashed a GM executive committee meeting and convinced them to drop the policy and instead market to black people. Sales increased by 70% within a year.
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TIL that while ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson peaked at #3 in Australia, ‘Eat It’ by Weird Al Yankovic peaked at #1
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TIL I learned that the the town of Boring (Oregon, US) established relationship with village of Dull (Scotland, UK) in 2012; the following year they were joined with the Shire of Bland (New South Wales, AU) to form the League of Extraordinary Communities.
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TIL in 2018 a mom put out an ad to borrow an orange cat so her kids could have “a lasagna dinner with Garfield” and succeeded.
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TIL that the deepest scuba dive of all time was 1,090 feet, set by Ahmed Gabr in 2014. It took him nearly a decade to properly prepare for the dive. While the descent took only 15 minutes, the ascent back to the surface took over 13 hours.
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TIL during World War II, Papua New Guinean ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ carried 750 wounded up/down the Kokoda Trail. They prioritized feeding patients & built shelter with 4 sleeping on each side at night. No known injured soldier was ever abandoned by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, even during heavy combat.
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TIL: That scam baiters managed to trick Nigerian scammers into traveling 1400 miles and left them stranded in Darfur in a warzone.
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TIL: The consensus is that octopuses are most likely sentient.
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TIL that unlike most animals, African wild dogs follow an age-based food sharing system where pups are given immediate access to kills, making older dogs wait before they can eat.
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Today I Learned Roman physician Galen would use wine as a disinfectant for all types of wounds, and even soaked exposed bowels before returning them to the body. Only 5 Gladiators died under his watch.
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TIL Anti-climb paint, a class of non-drying oil paint, was developed in the 1960s. It can take over 3 years to dry, It is used to prevent trespassing and mark trespassers as it is very difficult to remove.
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TIL of Solomon Islander Jacob C. Vouza. During WW2, he was captured by the Japanese during the Guadalcanal Campaign, tied to a tree, bayoneted, and left for dead. He then chewed through the ropes with his teeth and made his way to American lines warning them about an impending attack. He survived.
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TIL about the Pizzly Bear, a Polar and Grizzly Bear hybrid. This hybrid species isn’t sterile and can actually procreate.
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TIL of a courtier, Jeffrey Hudson, in the court of King Charles I of England who was only 18 inches tall. He challenged a normal-height man to a duel with pistols over an insult. His opponent came to the duel armed with a water squirt gun. Hudson shot him in the head with a real gun, killing him.
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TIL about a painkiller present in human saliva called Opiorphin which is stronger than Morphine.
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TIL that Wild European hamsters in Vienna, Austria have learned to survive harsh winters by feasting on the oily, protein-filled candles left by mourners in gravesites.
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TIL In 2000, when the cast of “Friends” wouldn’t come down from their $1,050,000/episode salary demands, NBC’s Garth Ancier produced promos saying “You’ve loved them for seven years, see how it all ends with the series finale of Friends this Thursday”. The cast agreed to lower salaries.
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TIL that everyone wears Crocs in the 2006 movie Idiocracy because the costume designer had a limited shoe budget, and thought the cheap plastic shoes made by the then startup company were futuristic yet too stupid looking to ever become popular in real life.
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TIL The pika is a small rodent that collects plants and dries them out in the sun to store them for winter.
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TIL King Charles & Prince William always travel in separate planes in case there is a crash, one needs to survive.
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TIL about Troy Hurtubise, a Canadian man who built multiple suits of armor to study grizzly bears up close in nature. He’d test these by having his friends hit him with 2x4s or drive trucks into him.
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TIL that ginkgo trees are a symbol of hope and tenacity in Japan, as they were one of the few living things to survive the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima.
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TIL that the famous dish: tikka masala – is British, not Indian and it was invented in the 70’s, not some cultural cuisine that’s been around for ages.
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TIL Christine Maggiore founded the HIV/AIDS denialism group Alive and Well. Maggiore herself then died of aids in 2008.
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TIL the first U.S official coin in circulation, the Fugio Cent, had the motto “Mind Your Business” instead of “In God we Trust”.
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TIL: 1 in 5 German parents regrets having children and would prefer to live their life without them.
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TIL In ancient Greece, men weren’t allowed to become midwives because it was required by law one had to have given birth themselves to qualify as one.
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TIL that a McDonald’s in the Netherlands once fired an employee for selling a coworker a hamburger and then separately giving them a piece of cheese, arguing that she should’ve charged more for a cheeseburger. Courts ruled in the employee’s favor, ordering the rest of her contract paid out in full.
