“Today I Learned”: 110 Lesser-Known Facts About The World That Should Be Common Knowledge (New Pics)

You deserve to do something nice for yourselves today, pandas. That might include taking a long, hot bath, doing some relaxing yoga or even exercising your brain by learning something new. And if you don’t have time for a bath or a yoga mat on hand at the moment, why not take ten minutes to pick up some fascinating, fun facts?

We’ve taken another trip to one of our favorite places on the internet, the Today I Learned subreddit, to find out some information that you probably didn’t learn in school but you might still want to know! So enjoy finding out more about history, animals and even our own species, and be sure to upvote the facts that you won’t ever forget!

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TIL birth rates in the U.S. have dropped more than 20% since 2007.

Image credits: SAT0725


TIL that sharks don’t make sounds. Across 400-500 species, no one has ever found an organ even capable of producing sound.

Image credits: Jangles2000


TIL Beyoncé earned $24 million for a one-hour concert in Dubai.

Image credits: ahm713


TIL that just before Laika went into space, one of the scientists using her for testing brought her home to play with his children. Knowing that she would not survive her journey.

Image credits: Alaskan_Tsar


TIL in 2001, Mattel made a vibrating Harry Potter broomstick that led to many questionable Amazon user reviews. They discontinued the toy after adult stores in Times Square started selling them for twice their original retail price.

Image credits: SappyGilmore


TIL : about the game “Foldit”, a puzzle game about protein folding. In 2011, its gamers helped decipher a protein of a HIV-like virus, solving a scientific problem that went unsolved for 15 years in as little as 10 days.

Image credits: 12a357sdf


TIL: In 1880, the average ages of consent in the US were set at 10 or 12 years old in most states, with the exception of Delaware where it was 7.

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TIL about a cat named Room 8 that lived in a public school for 16 years. During his time their he would disappear during the summer and return, like clockwork on the first day of school. He became so well known that poems and songs were sung about him.

Image credits: Houndguy


TIL elderly pedestrians in Singapore get more time to cross the road at traffic lights. By taping their concession card on the crosswalk button, the green man stays lit for up to 13 seconds longer.

Image credits: griefofwant

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TIL: about Nebraska’s “safe haven” law that didn’t have an age limit to drop off unwanted babies. A wave of children, many teenagers with behavioral issues, were dropped off. It has since been amended.

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TIL: Castrati were singers who were castrated before puberty to develop a unique voice for singing. They were primarily in church choirs and operas. Italian operas without one would be doomed to fail. The Pope tried to ban them in 1748, but failed as it would drastically reduce church attendance.

Image credits: Flares117


TIL After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8bn tonnes, surpassed only by China and the US. [2018 numbers]

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TIL about the “Tanganyika-Laughter Epidemic”. A student in 1962 in Tanzania started laughing in a school in Kashasha. The laughter quickly spread to hundreds of people, causing schools to close for months. Researchers believe it was caused by stress, social tensions. No official explanation was given.

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TIL that when Johannes Rebmann, the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro, published his discovery in 1849, it was dismissed as a malaria-induced hallucination because it was believed that snow at this latitude was impossible. It took 12 more years for scholars to accept the mountain’s existence.

Image credits: ShabtaiBenOron


TIL Highway hypnosis, also known as white line fever, is an altered mental state in which a person can drive a car, truck, or other automobile great distances, responding to external events in the expected, safe, and correct manner with no recollection of having consciously done so.

Image credits: gullydon


TIL that when Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for MLS club LA Galaxy, LeBron James sent him one of his Lakers jerseys as a “welcome to LA” gift. Zlatan’s response was to sign it and send it back.

Image credits: JimPalamo


TIL when Captain Francesco Schettino was asked why he abandoned the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2012 while the ship’s passengers were either dying or trying to escape, his excuse was that he accidentally fell into a lifeboat. He received 16 years in prison for his role in the incident.

