Whether you’re looking to become the MVP on your team at the next trivia night at the pub or just looking to kill the last few minutes of your day, it’s time for some fun! Here are 27 gut-busting facts hand-selected just for you. Or maybe the guy reading this over your shoulder. Maybe they’re for him.
27. Saint Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama (aka Gautama Buddha, or simply “Buddha”) is not only the foundational teacher of Buddhism, he’s also a Christian saint! Or rather, two Christian saints! Christianized versions of his story made their way into religious lore, where these stories diverged into two stories of saints known as Barlaam and Josaphat.
26. Totally Jacked
Apple released the iPhone 7 in 2016, which was notably missing a headphone jack and caused a major uproar. What many people didn’t realize is that the headphone jack was likely one of the oldest technologies used to manufacture the tiny and advanced smartphones. The jacks (known as “phone connectors”) were first used in the 19th century to connect and disconnect lines on telephone switchboards. While phone jack sizes have changed, the basic principles have stayed the same since the technology was first created in 1878 — 140 years ago!
25. Personal Weather Network
No Apple Watch? Grab a cricket! The temperature (in Fahrenheit) can be approximated by counting the average number of times a cricket chirps in 14 seconds, and adding 40. Crickets are cold-blooded, and rely on the temperature of their environment to heat their bodies. Their “chirp” occurs when male crickets rub special patches on their wings together. The warmer it is outside, the warmer they are, and the faster they can contract the muscles they use to make their chirping sounds!
24. Working Overtime
The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004. Spirit stopped operating in 2010, but Opportunity is still able to move around and transmit information, having exceeded its expected lifetime by almost 14 years!
23. Good Samaritan
In 1994, California taxi driver Juan Blanco made a discovery he’ll never forget. After driving a customer to a hotel, he realized the man left behind a fanny pack. Inside were keys, a set of passports, $60,000 in cash, and a gold medal! The customer had been Claudio Taffarel, who played as goalie for Team Brazil when they had won the FIFA World Cup the day before. Blanco, a soccer fan, returned the loot and was given a $1,000 reward, plus the joy of being able to tell the story of a lifetime.
22. More Than a Delicious Breakfast
According to urban legend, croissants gained their signature crescent shape after Budapest defended itself from Turkish invasion; the crescent is a symbol of Islam. This led to Islamic fundamentalists in Syria banning croissants, which they consider to be a symbol of Christian victory over Muslims.
21. Straight or Curved?
In modern times, people opting for a straight or curved croissant likely aren’t making their choice based on politics. According to French law, the shape of a croissant signifies its fat content: if it’s straight, it will have been made with butter, while curved croissant may contain margarine or another fat. Other countries don’t always respect this distinction—UK-based Tesco announced all their croissants will be straight, as their customers find them easier to cover evenly with jelly.
20. The Tale of Two Lauras
In 2001, nine-year old Laura Buxton of Staffordshire, England sent up a helium balloon with her name and address on it to see how far the balloon would float before being found. She wrote “Please return to Laura Buxton” on it. The balloon floated 140 miles and wound up in the hands of another nine-year-old—also named Laura Buxton! It was found by Andy Rivers, and he returned the balloon to his neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Buxton, to give to their daughter, without looking at the address on the balloon.
19. Pen Pals
Actress Carey Mulligan and musician Marcus Mumford were childhood pen pals as children, but they lost touch. Both grew up and became successful—she starred in films such as An Education and Never Let Me Go. He topped the charts with his band Mumford & Sons. As adults, they back in touch—and fell in love! The two are now married with children.
18. The Chicken Cure
Switzerland was able to virtually eliminate rabies within its borders. Scientists determined that foxes were the main vector for rabies in the country, and placed chicken heads laced with vaccine around the Swiss Alps. Foxes ate the chicken heads, effectively inoculating themselves! Rabies may be a rare disease for humans to contract, but once symptoms appear, the fatality rate is close to 100%.
17. Rainier Bear
A meddlesome black bear broke into a Washington State campground and had a bit of a party. The bear used his claws and teeth to puncture and drink 37 cans of beer! Interestingly enough, the bear seemed to know what he liked: the bear drank 36 cans of Rainier beer but only one can of Busch!
16. From Hi-Fi to Wi-Fi
Audiophiles and home stereo listeners coined the term “high fidelity” to refer to a high quality of sound in home audio equipment. “Hi-fi” receivers, amps, and speakers were the standard if you wanted your records to sound great! When wireless internet appeared, the term was adapted—we now refer to “WiFi,” short for “wireless,” though the “fi” doesn’t stand for anything!
15. World Travelers
The Norse Vikings were known as incredible travelers. Artefacts of a Viking settlement were found in L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, suggesting the Vikings visited North America long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. In addition to their epic voyages, they also traded with other groups. A Viking treasure discovered in Helgö, Sweden in 1954 included an Irish crozier made of bronze and inlaid glass, a Buddha statue from North India, and a ladle from Africa!
