Randomize your life with these 24 random facts. These are so outrageous that they sound fake, but we assure you they aren't. See sources at the end!
25. Meanwhile, In Egypt…
Here's an incredibly fun fact.
The last wooly mammoths died in Alaska 4,000 years ago. What was happening elsewhere 4,000 years ago? Well, in Egypt, the pyramids were being built! Hard to imagine these things took place at the same time.
24. Skewed Time
Speaking of pyramids—history sometimes has a funny way of compressing in our minds the further back in time we think about. It’s easy to think about Egyptian historical events all occurring near each other, but in fact, the reign of Cleopatra was closer in time to the moon landing in 1969 than it was to the building of the pyramids!
23. Thicker Than Water
Coconut water—the liquid found inside coconuts, not to be confused with coconut milk, which is made of ground-up coconut flesh—is sterile, and has some other interesting properties. It contains electrolytes, making it ideal to rehydrate after a workout. But there are stories of doctors using coconut milk during blood transfusions in wartime, such as during World War II, because it’s chemically similar to blood plasma. Some doctors are dubious, but there is a story about a patient in the Solomon Islands being successfully given a direct transfusion of coconut water.
22. A Sporting Pastime
Maryland became the first state to adopt an official sport in 1962, but the sport they adopted might be more suited to 1692. While most of the nation was playing baseball or football, Maryland made jousting their official state sport! Jousting first became popular in Maryland in early colonial times, but got even more popular after the Civil War.
21. A Long Journey
It can take a photon a million years to make its way to the surface of the sun, but once there, it takes only 8 minutes to reach Earth!
20. One Chord Wonder
Harry Nilsson’s song “Coconut” has only one chord in the entire 4 minute song. It’s the only one-chord song ever to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached #8 as a single in 1972!
19. Be Careful!
Scientists discovered that peeling scotch tape generates x-rays! A 2008 experiment found that peeling scotch tape at a rate of 3 cm per second (and only in vacuum conditions) generates enough x-rays to image a human finger.
18. There Are No Words…
The “Marcha Real,” the national anthem of Spain, has no lyrics! That must make it very easy for schoolchildren to memorize!
17. A Long Song!
In comparison, the Greek national anthem has a whopping 158 verses! It’s titled “Hymn to Liberty,” and is adapted from a poem written in 1823 by Dionysios Solomos. Technically, only the first two stanzas are used for the national anthem, and good thing, or else school assemblies would take forever!
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Honey is the only food that doesn’t go bad. It's antibacterial and anaerobic—it contains very little low moisture, and is high in acid content. If it’s kept dry, it won’t spoil. The world’s oldest honey was recently discovered in the country of Georgia—it’s 5,000 years old, but you could still safely eat it!
15. Packing a Punch
Mantis shrimp possess a deadly weapon in their claws. They can strike club-like appendages at speeds approaching 52 miles per hour—fast enough to boil the water around their claws and release a flash of light! The strikes create air bubbles that release energy and light when they collapse.
14. The Shannon Number
The game of chess has 64 squares and 24 pieces (16 per side). Mathematically, there are 10 to the power of 120 different possible iterations of a games of chess—more than there are atoms in the observable universe! This is called the Shannon Number, after mathematician Claude Shannon. Of course, that includes games with moves that would make little sense—the number of “sensible” games is around 10 to the power of 40.
13. All the Single Ladies
If you want to find a male New Mexico whiptail lizard, you’ll be looking for a long time—because they don’t exist! All whiptail lizards are female. The lizards mate by stimulating each other through mating behaviour, after which each lady lizard lays eggs, which hatch into a genetically identical clone of their mother. It’s like something out of science fiction!
The Simpsons debuted in 1989, and while the family has mostly remained the same, updates to their home (trading their old TV set for a flat screen, for example) have kept them with the times. They still wear the same clothes each day and do not age—in fact, if Bart aged at a normal rate, he would today be older than Marge was when the show debuted!