Image credits: waitingforthesun92


TIL that three years after winning gold at the 2004 Olympics, wrestler Rulon Gardner and two friends’ plane crashed into Lake Powell Utah. The three men swam an hour to the shore through 44F (7C) degree water to the shore and waited all night without shelter for rescue. All three men survived.

Image credits: HasSomeSelfEsteem


TIL Humans are a tropical species. Human evolution has produced bodies that were meant to live in hot and humid conditions. Our species is in its infancy as far as cold weather evolution is concerned, and physiologically speaking, our bodies are not supposed to be able to survive there.

Image credits: Parks714


TIL that, on 16 November, 1949, students in Ghent (Belgium) stormed the medieval castle, lowered the portcullis and threw fruit from the walls at the police to protest a new tax on beer. The event is still commemorated yearly by the city as the greatest student prank in its history.

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TIL Ubisoft offered to share their detailed 3D model of Notre Dame from Assassin’s Creed: Unity, some 5,000 hours of research, with the French government reconstruction effort after the fire in 2019.

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TIL that Johnny Cash was such a devout Christian, that in 1990, he recorded himself reading the entire New Testament Bible (NKJ Version). The entire recording has a running time of more than 19 hours.

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TIL. MSG isn’t bad for you and it’s bad reputation stemmed from what’s called the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.

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TIL white rice is just brown rice with its outer layer milled off.

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TIL of “Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome” where the body doesn’t respond to testosterone so they have the genetic makeup of a man while showing the physical traits of a woman.

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TIL the Black Death contributed greatly to the rise of the British Pub and pub culture. Thanks to the plague, scarcity of labor greatly improved the standard of living for peasants, who in turn spent their extra money on beer.

Image credits: TheMadhopper


TIL in 2012 in Cebu, Philippines, after a 6.9 earthquake struck the city, someone shouted while finding their daughter whose name is “Chona Mae”. This was misheard as “Tsunami” and eventually caused a mass panic.

Image credits: PotatoCatPi


TIL Boogers contain salivary mucins, which forms a barrier on your teeth from bacteria that can cause cavities.

Image credits: MeltingMango420


TIL that Andy Warhol was secretly a devout Byzantine Catholic, who attended church almost daily. At one point, he financed his nephew’s studies for priesthood, and was also responsible for at least one religious conversion. Warhol’s brother described him as “really religious”.

Image credits: waitingforthesun92


TIL during its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Image credits: volossaveroniki


TIL that there is a type of octopus, an argonaut, where the male fills its sex organ with sperm, then rips it off and presents it to a female.


TIL elephants are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror, which is a sign of self-awareness. Elephants were shown a mirror and their reactions were observed. They went through a series of behaviors, including touching their own bodies and inspecting their mouths.


TIL that not only are the mountains on Saturns moon Titan named after mountains and ranges from works J.R.R. Tolkien, but the plains are named after locations from the Dune Universe.


TIL that a Phillies fan credits the Phillies’ dollar dog nights for saving his life, as he ate too many hot dogs and went to the hospital for a stomachache, where they found out he had blood cancer.


TIL that Sweden has 267,570 islands, the most of any country in the world.


TIL that, according to the CDC, the job fields with the highest s*icide rate per 100,000 people for men is Construction and Extraction (53.2) while for women it’s Art, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media (15.6)


TIL that there are at least 5 species of shark living in the Thames estuary (which runs through London), and that one of those species is venomous.


TIL that the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the continental US occurred in New Madrid, MO, in 1812. It was so violent that the shaking was felt in New York, made church bells ring in South Carolina, and made part of the Mississippi River run backwards.


TIL It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one’s blood pressure.


TIL that out of 400-500 species of shark, the Sand Tiger Shark is the only one known to fart.


TIL Singer, the sewing machine manufacturer, also made military aircraft navigation and targeting equipment, plus 1911A1 handguns.


