Life is random. Keep up with life and bite into this mixed salad of 42 randomly fun facts about anything and everything.
42. Double, Double
As if begging sports pundits the world over to make “doubles” puns, tennis champion Roger Federer is a father of two sets of identical twins. His girls were born in 2009, and his boys were born in 2014. His older sister, Diana, also happens to be the mother of twins. Runs in the family!
41. Not Suitable for Anywhere
South Korea has a legal ban on pornography, which makes the Asian nation one of the few developed countries to actively block the material on its servers, though citizens have of course come up with some creative ways to get around the laws.
40. Not Your Ordinary Piece of Paper
The “dough” in your wallet is neither dough, nor it is it regular paper. Most paper products that we encounter (books, cereal boxes, receipts, etc.) are made from wood pulp. In contrast, the United States currency is made of 75% cotton and 25% linen. Take that every sarcastic kid responding glibly to the line “money doesn’t grow on trees.” It doesn’t!
39. Make It Pink? The Truth Is Grosser
Contrary to urban myth, hippos do not produce pink milk. Hippos do, however, secrete a rosy oil frequently referred to as “blood sweat.” Since they have no sweat glands, they excrete a colorless moisture from their mucus glands that turns an orange-red in the sun.
38. He’s Not A Sore Loser
When the 1889 inauguration of US President Benjamin Harrison took place on a rainy day, the man he defeated, the incumbent President Grover Cleveland, held an umbrella over Harrison’s head as he took the oath of office.
37. They Really Went to the Etymologist for That One
Baloo, the lazy bear from The Jungle Book, is literally a breed called the sloth bear.
36. It’s Play Time
The Lego toy line gets its name from the Danish phrase “leg godt” for “play well.”
35. Not the Moonwalk but Getting Close!
Alexi Leonov was the first man to walk in space. In 1965, the 30-year-old Russian astronaut floated for 12 minutes outside the Voskhod 2 spacecraft while connected to a 17-foot tether.
34. What’s Your Number?
Dunbar’s Number refers to the theory that humans can only maintain stable relationships with a 150 people at a given time. Dunbar informally describes this cognitive limit as “the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.”
33. Water Weight
According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the ideal watermelon is 92% water, which is why they are so heavy.
32. Happy Being Single
Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons. They are very unique in orbit and size: any moon too far away would get pulled out of orbit and into the Sun, while any moon too close would be destroyed by the tidal gravitational pull. It’s a tough balancing act, which is why these two planets go stag.
31. Putting the “Cray” in Crayola
Edwin Binney and his wife Alice Steady Binney developed their soon-to-be iconic Crayola brand of crayon together, but it was Alice who conceived the name. Crayola is portmanteau, combining the French word for chalk, “craie,” against the first part of “oleaginous,” which means oily. And really, what is a crayon but oily chalk?
30. Hunt You Down
The huntsman spider is breed of arachnid that doesn’t build webs. Instead, these large spiders hunt and forage for their meals. They eat insects and other invertebrates, sometimes even treating themselves to the occasional small skink or gecko. Although they prefer the crevices of tree bark, the huntsman spiders might also wander into your home or vehicle, just so you have trouble sleeping I suppose.
29. The Red Viking Provides Green Real Estate
Why is it called Greenland if there’s barely any green land? It all starts with manslaughter. In the Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red was a Norwegian Viking, exiled for killing a man. Erik, his family, and his thralls set sail for a new home, and they chose a habitable area on the icy shore of Greenland to make their own. Erik dubbed it “Grœnland” in hopes that a pleasant rebranding would attract more settlers.
28. Shemp Me
Not to be mistaken for a stunt double, a “shemp” is someone who stands in for an actor onscreen, whether disguised by make-up, CGI, or dubbing. The name derives from the actor Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges, whose death partway through filming a movie in 1955 meant that the production needed to get… creative in order to complete his scenes.
27. Flag Fun for All
Francis Bellamy wrote the US Pledge of Allegiance with the hope it that it would be used by citizens in any country. The part about “the Flag of the United States of America” was added a year after the fact.
26. Think of the Tiny Snooze Buttons!?
The sleepiest animal on earth is the koala, who clocks in 22 hours of beauty rest a day. Second sleepiest? The sloth, at 20 hours a day, followed by a tie between the armadillo and the opossum (19 hours), the lemur (16 hours) and then the hamster and the squirrel (tied again at 14 hours a day).
25. Read, Set, Standard Time!
In 1884, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was adopted as the international time standard at the Washington Meridian Conference in the USA, despite the fact that Greenwich is a city in England thousands of miles away.
24. Cosmopolitan Dentata
Contrary to popular myth, George Washington did not have wooden teeth. His dentures were more diverse and made from a combination of purchased human teeth, animal teeth, and ivory.
23. Play to Get Paid!
The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first all-professional baseball team, with 10 salaried players on their roster in 1869, though the Cincinnati Reds that play today weren’t founded until 1882. The original Red Stockings played 57 games against association clubs, and won all 57.
22. Harry Potter and the Magical Free Market
In the world of Harry Potter, the most valued form of currency is the Galleon (ʛ). This gold coin is equal to 17 Sickles or 493 Knuts. In more useful terms, 1 Galleon was worth about £4.97 GBP, or $10.17 USD when Harry Potter was being published throughout the late 20th century.
21. Ladies First and Foremost
The iconic Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903. To date, Curie remains the only woman to hold multiple Nobel Prizes, having also won in 1911 for her work in chemistry.
20. Plain, or Just Plain Awesome?
Vanilla gets a bad rap as a “plain” extract, to the point where we use it describe the standard, boring variety of non-edible things (eg. “vanilla” sex). This extract comes from the beautiful orchids of the Vanilla genus, which are grown all the world but originate from Mesoamerica, including modern Mexico and Guatemala. With different breeds of vanilla—from “Bourbon” to Mexican vanilla—this universal ingredient refuses to be underestimated.
