Life’s a never-ending rollercoaster of education, fun facts, and interesting trivia. And the ride’s free if you’re willing to stay curious all your life. One of the best places to expand your mind on a daily basis is the ‘Today I Learned’ subreddit, boasting over 25.2 million members, over 12 years of service on Reddit, and a community that values curiosity and learning above all else.
We’ve collected some of the most interesting recent things that the TIL community shared for you to expand your minds with, dear Pandas, so go on and have a look below. And when you’re done and if you’re thirsting for more knowledge like a true Ravenclaw, you’ll find our earlier posts about the TIL subreddit right over here, and here, as well as here.
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Separating fact from fiction, however, isn’t as easy as it might seem when scrolling through the TIL subreddit. Especially when different authority figures whom we trust say different things. I spoke about learning to separate the truth from falsehoods and how to diplomatically challenge people who might be wrong with Lenore Skenazy, the president of Let Grow and the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement. Read on for her full and in-depth interview with Bored Panda.
In World War 1, Nobel prize winning physicist Marie Curie developed mobile X-Ray stations to travel to the frontlines and assist army surgeons and preventing amputations when limbs were still intact. It’s estimated that over a million wounded soldiers were x-rayed with her units.
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Icelandic horses are not allowed to leave the country. If they do, they are banned from returning. This is because Iceland is an island so they have limited diseases, and this is another measure to prevent it.
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Dave Thomas (the founder of Wendy’s) was a high-school dropout. He was afraid his success would convince teens to drop out of school, so at age 60, he went back and got his GED.
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Learning something new and figuring out what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what’s opinion is difficult to do with the flood of information that’s easily available to us. However, that same vast store of information that we have access to can be our greatest boon if we learn to swim, dive, and sail through it all.
Finding out that something’s actually (not) true even though the beloved authority figures in our lives have been stating differently can fire us up and make us want to confront them. However, if we’re not diplomatic and merely want to rub it in their faces that they were wrong, we can end up losing an even greater learning opportunity.
Habsburg Emperor Joseph II tried to reform Austria into “ideal Enlightened state”. He abolished serfdom, removed restrictions against Jews, gave religious freedom to Protestants and Orthodox and tried to weaken power of Catholic church. But as soon he died all his reforms were abolished
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A Japanese ice cream company created a commercial to publicly apologize about needing to raise the price of their ice cream bars for the first time in 25 years from 60 yen to 70 yen.
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Walt Disney accidentally “kidnapped” Richard Nixon by dispatching his monorail train before the Secret Service could get on. The agents ran after the train and attempted to jump onboard but the doors had already closed. Monorail pilot Bob Gurr was terrified; Nixon got a kick out of it.
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Lenore, the president of Let Grow, suggested that instead of being combative and turning opinionated authority figures away from you, people should try to learn something together with them.
“The key is to discover things together. If something sounds strange or unlikely, respond with curiosity—ask the person to tell you more, and how they found this information out, and where you should go if you want to delve into it further,” the expert, who greatly supports childhood independence, suggested.
“Then if the sources they give you seem dubious—well, probably so is whatever they gleaned from them. But if the sources seem legit, read them with an open mind. They may be right after all!” Lenore explained.
Dogs and cats circle around before bedding down as a throwback to their wild ancestors. Their survival instincts provoked them to position themselves in the direction of the wind to pick up predator scents and choose the best angle for keeping an eye on the environment.
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Danny DeVito did the dub for his role as the titular character in The Lorax (2012) in Russian, German, Italian, Catalan, and Castilian Spanish, despite not speaking any of those languages
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People keep finding meticulously crafted hollow dodecahedrons throughout Europe dating back to the Roman Empire but historians have no idea what they’re supposed to be used for as there’s no historical record of them anywhere. Theories range from dice to knitting.
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It’s a fact of life that nobody is right all the time. And Lenore believes that because of this, it isn’t “cruel or crazy” to think that someone else “may have their facts wrong.” However, you shouldn’t be getting angry at someone who got something wrong, unless they were deliberately lying to you.