TIL the Walt Disney Company neither owns nor operates Tokyo Disneyland.


TIL that many animals spend much of their time doing nothing, even those we think of as particularly busy. “If you look at a colony of ants, or bees, or any social insect really, maybe a little bit less than half of them are just standing around doing what looks like nothing.”


TIL in 2018, the 120-resident village of Acquetico in Italy installed speed cameras after being fed up with people speeding through it. In next 2 weeks, it recorded 58,500 speeding infractions.


TIL the song ‘I’ll Be missing You’ by Puff Daddy was a huge success spending 11 weeks at number one. Puff Daddy did not secure rights to the song so Sting sued and owns 100% of the royalties until 2053.


TIL that the crew of the sinking Daniel J. Morrell believed they were moments from being rescued, only to discover in horror that the lights were from the stern section of their own severed ship, still under power and barreling towards them.


TIL people who work at U.S. nuclear power plants are exposed to less radiation than what is given off by the granite walls inside the U.S. Capitol Building.


TIL that in 2002 members of a simulated Mars mission in Utah uncovered an actual dinosaur fossil when on a mock spacewalk.


TIL that there were 26 Children and 36 Spouses of Spanish-American War veterans still receiving VA benefits or pensions as of 2021. The war happened nearly 125 years ago.


TIL the search and discovery of the Titanic was only allowed as to cover for searching for 2 US nuclear submarines that sunk in the 60s.


TIL the FAA predicted that if kids under 2 years old were required to have their own seats on planes, at least 60 kids would die in car accidents for every kid saved because families that couldn’t afford extra plane tickets would drive instead.


TIL that the morning after the Titanic sank, a man on a nearby vessel who was unaware of the sinking photographed an iceberg with a red streak he suspected to be paint from a ship. For years the law firm for White Star Line, the Titanic’s owner, had the original displayed in their office.


TIL James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher never met until they made cameo appearances in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.


TIL John Stith Pemberton was a Confederate officer who became addicted to morphine after receiving a saber wound. Pemberton made a series of concoctions attempting to cure his addiction. Pemberton’s experiments with coca and kola resulted in Pemberton’s French Wine Coca and later Coca-Cola.


TIL it is a federal crime, punishable by up to $100,000 and a year in prison, for most people in the U.S. to possess any part of a bald or golden eagle, even just a shed feather found on the ground.


TIL Time magazine was the first to introduce the name “World War II”


TIL About 70 percent of the material for the original Human Genome Project came from some dude in Buffalo, NY.


TIL that when the Bible was first translated into Finnish, there was no word for lion since nobody had ever seen one. The translator instead used the word “jalopeura” which means “noble deer”.


TIL that graying is a sign of active hair growth. Gray hair is also both thicker and faster growing than pigmented hair.


TIL Disney is said to spend $10.68 billion every single year to keep their parks open and functional. If you were to split that evenly, each park would cost roughly $3.25 million per day to stay open.


TIL while writing the 1971 song “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill Withers had originally intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase “I know” 26 times, but then followed the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way. Withers said: “When they said to leave it like that, I left it.”


TIL Brontosaurus is a valid dinosaur again. As of 2015 it is no longer considered to be the same species as Apatosaurus.


TIL Male cigarette smokers have significantly higher levels of total and free testosterone compared with men who never smoked.


TIL Beyond Good and Evil 2 has broken the record for longest game development time, at almost 16 years.


TIL Domino’s Pizza was unsuccessful in its attempt to expand into Italy, they failed to win over the local Italians as they preferred their local pizzerias.


TIL The largest blackout in history left over 620 million people without power in 2012. Despite affecting 9% of the world’s population, the blackout was entirely within the country of India.


TIL that Black Widow spiders are often hunted down and killed by their Brown Widow cousins when in the same territory.


TIL the Kootenai Indian Tribe of Idaho and Montana harvests millions of dollars of sturgeon caviar a year, but put all the eggs back in the rivers. They are desperately try to save the shrinking white sturgeon population which they believe are “sacred messengers.”


