These Facts Show The World's Wild Side

Diply 27 Sep 2018

Living on this planet can feel a lot like being friends with Dr. Jekyll. One minute, everything's fine, and the next, we have to run for cover because a bolt of lightning scorched a tree that was way too close for comfort.

But while our world is known for its explosive temper tantrums, it can be strange in quieter ways, too. So I guess it's a little more like if Dr. Jekyll sometimes turned into Mr. Hyde and sometimes turned into a kid who finger-paints on the walls.

But once we're through with these wild facts that show us what's going on, we'll have had our fill of both versions.

1. The blue whale is not only the largest animal in the world, but it's also the largest that has ever lived.

Reddit | hassanaaa

Author Brian Switek said they had a pretty close race with some dinosaurs, but the fact that blue whales could be way heavier without collapsing in on themselves won them the title.

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But while blue whales are enormous, you'll never have to worry about being eaten by one.

Reddit | ladiamante

They don't just eat tiny krill because they like the taste. It turns out that blue whale throats are only about eight inches in diameter.

It couldn't swallow you even if it was mean enough to want to.

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2. It's surprisingly dangerous to be alone in a close space with a giant pile of pistachios.

Reddit | mrslowmaintenance

And it's not because they could fall on you. Even after they've been harvested, they can take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, which can deprive a whole room of air if they're not stored carefully.

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Pistachios are also known to spontaneously combust in some conditions.

YouTube | morgan mcginty

Pistachios have a lot of fat and not a lot of water, so when the air gets too humid, that triggers enzymes in pistachios to start breaking down fatty acids. That process generates a lot of heat and if pistachios do it enough times, they can actually explode.

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3. High schools in New Zealand are allowed to have a pound of uranium on site for educational purposes.

YouTube | Troma Universe

According to the New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office, that number can go up to 20 pounds if a university is trying to get some.

I'd love to know how they keep it under wraps so it doesn't make for the world's most devastating senior prank, though.

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4. Maine lobsters have two bladders in their heads.

Reddit | travisbickle645

Moreover, marine scientist Ellen Prager wrote that they have a whole system of gills and nozzles in place to ensure that they can shoot their pee up to ranges of five feet.

And that's what they have to do if they hope to attract a mate.

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5. Over two-thirds of all astronauts that have ever been employed by NASA were scouts as kids.

Reddit | earthcreation

According to NASA, out of the 312 people who have gone into space for them since 1959, 207 were involved with Boy or Girl Scouts programs growing up. And 39 of them earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

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6. In the mid 19th century, Dr. George Merryweather built a machine that used leeches to predict the weather.

Wikimedia Commons | Badobadop

Leeches have a natural sense of when air pressure drops before a storm, which compels them to get as high up as possible.

Merryweather used this phenomenon to make a giant bell ring in his "Tempest Prognosticator" to warn everybody.

It couldn't tell people where the storm was coming from or exactly when it would happen, but it kind of worked.

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7. When we get sick, our symptoms are genetically designed to prevent us from spreading our germs.

Reddit | IateAutumn99

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science figured out that appetite loss is supposed to make it harder to spread diseases through common food and water sources.

Weak and tired feelings also play a part in it, since it kept early humans from getting too far away and spreading the sickness further.

Stay home, folks.

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8. There is a town in Oklahoma that is actually called Okay. So yes, "Okay, OK," is a place. 

Reddit | dlbryan01

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the name of this town bounced around from "Coretta" to "Falls City" over the years, but the powers that be finally landed on "Okay" in honor of the O.K. 3-Ton Truck and Trailer that was built there.

OK, then.

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9. Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state in the country.

Reddit | Shmeein

These towns first cropped up when gold was discovered in Oregon during the mid-to-late 19th century.

Once the gold mines dried up, everybody would often pack up and leave for greener (or, I suppose, gold-er), pastures.

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10. When listening to music, goldfish can tell the difference between composers.