“Ever since the Age of Enlightenment, humans have realized that the best way to get closer to the truth is by saying something out loud and seeing if it stands up to scrutiny. If not—hooray. We are one step closer to the truth because we’ve just jettisoned a misconception,” Lenore told Bored Panda.
When your immune system fights an infection, it cranks up the mutation rate during antibody production by a factor of 1,000,000, and then has them compete with each other. This natural selection process creates highly specific antibodies for the virus.
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Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith didn’t play baseball until he was a junior in high school, only tried out to win a $10 bet, and only started pitching after his team’s star pitcher was killed in a hunting accident. His first start was a no hitter.
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There is a street that is split down the middle by the USA-Canadian border, aptly named Canusa street. People who live in houses on the south side of the street are in the USA, and the north side, in Canada. Crossing the street requires having to report to the border crossing office.
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“If it turns out that you do find some information that contradicts what the other person—your teacher or boss or anyone—has stated as true, again, the best approach is not confrontation. It’s assuming that the other person didn’t mean to steer you wrong,” she pointed out that instead of being aggressive, we should be approaching the situation in a way that provides the biggest learning opportunity.
Not all people have an internal monologue and people with them typically have stronger mental visuals to accompany their verbal thoughts.
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Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness, can be toxic. When injected into skin it causes extreme pain and is a main ingredient of wasp venom
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Neanderthals, which were traditionally thought of as extremely primitive humans, are now believed to have been extremely intelligent, even comparable to the intelligence of modern humans. They used tools, had social structures, thrived in hostile environments, and lived long lives.
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“So if you bring in information that contradicts the person, don’t say, ‘SEE??? YOU WERE WRONG!’ Say something more like, ‘I was so interested in what you were talking about that I did some research and now I’m a little confused. Can we look at this together?'” Lenore advocated going for the diplomatic route rather than seeking out a fight and wanting to prove your own correctness all the time.
That Japan burns a portion of its garbage and uses the resulting ash in land reclamation. As of 2012 Japan has created over 250 square kilometers (96 square miles) of new land using this method.
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Grasshoppers are older than grass, having evolved roughly 250 million years ago
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The parents of “Simpsons” creator, Matt Groenig, were named Homer & Marge. He also had sisters named Lisa, Maggie, & Patty.
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“Being accusatory only makes people defensive. So don’t be rude, be engaged. This works in the classroom, in the office, and pretty much everywhere,” Lenore, the president of Let Grow, offered us some great advice on what to do if we overhear somebody potentially sharing misinformation.
Bill Nye (of Science Guy fame) invented a hydraulic component used on the 747 airliners, and holds three patents for other inventions.
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The sauna is such a deeply igrained part of the Finnish culture, that finns will even build them in war. Custom dictates no titles or hierarchies are allowed in the sauna, including military ranks in saunas built and used by soldiers.
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Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and hundreds more, started smoking at the age of 9, changed his last name from Blank to Blanc, survived a car accident resulting in a two week coma, recorded The Flintstones in a full body cast, and died only a year after recording Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
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Which of the facts in this list caught your attention the most, dear Pandas? Do you have any interesting bits of trivia that you learned recently to share with us? What, in your opinion, is the best way to separate facts from fake news? Let us know what you think in the comment section. We always love hearing from you!
Saffron, the world’s costliest spice by weight, has been cultivated by humans for at least 3500 years and there are no known Saffron plants in the wild. Scientists still disagree about which part of the world the plant orginated. It takes 150,000 flowers to make 1 kg of Saffron spice.
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In the 1950’s the US airforce tried to design a cockpit to fit the average pilot’s body. After measuring 4000 pilots they discovered that none of them came close to having an average body. This lead to introduction of adjustable seats.
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Elephants can hear through both their ears and feet. Through special fat pads called digital cushions, they can hear sounds other elephants vocalize below the range of human hearing from many miles away. This helps warn them of far off danger, incoming floods, and rival elephants.