TIL that about 15% of all Tyrannosaurus rex fossil specimens show signs of having been infected with or killed by trichomoniasis, a parasitic infection in the jaw that leaves visible holes in the bone. Modern-day birds, such as falcons and hawks, can suffer from similar trichomoniasis infections.


TIL of Nakahama Manjirō, a 14-year-old fisherman who was shipwrecked on an island with four friends. They were rescued by an American whaleship, who took them to Honolulu, where his friends stayed. Manjirō continued on to Massachusetts and become the first Japanese person to land on mainland USA.


TIL the French bulldog is now the top purebred dog of USA. Beating the labrador retriever that held the title for 31 years.


TIL the last surviving former slave in the US, Peter Mills died in 1972, aged 110 after being involved in a pedestrian accident.


TIL that lower class Germans are stereotyped as giving their children names that sound exotic in German, such as “Kevin.” Prejudice against people with such names is strong enough that the term “Kevinism” was coined to describe it.


TIL that while the quantity of stars on the US flag is determined by an act of congress, the size and position of the starts are determined by executive order and can be set unilaterally by the president.


TIL that the commonly believed myth of the ‘end-point’ of mental maturity at age 25 is outdated. Recent studies show prefrontal cortex maturation extends well past 30.


TIL The life expectancy in Cambodia dropped to 14 years in 1978.


TIL The main reason why so many English football/soccer clubs use the word ´United´in their name; to signify a union of two teams that were in close proximity, making them a stronger team.


TIL Germany sold 22 Mig-29 to Poland in 2003 for just 22 €.


TIL Graduate student Jocelyn Bell Burnell and her supervisor, Antony Hewish, built a radio telescope to observe quasars in 1967. Their discovery won the 1974 Nobel Prize – for Hewish. 50 years later, Burnell was awarded $3 Million in the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.


TIL that there is one McDonald’s in the continental US that still serves fried apple pies.


TIL that there’s a secret letter from Queen Elizabeth II locked in a Vault, and it can’t be opened till 2085.


TIL many navies around the world through history have a ritual to “celebrate” crossing the equator as an initiation for those doing it for the first time.


TIL during the Vietnam War, the U.S. conducted Operation Popeye which involved a “cloud-seeding” mission to stimulate clouds in Vietnam and extend the monsoon season. It was later declassified in 1974, and the United States’ involvement in this operation became public knowledge.


TIL Byzantine emperor Basil II “the Bulgar Slayer” after the battle of Kleidion divided 15,000 war prisoners into groups of 100 men, blinded 99 men in each group and left one man in each with one eye so that he could lead the others home.


TIL that estrogen from birth control pills is sometimes excreted in human waste, which can end up in municipal wastewater, and eventually the environment. Some species of male fish are becoming ‘feminized’ as a result.


TIL from 1976 to 1989 an unknown taping noise was audible worldwide on commercial and civilian communications (tv broadcast, commercial aviation, SW radio). The source was the Duga radar “The Russian Woodpecker” a huge over-the-horizon radar used by the Soviets as a missile detection system.


TIL that Dr. John Gueriguian, a medical reviewer at the FDA, warned about the toxic effects of Rezulin, but after the company developing the drug complained, he was removed and his review was deleted by FDA. Rezulin ended up killing dozens of people and resulted in hundreds of liver toxicities.


TIL about the “First Browser War”, which took place from 1995-2001, and ended with the up-and-coming Internet Explorer eliminating Netscape Navigator as a rival. By 2001, Internet Explorer had attained a peak of 96% Web Browser Usage Share.


TIL about Zone Rouge, an uninhabitable area of land in France 1,200 square km large that in 1918 was deemed too damaged by lead, mercury, chlorine and arsenic shells from WW1 to be repopulated. At the current rate of recovery, it will take 700 years to make the whole area safe.


