These Fancy Facts Will Attract Some Interest

Diply 24 Sep 2018

It's hard to say which kind of fact is more mindblowing. Is it the kind that tells us something we never would have imagined, or is it the kind that proves to us that everything we thought we knew is wrong?

It might be hard to put aside what we once believed when we talk about the second ones, but it feels oddly satisfying to tell somebody, "That's a myth, actually." Still, having an actual answer when our friends puzzle over a tough question feels pretty good, too.

Hmm, I'm not sure we'll be able to decide which one is better, but since this list has both, we don't have to. Lucky us!

1. Possums don't actually play dead when they play possum.

Reddit | velvaboof

After all, "playing" suggests that they're flopping over on purpose. According to Indiana Public Media, it turns out that they actually just go into shock during intense situations, so it's more like fainting.

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2. People used to illegally smuggle Coors into states where it wasn't available yet.

YouTube | Movieclips

Back in the 1970's, Coors used to only be available in the western U.S. due to its then-limited supplies. But people nationwide wanted the beer anyway, so smugglers would ignore laws against selling it across state lines to meet the demand.

So yes, something like Smokey and the Bandit could've happened.

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3. Thomas Jefferson loved macaroni and cheese so much that he introduced it to America.

Reddit | Mensae14

According to author Jack McLaughlin, Jefferson fell in love with pasta dishes while visiting France and made sure to bring back a pasta machine and a selection of recipes.

Since he served mac and cheese at an 1802 state dinner, that was obviously one of the preferred recipes.

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4. The tablet held by the Statue of Liberty says "July 4th, 1776" in Roman numerals.

Reddit | tpiemonte

Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi apparently wanted Americans to know that France wasn't just celebrating 100 years of friendship between the U.S. and France, but also the nation's 100th birthday when they sent the statue over.

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5. A chameleon's eyes move independently of each other.

Reddit | bisque_monster

Because changing color and having a grabby tongue wasn't quite cool enough for the lizard, it can also have its eyes look in two completely different directions.

Christopher J. Raxworthy at the Kansas University Museum of Natural History said this trick gives chameleons almost 360-degree vision.

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6. On the other side of the spectrum are owls, who can't move their eyes at all.

Reddit | JudithPiaser

This is because they don't actually have eyeballs so much as eye-tubes that are held firmly in place by their bones.

So, to get a good look at something, they have to move their entire heads around.

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Those eyes are also big enough to account for 3% of the owl's total body weight.

Instagram | @sean.hew

However, size apparently isn't everything, since these large eyes make owls very far-sighted. Since they can't focus on anything up close, a bunch of sensitive whiskers on their beaks do that job for them.

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7. There's a planet outside of our solar system where it rains molten glass.

YouTube | Ali The greatest

HD 189733b is about as blue as our planet, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. The glass rain happens because the big blue gas giant is close to its sun, which also roasts anything on it to about 1,700 degrees during the day.

Sorry, it's not a good vacation spot.

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8. There is a basketball court sitting a floor above the U.S. Supreme Court.

YouTube | Justin Ayars

It's nicknamed "the highest court in the land" and was added during the 1940's to give Supreme Court employees a place to workout.

While a couple of Supreme Court justices have played there, it probably couldn't have been with any regular folk since it's not open to the public.

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9. London's British Museum has an ancient customer complaint in it that dates back to 1750 BC.

Reddit | Reddit

A Babylonian named Nanni was apparently angry enough to bust out a stone tablet and complain about a copper supplier's return policy.

Namely, that Nanni's messengers would return without a refund, despite the risk of passing through enemy territory to make the trip.

One star, I assume.

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10. It costs half a cent more to produce each penny than it's actually worth.

Reddit | Missing_Textures

According to Alex Reeves from the Canadian mint, that's one of the major reasons why Canada stopped producing the penny. Environmental costs were also a factor since extra zinc and copper need to be mined and smelted to make them.

