“Today I Learned”: 80 Interesting Things About The World That People Didn’t Know Until Recently (New Pics)

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what about pandas? We believe that, regardless of your age, you can always learn something new. Just ask the members of Reddit’s ‘Today I Learned’ community! This group, which has an impressive 31 million members, is a wealth of information that’s constantly changing and updating, so below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite recent posts from TIL. 

Keep reading to also find an interview with Alison Winfield-Chislett, founder and director of The Goodlife Centre in the UK, and be sure to share the tidbits of information you find most fascinating with your friends. I’m sure they’d like to learn more about why dishwashers were invented and why there are hundreds of raccoons wreaking havoc in Japan!

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TIL about Don Ritchie, an Australian who intervened and prevented at least 180 suicide attempts at a notable suicide destination called The Gap. He lived nearby and would approach and ask “Can I help you in some way?”


TIL of Movile Cave, which has been completely sealed off from the outside world for 5.5 million years and evolved dozens of animal species found nowhere else, sustained only by toxic chemicals in the air and water, not photosynthesis.

Image credits: Cherimoose

To learn more about why it’s important to be a lifelong learner, we reached out to Alison Winfield-Chislett, founder and director of The Goodlife Centre in the UK, and she was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda. The Goodlife Centre is an independent learning space in London that offers practical boutique workshops in DIY, Home Maintenance, Decorating, Upholstery, Woodwork & Carpentry, Furniture Upcycling & Restoration and various traditional hand Crafts. It’s the perfect place to go to learn something new, which Alison says is important to “help us feel vital and part of life. We can continue to grow until the day we die.”


TIL of castaway huts (or depots) which are deliberately placed on isolated islands by governments. They contain supplies and tools which can help people who become stranded there. Most were built by the New Zealand government in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Image credits: bermuda__


TIL in 1952, Jimmy Carter led a team of nuclear scientists in disassembling a Canadian nuclear reactor undergoing meltdown. To accomplish this, Carter, alongside other American military personnel, personally lowered himself into the reactor to disassemble it by hand.

Image credits: JJKingwolf

When it comes to the benefits of learning something new, Alison says, “As we get older we can challenge any belief system that has held us back. ‘I don’t know how to…’ becomes ‘I’m learning how to…’”

Alison also shared with Bored Panda that there’s no end to what she’s curious about. “I love all materials and processes. The practical methods of making your world personalised leads on forever. There’s always a way to improve what you make.”


TIL by passing a law requiring pharmacies to be owned by a licensed pharmacist, North Dakota has essentially done away with corporate chain pharmacies. Corporations that own pharmacies must be majority owned by licensed pharmacists.

Image credits: Cjustinstockton


TIL the ancient Nazca got water in the middle of the desert through an engineered series of 46 aqueducts running 12 m underground. They were built around 200-500 AD, and 32 of them are still used by local farmers today.

Alison also noted that we can find inspiration for learning anywhere. “I asked myself ‘Why is it called that?’ A little tool known as a ‘Gent’s saw’ led me to learn about the 19th century craft revolution when ‘gentlemen’ tried using their hands like ‘artisans’.”

“When we are using our hands to make something, we connect with a part of ourselves that feels like we are home,” she added. “There’s no place like it.”

If you’d like to learn a new skill, particular one that involves working with your hands, be sure to check out The Goodlife Centre’s website right here.


TIL Japan has become infested with North American raccoons after an anime based on the book Rascal aired in 1977 and caused thousands of raccoons to be imported as pets only to be released into the wild.

Image credits: Unleashtheducks

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TIL about Josephine Cochrane, who invented the dishwasher because she was fed up of China breaking whilst being hand washed.

Image credits: blaikes


TIL Roman concrete structures such as the Pantheon and aqueducts are ultra durable because of lime clasts. While many modern concrete structures crumble after a few decades, Roman concrete has self-healing functionality from lime clasts which allow their structures to survive millennia.

Image credits: The_Ry_Ry


TIL that Nikola Tesla once worked for Thomas Edison but left due to a disagreement over payment for his work on improving Edison’s DC power systems. Tesla went on to develop AC power systems, which became the basis for modern electrical grids.

Image credits: Yolo0o


TIL in 1993 Mattel’s Barbie division accidentally released a Gay Ken doll. Despite being quickly recalled, it remains the best selling Ken doll of all time.