TIL that the New York City Subway has the most stops of any metro system in the world.


TIL almost 100 years before railroads, England’s Bridgewater Canal made it so one horse could pull 30 tons of coal, dropping the fuel price in half. It was so successful that it created a 1770’s “canal mania” starting the Industrial Revolution.


TIL that Magnus Carlsen intentionally plays non-book “inaccuracies” during opening (moves he knows aren’t the best), in order to force the game into a non-book position, so his opponents will have to think for themselves instead of going by memorized opening theory


TIL one bad apple in a bunch will release ethylene, ruining all the other apples.


TIL only a slim majority of Americans realize Puerto Ricans are American citizens.


TIL that the Woolworth Company (aka Woolworth’s) did not go out of business but rather just changed their name to that of their most profitable division: Foot Locker.


TIL The baby Sacajawea carried for 2000 miles was Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. He was delivered by Meriwether Lewis, raised by William Clark, lived in a German castle for six years, spoke four languages, was a military scout, fur tapper and gold miner. He’s buried in an Oregon ghost town.


TIL The Magna Carta was annulled by Pope Innocent III and reinstated multiple times by different English Kings. While perceived as a constitution the Magna Carta was limited to 25 Barons and the King, and the document has been almost entirely repealed or replaced with new laws over the centuries.


TIL of Lafayette, “The Hero of Two Worlds”, at 18 as a French Marquis he defied the King and sailed to America to fight in the Revolutionary War, he then left and served in the French Revolution. Once, when captured, Napoleon himself secured his release. He is buried under soil from Bunker Hill.


TIL: About Saburō Kurusu, a Japanese diplomat to the United States during the Pearl Harbor attack. He was unaware of the attack and was on his way to the Secretary of State to deliver a reply to the previous diplomatic communications.


TIL that Jack White of the White Stripes originally wanted to save the guitar riff used in “Seven Nation Army” for if he got the chance to make a James Bond theme song. 5 years after the song was released, he wrote the theme for the 2008 Bond film Quantum of Solace.


TIL about Jack Parsons, rocket scientist and occultist, friend of Aliester Crowley and L Ron Hubbard, who founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and died in an explosion.


TIL that the curveball was invented by a baseball player named Candy Cummings. He was also the first player ever to pitch two complete games in one day and later invented a device to safely couple railroad cars together.


TIL a liquor store in Oklahoma City installed a machine gun tower on the roof of the store after being bombed by the mafia multiple times.


TIL, about Poundbury, a town that was built according to the Principles of King Charles III. It started construction in 1993 and is currently 80% built. 4,600 people currently live there.


TIL that as of 2023 Canadian government health guidelines now define drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages per week as “moderate risk” drinking and more than 6 per week as “increasingly high risk” drinking.


TIL that the Equator line doesn’t cross Equatorial Guinea.


TIL Robert Oppenheimer(born in 1904) didn’t read newspapers and didn’t keep up with the news at all until the 1930’s. A native new yorker, he wasn’t informed of the 1929 wall street crash until a friend told him, 6 months after the fact.


TIL of Fordite, also known as Detroit agate or Motor City agate, is old automotive paint which has hardened sufficiently to be cut and polished. It is used to make jewelry.


TIL that after a Dr Seuss cartoon featured a Flit insecticide sprayer, he landed an endorsement deal with the company for 17 years, which allowed Seuss and his family to get through The Great Depression.


TIL The U.S. Forcibly Detained Native Alaskans During World War II. 881 Aleuts were forcibly relocated and interned in unsanitary camps in southeast Alaska, nobody was allowed to bring more than one suitcase of possessions. Troops then set fire to the villages to prevent its use by the Japanese.


TIL that despite living under Jim Crow, Percy Julian was a doctor who pioneered the drug industry. After he developed the chemical synthesis of hormones like testosterone & progesterone, he became the first African American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.
Source: boredpanda.com

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