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During solar eclipses, tree leaves act as pinhole cameras, resulting in trees casting crescent-shaped shadows on the ground. This effect puzzled Aristotle in the 4th Century BC.
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Tchaikovsky hated to conduct by his own admission. He became obsessed with the fear that his head was going to fall off while he conducted. In 1868, when Tchaikovsky conducted his own Dances of the Hay Maidens, he held his head in place with his left hand while he conducted with his right.
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Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, sold the series as a pure entertainment vehicle due to censorship he experienced with previous projects that would delve into controversial social/political issues. The Twilight Zone tackled the same issues but veiled in science fiction and fantasy
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Every fall, Alaska’s Katmai National Park hosts “Fat Bear Week” and crowns the park’s fattest brown bear. The aim is to highlight the park and wildlife conservation.
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the Driftless Area is a rugged area of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and a minor part of Illinois that was completely missed by glaciers. It is roughly the size of West Virginia, and is home to huge bluffs, deep canyons, and rare species of plants found no where else.
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There was an ape named Oliver who preferred walking upright. He was bald, freckled, showed sexual attraction towards humans and even liked to pour himself a cup of brandy every night while wearing a smoking jacket. Due to his human-like features and mannerisms he was once believed to be a “Humanzee”.
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The plans for Winston Churchill’s state funeral had to be revised several times because Churchill outlived several intended pallbearers.
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Rome was basically a ghost town during the Middle Ages. After the fall of the West-Roman empire, the population of Rome dropped from 1MILLION in 330AD to just 20k in 650AD. The population remained roughly the same till ca.1600AD.
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January 19 1977 was the last day it snowed in Miami, Florida, it lasted a little more than an hour, and it hasn’t snowed there since.
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ADHD doesn’t always mean ‘short attention span’. ‘Hyperfocusing’ on a task for hours on end is also a known symptom of ADHD, where the inability to stop is considered to be the problem.
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Between 1978 and 1980, Michel Lotito ate an entire Cessna 150 airplane piece by piece. He is estimated to have eaten nine tons of metal over his lifetime, for which he was awarded a brass plaque by the Guinness Book of World Records. (He also ate the award.)
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During WW2, Ernest Hemingway used his fishing boat named after his ex-wife (Pilar) to hunt German U-boats in the Caribbean armed only with Thomson machine guns and hand grenades. He was given unlimited gasoline by the US government.
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French astronomer and mathematician Urbain le Verrier used observational data from Uranus to deduce the position of an unknown planet, which German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle used to find Neptune, within one hour of searching and within one degree of Verrier’s prediction
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Frank “Cannonball” Richards, a carnival entertainer is most famous for his act involved getting hit by a 104 lbs cannonball from close range; he performed the act twice a day because “more than that was too painful.”
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A Roman day was always 12 hours long, regardless of the season. The time between sunrise and sunset was divided by 12 hours, same as with the time between sunset and sunrise. The hours where shorter in the winter and longer in the summer.
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Laminated safety glass was invented by chemist Édouard Bénédictus after a lab accident in 1903. A glass flask coated with the plastic cellulose nitrate was dropped, shattering but not breaking into pieces. In 1909 he filed a patent, after hearing of a car accident causing injury by glass debris.
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Catherine De Medici maintained 80 ladies-in-waiting, whom she allegedly used as tools to seduce courtiers for political ends. They were known as her “flying squadron”. She also used them as a court attraction. In 1577, she threw a banquet at which the food was served by topless women.
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Before he was caught, Charles Ponzi the namesake of the Ponzi scheme successfully sued a newspaper for libel and won $500,000 in damages after it suggested there was no way Ponzi could legally deliver such high returns in a short period of time.
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10.4% of the world’s population is either in a marriage/relationship with their second cousin or closer relative or is the result of such a union.
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In the 1930s, the US spent $300.000 ($5,5 million adjusted for inflation) to built massive car with the goal to cross Antarctica. Only to discover upon arrival that the tyres didn’t work in the snow, and the whole thing was abandoned after 140 km (driven in reverse).
