20+ Fascinating Facts To Get The Day Started Right

Diply 11 Oct 2018

If there's one thing I need in the morning more than coffee or a shower (But don't worry, I do recognize how much I need those), it's a little time to fully wake up.

Without a few moments to pull myself together, my brain can start making some snap decisions and that's not always a good thing unless I really feel like going to work in my pajamas that day.

And those few moments are a great time to browse through some nifty facts. After all, they're neat to know and if a tired brain ends up forgetting them, the earth still doesn't shatter.

1. Cats are officially recognized as an important part of Rome's culture.

Reddit | crisjimm090

This is because they've been lurking throughout the city since the days of the Roman Empire. They're so respected that even when a cat shelter violated local laws protecting ancient monuments to try to rescue some strays, the mayor sided with the cats.

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Tourists throw at least $1,000,000 worth of coins into Rome's Trevi Fountain each year.

Reddit | burtmaclin2015

That number used to be around $600,000 back in 2005, but it ballooned to $1,500,000 by 2016. According to Alberto Colajacomo from the Italian non-profit Caritas, city council ends up donating that money to the organization once it's all collected.

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2. For almost 100 years, musicians could use a music typewriter to make writing sheet music easier.

Reddit | New_town_burnout

Technically, it's still possible to do that now, but they got much harder to find after they and regular typewriters were placed by PCs in the late 80s.

It's still super cool, though.

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3. The rainbow eucalyptus tree gets its beautiful colors from the way it sheds bark.

Reddit | Grown_Man_Poops

The shedding is more gradual than other trees and involves losing thin layers of bark in scattered places.

The surface bark is usually brown, but the inner bark is bright green. As this green bark gets exposed to air, its color changes to purple or blue, shifts to warmer colors like red and orange, and then becomes brown again.

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4. Skateboarding was banned in Norway for 11 years.

Reddit | gigimooshi2

This was because American reports about injuries from kids running into traffic on them spooked the Norwegian government enough to decide they were an unacceptable safety risk.

Of course, that didn't stop kids from smuggling boards in and building makeshift skate parks. Nobody needed to teach Norwegian skaters how to be rebels with no chill.

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5. The Centennial Light in California has stayed lit for over 100 years. 

Reddit | Mass1m01973

This light bulb hangs in a fire station in Livermore, California and runs at about four watts to act as a little night light for the fire engines.

But even though its thicker filament partially explains why it lasts so much longer than normal light bulbs, there's still no real answer to how it's lasted a whole century.

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6. When Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia still stood, it had its own courtroom and jail for rowdy fans.

YouTube | Channel 19

According to Justice Seamus P. McCaffrey, who presided over "Eagles Court," the idea to jail unruly fans came after a 1998 game between the Eagles and the 49ers in which 60 fistfights reportedly broke out in the stands and somebody fired off a flare gun.

Apparently, Eagles Court still exists, but it's not in an actual stadium now.

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7. Any wasp haters out there will find a hero in the Violaceous Trogon.

YouTube | CostaRicaColor

This tropical bird will dig through wasp nests before the bugs wake up and then perch a ways back and dart towards any that dare show their faces.

Sometimes they'll catch the wasps in the air and sometimes they'll pick them right from the nest, but will eventually settle down in the nest because most wasps are too timid to fight them.

Yeah, you read that right.

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8. The dreaded Penn Station in New York City was once an architectural marvel...but then it was demolished.

Reddit | anitachance

The original Penn Station had a Roman-inspired central waiting area and could hold over 200,000 passengers, but it became too expensive to maintain by the 1960s after railroad travel started to decline.

So, it was demolished by 1966 and replaced in 1968 by another Penn Station that even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called "un-New York."

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9. Male clownfish can become female when there are no other females around.

Reddit | Trisomyy

Some fish do this when they reach a certain size, but this is the only time we see the clownfish make that change. Unsurprisingly, this seems to increase group survival rates and enhance reproduction.

So yes, if Finding Nemo were biologically accurate, Ellen Degeneres could've essentially played Marlin instead of Dory once the anemone was attacked.

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10. Thomas Jefferson dressed so casually when meeting foreign dignitaries that people thought he was doing it in pajamas.

Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons

British Minister Anthony Merry said Jefferson was actually wearing a coat and slippers, but he was nonetheless outraged by the president's "utter slovenliness."

Jefferson apparently dressed down because he wanted to present himself as an ordinary citizen and thought fancy clothes made him seem too much like a monarch.

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11. 200 retirees in Japan offered to help stabilize the Fukushima nuclear plant because they didn't want young people to risk exposing themselves to radiation.

