Put a little fun in your life. Here are 29 random facts that are utterly unlikely yo help you in life… other then to impress your friends with your ninja-like trivia skillz.
When America’s 14th President Franklin Pierce ran in 1852, he used a clever campaign slogan: in reference to the 1844 campaign of James K. Polk, he adopted the slogan “We Polked you in ’44, We Shall Pierce you in ’52!”
28. Group Effort
The United States of America declared independence from Britain in 1776, but the office of President wasn’t created until 1789. Since then, only 44 men have served in that role, but during the year 1881, three different men served as President. Rutherford B. Hayes served out the remainder of his term until March 4th, 1881, upon which time James Garfield took over. Garfield was assassinated and died on September 19th. Vice President Chester A. Arthur took on the role becoming the 21st President of the United States of America—and the third of that year!
27. Late Night
Long-distance endurance athlete Dean Karnazes once ran 350 miles in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep! This feat won him the Badwater Ultramarathon, during which he averaged 13 minutes per mile. We’re betting he took a nice long nap to celebrate.
26. True Meaning of Valor
They say quitters never win, but sometimes quitting can be incredibly admirable. In 2013, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Award of Valor was given to Cameron Lyle, a college track and field athlete, for ending his collegiate career a month early. Lyle’s decision to quit came after he found out he was a match for a bone marrow donation—to a complete stranger. He underwent surgery and gave marrow to a 28-year-old father with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Maurice Sendak’s classic kid’s book Where The Wild Things Are was originally supposed to be called Land of Wild Horses. That is until Sendak realized he didn’t know how to draw horses. His editor suggested he change it to the more ambiguous “wild things,” and the rest is history.
24. Disappointing Report Card
Elvis Presley, aka the King of Rock & Roll wasn’t always a musical phenomenon—he got a ‘C’ in his 8th grade music class. He brought his guitar in to class the next day hoping to sway his music teacher with a rendition of Pee Wee King’s “Keep Them Cold, Icy Fingers Off Me” but his music teacher was still unimpressed.
23. Cars Are King
Los Angeles is notorious for its car culture, but it comes at a cost. 14% of unincorporated land in LA is taken up by parking spaces.
The USA is one of only three countries (besides Myanmar and Liberia) not to adopt the metric system as the standard of measurement.
21. How Long Was Long John Silver?
The reason why the USA never adopted the metric system may have been because of pirates! Thomas Jefferson (who at the time was Secretary of State) heard about the new system of measurement and requested a small 1 kilogram weight be sent from France to serve as the new standard of weight. While crossing the Atlantic, the weight—and Joseph Dombey, the man carrying it—was hijacked by pirates. The pirates took Dombey captive, and the weight was auctioned off somewhere along the way.
Statue of Joseph Dombey (left), Thomas Jefferson (right)
20. Reaching New Heights
You are 1 cm taller in the morning than in the evening—depending on your height, that can be 1-2% shorter. This is because your spinal column is slightly compressed by gravity throughout the day.
19. In Perspective
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since winning back-to-back in 1907 and 1908. That means the last time they’d won was so long ago that the Ottoman Empire still existed at the time.
18. Underwater Forest
An underwater forest off the coast of Alabama was uncovered by Hurricane Katrina. Researchers were surprised by the well-preserved state of the cypress forest—and were even more surprised when tests showed the forest to be over 50,000 years old.
17. Long Mane
The longest jellyfish on record measured 37 meters (121.4 feet) long. Its bell measured 2.3 metres (7 ft 6 in) around. The jellyfish was a lion’s mane jellyfish that had washed up in Massachusetts Bay in 1870.
16. Living up to Its Name
A jellyfish is 95 percent water! By comparison, jelly is only 33% water.
15. Longest Jump
The froghopper, a type of bug, can jump 70 centimetres—that’s 100 times its length. That’s like a 6 foot tall person jumping half the length of a football field. The tiny bugs accelerate over 4000 m/s2 and experience 400 Gs of force! Even the most seasoned pilots can only withstand 9 Gs of force.
14. That’s a Lot Of Unboxing Videos
It would take over 30,000 years to watch every video on YouTube (that is, if they stopped posting new videos). 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute, so by the time you’ve finished watching a 3-minute video, another 900 hours would be waiting for you.
13. One of a Kind
Stephen Hawking is the only person to have appeared on Star Trek playing himself! Well, technically he played a hologram of himself: In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data is shown playing poker with holographic versions of Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, and Alfred Einstein. When given a tour of the set, Hawking paused at the “warp core” and remarked, “I’m working on that.”
12. Genius Runs in the Family
Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first computer programmer. She wrote an algorithm for the world’s first “computing machine” decades before computers in the modern sense of the word would become a reality. She got her surname through marriage, so not many people know she is the daughter of Lord Byron, one of the greatest British poets.
11. Wide Expanse
Finland and North Korea are on opposite sides of the continent of Asia, but you can get from Finland to North Korea by going through just one other country: Russia.
10. Insert Dilbert Joke Here
Microsoft Windows and Apple’s computer operating systems may be battling it out in the consumer computer sphere, but Linux has taken over as the supercomputer operating system of choice. All 500 of the top supercomputers in the world run on Linux!
9. A State by Any Other Name…
West Virginia was nearly named “Kanawha,” and Utah almost became the state of “Deseret.”
8. Still Pretty Far
The closest point in the United States to Africa is Quoddy Head State Park, Maine. Maine is also home to the northernmost state capital in the contiguous United States—its capital is Augusta.
7. Not Very Smart to Begin With
A cockroach can live after its head is cut off! Cockroaches have clumps of ganglia—nerve tissue agglomerations—distributed throughout their bodies, which are capable of performing basic nervous system functions and controlling reflexes. They can also effectively seal off regions of their circulatory system, so loss of a limb doesn’t cause a deadly drop in blood pressure like it would for a mammal.
6. Good Fortune
Fortune cookies are a staple dessert at Chinese restaurants in the West, but you won’t find them in China. The first modern fortune cookies were served by a Japanese restaurateur in America. Makoto Hagiwara served the first fortune cookies at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California during the 1890s or early 1900s. In 1989, the global flow of fortune cookies went the other way—the cookies were imported to Hong Kong and sold as “Genuine American Fortune Cookies.”
5. Back In A Jiffy
The word “jiffy” is an informal term for a short period of time, but the word has a more precise meaning as well. In electronics, a jiffy refers to the period of an alternating current (AC) power cycle. This is usually 1/60 or 1/50 of a second.
4. I Don’t Like Those Chances
With a potential payout of $570 million, playing the Powerball lottery sure is tempting. However, you may want to weigh your odds before you set out to buy a ticket. The chance of you dying in a car accident on the way to get lottery tickets is actually greater than your chance of winning the lottery.
3. Open Wide!
An adult male hippopotamus can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside! Hippos have mouths that are large and strong enough to bite a crocodile—or a small boat—in half.
2. Kentucky Fried Christmas
In Japan, eating KFC for Christmas has become such a popular tradition that people need to order two months in advance.
1. Four F’s: Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding, and Mating
No matter what you do, it’s impossible to prevent your brain from thinking about food, sex, and danger. These three things are considered “primary drives,” and from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, are governed by your “old brain.” Your old brain–named so because it evolved first–is concerned with survival and asks three simple questions about the world around you: Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?