For all the one-uppers, know-it-alls and “but-did-you-know-ers,” this list is for you. Save it, share it, print it off and bring it to trivia night or that awkward family reunion. Because you never know when knowing how many calories are in a postage stamp could come in handy.
- Space smells like a combination of diesel fuel and barbecue, according to astronauts. The smell is caused by dying stars.
- Rapunzel, Rapunzel! A single strand of hair can hold up to 3 ounces of weight. That means the typical person’s full head of hair can support up to 12 tons.
- Cornell University scientists have created a functioning guitar the size of a human blood cell.
- Many oranges are green when they’re ripe. Scientists remove their chlorophyll to make them more appealing to North American consumers.
- The average person walks the equivalent of 5 laps around the world during their lifetime.
- The chills you get when listening to music are caused by your brain releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes pleasure.
- Women constitute 70 percent of Iranian university science and engineering students
- A British research study found that watching a horror film prior to viewing abstract art enhances the enjoyment of the art for most people.
- In 2005, an Australian research institute published a study on the loss of teaspoons in the workplace.
- The average bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 100,000 pieces of bread.
- The scientific name for brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
- Researchers from Heidelberg University Hospital have determined it takes 6 minutes for alcohol to impact human brain cells.
- In 1992, 29,000 rubber ducks were lost at sea, and they are still being discovered in unexpected places.
- Globally, only 2 percent of the population has green eyes.
- Great Britain briefly had a Cones Hotline in the early 1990s. It was a special number citizens could call if they saw traffic cones on the road for no reason. It was disbanded after three years because almost no one ever called it.
- A New Jersey man flunked out of law school and subsequently sued the school for having accepted him in the first place.
- Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, owns an island off the coast of Connecticut called North Dumpling Island. The island has its own constitution, flag, currency and even navy (though the navy is made up of just one boat). It also has a replica of Stonehenge. Kamen refers to himself as Lord Dumpling, though the island is not technically recognized as separate from the U.S.
- The Waldorf Astoria hotel once had its own private railroad track at Grand Central so that its guests could clandestinely enter and exit New York City. Largely abandoned now, it operates only when the president is in town, in case the need arises for an emergency exit.
- New York City’s oldest house is a cottage in Queens near LaGuardia Airport. It was built in 1654 by the Rikers family (the same family that gave Rikers Island its name) and even has a family cemetery in the backyard.
- The top speed of the first American car race in 1895 for 7 mph.
- The first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Ralph Bunche, who won in 1950 for his meditation work in Israel. He was also involved in the formation of the United Nations.
- Barbed wire was invented in 1845 and was largely responsible for putting cowboys out of business since it provided cheap and easy fencing.
- The first U.S. town to be completely lit by electric streetlights was Wabash, Indiana, in 1880. It had a population of 320 at the time.
- Ocean liner stewardess Violet Jessop was on board during the three largest ship sinkings in history: the Titanic, the Britannic, and the Olympic.
- The first written instance of “OMG” that we know of was in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917.
Art & Literature
- Charles Dickens had bookbinders print up a number of fake books for his library. Titles included Drowsy’s Recollections of Nothing (3 volumes), Hansard’s Guide to Refreshing Sleep (as many volumes as possible), and Bowwowdom: A Poem.
- There’s music made especially for cats. Apparently cats develop their musical taste soon after they’re born, so cat music includes not only traditional (human-made) instruments, but also feeding noises, bird chirps and purring noises.
- The designer of the Eiffel Tower built an apartment in the tower itself. Though he didn’t live there, he did use it to entertain distinguished guests and scientists.
- Pablo Picasso carried a revolver loaded with blanks, which he would fire at whoever asked him what his work “meant.”
- In 2011, a woman paid $10,000 for a “non-visible” work of art from actor James Franco’s Museum of Non-Visible Art.
- Ernest Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby does not contain the letter “e.”
- There are over 1,000 adaptations of Shakespeare’s works.
- Toni Morrison was the first African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize. It was in recognition of her contributions to literature and poetry.
- British artist Willard Wigan creates micro sculptures so small, you need a microscope to see them. His work often sits in the eye of a sewing needle or on the head of a pin. He got his start at 5 years old making a house for ants because he thought they needed a place to live.
- Artist Ivan Albright was so meticulous, he often worked with a single-haired brush and would spend whole days working on 1 square inch of canvas.
- The only word that rhymes with “purple” is “hirple,” which means “to limp awkwardly.” Nothing rhymes with “woman.”
- In 2012, the Smithsonian officially recognized video games as an art form and had an exhibit to “comprehensively examine the evolution of video games as an artistic medium.”
- Bananas are more effective in replenishing electrolytes than Gatorade. They also have serotonin and dopamine—chemicals that help you feel happy.
- An 8-week meditation course will cause the amygdala, associated with fear and other emotions, to shrink while the prefrontal cortex, associated with awareness, concentration and decision-making, will thicken.