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TIL that the low cost wine brand “Two Buck Chuck” was created by Fred Franzia, who bought the Charles Shaw name from a bankrupt winery for $27k. Once when asked why his wine was cheaper than water, he replied “They’re overcharging for the water. Don’t you get it?”
TIL that Kit Kat Bars come in over 200 flavors. Soy Sauce, Matcha, Orange, Blueberry, Lemon Vinegar, Yuzu, Blood Orange, Salt, Banana, Fruit Parfait, Melon, Muscat, Maple Syrup, Red Bean Soup, Cherry Blossom… just to name a few.
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TIL: Kobe Bryant is mostly responsible for the fall of high top basketball sneakers. Raised in Italy, Kobe noticed that soccer players play in a fairly similar way to basketball player. Kobe told Nike point-blank, ‘I want the lowest, lightest-weight basketball shoe ever’.
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TIL that an estimated 1 of every 8 workers in the USA has at some point been employed by McDonald’s.
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TIL Eleanor Roosevelt’s maiden name was Roosevelt. Her husband, Franklin, was her fifth cousin once removed.
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TIL that Madame Tussaud’s skill at making wax replicas of people is what saved her from the French Revolution’s Guillotine.
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TIL that 13% of people who receive CPR outside of a hospital are still alive a year later.
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TIL Mt. Thor on Baffin Island, Canada, has Earth’s greatest sheer vertical drop (4,101 feet).You can take one step off the peak and fall nearly a mile before you hit anything.
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TIL That the Last Emperor of China was, after being deposed, forced to work as a street sweeper in Beijing. On his first day, he got lost and asked for help by telling strangers “I’m Puyi, the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty. I’m staying with relatives and can’t find my way home”
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TIL of Irene of Athens (750-803 CE), the first sole-ruling empress in Roman history. Her husband the emperor having died, she had her son’s eyes gouged, and him imprisoned, becoming sole ruler for 5 years, when she was exiled to the island of Lesbos and forced to support herself by spinning wool.
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TIL that EU citizen can demand a copy of all personal data that companies hold about them. However, most Android and iPhone apps completely ignore this right, a study has found.
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TIL about “One Night Cough Syrup” was sold in the late 1800s, and it contained alcohol, cannabis, chloroform, and morphine. This mixture was available over the counter and promised to eliminate your cough in one night so you could sleep.
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TIL Canadian Geese poop every 12 minutes.
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TIL that the Voynich Manuscript, a a 240-page medieval codex written by an unknown author, in an unknown language, and illustrated with unknown plants, strange creatures, and naked women, was radiocarbon dated to the early 15th century. Despite 600 years of study it has never been deciphered.
TIL during the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979) life expectancy in the country fell to 12 years.
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TIL you shouldn’t eat more than 5 Brazil nuts in a day. They contain selenium, which can cause gastrointestinal problems, brittle hair and nails, joint pain, and tiredness. In large amounts, it can cause kidney failure, heart failure, and heart attacks.
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TIL that as revenge for Oscar Wilde being in a relationship with his son, The Marquess Of Queensbury planned to present Wilde with a bouquet of rotten vegetables at the opening night of The Importance Of Being Earnest, Wilde’s hit play. But Wilde was tipped off and stopped Queensbury getting inside.
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TIL the song “Lesbian Seagull” from Beavis & Butt-Head Do America was not written for the film as a comedy bit, but already existed as a real song written in 1979 in response to a scientific study of long-term monogamous lesbian behavior observed in seagulls on Santa Barbara Island.
TIL Sublime’s debut album “40oz. to Freedom” was recorded in secrecy at the studios in California State University. The lead singer, Bradley Nowell, recalled how they would sneak in after closing time, stay there till 5:00 AM, hide from security, and managed to get $30k of studio time for free.
TIL Soccer legend Diego Maradona used a fake penis to pass drug tests at the height of his cocaine use. The phoney phallus was stolen from a Buenos Aires museum in 2003 and has never been recovered.
TIL after the outlaw George Parrott was executed in 1881, his skull was used as an ashtray, and his skin was made into a pair of shoes and a medicine bag. The doctor who performed the autopsy later became Governor of Wyoming and wore the shoes to his inaugural ball.
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TIL Aristotle’s payment for teaching Alexander the Great was the reconstruction and repopulation of Aristotle’s home village, which had been destroyed and enslaved by Alexander’s father.
