When we come across something intriguing, we often feel the urge to share our excitement and pass it along. But instead of interrupting our roommates with random tidbits of information in the middle of a TV show, we can now turn to the internet.
There’s a subreddit called ‘Today I Learned‘ (or TIL for short) and its 30.4 million members make it the fifth-largest community on the platform. People go there to share all the new and fascinating stuff that blows their minds, and since its inception in 2008, the place has become like an encyclopedia.
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From cheating in professional sports to kids’ gaming habits, here are the best recent posts from TIL.
TIL more than 1 in 10 Americans have no close friends. The share of Americans who have zero close friends has been steadily rising. From 3% of the population in 1991 to 12% in 2021. The share who have 10 or more close friends has also fallen – from 33% to 13%.
Image credits: grandlewis
TIL the average minor spends about 7 hours per week with their father, but about 15 hours a week on video games.
Image credits: AdSnoo9734
TIL At the second Tour de France, the first four finishers were disqualified because they took the train.
Image credits: BenFilippo
TIL that in the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the total number of deaths, including deaths from cancer due to radiation exposure, is 1.
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TIL that in the early 90’s Bart Simpson T shirts were banned at many schools across the country (United States).
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TIL Caligula, the third emperor of Rome, once declared war on the sea itself, commanding his men to collect seashells as proof of victory.
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TIL that the record for longest time without sleep was set in 1963 when 17 year-old Randy Gardner stayed awake on purpose for 11 straight days.
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TIL that an 84-year-old man named Park Byeong-gu has eaten nothing but instant ramen for over 41 years.
Image credits: Gary_the_mememachine
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TIL To “protect the truth,” a woman recorded hundreds of thousands of hours of TV news between 1977 and 2012. Her archives grew to about 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes stacked in her home and apartments she rented to store them. Upon her death, the Internet Archive agreed to digitize the volumes.
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TIL about Brady Feigl and his doppelganger, Brady Feigl. In addition to sharing a name and extreme similarities in appearance, each was a minor league baseball pitcher and had the same elbow surgery performed by the same doctor. A DNA test confirmed no relation.
Image credits: MorsesTheHorse
TIL, The oil from a right whale would operate an average American car for 8 years.
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TIL that famed herpetologist Robert Merten documented his death by twig snake bite in his journal, which took 18 days to prove fatal. He wrote near the end that it was “the only appropriate demise for a herpetologist”.
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TIL of Baseball Hall of Famer Rube Waddell, who, despite his skill, showed various unpredictable behaviours including leaving midgame to go fishing, and was also incredibly easily distracted by shiny objects, puppies (who he would leave the field to play with), and fire trucks, which he would chase.
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TIL onions are toxic to dogs. They can cause hemolytic anemia and result in death. A 45-lb. dog would only have to eat one medium to large onion to experience dangerous toxicity levels.
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TIL about “Terminal Lucidity.” The unexpected return of mental clarity and memory shortly before the death of patients suffering from severe psychiatric and neurologic disorders.
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TIL Zhang Zongchang, a Chinese warlord, had proclaimed that he would return only in a coffin if he was defeated in battle. When his forces were pushed back in a campaign, he was true to his word—he was paraded through the streets, sitting in his coffin and smoking a cigar.
Image credits: hmmmkd
TIL The “shower effect” of having more creative ideas in the shower or doing moderately boring activities is a real thing. Physicists and authors reported 20% of their most creative ideas and solutions to problems came with a wandering mind. Later papers termed this “the shower effect”.
Image credits: Geek_Nan
TIL of the lesbian Blood Sisters, who, starting in San Diego in 1983, gave their own blood and organised blood drives to make up the shortfall after gay men were banned from donating because of the AIDS crisis.
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TIL of aphantasia a condition where people are unable to form mental images in their head. People with aphantasia are also less likely to have an inner monologue.
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TIL the fastest heartbeat ever recorded was 600 beats per minute.
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TIL wheeled luggage was first seen as a niche women’s product until the 1970s. Department stores initially refused selling wheeled luggage for fear it would make men feel “wimpy”.
Image credits: BasementDweller3000
TIL The ~1mm large animal known as Trichoplax can regenerate from just a handfull of cells and if its chopped up, the individual pieces will try to find each other and join back together.
TIL that 70 to 80% of hemophiliacs being treated with blood products prior to 1985 became infected with HIV.
TIL adult diapers outsell baby diapers in Japan.