14. Influencing The Future
Stanley Kubrick sent out a press release to journalists instructing them on the pronunciation of the title of his latest film. The year was 1968, and the film was his epic sci-fi 2001: A Space Odyssey—Kubrick wanted the title pronounced as “two thousand and one” instead of “twenty oh one.” He hoped that if the film became popular (which it did), it would influence the pronunciation of the year when it came around, and the convention indeed stuck! Unfortunately, Kubrick didn’t live to see it: he passed away in 1999, just two years shy.
13. It’s My Party
Possibly the earliest example of Latin writing by a woman dates to 100 AD. The scrap consists of a writing tablet bearing an invitation to a birthday party from Claudia Severa to her sister, Sulpicia Lepidina: “On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present. Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him their greetings. I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper and hail.”
12. Doing More With Less
Makeup fans looking for good quality at a bargain should take note of Dallas Buyers Club. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling despite having a makeup budget of only $250 for 28 days of shooting!
11. A Regular Willy Wonka
Carmel-By-The-Sea, a gorgeous seaside town in California, has attracted its fair share of notable residents over the years, but it’s only had one truly famous mayor: Clint Eastwood! Eastwood ran for mayor of the 4,000-resident town in 1986 on a platform of overturning a law forbidding the sale of ice cream cones.
10. Monkey à Monkey
At the time of Eastwood’s election as Mayor of Carmel, then-President Ronald Reagan gave Eastwood a congratulatory phone call. Reagan joked, “What’s an actor who once appeared with a monkey in a movie doing in politics?” Eastwood had starred opposite Manis the orangutan in Every Way But Loose (1978). The joke was that Regan had starred in his own monkey movie, Bedtime For Bonzo (1951), which featured a chimpanzee named Peggy.
9. Good Advice
Speaking of Clint Eastwood and apes—rapper Del the Funky Homosapien collaborated with English virtual band Gorillaz on their hit “Clint Eastwood.” Del is the cousin of rapper Ice Cube, and had a lengthy rap career before the song came out, though he never had a huge hit on his own. According to the Miami Herald, Del wrote the lyrics to “Clint Eastwood” after reading a book called How to Write A Hit Record and following its instructions.
8. The Future Is Female
More than 60% of all university students in Iran are women, including 70% of all students studying engineering and science!
7. Big-Mouthed Papa
Darwin’s frog, named for Charles Darwin, is a species of frog found in forest streams of Argentina and Chile. This little hopper has a very unique method of child-rearing—when Darwin’s frog tadpoles hatch, a male frog swallows the tadpoles. He keeps the tiny amphibians in his vocal sac for about 60 days to allow them to grow. He then proceeds to cough up tiny fully-formed frogs!
6. Worthwhile Stunt
Elijah Wood made his audition tape for Lord of the Rings himself! Wood dressed up in a homemade costume approximating how he thought a hobbit might dress, then went into the woods, and had a friend film his audition for him. Unlike his reluctant hero character Frodo, Wood certainly must have moxie!
5. No Protests for This Pipeline
Beer taps in Germany’s Veltins-Arena are connected underground by a 3-mile long beer pipeline! The pipeline carries 52,000 litres of beer per day on game days, supplying the arena’s 15 restaurants and 35 cafés.
4. These Colors Do Fade
Red, white, and blue no more. In 2012, NASA confirmed that five of the six American flags planted on the moon by various lunar missions were still standing where they were. The catch? The flags don’t really look like American flags anymore. In the harsh radiation of space, and the bright sunlight on the moon, unfiltered by any atmosphere, the flags have been bleached completely white.
3. Sci-Fi Soccer
Qatar has won the bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but Japan’s bid was mighty impressive. Their proposal included events powered by solar panels and energy-harvesting equipment that would convert attendees’ footsteps into usable energy. But that’s not even the most impressive part! Their bid included a pledge to develop and implement technology that would allow stadiums around the world to project a real-time 3D telecast of the World Cup games! Holographic images would be projected onto real-life fields, replicating the experience of attending the World Cup in person. Despite a demonstration of the technology as it existed in 2010, they lost their bid, likely because it seemed way too ambitious!
2. Hello, Bonjour, Kon’nichiwa, Hola, *Pffffffftttttt*
In one indigenous tribe in South America, farting is a greeting. The isolated Yanomami use flatulence to say hello to each other… but how do they say goodbye?
1. Would You Like Fries With That?
If you consume fast food on a regular basis, it’s gross but very likely that you’ll inadvertently swallow about 12 pubic hairs a year. You’re technically paying to eat those. There’s no better time to take up home cooking!