Reddit | etymologynerd, Reddit

Sneak In Some Knowledge From 20+ Fascinating Pics

Not to worry, this isn't school. You're not in a classroom. You don't have to take notes, there won't be a test on any of this, and you're not going to be barraged with bare-bones information. This isn't one of those books without pictures.

Honestly, pictures are downright necessary if you're going to learn about anything, I think. They're just so illuminating, and they can be a wonderful jumping-off point to learning even more about the world. Here are some fascinating ones to get you going!

This spiny, spiky nightmare shows what the edge of a piece of paper looks like under 100x magnification.

Reddit | darkpsycho_

The amount of pain you feel from a tiny paper cut makes much more sense now, doesn't it? Apparently, you're basically pulling a buzzsaw blade or barbed wire across your skin. If anything, you'd almost expect paper cuts to be worse after seeing this, like the sort of thing you could credibly use a sick day over.

But it's just pressed wood fibers, right? How much harm could they do?

If you want the birds in your neighborhood to have nice, warm, attractive nests, leave your dog's brushed-out fur out for them.

Reddit | rtyhu6t6yr2

Yep, birds will use dog fur to make their nests! This one has a cozy bed of golden retriever hair mixed in with the typical grass and twigs.

Other things you can leave out for nesting birdies in the spring include yarn, twine, cotton, or wool — but not human hair, which can cause some serious problems for birds.

The things Martha Stewart never told us, amirite?

Some lucky person managed to time their pic perfectly to catch a water bomber releasing its payload over the wildfires ravaging California.

Reddit | -walt-

It just goes to show how nasty these fires have been, with such dedication and talent fighting them. And it's a huge, international effort. That water bomber above came from Quebec, and it's not even the biggest one there.

The world's largest firefighting airplane, based in Colorado Springs, was dispatched to the horrific Camp Fire in Butte County, which effectively destroyed the town of Paradise.

The crazy thing about the screen on an iPod is that it still lights up from underneath.

Reddit | iGustin

It doesn't have the hard, opaque backing that you might expect, and it still works remarkably well considering its condition.

Of course, this is one of those situations where you want to take the word of someone else rather than trying it out on your own devices. Just a reminder that your right to repair the stuff you buy isn't guaranteed, although some progress is being made on that front.

This picture doesn't quite capture a moment frozen in time so much as a weirdly frozen moment.

Reddit | Empyforreal

As in, this soda exploded on its owner and then froze solid as it fizzed out of the can when left alone. Just think of the messes that would be avoided if only all sodas froze when they fizzed over.

Let this serve as a reminder to not leave fizzy drinks in the car overnight, as this owner did, when the temperature dips. Liquids tend to expand when they freeze, which is not good for cans.

Somewhat related to the frozen fizz is this fact, confirmed by astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Twitter | @G_Switzer

He explained on Twitter that "you can't burp in space because the air, food, and liquids in your stomach are all floating together like chunky bubbles. If you burp, you throw up in your mouth. So guess where the trapped air goes?"

Which brings to mind a whole bunch of potentially gross questions about life and bodily functions without gravity that I'm not sure I want the answers to.

Apologies to the arachnophobes out there, but this is pretty cool, seeing a spider in someone's house molt.

Reddit | notAsoreloser

I mean, I'm not sure I would want that particular spider's web, with its discarded exoskeleton hanging around like last year's Halloween decorations, in my house. But it's still interesting in a "look at the miracle of nature happening" way.

Also, it's always worth pointing out that spiders are great at controlling other pests in the house, so they're okay housemates in my book.

An illustration in a Japanese manuscript dating from the 1700s shows the use of textures to help describe conditions like smallpox.

Reddit | ibkeepr

It's an effective method, and pretty impressive that the texture survived for another three centuries.

Interestingly enough, the first recorded mentions of a disease resembling smallpox came from China in the 4th century AD. The Chinese were also the first known to develop a method of inoculation to smallpox, somewhere between 900–1000 AD, crushing smallpox scabs into a powder that was inhaled.

It's hard to believe, but this clawed-hand–looking thing is actually a flower.

Reddit | sailmonkey

I know, it looks like something crawled out of a grave, amitire?

More officially called the Devil's Hand tree, these flowers are also known as "monkey hand" or "chicken feet" flowers, for obvious reasons, and they're native to Guatemala and southern Mexico.

Despite its appearance, it was incredibly useful for indigenous peoples for its medicinal properties, bark that was used to make rope, and leaves used to wrap food.

The purple haze inside this glass container is one of the last things you'd ever want to sniff: iodine gas.

Reddit | Kolobrandr7

Inhaling iodine gas isn't fatal, per se, but it's pretty far from pleasant. If you ever do inhale it, you can expect things like irritation of the mucous membranes, "excessive flow of tears, tightness in the chest, sore throat, and headache," and those things can start before you even smell it.

But hey, it does make a pretty purple haze, doesn't it?

The old town hall in Bamberg, Germany, has an unlikely location: the middle of a river.

Reddit | ChristophZee

As the story goes, back in 1467, the bishop of Bamberg wouldn't give up lands to the citizens to build the town hall, so they planted stakes in the middle of the river and made an island, which they built the town hall on.