Image credits: Ike_Arumba


TIL One of the largest charitable donations made by a lottery winner came from a man in Canada. Two years after his wife died from cancer, Tom Crist won the lotto and donated everything to organizations fighting the disease. Canada doesn’t tax winnings, so Crist donated $40 million.


TIL that mature bull elephants play a pivotal role in elephant society. The absence of mature bulls creates juvenile delinquency in younger bulls, who will soon enter musth. When mature bulls were introduced into areas with a high concentration of delinquents, they soon put a stop to this behavior.

Image credits: TheGuyNoOneSees


TIL that we start forgetting early childhood memories at around age 7.

Image credits: Lupercali


TIL as a research student, Lawrence Bragg figured out how to use X-ray to study the atomic structure. His breakthrough discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics at age 25.

Image credits: romeofantasy


TIL A repairman wanted to get out of work early and intentionally started a fire, causing $700,000,000 in damages to the USS Miami submarine.

Image credits: ElJamoquio


TIL of Dr. Jochem Hoyer, a German transplantation surgeon who argued in favour of altruistic organ donations. After a colleague criticized him for praising “living donors as long as it is NOT you who has to donate” Hoyer donated a kidney to an unknown stranger to make a quote “very strong statement”.


TIL the crews of Apollo 11, 12, and 14 had to spend 3 weeks in quarantine after returning to Earth because of the possibility that they might spread contagions from the moon.

Image credits: BlueHarvestJ


TIL the Japanese turned the third of their superbattleships (after Yamato and Musashi) into the largest aircraft carrier ever built at the time. After four years of construction and enormous cost, she left the shipyard and was immediately sunk by a submarine.

Image credits: AirborneRodent


TIL that King Alfonso XIII of Spain,was known as “the Playboy king”and considered the pioneer of pornographic cinema in Spain.He commissioned pornographic films considered immoral and degenerate, including sexual relationships involving Catholic priests, and his passion “women with enormous breasts”.

Image credits: thirdwheelforever


TIL that South Korea’s CIA recruited a suicide squad to kill North Korea’s dictator, Kim Il Sung. The squad mutinied, killed their commanders, hijacked a bus to Seoul, and were blown up by their own military. The survivors were then executed.

Image credits: friarcat


TIL in 1974 the band Ace had their only hit, How Long (has this been going on). The song is not about a cheating girlfriend – it’s about the band’s bass player, who was moonlighting with another band.

Image credits: edfitz83


TIL the Myers-Briggs has no scientific basis whatsoever.

Image credits: ThreadbareAdjustment


TIL Napolean, who was famous for being short, was actually 5 foot 6 (1.686 meters).


TIL Sperm whales use babysitters. Sperm whale youths cannot dive as deep as their mothers so when the mother needs to forage in the deep the youth is kept safe by swimming with other adult whales.

Image credits: jamescookenotthatone


TIL the famous Hollywood sign was in a state of disrepair and ultimately torn down for three months in 1978. Playboy’s Hugh Hefner helped rebuild it via a $250K fundraising campaign. He then donated $900K to save it again in 2010.

Image credits: Miamime


TIL Coca-Cola’s Simply Orange Juice is made by an algorithm known as the Black Book. Oranges are divided by source, type, sweetness, acidity, etc. flash pasteurised and then combined with flavour packages according to the black book algorithm to have a consistent taste countrywide and year round.


TIL that scientists created a 60 year long experiment in Siberia, selectively breeding wild foxes who showed friendly traits. 40 generations later they were as friendly as dogs!


TIL actor James Marsters took the role of Zamasu in the Dragon Ball Super anime for zero pay, as he felt he had to redeem himself to fans after appearing as Piccolo in the infamous critical disaster Dragonball Evolution (2009).


TIL Crypto.com mistakenly sent a customer $10.5 million instead of an $100 refund by typing the account number as the refund amount. It took Crypto.com 7 months to notice the mistake, they are now suing the customer.

Image credits: must_go


TIL Robin Williams improv was so good in FernGully the director tripled his character’s screen time for the final cut.


TIL A slave couple escaped to the North in 1848 by disguising her, a light-skinned black woman, as his owner, and him, darker-skinned, as her valet. She was illiterate at the time, so they put her arm in a sling against signatures and pretended she was sick. An acquaintance nearly recognized them.