Reddit | angelinsilence

Kazutaka Shinozuka at Keio University said his team trained fish to nibble on a food ball when Bach was played, and the fish didn't go for the ball once they switched to Stravinsky.

The fish could still tell the difference when they took the reward away, but they seemed to like both composers equally as much.

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11. Chewing gum may help improve productivity and lead to fewer mistakes at work. 

YouTube | Mrs Nazé

At least, that's what scientists Andrew P. Allen and Andre P. Smith found out when they conducted three studies on a total of 282 people. They also found that chewing gum helped to reduce job stress in the morning and it didn't matter how fast the gum was chewed.

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12. A clothing company called The South Butt existed until they were sued by The North Face.

Reddit | mckeem

But even though the lawsuit ended with The South Butt having to stop using the name and paying damages to The North Face, founder Jimmy Winkelmann tried the act again with "The Butt Face."

Unsurprisingly, The North Face sued again.

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13. Pigeons may be able to home in on their nests thanks to a "map" they create after picking up low-frequency sound waves. 

Reddit | julierhythms

Geophysicist Jon Hagstrum noticed that pigeons normally couldn't find their way from Cornell University to Jersey Hill, New York except on days where the wind and temperature made it easier for these sound waves to go between the sites.

However, some pigeons seem to rely on their sense of smell, depending on where they're raised.

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14. The best-selling motor vehicle in the world is a little motorcycle called the Honda Super Cub.

Reddit | jamesbarrypollock

Honda has sold 100 million of these things worldwide since 1958, and the reason it's so popular has to do with its low cost and high durability, despite its relative slowness.

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15. A cat's whiskers are sensitive enough to tell it everything it needs to know about what it touches.

Reddit | SwiftPanda101

No matter how much light they're working with, a cat can know the exact location, size, and texture of anything their whiskers brush up against.

And that sensitivity is sorely needed because according to veterinarian Kerry Ketring, cats can't clearly see anything that gets too close to them.

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16. People can actually make a living by diving for old logs made around the time of the Civil War.

Reddit | the_bridgeburner

If those logs were legitimately hand-cut and over a century old, divers like Hewitt Emerson can sell them for up to a couple of thousand dollars a pop.

Still, that business involves some heavy investment and a lot of time spent dodging crocodiles and water snakes, so it's definitely not for everybody.

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17. Marie Curie's old notebooks are still radioactive enough that they need to stay in a lead-lined box.

Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons

This isn't terribly surprising since she used to walk around with radioactive elements in her pockets all the time, but it's still pretty crazy to consider that they'll probably stay that radioactive for another 1,500 years at least.

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18. Finland is sometimes called the land of a thousand lakes, but it actually has about 187,888 of them.

Reddit | MoreMemesplz

This not only means that Finland the most lakes of any country its size, but it also means that there's one lake for every 26 people there.

I guess when you have that many, one of them is bound to be shaped exactly like your Suomilampi here is.

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19. Platypuses have a venomous sting that causes intense pain and can last for up to three months.

Getty Images | Oxford Scientific

If that weren't scary enough, painkillers are useless against it, and only a local anesthetic given by a doctor can do any good.

Why is this sting so potent? Because male platypuses need a way to put competitors out of commission during mating season.

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20. You can tell how hot a fire is by its color.

Reddit | Oreoland

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference service, a hotter fire will show up in a lighter color, so a bright yellow flame is more intense than a deeper, red one.

Not that you should test that yourself, of course.

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21. The Grand Canyon influences its own weather.

Reddit | DisDudeForReal

This is because deep canyons and the big changes in elevation throughout them have big impacts on air circulation and the amount of heat it gets from the sun.

These wildly different levels are the reason why the hottest, driest part of the Grand Canyon is only about eight miles from the coolest, wettest part.

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22. The world's largest toothpick sculpture contains over three million toothpicks.

Twitter | @scixpmas

And surprisingly, even though this one took 44 years to complete and looks massive, this isn't it. The Guinness World Record winner is a 15 foot long, 292-pound alligator sculpture.

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