Knowledge is power, and we’re about to raise all of you Pandas’ power levels through the roof. It’s time for the freshest edition of ‘Today I Learned,’ featuring the tastiest, most intriguing facts about the world, science, and history from the super popular subreddit.
With over 27.8 million members and continually growing, the TIL community is a celebration of curiosity, intelligence, and the desire to learn something new every single day. Scroll down for the coolest, most interesting facts that stunned the internet, piping hot from the digital oven.
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Pssst, if you’re still hungry for knowledge (or you’re secretly a Ravenclaw like some of us), you should definitely take a peek at Bored Panda’s most recent articles about the TIL community right here, here, and here. Got any cool trivia tidbits you’d love to share with the class? Pop by the comment section to share what you know.
Bored Panda got in touch with parenting blogger Samantha Scroggin, a mom of two and the founder of ‘Walking Outside in Slippers,’ and we had a chat about how parents can help maintain a sense of wonder and curiosity in their kids as they grow up. It’s also no secret that kids aren’t really interested in doing schoolwork on topics they find ‘boring,’ so we also talked about what parents can do in those cases. Scroll down for our full interview with Samantha.
TIL Scientists at the Parkes radio telescope in Australia spent 17 years trying to identify powerful but extremely short radio bursts that would appear at seemingly random intervals. In 2015 they finally identified the cause: a microwave oven at the facility being opened prematurely
Image credits: Jacknerik
“I believe by staying curious and enthusiastic about the world ourselves, we will help our kids be openly curious and enthusiastic,” blogger Samantha, from ‘Walking Outside in Slippers,’ told Bored Panda.
“When we visit museums as a family, for example, I always ask lots of questions and my children do the same. When we travel, my husband and I demonstrate excitement for the new sights, experiences and even food. This is an amazing world, and I want my children to always appreciate that,” she said.
Bored Panda wanted to get Samantha’s take on how some parents could approach their kids’ disinterest in certain school subjects. “I figure my kids won’t love every assignment at school. That’s just how it goes. I still loathe math. But I try to help them power through school homework assignments they don’t want to do,” she shared with us.
TIL in 1999, Danish physicist Lene Hau was able to slow down light to 38 mph (61 kmph), and was later able to stop it completely, manipulate it, even move it to a different location
Image credits: Hutwe
TIL: Bats eat enough insects to save the US over $1 Billion a year in crop damage and pesticide
Image credits: psychcrime
“I will sit with them and we go through it together in case they have questions. If they hate the task, there’s a good chance that’s because it doesn’t come easy to them (like me with math!). And there will definitely be a special sweet treat of their choice at the end,” she revealed some of the strategies that she uses.
The mom also opened up about the homework situation in her family. “My daughter who is 6 has much more regular homework than my son who is 10. Most of her homework is on a tablet, though, which makes it easier to knock out. I make sure she completes her assignments, but fortunately she has gotten pretty independent about doing the homework herself,” she said.
“My son’s teacher usually only assigned homework if there was something he didn’t finish in school. Which I am grateful for because I hate homework!”
TIL that in the operatic song in The Fifth Element, composer Eric Sierra “purposely wrote un-singable things” so she’d sound like an alien. When opera singer Inva Muls came for the part, “she sang 85% of what [Eric] thought was technically impossible”, the rest being assembled in the studio
Image credits: RootaBagel
TIL to collect taxes, Christian IV of Denmark asked captains of ships crossing the Øresund to estimate the value of their cargo, which was applied as the tax base without further audit. But the king also claimed the right to buy the entire cargo at exactly that price
Image credits: batesplates
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
TIL that 26 of the 36 missing children featured in the original music videos for Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train have been found. Most recently, the remains of Aundria Bowman were identified in 2020, 31 years after she was reported missing
Image credits: derstherower
The TIL community has been a powerhouse since its founding in late December of 2008. It has a very high bar on quality, and demands that people post verified information, backed up by sources. If it’s iffy, it’ll get weeded out by the moderators and the community. Reputable sources are king, as far as the ‘Today I Learned’ sub is involved.