TIL that an achene is a single-seeded fruit, and that strawberry “seeds” are achenes. Each little strawberry achene is its own tiny fruit, and the entire rest of the strawberry is an accessory fruit. A single strawberry is actually approximately 200 little fruits attached to a big fruit.
TIL that less than 1% of nuns in the US are under 40 and the average sister is 80 years old.
TIL that foods such as: cheese, wine, chocolate, and others are technically illegal in Florida. This is because they contain the trace amine tyramine which is considered a schedule I hallucinogen. This is despite tyramine not actually having any hallucinogenic effects and being widespread in foods.
TIL The largest preserved impact crater in our solar system is on the Dark Side of the Moon. An “anomaly” of heavy metal the size of Hawaii is buried beneath, which apparently alters the Moon’s gravitational field.
TIL Canadian artist Michael Snow sued the Toronto Eaton Centre mall in 1982 after they put Christmas bows on an art installation of flying geese which he had sculptured. This led to a landmark court case, and a leading Canadian decision on artists moral rights. Snow ultimately ended up winning.
TIL In 1971, the Texas legislature unanimously passed a resolution honoring “Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo for his work in “population control.” Representative Tom Moore Jr. introduced the bill to prove that they pass legislation with no due diligence given to researching the issues beforehand.
TIL Bermuda has no natural water source. Each house collects rainwater using white, stepped roofs.
TIL After hurricane Katrina Brad Pitt set up the Make It Right Foundation to build homes for those effected. The project had famous architects but the homes were not designed or constructed for a New Orleans environment. By 2022 only 6 of the 109 houses were deemed to be in “reasonably good shape.”
Image credits: jamescookenotthatone
TIL in the 2003 SpongeBob episode “Mid-Life Crustacean”, Mr. Krabs is invited to join a panty raid with SpongeBob and Patrick. The episode was removed from streaming services in 2018 by Nickelodeon, Paramount+, and Amazon.
Image credits: AnthillOmbudsman
TIL actress Hattie McDaniel, the first ever African-American to win an Oscar, had one final wish when she was dying from cancer: to be buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in LA. Her final wish was ultimately denied, as the cemetery had a strict all-white policy at the time.
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TIL that Frank Prentice a survivor of the Titanic, stated that the scent of the iceberg was detectable before the collision occurred.
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TIL that when it comes to natural disasters, Michigan is the safest state in the US.
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TIL that a Dutch woman was denied Swiss naturalization despite having lived there for 39 years, because her ‘neighbours’ deemed her too annoying and not integrated into Swiss society since she often critized Swiss tradition of hanging large bells on cows’ necks.
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TIL that the social huntsman spiders live in complex family groups up to 150-strong, led by a dominant matriarch. A single mum establishes a family and her offspring from one to four clutches remain with her until they are almost one year old.
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TIL igloos can have an interior temperature of 19-61 degrees Fahrenheit amid exterior temperatures of -45 degrees. And if constricted properly they can withstand the weight if someone standing on top of them.
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TIL that Joe Jackson would hold a belt as the Jackson 5 rehearsed, ready to strike his children if they stepped out of line. Michael Jackson was terrified of his father. “I have thrown up in his presence because when he comes in the room and this aura comes and my stomach starts hurting.”
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TIL That Sri Lanka was connected to India by a walkable land bridge known as ‘Adams Bridge’ until it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1480CE, leaving a chain of limestone shoals behind.
TIL – One of the first wireless TV remotes was developed by Zenith in 1956. A small hammer in the remote would hit one of 4 aluminum bars, generating an ultrasonic sound that was beyond the range of human hearing.
TIL that 8 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were born in the British Isles.
TIL that when Weird Al wrote I Want A New Duck in 1985, he went to the library and researched ducks for a week.
TIL that Shalimar Seiuli, the sex worker who gained infamy when she was seen getting into Eddie Murphy’s car, died after falling five floors after she locked herself out of her apartment and tried to use a towel as a rope to swing down from the roof to an open window.
TIL The US Once Considered a Plan to Detonate a Nuclear Bomb on the Moon.
TIL that blood plasma is America’s 10th largest export surpassing that of trucks.
TIL that there is a genus of bees nicknamed “vulture bees” that are stingless and eat carrion (dead animal meat) instead of pollen. They still produce edible honey and can be found in North and South America.
Today I Learned that “kosher salt” is used for drying meat in a way that makes the meat kosher. It isn’t that the salt is kosher (it is) but that it’s used for koshering meat.