19. Bee Movie Wasn’t That Far Off
We’ve all heard how bees die after they sting you. However, this depends on the bee. For example, the Yellowjacket is notoriously aggressive. They sting, they bite, and since they do not lose that stinger, the Yellowjacket can actually sting you multiple times.
18. The Sound of Seashell Resonance
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re not hearing the ocean when you hold a conch shell to your ear—that rushing noise is simply the sound of your adjacent environment, resonating against the contours of your beach souvenir.
17. Gill Bill
Contrary to popular belief, fish don’t breathe water; they need oxygen just like the rest of us. To breathe, fish take in water through their mouths and force it past their gills—feathery organs near a fish’s throat filled with blood vessels. The gills extract dissolved oxygen from the water and transfer it to the fish’s blood.
16. This Body Temp is Juuust Right
It seems like an arbitrary number, but 98.6° Fahrenheit (37°C) is the healthy human body temperature for a reason: it’s warm enough to thwart off fungal infection, but it’s also cool enough so we aren’t eating 24/7 just to maintain our metabolism. 98.6° is truly the best of both worlds.
15. Tupac’s Money Never Dies
In 2010, the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s estate earned approximately $3.5 million some 14 years after his death. To date, Shakur has sold more than 75 million records, with most of those sales being made posthumously.
14. The Goal Maker & Breaker
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, is the most successful goal-scorer in the the history of football (or soccer, depending on where you’re standing), with 541 recorded league goals and a total of 1281 goals over 1363 games overall.
13. The Immortal Angel
In 2017, Adriana Lima was named “The Most Valuable Victoria’s Secret Angel” by the company. The Brazilian supermodel is the longest-serving face for Victoria’s Secret, having been with the underwear brand since 1999.
12. That’s a Lot of Paper
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is the largest library in the world. It has more than 164 million entries, and nearly 900 miles of shelves. Established in 1800, it has had only 14 librarians in its entire history, with the latest, Dr. Carla Hayden, taking her post in 2016.
11. Age Matters
Age milestones aren’t just for drinking and voting anymore. To be President or Vice President of the United States, you must be at least 35 years old. To be a US senator, you need to be at least 30. But don’t be too impatient for public office: Representatives only have to be 25.
10. An “S” So Silent, It Doesn’t Exist
So, what does the “S” in Ulysses S. Grant stand for? First of all, the American Civil War general was born “Hiram Ulysses Grant.” When Grant entered the US Military Academy in 1839, the congressman who appointed him mistook the young man’s middle name (Ulysses) for his first name, and his mother’s maiden name (Simpson) for his middle name. Thus, “Hiram” was reborn as “Ulysses S. Grant,” and just never bothered to correct anyone (think of Jerry from Parks and Recreation). For the rest of his life, however, Grant did truthfully maintain that the “S” stood for nothing.
9. Puck Luck
The NHL and AHL freeze their pucks before every game. The reason? Pucks are smoother, faster and bounce less when frozen, thanks to the properties of vulcanized rubber.
8. Master the Nap
For the sake of your productivity, less is more: According to scientists, the ideal nap is between 15 and 30 minutes long. Any slumber longer than 30 minutes, and you’ll put your body into a delta, or deep sleep. Delta sleep is hard to wake from and can leave you feeling groggy.
7. Small Muscle, Big Impact
The strongest muscle in your body has been right under your nose… or rather inside your cheek at the back of jaw. The “masseter” muscle is your body’s mightiest weapon, which opens and closes your jaw as you chew. More specifically, your masseter can clamp your teeth with the force of 55 pounds (25 kilograms) on the incisors, or 200 pounds (91 kilograms) on the molars.
6. A House Without a Name
President Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its current official name in 1901. Before, the White House was known interchangeably as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House” or “The Executive Mansion.”
5. A Super Sticky Accident
Many famous inventions were accidents, but Super Glue has the special distinction of being accidentally invented twice. The first fortunate “whoopsie-daisy” was by Dr. Harry Coover in 1942. Coover originally sought to make a clear plastic with which to make guns sights for Allied soldiers in World War II. One of his experiments, while not functioning well as a sight, did produce a super-effective adhesive, though Coover didn’t do much with the substance. Nearly ten years later, in 1951, Dr. Coover worked on another project—jet canopies—where one of his colleagues, Fred Joyner, rediscovered Super Glue. This time, Coover did not abandon this miracle adhesive. It went to the market in 1958, where Eastman Kodak changed its name from “Eastman #910” to the catchier, more descriptive “Super Glue.”
4. Bones in the Basement
When excavating Franklin’s house, people were horrified to find the skeletons of 15 people in his basement. Franklin had been likely burying the cadavers from his young protégé William Hewson’s anatomy school. The bodies were probably procured through grave robbers since anatomy was not an accepted field of study at the time. It is generally assumed that Franklin was aware of Hewson’s scientific pursuits.
3. Stick It To ‘Em!
Pregnancy tests are among the most commonly shoplifted items from retail stories America.
When she was born, Oprah Winfrey was supposed to be named “Orpah” for the biblical figure from the Book of Ruth. However, people pronounced it Oprah with such regularity that the name just stuck. To quote Oprah herself from a 1991 interview: “In the birth certificate it is Orpah, but then it got translated to Oprah, so here we are.”
1. Just Add Mushrooms!
The Stoned Ape Theory suggests that modern human evolved because of our primate ancestors engagement with psychedelic mushrooms. According to Terrence McKenna, the individuals lucky enough to trip out developed heightened eyesight, which increased their hunting ability and, inevitably, their reproductive success.