However, underneath all the fact-checking lies something even more important—the desire to learn, no matter how young or old the person might be. TIL is all about sparking curiosity in people, helping educate them, and proving that the world is far more complex, bizarre, and interesting than we tend to give it credit for in our day-to-day lives.
Recently, Alan Castel, Ph.D., a UCLA psychology professor and the author of ‘Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging,’ spoke to Bored Panda about people’s curiosity, cognition, and how to maintain the sharpness of our minds as we age.
“Our awareness of our own cognitive ability and knowledge is called metacognition. Often as we get older, we are more aware of what we know, what we don’t know, and also what we are most interested in. I think being selective can be important so that we can focus on remembering and being curious about what interests us,” he told us.
TIL the Masai Tribe in Africa donated 14 cows to the United States after 9/11
Image credits: Hegemon1984
TIL about Jean Boulet who in 1972 set the world record for the highest altitude reached in a helicopter, 40,280ft. During descent his engines failed, and he landed the helicopter without power, setting another record in the process for the highest unpowered helicopter landing
Image credits: LongshanksAragon
TIL about Secessio Plebis which was a form of revolt first introduced in ancient Rome. When the ruling class of Rome would become too corrupt or unjust to the commoners, the commoners would band together, evacuate the entire city and leave the elites to fend for themselves
Image credits: VoidOfEndlessDark
“Also, having some sense of awe is also associated with curiosity, happiness, and life satisfaction, while also making us care more about others and the world in general. I think metacognition and awe can make us more curious about the things that are important to us, especially as we get older,” the professor shared with Bored Panda that a sense of awe can, in fact, make us happier.
“Research shows that physical exercise such as walking can improve brain function and memory, and being socially connected has widespread benefits for the brain,” he noted that moving lots and having an active social life helps our minds.
“Thus, it is likely a combination of things that keep us sharp, such as being physically active, talking to people, reading, being connected, and remaining curious about things that are important.”
TIL the iconic Einstein-sticking-his-tongue-out photo was his annoyed reaction to paparazzi goading him to smile on his 72nd birthday. It achieved cult status mostly because Einstein himself asked for a cropped version, ordered many prints and proceeded to send them to friends
Image credits: BekanntUndUnbekannt
TIL figure skating competitions in the 1800s involved the act of skating pictures into the ice. This required precision and wasn’t as fast-paced as modern figure skating
Image credits: dilettantedebrah
TIL A Canadian makeup developer helped Crayola create “Colors of the World” crayons that are meant to accurately reflect human skin tones. He pared down the 40 shades he had created for Cover FX to 24 distinct colors that kids can use to draw themselves
Image credits: vancouver_reader
TIL after the TV show Teletubbies ended, the owner of the land used had to dig out the hill and flood the field it was filmed in, due to the amount of people trespassing to see Teletubbieland
Image credits: Status-Victory
TIL the 7 year rule for dog aging is incorrect – compared to humans, dogs age faster when young and slower as they age
Image credits: TypicalDumbRedditGuy
TIL that the Feeling of “impending doom” is an official symptom of a Wrong blood type Transfusion. (ABO incompatibility)
Image credits: ToggleHD
TIL Joseph Armand Bombardier invented the snowmobile after his son died of appendicitis when a blizzard prevented him from getting him to a hospital in time
Image credits: jattyrr
TIL The London Underground has its own subspecies of mosquito that lives exclusively in the stations and tunnels
Image credits: Bronesey
TIL the last king of Egypt, Faud II, is still alive and ascended to the throne when he was just 192 days old. He was deposed a year later after his father was exiled and Egypt declared a republic
Image credits: TheSameAsDying
TIL that on the entire 4300 mile length of the Amazon river there are no bridges
Image credits: Not_that_kind_of_DR
TIL that a suicidal teen from the UK used several fake online personas to convince his best mate to kill him, he survived the attack but became the first person in UK history to be charged with inciting their own murder