TIL The temperature on the moon at the Apollo 11 landing site was 200ºF (93ºC).
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TIL Bob Norris, the first Marlboro Man, was discovered after being seen in a photo with John Wayne. While Norris was the Marlboro Man for 12 years, he never smoked. He also told his kids not to smoke. After they asked why he was doing cigarette ads, he quit his job as the Marlboro Man the next day.
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TIL in 1656 Boston, a ship’s captain was sentenced to sit in the stocks for two hours because he had engaged in “lewd and unseemly behavior” on the Sabbath. Upon arriving home on a Sunday after a three-year voyage at sea, Captain Kemble had kissed his wife
TIL The creator of Barbie and the creator of Hot Wheels were married.
TIL that the first national speed limit law of 55mph passed in 1974 in the US was not because of safety concerns, but because fast-traveling vehicles would have exacerbated the oil shortage at the time.
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TIL About Starlite, an insulator invented by a hairdresser that was said to be able to withstand a laser beam of 10,000 °C and was 90% organic and eatable, but despite even NASA being interested in it, its creator took the formula to his grave.
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TIL that smoking prevents broken bones healing – smokers have 2.2 times the risk of delayed and/or non-union bone healing after a fracture.
TIL: 100 Americans a year choke to death on pen caps, but that the number used to be higher before manufacturers put a hole in the cap.
TIL in 2018 a flatulent passenger who refused to stop farting forced a plane to land and police to be called to remove four fliers after a fight erupts on board.
TIL about Edwarda O’Bara, a Florida woman who went into a diabetic coma for 42 years after contracting pneumonia. Nicknamed “Florida’s sleeping Snow White,” her mother took care of her to the point that by 2007, 5 years before Edwarda passed, she was at least $200k in debt.
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TIL The longest ever personal name was that of a German-born American called Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. His full, unabbreviated name is made up of 26 names, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, in alphabetical order, followed by a 666-letter surname.
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TIL in 1975, Stevie Wonder, frustrated with the U.S. government, considered quitting music and emigrating to Ghana. He reconsidered and wrote and recorded Songs In The Key Of Life, an album widely considered a masterpiece.
TIL the famous riff to INXS’ song “Need You Tonight” appeared in guitarist’s Andrew Farriss head while waiting for a cab to go to the airport. He then asked the cab driver to wait a couple of minutes while he grabbed something from his motel room. In reality, he went up to record the riff.
TIL an 1861 Japanese book about the “history” of the United States included such colorful scenes as George Washington punching a tiger and John Adams killing a giant snake.
TIL a boy was hit in the head with a foul ball during a televised game, rather than wait for EMTS to arrive, Jim Rice Ran into the stands and took him into the clubhouse, where he was immediately treated by the team’s medical staff. He is credited with saving the boy’s life.
TIL that the 1994 film “The Mask,” was based on a much more violent comic book. The protagonist, Stanley Ipkiss, goes on a revenge spree, murders a number of cops, and is eventually shot in the back and killed by his girlfriend, Kathy, who sees the Mask for what it is, and plans to destroy it.
TIL that Japan’s Tobe Zoo conducts lion escape drills using a human in a lion costume. Due to Japan’s earthquake-prone location, these elaborate drills are crucial to prepare for emergencies
TIL after the death of Bruce Lee in 1973, film industries in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea raced to find his replacement in order to build off of his legacy. This period, later known as ‘Bruceploitation’, would feature actors with screen names like Bruce Li, Bruce Lai, Brute Lee, etc.
TIL that the Moon is one of the dullest objects in the solar system, and if Neptune’s moon Triton was in its place it would appear 7 times brighter.
TIL: Kobe Bryant’s “33” High School basketball jersey was stolen in 2017 and sold to a collector in China who returned it after suspecting it was stolen.
TIL that most blackboards are actually green because boards that were black tended to reflect a lot of light, while green boards reduced glare and were favored by teachers who had to stare at them all day.
TIL that people with hypermobility carry a gene that makes them much more likely to have children with autism.
TIL it’s illegal for civilians to wear camouflage in 11 countries, including Jamaica, Barbados, and Zimbabwe, to prevent them from being mistaken for military personnel or law enforcement.
TIL Lynyrd Skynyrd the band who had a massive hit with their song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ are actually from Jacksonville, Florida
TIL The largest illegal dump in Europe is the Triangle of Death in Naples, Italy. As the landfills filled up in the 1990s organised crime increasingly dumped and burned trash in this area, driving in garbage as far away as Venice. The area’s population has significantly higher rates of cancer.