- Phobophobia is the fear of having a phobia. Symptoms include dizziness, excessive sweating, increased heart rate, and faintness.
- Every time you lick a USPS stamp, you ingest about 10 percent of a calorie. British stamps, however, contain about 5.9 calories. Israeli stamps are kosher.
- Honey is a better cough suppressant than over-the-counter cough suppressants.
- Simply taking 1 step uses over 200 muscles in the body.
- Laughing boosts the immune system, burns calories and reduces stress hormones, making it a very healthy activity.
- Green tea contains catechins, which have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and curb appetite.
- Sarcasm makes you more creative.
- American 18- to 34-year-olds spend 25.7 hours on Facebook, 7 hours on Instagram, 5.9 hours on Snapchat, 5.7 hours on Tumblr and 3.5 hours on Twitter each month.
- People are more likely to agree with a statement written in Baskerville than any other font.
- Scientists found that the most relaxing song ever is “Weightless” by the Marconi Union—it reduced anxiety by 65 percent in the average test subject.
- The average person will spend a total of 3,680 hours, or 153 days searching for misplaced items. Keys, cellphones, sunglasses and paperwork top the list of commonly lost items.
- Google processed 11.382 billion searches in September 2015.
- 56 percent of internet users have googled themselves.
- Parents have started naming their children after Instagram filters. The most popular filter name was Lux, but there were even a few Kelvins.
- Talking to yourself makes your brain work more efficiently.
- At age 23, Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, is the world’s youngest billionaire.
- 3 out of 4 Americans use an emoji in text messaging every single day.
- Blowing into Nintendo cartridges didn’t actually make them work. In fact, the moisture in the breath corroded the metal prongs that connected the game cartridge to the console.
- The world’s oldest socks were in fact designed to be worn with sandals. Made in Egypt sometime in the fourth or fifth century, the wool socks have two toes.
- Bob Marley gave credit for “No Woman, No Cry” to Vincent Ford, a friend who ran a soup kitchen, to ensure the royalty checks would keep it open.
- In 1939, The New York Times predicted that the television would fail because the average American family would not have enough time to sit around watching it.
- The American Film Institute cited “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from 1939’s Gone With the Wind the best movie quote of all time.
- Contrary to its portrayal in Jurassic Park, the Tyrannosaurus rex probably didn’t roar. Instead, scientists believe it either hissed or rattled, like a rattlesnake.
- During the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, showrunner Will Smith memorized the lines of everyone in the cast. If you re-watch, you can sometimes catch him lip-syncing other characters’ lines.
- In the Vietnam protest rally scene in Forrest Gump where Tom Hank’s mic is cut, what he actually says is “Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don’t go home at all. That’s a bad thing. That’s all I have to say about that.”
- When Queen Elizabeth visited the set of Game of Thrones, she refused to sit on the iron throne because she is not allowed to sit on foreign thrones.
Food, animals, objects & more
- One serving of kale has 1180 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K. Vitamin K is named after the German word koagulation, which means “blood clotting.” Because it plays an important role in the regulation of blood clots.
- The microwave was invented by accident when engineer Percy Spencer walked by a radar set and the candy bar in his pocket melted. The first food cooked by a microwave on purpose was popcorn.
- Due to a genetic defect, cats can’t taste sweet things.
- A Peruvian bulldog named Otto holds the world record for skateboarding through the longest human tunnel.
- Nestlé has sold over 200 flavors of Kit Kat bars in Japan, including soy sauce, crème brûlée, green tea and banana.
- The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in the mid-1930s. She owned the Toll House Inn, a popular restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. Wakefield claims to have invented the chocolate chip cooking while riffing on a classic butterscotch nut cookie recipe. To this day, every bag of Nestlé chocolate chips sold in North America has her original recipe on it.
- The McDonald’s in Sedona, Arizona, is the only one in the world with turquoise arches instead of golden ones. The turquoise coloration was thought to be a better fit for the reddish desert surroundings.
- A single elephant tooth can weigh up to 9 lbs.
- Cats are capable of mind control, but not in an evil scientist sort of way. Research has found that cats can change the pitch of their meows to sound more like crying babies and manipulate us into giving them food, attention, and so on.
- A Frosted Flake in the shape of Illinois sold on eBay for $1,350.
- Until 1964, chicken wings were considered a waste product and discarded. Teresa Bellissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, had the idea to fry the wings and dip them in her husband Frank’s sauce recipe, thus inventing buffalo wings.
- In the 19th century, it was considered cruel and unusual punishment to serve lobster to prisoners, as lobsters were basically the 1800s equivalent of rats.
- According to the Centre for Retail Research, cheese is the most commonly shoplifted food in the world.
- The reason peppers taste so hot is because they contain a chemical compound call capsaicin, which “tricks” sensory nerves into thinking they’re being burned by fire.
Source: Cats are Capable of Mind Control