“A lot of things on the Internet seem true, but if you look a little more closely, they turn out to be absolute garbage”
We’ve all fallen for it: you read something absolutely fascinating on Facebook or Twitter, and instantly feel the need to share it with the world. Can you believe that elephants get the same reaction from looking at humans as we do from looking at puppies? They think we’re cute! That’s so fun…
Well, much like that popular tidbit, sometimes those fun facts turn out to be wildly exaggerated. Or worse, totally made up.
So in this era of misinformation, we took it upon ourselves here at Factinate to uncover some trivia that is exactly the opposite: facts that sound fake but turn out to be actually true.
We hope you enjoy the list.
Fake but true Facts
1 out of every 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime.
Turns out, the tiny island nation is just an absolute haven for authors. There’s even a common saying in Icelandic to describe this phenomenon: “ad ganga med bok I maganum“, meaning that everyone is born with a book in their stomach.
In 1898, an American writer named Morgan Robertson wrote a mildly popular novel called the Wreck of the Titan. The book centered around the sinking of a massive ship called the Titan, and the ensuing disaster stemming from a lack of lifeboats onboard?
You’d think that Robertson simply ripped off the story of the Titanic to create his dramatic story… but that’s where things get really weird: the Titanic didn’t sink until 1912… 14 years after Robertson published his story.
The similarities are insane. The name, the size of the ships… even the fact that Robertson’s boat apparently sank in April (the same month as the Titanic) after colliding with an iceberg. You heard it here first: Morgan Robertson was almost certainly a time-traveler.
39. Waka Waka
If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds exactly like the pac-man sound effect. We know you’re going to try it.
38. Lots Of Space
Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
37. Hush Little Baby
Heroin used to be sold over the counter to treat coughs. And not just in adults, either— we’re talking about children’s coughs as well!
The good ol’ days were truly strange. Imagine using a Schedule 1 drug, considered one of the most addictive substances on Earth, the same way your grandma uses Werther’s candy.
36. T Is For Time
There is more time separating the existence of the T-Rex and the Stegosaurus than there is time separating the T-Rex and present day. Like right now!
35. Brainy Night
Ever get a bit down on yourself and start to think you’re nothing special? We’ve all been there.
That’s why it helps to realize just how jaw-droppingly astounding the processes that make up your body are. Just by virtue of being alive, you’re one of the most incredible things in the universe.
Consider this: scientists estimate there’s about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe. And we haven’t found life anywhere but here. On a universal scale, you’re basically unique.
Another fun fact about you? There are more synapses in your brain than there are stars in our galaxy.
The size of a country’s population doesn’t always reflect the size of its borders.
Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the case of Russia and Bangladesh. Despite Russia’s being literally 100 times the size of Bangladesh, it still has a smaller population. Bangladesh has about 165 million people, while Russia has just 140 million.
33. Flag Tag
Norway’s flag has the flags of six other countries contained in it: Finland, France, Indonesia, Netherlands, Poland, and Thailand.
32. What A Time
Barbara Walters, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all born in the year 1929. What a fine vintage.
Collectively, we take more pictures every two minutes, than all of humanity during the 19th century.
French was the official language of England for over 600 years.
29. Banana Jamma
Human DNA is 50% similar to that of Bananas. There was definitely a split in there somewhere.
The common earthworm has 5 hearts. You only have one, take care of it.
27. Koalafications For The Job
Human fingerprints are indistinguishable from Koala fingerprints. Not even careful analysis under a microscope can distinguish the swirling, curving prints on those fuzzy paws from the prints on our own fingers.
Obviously, that leads to an important question: How many crimes have Koalas gotten away with?
26. Back Up
Hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards.
25. Up Your Nose
Given its location on your face, you can always see your nose.
In order to compensate for this obvious distraction, your brain usually eliminates your beak from the picture it forms based on feedback from your eyes.
I’ll bet you’re noticing it now…
The Australian White-Throated Snapping Turtle is an endangered species of turtle from, you guessed it, Australia. But that’s not the fact we’re here to share with you…
Technically speaking, the White Throated snapper engages in what’s called cloacal respiration, which sounds utterly boring until you realize that means it breathes through its goddamn butt. That’s right. 70% of the oxygen that slow little cutie is breathing comes directly through his caboose.
Peanuts are not at all nuts. They grow in the ground and are in the same family as beans. They are both part of the legume family, which consist of edible seeds enclosed in pods.
Which means Peanutbutter is basically bean-based jam. Still delicious?
Yea, still delicious.
22. Paper Trail
If you fold a piece of paper in half 42 times it will reach the moon.
Don’t get it? First fold gives you 2 pages, second fold gives you 4, by the tenth fold you have 1024 pages, and so on. Good luck being able to fold it more than 7 or 8 times though.
21. Forecast: Diamonds
On Saturn and Jupiter, it literally rains diamonds.
In fact, it turns out that nearly everywhere else in space, diamonds are about as rare as water is on Earth. Scientists speculate that large pockets of methane on Uranus and Neptune also produce diamonds at a high rate, while there may well be other planets in the universe that are 80% diamond or higher. Some researchers have even come to the conclusion that diamond was the first mineral that ever formed in space.
Welp, time to become an astronaut-miner, I guess. Where do I get an application for the Diamond-Retrieval unit at NASA?
20. Hearty Part 2
An octopus has 3 hearts.
Of course, there’s at least one octopus reading this who would say that their ex actually had no heart at all.