Reddit | john_granidetti

Yasuteru Yamada, who spearheaded the idea, said that he wasn't being brave, but logical.

This is because he knew any serious effects were likely to take 20 to 30 years to develop and he figured that since he was 72 at the time, that wouldn't be an issue.

That's still really brave, though.

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12. The first Oxford English Dictionary took so long to complete that its editors took five years to get to the word "ant."

Flickr | mrpolyonymous

The fact that it was 6,400 pages and was supposed to tackle every English word from 1150 CE onward was a big part of the problem.

However, they also found that even back in the 1880s, they had a tough time keeping track of all the new words people kept coming up with.

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13. Both white and albino squirrels are rare, but they aren't the same thing.

Reddit | superdaveleone

You can tell the two apart by looking at their eyes. If they're black, it's a white squirrel. If they're pink, it's an albino squirrel.

And if you do come across an albino squirrel, you've found something very rare because only one in about 100,000 squirrels is albino.

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14. Violet Jessop survived three different ocean liner disasters...including the sinking of the Titanic.

Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons

Her first crash aboard the Olympic wasn't too bad since neither ship involved sank, but the Titanic was obviously a much different story. She was asleep when it hit the iceberg, but apparently woke up in time to guide passengers around before somebody placed her on a lifeboat.

She was also almost sucked into the propellers of the Britannic after it hit a mine, but Jessop missed it and was rescued.

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15. Thanks to some phony lyrics, the FBI investigated the song "Louie, Louie" for obscenity.

Reddit | doktortamer

Specifically, they investigated a 1963 recording of the song by the Kingsmen after concerned parents told them about dirty versions of the lyrics that their kids were passing around.

Because singer Jack Ely's performance in that song was so slurred and hard to understand, the bureau ended up taking two years to study it. Despite even playing it backwards and at different speeds, they found nothing.

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16. The U.S. navy hasn't used battleships since the early 90s.

Reddit | etymologynerd

The big battleships may look impressive, but it turns out they're not really practical anymore. Part of the problem is that they can take up to 2,000 sailors to run, while newer ships can do essentially the same job with fewer than 150 people on-board.

The other problem is that even with improved radar systems, battleship weapons could never quite have the precision of newer, smaller ships.

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17. Foosball was once so popular that the winner of the biggest international tournament could walk away with $1,000,000.

Reddit | gman3652

That prize was offered by the International Tournament Soccer Championships when the game reached its popularity peak in 1978, but that league would go bankrupt by 1981.

That's because the rise of early arcade games led the foosball industry to crash from selling 1,000 tables a month to 100 in less than two years.

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18. Hawaii is only one of two states that has never had a day get hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reddit | jnlsgrc

Its temperature buddy, Alaska, shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but the odd part is that both states' hottest day on record was exactly 100 degrees.

If you're curious, the "winner" of the heat wave sweepstakes is California, which once had a day reach 134 degrees.

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19. In 1970, astronomer Kenneth L. Franklin actually had to figure out what the time zones on the moon were.

Reddit | pyatu

This was because he was tasked to design a watch for astronauts, which he based around the time it takes for the moon to revolve around the earth. From that 30-day "lunation," he was able to figure out lunar hours, or "lunours."

Then-President Richard Nixon received one of these watches. He couldn't exactly use it, but he thanked Franklin anyway.

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20. Early football plays were once so dangerous that Teddy Roosevelt had to convince the government not to outlaw the game.

Getty Images | Hero Images

One of the worst ones was called the "flying wedge" where players would rush the other team in a V shape and essentially try to spear their way through them.

After Roosevelt was able to get the major college football teams to reform the rules to cut out brutal plays like that, the game was saved.

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21. The Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor space shuttles were all designed to fly 100 missions each. 

Reddit | XRoxasX96

Unfortunately, none of them would get anywhere near that many under their belt before NASA shut down their Space Shuttle program in 2011 after flying 135 missions total.

Sorry fellas, you'll just have to share.

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22. The brighter a ladybug is, the more poisonous their toxins turn out to be.

Twitter | @scixpmas

According to Dr. Martin Stevens from the University of Exeter, the birds seem to have figured that out too because they're far more likely to go for duller, safer ladybugs than the brightly colored ones.

This explains why the bright ones walk around like they own the place while the others just try to hide.

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23. It takes about eight minutes for sunlight to reach the earth.

Reddit | Pync

And since we're the ones in charge here, that distance is called an astronomical unit. For reference, Neptune is about 30 astronomical units away from the sun, which means it takes sunlight a little over four hours to reach it.

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