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11. Turtles have been around for at least 240,000 million years.

Reddit | grapefruitsorbet

Rainer R. Schoch from the Natural History Museum in Germany and Hans-Dieter Sues from the Smithsonian were able to figure out that a fossil from back then was a "grandfather turtle" even though it didn't have a shell.

It did have similar ribs and similar bones along the belly, though.

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But turtles aren't just old as a species. The oldest living animal is a tortoise named Jonathan.

YouTube | St. Helena Government

Jonathan is about 186 years old now and veterinarian Joe Hollins said that reaching that age has given him blinding cataracts and cost him his sense of smell.

Apparently, he still has very good hearing, though. So there's that.

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12. The word, "Huh" means the same thing in every language. 

Reddit | berkeleyfreebird

Linguists from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics found that while "huh" can sound different depending on where you go, it always means that we didn't fully understand what somebody just said to us.

So, at least everybody can know that they don't understand each other.

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13. Mario's name and Italian accent were inspired by Mario Segale, who owned Nintendo's first U.S. headquarters.

Reddit | raza14

Apparently, Nintendo of America's president noticed that his landlord looked a little like the jumping hero of Donkey Kong, so the name stuck.

According to Benj Edwards at PCWorld, Segale does not like being associated with the video game character because it brings him unwanted attention.

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14. Japanese scientists have invented a fire alarm that sprays wasabi mist to wake up the deaf.

Reddit | magusicle

Makoto Imai, who was on the development team, said that the mustard's main ingredient will stimulate a person's nose even when they're asleep, which then wakes them up.

And it's a good thing, because rotten eggs were another possible candidate. Ugh.

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15. The NBA logo comes from an old action shot of former L.A. Laker Jerry West.

Reddit | Jedorawr

And apparently, he's actually kind of embarrassed to be the logo and hopes they'll change it to somebody else.

As West himself put it, "I don’t like to do anything to call attention to myself, and when people say that, it’s just not who I am, period."

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16. World War II victory celebrations in Russia were so wild that Moscow ran out of vodka.

Reddit | MairusuPawa

It only took 22 hours to party that hard because a day after the victory announcement on May 9, 1945, one reporter wrote, "There was no vodka in Moscow on May 10; we drank it all.”

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17. Yellowstone National Park has the world's largest collection of geysers.

Reddit | FishyDoublehaul2

According to the Guinness World Records, Yellowstone has at least 300 geysers, which account for two-thirds of all the geysers in the world. About 250 of them are active right now.

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18. Less than half of what goes into chicken nuggets is actual chicken meat.

Reddit | Poogassa

Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center found that the other nugget ingredients at the two unnamed fast food chains they studied were mostly fat, but also included nerves and pieces of bone.

Uh...at least they were all chicken parts?

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19. Rainbow clouds like this form when water droplets in the atmosphere bend light.

Reddit | Firingblind

According to Les Cowley, the boiling of puffy cumulus clouds will push air layers up, at which point they expand and get cooler.

But sometimes, moisture in that air will suddenly condense into droplets and then you have a cloud with a rainbow hat.

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20. Clouds are actually about as heavy as 100 elephants.

Reddit | Dodoman0

Those light, puffy cumulus clouds? If you add up the weight of the water particles inside them, you'll get about 1.1 million pounds.

And that number goes into the billions when you have a thundercloud on your hands.

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21. British phone booths are starting to house defibrillators and ATMs.

Twitter | @scixpmas

Public telephones may not be of much use now that everybody has cell phones, but at least 160 in the U.K. have found new lives as easy-to-spot defibrillator sites. That is,160 so far.

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22. Skies can turn pink because red light travels farther than blue light.

Reddit | Waiyn

When the sun sets, that means light has further to travel and since blue light scatters quickly, we're more likely to see red, orange, and pink colorations in the sky.

This is especially true when there are a few clouds to bounce off of.

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