TIL that to get the pear or apple into a bottle of brandy, they place the empty bottles over the budding fruit at the start of the season, and allow it to grow into the bottle all summer.
TIL Americans were forbidden to travel to China until 1979, when President Jimmy Carter made the decision to normalize relations with China.
TIL that although you can buy different grades of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, 70% is actually most effective for disinfecting; the added water helps it to dissolve more slowly, penetrate cells, and kill bacteria.
TIL that no human has beaten a computer in a chess tournament in over 15 years.
TIL most so-Called “Medieval Torture Devices” are fake actually made up by hoaxers, showmen, and con artists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
TIL Bill Watterson used to sneak signed Calvin & Hobbes collections onto the shelves of his hometown bookstore, but stopped doing so when he discovered they were being sold online for high prices.
TIL Brian Patrick Carroll, the guitarist known professionally as “Buckethead”, has recorded over 300 studio albums, four special releases, one EP, and has performed on more than fifty albums by other artists.
TIL In 2000, 10 year old Brazilian Paulo Pavesi was rushed to the hospital after a fall and pronounced dead. Evidence showed the doctors had falsely pronounced him dead to harvest his organs for black market sale. Paulo was still alive when his organs were removed.
TIL that Florida will pay you to hunt snakes: No license or permit required.
TIL that a Kia/Hyundai whistleblower was awarded $24 million USD for reporting the companies’ failure to recall unsafe cars and share accurate recall information with the government.
TIL During the Second Punic War, it’s been suggested that upwards of 300,000 Roman soldiers were killed by Hannibal’s army. At the Battle of Cannae alone, about 20% of Rome’s fighting age men were killed (up to 70k), and by the end of the war, 1 in 6 of Rome’s adult male population was dead.
TIL of Deli Mike, a Turkish Airlines Airbus A340 notable for her temperamental behavior. Known for “pranking” passengers and crew, she would turn lights on and off and refuse to retract the landing gear seemingly at random. One story went that staff fixed a faulty instrument panel by talking to her.
TIL in Nome, Alaska in 1925, a diphtheria epidemic struck and there was no antitoxin left. Land, air, and sea routes were unavailable, so 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs relayed the serum across 674 miles in 5 1/2 days, in subzero temperatures, near-blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds.
TIL In 1942, German submarines sunk a British passenger ship. They surfaced to collect survivors, announced their presence to the allies and sailed under a Red Cross flag. The U-Boats were attacked by allied planes, forcing the submarine to throw all the survivors back into the sea and crash dive.
TIL That China had a very significant role in helping the US defeat Japan in WWII, and that China suffered over eight million casualties.
TIL Hirsoshima, Japan is one of the few places outside of the US that celebrates Martin Luther King Jr day, due to his outspoken views on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.
TIL that Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster M45, or “The Seven Sisters”, one of which is invisible according to Japanese tradition, hence Subaru logo only has six stars.
TIL that Laos is the most heavily bombed nation in history.
TIL that after Sam Cooke sang “A Change is Gonna Come” on The Tonight Show (Feb 7, 1964), the network lost the only recording of the performance. Cooke elected never to perform it again in his lifetime (he was murdered in Dec of ’64), due to the song’s complexity and ominous nature.
TIL Hans Gruber, the villain of Die Hard who appears on numerous “greatest movie villains of all time” lists (AFI, Empire, etc.), was theater actor Alan Rickman’s first film role.
TIL Creedence Clearwater Revival was only active for four years (1968-1972), with seven studio albums. They still hold the record for most singles (nine) to reach the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 without ever scoring a #1.
TIL there is clear evidence that one of the largest volanic eruptions in human history took place in the mid-15th century, but scientists still have no idea where it happened.
TIL during WWII, Rolex allowed allied PoWs to order watches with the company taking each man’s word as his bond and duly sending the watch. This boosted morale in taking payment on account implied confidence the Allies would win the war.
TIL that an F-117 Nighthawk crashed in Sequoia National Forest in 1986, two years before the plane was publicly announced. The US Air Force established a permitter around the crash site and secretly replaced the wreckage with a wrecked F-101A that had been stored in Area 51 for this purpose.
TIL A US Navy red cell kidnapped a civilian security officer as an exercise and proceeded to torture and beat him in a hotel room. The officer’s wife nearly shot the members of the red cell, but the officer told her it was an exercise rather than a real kidnapping.
TIL Redbull declared a man’s plan to cross the Atlantic in 1m boat ‘inspirational, but mad’ and declined to sponsor him.