Pump Up Your Brain With 20+ Fascinating Facts

You know, it's important to work out your brain as much as it's important to work your heart and your lungs. And it's just as important to feed it good, nutritious food as well. For both, you need the info. A strong mind and a strong body will take you far in life.

So, here are some fascinating facts to get your brain in gear for a good workout. Knowledge is power, so power up!

1. Here's a glimpse of the dizzying heights some workers have to deal with when working on a dam.

Twitter | @koooog1121

The Kawamata Dam, under repair in Japan, needs scaffolding about 100 meters (328 feet) tall. I think I'll stick with my desk job, thanks.

2. As much as snowfall means shoveling later, it can be quite beautiful, but in this case, it's the melting that's so pretty.

Reddit | pikkiwokki

The different rates of melting on the surface of the bricks as opposed to the spaces in between creates this charming scene.

3. Further proof that The Netherlands is a paradise for cyclists: they have stop lights dedicated to bicycle traffic.

Reddit | zandrous

And the bike lanes have curbs separating them from car traffic! I'm feeling some European envy right now.

4. Kind of like the dam scaffolding, it's difficult to appreciate the scale of some things until you see them in context, like this oil rig base before it's towed out to sea.

Reddit | [deleted]

The building on the left is eight stories tall, for the record, so we're talking one huge piece of engineering.

5. How many of us ever considered that the dark and gloomy Addams Family TV show's set had such glorious colors?

Reddit | SmokeyBare

Funny enough, those colors were important even for black-and-white filming, to create contrast and depth.

6. At its height, the Mongol Empire was the largest land empire ever to exist, and to get a sense of how large that was, here's how it would look in the Americas.

Reddit | mrbehrens48

That sure puts it into perspective, don't you think?

7. This is Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who figured out how to accurately measure distances to astronomical objects working only from photographs of stars.

Wikipedia | Public Domain

Her work directly led to Edwin Hubble establishing the distance between us and the Andromeda galaxy — and the very existence of galaxies other than our own.

8. What do you get when you cross a donkey and a zebra? This happy character, a zonkey.

Reddit | dacoobobswife2

Zonkeys are rare, even for zebra hybrids, because zebras and donkeys don't have the same number of chromosomes.

9. Although the platypus might look cute, it's more of a "look but don't touch" animal.

Especially during mating season, when the male platypus can deliver a particularly nasty venom that causes immediate, sustained, excruciating pain that can't be alleviated by painkillers and for which no known anti-venom exists.

10. NASA has named new constellations after the Incredible Hulk, Godzilla, and many other pop culture figures.

NASA

NASA gave names to many new constellations observed through a telescope that picks up gamma ray light. Some of the other new stellar formations include Einstein, Mjolnir, the Starship Enterprise, and the TARDIS.

11. This colorful display looks far more complicated than it actually is.

Reddit | rubicondroid

It's really just a handful of transparent balloons with some LED lights attached, but the effect is pure magic.

12. And this colorful display is something human eyes don't get to see without a little help.

Reddit | Keychain33

This is a common starling, but viewed under UV light. And because birds can see UV light, this is pretty much how birds see each other all the time.

13. This bird, on the other hand, is much less common, and seems to be much more in tune with its dinosaur ancestors than that starling.

Imgur | Riuji

It's a dong tao chicken, native to Vietnam, and it's not a big surprise that it's also known as the dragon chicken.

14. Some of the strangest teeth in nature have their odd shape for a highly specialized purpose — they belong to the crabeater seal.

Reddit | Proteon

If your diet involved regularly chowing down on the hard shells of crabs, you'd want teeth like this, too.

15. What could give this stop sign such an interesting frosting? Something you don't get too often outside the Arctic: freezing fog.

Reddit | MiaWanderlust

Welcome to life in Canada's Nunavut, if the Inuit stop sign didn't give it away.

16. At the other end of the climate spectrum, here's a staircase you can scale in India, if you're brave enough.

Reddit | whicketywack

Is it even worth climbing a staircase if it's not perilously steep and more than slightly damp?

17. You've heard of sea cucumbers before, but did you know sea pickles were a thing, too?

Reddit | undioes

It makes sense that both would exist in the briny deep, but you don't see sea pickles much, mostly because they're transparent gelatinous blobs that just kind of float around.

18. Bats are far from the only animals that come in a "vampiric" variety.

There are also blood-drinking vampire moths, snails, frogs, catfish, squid, and even a finch native to the Galapagos Islands.

19. Unlike Hollywood would have us believe, gladiators didn't often fight to the death.

Gladiators were expensive investments, trained and outfitted to perform and entertain, so their owners didn't give them up easily or without compensation.

20. If it feels like time is going by more quickly as you get older, you're right.

It's because the brain makes memories based more on new experiences rather than familiar experiences, so as our lives become more routine, they become less memorable, making it seem like time is going by faster.

21. A Russian cosmonaut used a Texas law to get married while he was on board the International Space Station and his bride was on the ground in Houston.

Wikipedia | NASA

The pair used Texas's proxy marriage ceremony, with one of the cosmonaut's friends standing in for him, and he became the first person to marry in space.

22. If you ever see a building under construction surrounded by a weird green liquid, don't panic.

Reddit | MartyMcDermott

It looks nasty and dangerous, but it's just a tracer dye being used to find a leak.

24. The last day that all humans were on Earth at the same time was November 1, 2000.

The next day, humans started inhabiting the International Space Station, and it has been continuously occupied ever since.