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During his lifetime, George Washington owned almost every group of dog currently recognized by the American Kennel Club. Many of his dogs had interesting names too, such as: Madame Moose, Truelove, Tipsy, Mopesy, and Ragman.
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Courtroom sketches became popular in the earlier 20th century due to a general prohibition of cameras in the courtroom. Artists are able to sketch scenes in just minutes, often from memory. Despite most courtrooms now allowing cameras, sketch art is still in demand today.
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In State v. Linkhaw, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a man who sang so badly in church that a jury had found him guilty of “disturbing a religious congregation.”
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Teeth are only able to experience one sensation, that being pain. When you eat or drink something too hot or too cold, or a dentist operates on your teeth, you will only experience pain because that is the only thing the nerves around your teeth respond to.
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Growing almonds in California takes more than half of the commercial honeybees in the US, meaning they have to be temporarily shipped in from almost every other state.
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Contrary to the publicized image of the upbeat patient joking with surgeons, Ronald Reagan lost half his blood and came within seconds of dying in 1981 when he was gunned down. His true condition was concealed from the public for nearly 30 years.
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Yuri Kondratyuk, Soviet pioneer of astronautics, while working in Siberia, built an enormous wooden grain elevator with a capacity of 13 000 tons without using any nails. Due to using such an unusual construction, he was arrested in suspicion of sabotage. The elevator stood till the 90s.
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“Overmorrow” is the English word for “the day after tomorrow”. The common theory is that it sounded too ancient, even for 16th-century Middle English, and fell out of use.
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The most mass a planet can have is ~10-13x the mass of Jupiter. After this point, it’s own sheer gravity begins to cause nuclear fusion and the body is classified as a brown dwarf (also called a failed star).
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In 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard hit 2 golf balls on the moon – he hit the first one into a crater, and claimed to have smashed the second one “miles and miles and miles”. However, recent research has shown that the first ball travelled 24 yards (22 m), and the second ball only 40 yards (37 m)
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The soundtrack for the 2019 miniseries Chernobyl (which concerns the 1986 nuclear disaster) was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, who incorporated field recordings from a real power plant in Lithuania, capturing the sounds of pumps, reactors and turbines.
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A 2017 study by statistician Nathan Yau found the career divorce rates. Bartenders, flight attendants , massage therapists, and nurses had the highest at around 45-50%. Meanwhile, actuaries had the lowest at 17%, followed by software developers, engineers, scientists, and eye doctors.
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In 2016, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Hollywood paid $4.8 million for Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress that Monroe wore at JFK’s 45th birthday celebration. The purchase cements it as one of the most expensive pieces of pop-culture memorabilia of all time.
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In 2018, the US hit a record high of never-married adults. 35% of Americans ages 25 to 50 had never been married, compared to 9% in 1970.
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Footage is called footage because film used to be measured in feet.
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The last B-52’s are projected to continue service until some time in the 2050’s, meaning the plane will have been in service for almost 100 years.
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Disney uses a paint colour called “GO AWAY GREEN” to camouflage and hide objects and doors in their theme parks.
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A man was arrested in Japan for selling hacked Pokémon. The suspect had his computer seized by authorities and police believe the man made up to the equivalent of $10,000 selling illegal Pokémon.
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The American Smarties candy received their namesake “Smarties” because the creator wanted to encourage people to pursue an education.
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Phosphorus was discovered when alchemist Hennig Brand who was experimenting with urine attempted to create the fabled philosopher’s stone through the distillation of some salts by evaporating urine, and in the process produced a white material that glowed in the dark and burned brilliantly.
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Whales spouting water out of blowholes is a common error propagated in children’s books and movies (the whale would be drowning if it did so). A 2016 scientific survey of children’s books featuring whales and cetaceans revealed 74/116 had factual errors, including almost half of the non-fiction.
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The Brooklyn Dodgers name stems from a nickname given in the 1890s to people who, in a matter of life and death, had to evade railcars speeding down the streets. They were known as trolley dodgers.
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