Image credits: _Im_Dad
TIL about unisexual mole salamanders which are an all-female complex of salamanders that ‘steal’ sperm from up to five different species of salamanders in the genus Ambystoma and recombine it to produce female hybrid offspring. This method of reproduction is called kleptogenesis
TIL that the first commercial airliner shot down by hostile forces was refurbished, returned to service, and later became the third commercial airliner to be shot down by hostile forces
Image credits: kingeuphorix
TIL Florence Nightingale was not only a nurse but a statistician who created one of the first pie charts and authored 150 books, pamphlets and reports
TIL there’s a gene that controls how long you sleep. “Short sleepers” function the same off of 4-6 hours of sleep as a typical individual getting 8
Image credits: D0ugF0rcett
TIL that American ice cream company Häagen-Dazs sued American ice cream company Frusen Glädjé to stop them from using a “Scandinavian marketing theme”. The court ruled against Häagen-Dazs as they had also marketed themselves as Scandinavian without having any real connection to the region
TIL that the Animals broke up because, while touring in Japan in 1968, their manager was kidnapped by the tour promoters, who were Yakuza, and put him up for ransom. After the manager escaped, the band was forced to flee the country or be killed by the Yakuza, leaving all of their tour gear behind
TIL about Alexis St. Martin who, after not properly healing after being shot in the stomach, was used in experiments for 12 years as doctors could view his digestion in real time through his wound. He lived another 58 years
TIL that a Wall Street restaurant, The Exchange Buffet, operated on the honour system, where customers would tally their own bills. It ran successfully from 1885 to 1963
TIL About “Judas goats”, which are trained to associate with herds and gain their trust so that other animals follow them – to a slaughter. The Judas goat is rewarded by not being killed, and used to lead other herds to the same fate
TIL that a fire destroyed most of Harvard Library’s collection in 1764. Only a small number of books were spared, including 144 that were checked out at the time. One of these books was found and returned in 1997
Image credits: unappliedknowledge
TIL the energy released by turning just one kilogram of hydrogen into helium is the same as burning 20,000 metric tons of coal. The sun is doing this constantly through nuclear fusion
TIL Mr. T’s trademark gold neck chains and jewelry was the result of customers losing the items or leaving them after a fight at the nightclub where Mr T. worked as a bouncer. A banned customer could return to claim his property from Mr. T wearing it conspicuously right out front
TIL Alexander Fleming’s mold that produced the first antibiotic, penicillin, was kept frozen since 1945 and its genomes are used for regrowing nowadays
TIL about Kriegspiel, a chess variant where each player can see their own pieces, but not those of their opponent. Players attempt to move on their turns, and the umpire declares their attempts ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’. If the move is illegal, the player tries again; if it is legal, that move stands
TIL Frank Dixon, author of the Hardy Boys books and Carolyn Keene author of the Nancy Drew Series don’t exist. They are actually pseudonyms for a variety of writers who wrote those stories
TIL that when deaf people experience stroke-related brain damage, they often lose the ability to sign in remarkably similar ways to the different forms of linguistic aphasia (difficulty speaking, forming words, sentences being nonsensical)
Image credits: cheeky_melon
TIL amidst early concerns about leaded gas, the engineer who discovered tetraethyllead as an additive demonstrated its ‘safety’ by pouring it over his hands and inhaling its vapor, stating he could do this every day without issue. He later took a leave of absence due to lead poisoning
TIL The national anthem of Italy mentiones Poland and the national anthem of Poland mentions Italy, both in a positive way
TIL Bach wrote the Brandenburg Concertos in 1721 as part of a job application to the Margrave, which he never received a reply. The concertos were unpublished until 1850 and almost lost again during WWII
Image credits: vancouver_reader
TIL Weird Al’s biggest problem with services that illegally distributed his music was that they would misattribute songs to him. Al was especially annoyed by profane songs like, “Baby Got Jack” or “Ugly Girl”