TIL about Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, a medicine used in the early 1900s to quiet infants and teething children. Popular in the US and UK it took twenty years of doctors’ complaints before it was withdrawn from the market for being a “baby killer.” The main ingredient was morphine.


TIL beneath the Puerto Rico Trench is a mass so dense it has a gravitational pull on the surface of the ocean, causing it to dip somewhat. The Trench is also associated with the most negative gravity anomaly on earth, -380 milliGal, which indicates the presence of an active downward force.


TIL Japan has used history textbook that contained references to the Nanjing Massacre, anti-Japanese resistance movements in Korea, forced suicide in Okinawa, comfort women, and Unit 731 since the mid 1990s.


TIL that the actor who played Darth Vader, David Prowse, was banned from attending official Star Wars events because he leaked too many plot details.


TIL Charles Dickens had a talking pet raven named Grip, who terrorized his dog, buried valuables in the yard, and died eating “a pound or two” of lead paint. As a character in one of his novels, Grip is believed to have inspired Poe’s famous poem, and is on display in a Philadelphia public library.


TIL That in case of emergency in a railroad crossing, instead of dialing 911, we should first look out for a blue and white sign that has a phone number that will get you in touch with the railroad dispatcher, who can radio the engineers of nearby trains to immediately stop short of that crossing.


TIL that in 2014, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without using a shark cage. She endured a 104-mile swim through jellyfish and shark-infested waters, taking approximately 53 hours. Amazingly, she was 64 years old when she made this swim.


TIL An estimated 50.000 Irish were made into indentured servants by Cromwell after he took Ireland in 1653.


TIL that the Fahrenheit scale was standardized 18 years before Celsius. The world switch due to the British Empire. The United States is actually using the earlier standard.

Image credits: nyg3n


TIL that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, disliked the Kennedys. Mamie did not inform Jacqueline of a wheelchair available for her during a White House tour. Kennedy remained composed during the tour but collapsed once home. When questioned, Eisenhower’s reply was simply, “Because she never asked.”

Image credits: TheDictator26


TIL the word dumpster wasn’t added to the Scrabble dictionary until 2022 due to it being a trademark before.


TIL in 2001, Disneyland tried to re-theme their aging “Submarine Voyage” attraction around Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but the movie flopped. They tried again with Treasure Planet, but that was a flop too. They finally succeeded with Finding Nemo in 2005.


TIL just like in the Tarantino film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, Sharon Tate really did have a habit of going barefoot in Los Angeles. When she went to restaurants with a “No Shoes, No Service” rule, she would frequently put rubber bands around her ankles to pretend that she was wearing sandals.

Image credits: waitingforthesun92


TIL the ending of “The Bourne Supremacy” was reshot just two weeks before its release. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon came up with a new idea that would cost $200,000 and involve pulling Damon from the set of Ocean’s 12. The movie tested 10 points higher with the new ending and made $176m.


TIL that shining lasers at aircraft is a criminal offense and can impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.


TIL that bed bugs have no courtship rituals. What they have, instead, is a type of mating behavior called traumatic insemination. That is, a male will simply climb onto a female, stab her in the side of her body with his hypodermic penis, and release his sperm into her body cavity.

Image credits: nomoniker


TIL that bioluminescence in fireflies is nearly 100 percent efficient, meaning little energy is wasted to produce their light.


TIL it is dangerous to blow air into a pregnant women’s vagina. The increased air pressure can pass beneath the fetal membranes and into the circulation causing a venous air embolism that can kill within minutes.

Image credits: reddit4485


TIL In his book The Descent Of Man, Charles Darwin wondered whether human language abilities had started with singing. By studying fossils of hyoid bone in the throat, humans would have had the ability to sing over 530,000 years ago.


TIL 70% of people in the world do not use toilet paper.

Image credits: mimino99


TIL The prototype of the Rolls Royce Ghost was so quiet inside that it made test drivers sick. The engineers had to remove some of the noise-isolating material, and create seats that vibrated at specific frequencies to introduce some noise into the interior.


TIL that a man blew a hole in his colon by attempting to treat severe constipation with a toilet plunger.


TIL In 1953, Swanson had 260 tons of frozen turkey leftover after Thanksgiving, so they packaged them into trays with peas and potatoes, and the TV Dinner was born.


TIL of the 1991 Downing Street mortar attack, in which IRA members launched three mortars at No. 10 Downing Street during a cabinet meeting, attempting to kill John Major. One hit the lawn 30 yards away, and it is believed that if this mortar had hit the building the entire cabinet would have died.