19. Ant Farm
Who’s really in charge here?
We humans can get pretty cocky about our position as the dominant species on Earth, what with our zoos and our farms and our fancy schmancy technologies. But it turns out we’re not even close to the most numerous creatures here. Nope, not by a long shot.
For example, there are more than 1.6 million ants for every human on earth. And sure, it doesn’t seem like they’re as smart as us… but how do we know for sure?
18. Honey Pot
Should a full-scale atomic war ever break out across, we all know what kind of things we need to survive the ensuing apocalypse: sawed-off shotgun, gas mask, honey…
Did you question that last item? Think again. Honey is one of the only food items in your home that will never spoil.
Turns out, the precise mixture of acids and sugar that make up this delicious nectar are absolutely perfect for preventing rot and spoilage. Bees must know what they’re doing.
17. Pluso Close
From the moment it was discovered, to the time it was declassified as a planet (thanks Neil DeGrasse Tyson), Pluto never made a full trip around the Sun.
Poor lil guy.
16. Pyramid Scheme
The last remaining Mammoths went extinct 1000 years after the Great Pyramids of Giza were built. The last population of these prehistoric beasts existed in solitude until about 4000 thousand years ago on Wrangel Island, a remote point deep in the snows of Siberia.
And speaking of mammoths… The expedition of Lewis and Clark is famous for many reasons, but they had one goal you might not expect. Thomas Jefferson had a thing for mammoths (or, more accurately, American Mastodons). He was completely enamoured with the extinct behemoths, and held out hope that they continued to live many miles away in the west of America. So when he sent Lewis and Clark out on their famous expedition, he told them to keep a weather eye out for any furry elephants.
Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramids.
Cleopatra was the last true Pharaoh of Egypt, born around 69 BC. That means that by the time of her reign, the Great Pyramid of Giza had already been around for more than 2.5 thousand years. It would have seemed as ancient to her as, say, a ruined Roman city seems to us today.
14. One Degree Of Separation
North Korea and Finland are technically separated by one country. Can you guess which one?
This is, of course, only true if you don’t buy into the Internet conspiracy theory that Finland does not exist. You can look into the matter for yourself over here, where the masterminds on Reddit are exposing it all to the world.
13. Berry Weird
vocados and watermelons are berries. Strawberries are not.
The national animal of Scotland is the Unicorn.
Leave it to the Scottish people to choose a mythical creature for their national symbol. Every other country on Earth was busy choosing real-life animals like a bunch of dorks— so Scotland just went ahead and chose the coolest thing available.
11. Slasher Flick
When the first Star Wars movie was released, France was still executing people using the guillotine.
Humpty Dumpty is never once referred to as an egg in the original nursery rhyme. It’s only later on that authors like Lewis Caroll (in Through the Looking Glass) would describe him as looking “exactly like an egg”.
Which, if you think about it, gives the whole thing a more sinister meaning…
All the Kings horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpy together again??? If Humpty wasn’t an egg, what the hell happened to him? How high was this wall? And why are we sending horses and men? HUMPTY NEEDS A DOCTOR.
Oxford University is one of the oldest educational institutes on the planet. It predates the beginning of the Aztec Empire.
Think about how insane that is. Entire societies have risen and fallen in the lifetime of this single institution.
8. Death Vendor
You are 2x more likely to get killed by a vending machine than you are by a shark.
7. Hearty Part 3
Blue Whales are so large, a human can swim through their arteries. Their heart is the size of a small car. We don’t know why you’d want to though.
Carrots were originally purple, and made Orange through selective breeding.
The milk of a hippopotamus is naturally pink.
4. True Danger
During a 1958 practice exercise, an American jet collided with a bomber carrying a nuclear bomb. To protect the crew from detonation, the bomb was jettisoned. After several searches, the bomb was considered lost somewhere along the coast of Georgia. That’s right: to this day, no one is sure where exactly the bomb landed. Indeed, the closest we’ve ever gotten was in 2004, when retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Derek Duke claimed to have narrowed the possible landing area to roughly the size of a football field.
Presumably, that means whoever was in charge of the search basically said, “Ehhhh, it’s probably around here somewhere”. Which is not the sort of attitude you want in the people who are looking after our nuclear bombs. That’s the attitude I take toward looking for a dropped piece of popcorn.
3. What’s In There?
Here’s one you can test out at home:
Grab a bucket and fill it with water. Then throw in a can of Diet Coke, and a can of regular Coke. The Diet will float, while the other can sinks straight to the bottom.
2. In Maine Sight
Maine is the closest of any American state to the continent of Africa. You can’t see it though, it’s not like seeing Russia from Alaska.
1. Ei-ffel For It
In 1925, Victor Lustig pulled off what might just be the greatest scam in the long history of bamboozlement.
The Eiffel Tower was falling into disrepair. In the early spring of that year, a newspaper ran a story indicating that a majority of the French population would actually be in favor of getting rid of the monument altogether. Glancing at the story, Lustig saw an opportunity…
He invited a group of scrap metal merchants to a secret meeting at a discrete hotel, then presented himself as a French government official looking to off-load the tower to the highest bidder. Long story short? He convinced the most insecure man in the group to give him a massive chunk of money… and then immediately scampered off to Australia. This guy literally sold the Eiffel Tower.
The dealer, meanwhile, was so embarrassed by his blunder that he never reported the incident to police.