11. Underground Cavern
The city of Tokyo undertook some incredible measures to keep the city safe during floods. They constructed massive underground tunnels 50 metres below surface to store floodwaters in case of natural disaster. The tunnels, which extend for 6.3 kilometres, contain tower pillars weighing 500 tons each!
10. Renounced Citizenship
Tina Turner might be an American soul music legend, but she’s no longer an American. The singer took up residence in Switzerland in 1994, and in 2013 announced she would renounce her American citizenship and apply to be a Swiss citizen. She learned to speak fluent German and passed a citizenship test that required extensive knowledge of Swiss history.
The Civil War feels like ancient memory, but the last Civil War widow only died in 2004, nearly 140 years after the end of the war! In 1917, Alberta Stewart Martin was 21 when she married 81-year-old William Jasper Martin, who had been a Confederate soldier. The pair went on to have a son together, and remained married until his death in 1931. She passed away at the age of 97, fittingly on Memorial Day.
8. Liar, Liar
Each year in Cumbria, England, people flock with their biggest fibs, whoppers, and falsehoods to compete in the World’s Biggest Liar competition. Contestants have five minutes to tell the biggest and most convincing lie they can. John “Johnny Liar” Graham has won the competition seven times, once with a lie about travelling to Scotland in a garbage can that went underwater. The contest is open to almost anyone; lawyers and politicians are banned from entering because they’re considered to be too good at lying already, and thus would have an unfair advantage.
7. Square Peg, Round Hole
Wombats, furry little marsupials who live in Australia, are known to produce cube-shaped poop. They excrete up to 100 little cubes per day, and place them to on rocks and logs to mark their territory. The square shape is thought to have evolved so the poo pellets don’t roll away.
6. Early Adopters
Two of the first Native Americans to help the pilgrims, named Samoset and Tisquantum (often called “Squanto”), already spoke English when they met the European settlers! In 1621, Samoset shocked inhabitants at Plymouth Colony when he strolled into their village and greeted them in English, which he had learned from fishermen. Squanto had actually already visited Europe—he was captured in 1614 and taken to England, but found his way back to North America by the time the Mayflower arrived in. His homecoming was a tragic one: by the time he got back, smallpox and disease had completely wiped out his village.
5. Side Gig
American metal band Slayer practically invented the genre of thrash metal. They’ve released 12 albums since 1983, four of which have gone gold. As big as they are now, they came from humble beginnings: their debut album, Show No Mercy, was funded by the earnings of their bassist, Tom Araya, who worked as a respiratory therapist.
4. No Respect
British soldiers captured as POWs in Nazi Germany during World War II were so cheeky and disrespectful towards their German captors, their presence in POW camps was called “demoralizing” by the Germans. British soldiers were known to complain to the superiors of their prison guards, occasionally getting the guards fired.
3. Dreaming in Squares
The “Tetris effect” describes when people devote enough time, thought, and energy to an activity that it affects their dreams. Studies show that participants who played Tetris for long periods of time found themselves thinking of ways in which shapes could fit together in the real world, such as boxes in supermarkets or buildings on a street. The falling colored Tetris cubes (called tetrominos) appeared in their dreams or when they closed their eyes. You can recreate this study for yourself at home by playing hours and hours of Tetris!
2. Hidden Meaning
Did you know that the music in Tetris has lyrics? The melody from Nintendo’s 1989 version of the video game comes from an old Russian folk song called “Korobeiniki” (which translates to “Peddlers”). The lyrics of the first verse are fittingly about a box, and can be translated to “Oh, my crate is so full / I’ve got calico and brocade./ Take pity, oh sweety / Of this lad's shoulder.”
1. Poisoned by your Government
The US Government actually killed hundreds of Americans during Prohibition when, in an effort to curb the production of illegal alcoholic drinks, they added deadly poisons to industrial alcohols, knowing that many people used them to make illegal hooch. Even though the Surgeon General tried to warn the public, it wasn't enough and hundreds of people still died not knowing they were essentially drinking poison.