TIL legendary footballer Lionel Messi’s first contract was written on a restaurant napkin during a meeting with FC Barcelona executives. That napkin is now held in a safe in the Credit Andorra bank.
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TIL that six American soldiers have defected to North Korea after the end of the Korean War.
TIL In 1987, a Boeing 747 was hijacked by a lone attacker armed with dynamite from a gold mine. After 6 hours, the flight engineer hit the attacker over the head with a whiskey bottle. He was given a suspended sentence and then became a member of the House of Representatives of Fiji.
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TIL consumption of crickets, mealworms or other insects can trigger an allergic reaction in people with shellfish allergies. This is true even for farm or pet store workers with occupational exposure to crickets.
TIL that while the English language is classified as a West Germanic language, its vocabulary also shows major influences from French (about 28% of words) and Latin (also about 28%), plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse.
TIL there is a cliff on Miranda (moon of Uranus) named Verona Rupes that is estimated to be 20km high. It is the tallest known cliff in the solar system and if you jumped off of it you would fall for about 12 minutes before hitting the ground due to the lower gravity.
TIL that in 1982 Delta Air Lines employees raised $30 million dollars in order to buy a new Boeing 767 as a sign of gratitude and appreciation to the company during economic hardship in the airline industry.
TIL that “Stars and Stripes Forever” is an emergency alert at the circus. When it is played by the band it usually means there is a fire and that the performers and circus hands should go to their emergency stations and start evacuating people.
TIL there was a Baywatch spin-off show called “Baywatch Nights”, starring David Hasselhoff. Intended to be a grounded procedural crime show, it pivoted in its 2nd season to being a full-on paranormal show with monsters, ghosts, mummies, vampires, parallel universes, and time travel a la The X-Files.
TIL the 1983 film “Scarface” was originally given an X rating three times in a row by the MPAA. On the fourth appeal, the film was finally given an R rating, but director Brian De Palma released the original version anyway, only admitting to it months after the film’s release.
Til that Thailand bans the sale of alcohol on election days.
TIL that the feeling of being awake when you’re actually sleeping is a disorder called paradoxical insomnia and the reason for it is unclear.
TIL the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse is set to enter the public domain in 2024, which means that anyone will be able to use or adapt this version of the character without fear of copyright infringement.
TIL that, when Cleopatra VII. Philpator (the one we know from Shakespeare/Asterix) was born in 69 b.c., her greek family, the Ptolemies, had already been ruling Egypt for 236 years since 305 b.c., and been there since the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 b.c. or his death in 323 b.c.
TIL that Will Lee, who played Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street, was blacklisted for refusing to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
TIL That John O’Hurley, the actor who played the fictional version of J. Peterman on Seinfeld, now owns the J. Peterman company with the real J. Peterman.
TIL that, in the 1930’s, the only commercial airport serving New York City was in New Jersey. To protest this, NYC Mayor LaGuardia once refused to deplane in NJ because his ticket said “New York City,” so they flew him to NYC.
TIL that in 1950’s Britain, it was noted that the middle class used overly complex language in an attempt to be more posh. However, the actual upper class themselves preferred the more straightforward language of the working class such as scent instead of perfume.
TIL In 1971, Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the moon. He made four swings, “a shank” with the third, and on the fourth swing he caught the ball flush. “Miles and miles and miles,” he said to the TV audience
TIL that after leading a peasant revolt in Hungary in 1514, György Dósza was punished by being chained to a heated iron throne and had pieces of flesh torn off by hot pliers. His followers were then forced to eat him alive by biting the spots where the pliers were inserted and to swallow his flesh.
Of the nine rebels who were forced to head to the heated throne to eat Dózsa, around three or four refused to munch on their leader. They were swiftly cut up, while those who obeyed were released and left alone. Also among those who were led to the throne was Dózsa’s brother, who did not even have the luxury of eating his brother alive, and was instead chopped into three pieces.
György’s death, and the brutal torture of 40.000 rebels who took part in the revolt, may have aided the Ottoman forces during their 1526 invasion, as the Hungarians were no longer a politically united people. The result was that for the next few centuries, Hungary was partitioned between the Ottoman Empire, the Hapsburg monarchy, and the Principality of Transylvania.
TIL Oliver Smoot, whose body was used to measure Boston’s Harvard Bridge as part of an MIT fraternity prank in 1958, went on to become the chairman of the American National Standards Institute and the president of the International Organization for Standardization.