Those simple townsfolk did a wonderful job, too — Bamberg's old town center was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

This old medallion was carried by emissaries from the Mongol empire under Kublai Khan, and it bears a dire warning.


The writing reads: "I am the emissary of the Khan. If you defy me, you die." Given the Mongols' reputation for violence, that doesn't sound like an idle threat. This was, effectively, one of the world's first passports, enforced by the Pax Mongolica, their own take on the Pax Romana.

One of the other innovations of the Mongols? The postal service, which they called the Yam, a sort of primitive Pony Express.

This old document belonged to a man who served in WWI for less than a day, having been drafted into service on November 11, 1918.

Reddit | UnbeatableMan

When the war ended later that day, he was discharged and issued a check for $1.00. Obviously, he recognized that the check was worth much more as a memento of the luckiest day of his life than it would be in cash. I mean, I know I would have hung onto this check in his place!

These coins belonged to another soldier in WWI, and they tell a tale of incredible good fortune.

Reddit | Fadawah

Better than anything they could possibly have purchased during a lull in the action, they stopped a bullet and saved a life. They're proof positive that Hollywood isn't completely full of it when heroes are saved like this, however unlikely it may be.

Side note, it looks like the best thing Leopold II of Belgium ever did was issue tough coins with his face on them.

The Anthem Veteran's Memorial in Arizona has a hidden effect that only comes together at 11:11 am on November 11th every year.

Reddit | tanzaniteflame

At that exact time, the sun will be aligned with all five marble pillars, each representing one of the five branches of the Armed Services, casting the Great Seal of the United States onto the ground.

Those red bricks on the ground bear the names of U.S. service members, and together with the white marble pillars and the blue sky above represent the American flag.

These images give a graphic representation of the costs of WWI.

Twitter | @hampson_d

At the top, a battalion of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders gathered in Edinburgh in 1914, before leaving for the front. Below is the same battalion after the armistice in 1918.

Some suggest the photo on the bottom has been altered, which is certainly possible. However, the human cost of the war was still staggering. About five million Brits served in the war, and 750,000 died, with another 1.5 million wounded.

Icy days tend to be more irritating than interesting, until your car door does something like this.

Reddit | etymologynerd

When you peel a sheet of ice off the rear of your car, leaving a frozen shell hanging off your door, you have to take a pic. I know I would. How often do you get a nature-made cast of your car like that? You have to take advantage of the opportunities inclement weather provides!

Seriously though, freezing rain is the worst and can go away any time.

So, folks have figured out that jigsaw puzzle makers will change up their images more often than their die cuts.

Twitter | @john_overholt

It makes sense because puzzle-makers are naturally going to want to keep costs down as much as possible. However, it also means that you can mix and match pieces from different puzzles to make some unlikely scenes, and quite possibly improve on the original.

Anybody want to try this over the weekend and see what fun scenes you can make?

We all know that the night sky looks different from opposite sides of the equator, but have you considered how the moon looks?

Reddit | xsited1

Yeah, my brain is not having a fun time trying to picture this. Actually feeling a bit dizzy.

But at the same time, it makes sense, because it's not like the moon rotates at all. Well, it does technically rotate once every 27 days, but it's a synchronous rotation, so from the ground, it doesn't appear to spin.

Some of the super spy devices carried around by James Bond aren't that far-fetched.

Reddit | foenetik-

This is a ring camera used by the KGB — the film runs around the loop your finger goes through, and the lens hides behind an ornate cap.

Of course, today you can get spy cameras that hide in just about anything, and you can order them off the internet rather than relying on Q branch. But you have to admit, the Soviets sure cooked up some interesting spy gear in their heyday.

This bright specimen is Labradorite, a variety of feldspar that has its own name for the way it shines.

Reddit | reaperleviathankin

The effect is called labradorescence, of course, caused by light entering the stones, hitting a twinning surface inside, and reflecting off of it.

No surprise, Labradorite has become popular as a gemstone, and the colors it shows off tend to vary from one stone to the next. If you see a stone called "spectrolite," it's generally Labradorite that has an exceptionally colorful display.

A mushroom that looks like a person has been discovered in the U.K.

Fen Fungi | Jonathan Revett

It's a new species known as Geastrum britannicum, discovered by mycologist Jonathan Revett, and just like people, you probably don't want to eat it. As in, it's not just inedible, but poisonous.

As far as anybody knows, Geastrum britannicum only grows in Great Britain, where Jonathan found it under some pine trees on the side of a road in 2000. He thought it was a variant of another fungus, but was surprised to learn it was a whole new species.

The freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw cycle can do some pretty strange things.

Reddit | Arctic_Scrap

For example, icicles that curl off the edge of a roof. I mean, does everybody else think of the wonderfully strange Olympic sport when they hear the term "ice curling," or is it just me?

Conditions must have been just right to produce such an odd effect on this house. Even freezing rain on its own doesn't quite explain it — there has to be just enough warming for the ice to slide down a bit before refreezing.

This is, improbably, the same tortoise in both pictures.


The picture on the left was taken in 1886, when the tortoise, named Jonathan, was already 54 years old. The pic on the right was taken in 2017, making him 186 today, and as far as anyone knows, he's the world's oldest tortoise.

Jonathan lives on the island of St. Helena, one of a few giant tortoises who live on the grounds at the governor's residence, and he's so famous there that he's featured on their money.

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