TIL Mikio Okuda , a farmer in Japan, carefully grows a type of strawberry, Bijin-Hime, and sells just one for $500.


TIL Dr. Sigmund Freud was addicted to smoking and failed to quit for good throughout a 45 years long battle that included 33 operations for cancer of the jaw, an artificial jaw replacement, and attacks of “tobacco angina” exacerbated by nicotine . He was known to smoke up to twenty cigars a day.


TIL that in WW2, a Marine Corps Corsair pilot used his propeller to chew off the tail of an enemy aircraft after his guns jammed, while under fire from the enemy plane’s tailgunner. The enemy plane crashed but the Corsair pilot made it back to base, receiving the Navy Cross for his actions.


TIL Feral cats on Guadalupe Island have been observed stealing milk from Elephant seals. The cats sneak up on a nursing pup and and bat at them until the pup retreats, atwhich point the cat licks up the milk from the mother’s teat. Some cats have been chased off by elephant seals.


TIL President Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon named Rebecca. He got it as a gift in place of a turkey for Thanksgiving and Coolidge had no interest in eating it so he kept Rebecca as a pet and had a “White House Raccoon” tag made for her.


TIL if you’re unmarried when you turn 25 in Denmark, it is customary for your friends and family to cover you in cinnamon.


TIL that the only sound recordings in existence of someone born in the 18th century speaking, are of Helmuth Von Moltke the German field commander.


TIL a priceless Roman marble bust was sold at a Texas Goodwill for $35.


TIL Impressed with his energy and ability to do the splits, the owner of the Oakland A’s hired an 11-year old named Stanley Burrell as a batboy and personal play-by-play announcer. A’s player Reggie Jackson gave the kid a nickname, Hammer, who would later become MC Hammer.


TIL there is an official IRS guide for: What to Do When the Taxpayer Threatens Suicide.


TIL that in medieval Japan, monks attempting to gain Nirvana would put themselves through 3000 days of eating nothing but tree byproducts, followed by drinking a tea that contains poison ivy, and eventually being buried while posing in a meditative state.


TIL that when Buddy Holly died 6 months after being married, his widow inherited everything but signed 50% over to his family.

Image credits: Serialkillingyou


TIL “Cute aggression” or the urge to squeeze cute animals or babies is the brain’s coping mechanism to temper the onslaught of positive feelings. Because if you find yourself incapacitated by how cute a baby is—so much so that you simply can’t take care of it—that baby is going to starve.


TIL in 2004, Linda Ronstadt was booted and banned from the Aladdin hotel for dedicating a song to Michael Moore in support of his documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Along with this, bedlam began and Ronstadt was immediately booted, not allowed to return to her suite.


TIL Douglas MacArthur wanted to use atomic bombs to contain China and ultimately win the Korean War.


TIL that Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry has bred nearly 8,000 chicks annually (around 20 a day) as part of a Chicken Hatchery exhibit since 1956. The chicks are kept on exhibit for Museum Visitors to view for a week. After that, most are fed to animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Image credits: AspireAgain


TIL John Wilkes Booth father, Junius Brutus Booth, wrote many letters in fits of drunken anger and madness to President Andrew Jackson threatening assassination.


TIL Studies show that the risk of dying from an injury is far less in the city than in the country.


TIL that Roman gladiators were overweight (NOT muscle-bound) and ate mostly vegetarian diets.


TIL on 1991, when he surrended, Pablo Escobar was allowed to build his own prison. Called “La Catedral”, it was built like a fortress, had a football pitch, giant doll house, bar, jacuzzi and waterfall. The guards were chosen by Escobar.


TIL in 1990 Marge Simpson wrote a letter to First Lady Barbara Bush after Barbara said The Simpsons was ‘the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen’.


TIL that several people have been caught cheating on game shows throughout history. One of the most notable cases involved Charles Ingram, who cheated his way to winning the jackpot on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” by having an accomplice cough to indicate the correct answer.


TIL the ‘Puckle Gun’, considered to be one of the first machine guns (1718), had a specialized square shaped bullet to be used against Turks as a means to “convince the Turks of the benefits of Christian civilization”.


TIL the Girl Scouts sell 200 million boxes each year, surpassing sales of Oreos, not to mention sales of all Chips Ahoy and Milano cookies combined.
Source: boredpanda.com

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