TIL in 1283 King Edward I of England had the last Prince of Wales executed and started the custom of giving the title to his first born son instead.
TIL about the Lost Children of the Alleghenies, two young children who disappeared from their home in Pavia, PA in 1856. They died from exposure after being missing for several days and were found in the forest by a local farmer who dreamt,for two nights, of clues that led to the children’s bodies.
TIL of the Order of Malta Passport. It’s the rarest passport in the world and is only issued to a few hundred people.
Just wanting to point out there is no relation between the Order of Malta and the nation of Malta. The Order of Malta is the descendant of the former Knights of Malta who ruled the island until the French Occupation removed them, and still lay claim to the island but are now based in Italy.
TIL that Rage Against The Machine Bassist Tim Commerford once confronted Buzz Aldrin at a party, saying the moon landing was faked.
TIL Of the Chinese drywall health issues. Between 2001 and 2009 the United States imported large amounts of drywall from China that would off-gas, slowly releasing chemicals like hydrogen sulfide and corrode pipes. The South-East was especially affected because of rebuilding following hurricanes.
TIL that, prior to the arrival of the Mayflower, a thriving Patuxet village existed on the Massachusetts coast. An endemic wiped out 90 percent of the population, and the pilgrims converted the abandoned settlement into Plymouth Colony.
TIL that in 2017, several Maryland college students consumed so much alcohol at a house party, that the air in the house registered a reading of 0.01 on a breathalyzer.
TIL that Dwight Eisenhower took up painting during the last twenty years of his life and did about 260 paintings including a portrait of Abraham Lincoln.
TIL – The Onion Futures Act is a US law banning futures contracts on onions. In 1955 two traders bought so many onions and futures they controlled 98% of the onions in Chicago. They forced growers to purchase their stock by threatening to flood the market.
TIL “Tater Tots” were invented by Nephi Grigg, co-founder of Ore-Ida in 1953 using excess potato shavings from making frozen french fries. Originally, these shavings were sold as livestock feed.
TIL Lightning McQueen from “Cars” isn’t named after Steve McQueen, but after late Pixar animator Glenn McQueen, who died during the film’s production.
TIL that in over 50 years, ‘In N Out’ has kept their menu essentially the same, with the exception of the “Secret Menu Hack” of Animal Styles fries or burgers that started in the ’60s.
TIL Ekiben are bento (Japanese box meals) made specifically for train travel. The meals vary by train station and are typically a local speciality. At their peak in the 1980s an estimated 12 million ekiben were consumed daily in Japan.
TIL Chicory has been a historic substitute for coffee. Frederick the Great banned coffee in Prussia which led to the mass production of chicory by 1795 and the chicory drinks were common in Napoleonic France. Chicory drinks also became popular in Confederate states because of the Union blockade.
TIL: The punishment of the dogs was an annual sacrifice of Rome where live dogs were suspended from a cross & paraded. In the same procession, Geese were decorated in gold and purple and carried in honor. Because The Dogs didn’t Bark and the Geese honked When the Gauls launched a nocturnal assault.
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TIL that opossums only live two years…
TIL that the 7ft 2in actor who played the Predator and Harry, from Harry and the Henderson’s died from AIDS because of a HIV infected blood transfusion he received from a car accident.
TIL Kingsford Charcoal originated from Ford Motor Company selling scrap wood from the construction of their Model T vehicles.
TIL that the rapper Immortal Technique went to high school with Lin-Manuel Miranda and used to bully him.
TIL since 2020, white LED streetlights have been turning purple because of a defect during the manufacturing process between 2017 and 2019. The yellow phosphor coating was delaminating, and the blue LED began showing through, giving off a purplish glow.
TIL that Big Ben is leaning to one side and may eventually become unstable. ??
TIL about the “Loneliest Tree on Earth,” a Sitka spruce on Campbell Island, over 170 miles from the nearest tree. It was planted by a lonely meteorologist in 1907.
TIL Jaywalking laws vary dramatically from country to country. In most countries crossing outside of designated a crosswalk is illegal (atleast when one is available). In some countries like India and the UK it is only illegal if one obstructs traffic. The Netherlands has no concept of jaywalking.
TIL Nick Offerman was originally up for another role in Parks and Recreation, Rashida Jones’ love interest Josh, who ended up turning into Mark Brendanawicz. Nick got turned down because he wasn’t “handsome” enough.