These Fun Facts Are Worth Keeping In Mind

Diply 26 Sep 2018

I'm not sure why my most thoughtful moments usually happen when I'm trying to sleep, but that's often what I've found. My brain just takes consciousness for granted right until I'm trying to take it away, I guess.

Actually, there might be something to that. Because I've also found that on days where I've had to think hard or make tough decisions, I end up sleeping like a baby.

All of that is to say that I can't guarantee that any of these facts will make your brain stop nagging you tonight, but it'll still feel like giving it a nice, soothing good-night drive.

1. NASA engineers thought Sally Ride would need 100 tampons on a week-long space flight.

Wikimedia Commons | Wikimedia Commons

Ride was pretty quick to tell them that this was way overboard, but the confused engineers were worried about being safe.

As Ride put it, "Well, you can cut that in half with no problem at all.”

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2. The Burmese star tortoise somehow managed to survive extinction.

Reddit | Mail30silver

The tortoise's colorful shells made it a target for exotic pet poachers, and high black market demand completely erased it from its natural habitat.

However, Kaylar Platt from the Turtle Survival Alliance said the team was able to rescue 10 of them from poachers and breed them through trial-and-error until the species was back up to 10,000 specimen.

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3. Some solar eclipses have the moon line up with the sun without completely covering it.

Reddit | Meunderwears

These are called annular eclipses, and they happen because the moon is far enough away from the Earth that, from our perspective, the sun peeks through around the edges of the moon.

Still, don't look directly at any eclipse.

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4. Sorry, but the smell of freshly cut grass is actually how grass tells you it's in distress.

Reddit | ThatGuysHair

German researchers found out that certain plants will release chemical compounds that produce different smells depending on what kind of danger they're in.

This usually works to attract other predators when pests try to munch on them, but there's not much it can do against a lawnmower.

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5. Building these giant heads on Easter Island basically led to the island's collapse.

Reddit | PostyMcPostface

This is because the islanders, known as Rapanui, heavily depended on the island's abundant forests.

The problem is that those forests became way less abundant once they were cleared away both for crops and to transport and build hundreds of those giant heads, which known as moai.

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6. It's actually very common for dog feet to smell like corn chips.

Reddit | queenofstickers

According to veterinarian Robert J. Silver, dogs will pick up a lot of different bacteria when they walk through soil and water, which then gets stuck between the folds in their paws and produces the "Frito feet" smell.

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7. Double rainbows happen when sunlight reflects inside of a raindrop twice.

Reddit | alinakonda

Meteorologist Mike Pigott said that the sun needs to be at a low angle for this to work, and you still won't see it unless the sun is at your back and the rain's in front of you.

But if the light hits the raindrops at the "magic number" of 42 degrees, it's likely to hit the same raindrops again from another angle, and voilà!

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8. Ducklings show strong evidence that they're capable of abstract thought.

Reddit | andrewleee

Alex Kacelnik from the University of Oxford found that rather than just picking up on a smell or color, ducklings can actually recognize how things are the same or different from each other.

Other animals can do this, too, but only after they've been heavily trained. The ducklings Kacelnik studied were only an hour old when they did it.

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9. Thanks to the Antarctic Treaty of 1961, no country can put any military forces on the continent.

Reddit | Grace_David

There was already international cooperation between scientists by the time the treaty was signed, and it was essentially put in place to keep that going without any Cold War trickery getting in the way.

It's also why no country can claim territory there or mine its resources.

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10. This astronomical clock in Prague has been running for over 600 years.

Reddit | Randopher326

Granted, it wasn't running non-stop for all that time. It's not unusual for crews to restore it for months at a time, or in one recent case, to fix the mistakes that crews from the 1970s made when they took a crack at restoring it.

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11. Living near 10 or more trees may actually improve your health.

Reddit | juderm

Neighborhoods that psychology professor Marc Berman studied with 10 trees or more per block tended to have slightly healthier residents than those without them.

And on the flip side, neighborhoods that lost trees to emerald ash borers showed higher rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems.

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12. "Captain Midnight" hacked HBO's broadcast in 1986 after they stopped letting satellite owners watch their channel for free.

YouTube | SSTEAS

Captain Midnight was actually John MacDougall, a satellite dish dealer who saw his business plummet after cable channels started scrambling unauthorized satellite signals.

This slump led him to work for a company that linked cable shows to satellites, and he transmitted this message to HBO's satellite in protest.

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A year later, a similar hacker interrupted local TV broadcasts in Chicago for reasons that were much less clear.

YouTube | MaxHeadroombroadcastsignalintrusion

This person in the Max Headroom mask suddenly interrupted the broadcast on two different stations in November of 1987.

They were able to transmit a message during the second incident, but it wasn't clear what they wanted since they mostly made weird noises and called people nerds.

Their identity remains unknown to this day.

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13. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas got his G.E.D. at age 60 to encourage kids to stay in school.

Reddit | cellounge10

He had dropped out of school to learn the restaurant business, but since he became so passionate about the importance of education, he decided to return 45 years later.

His graduating class also voted him most likely to succeed, funnily enough.

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14. The letter "Q" does not appear in the name of any U.S. state or territory.

YouTube | Sesame Street

If you don't believe me, here's a handy list of them that you can look through yourself. And yeah, not even the disputed territories have it.

Weird.

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15. Scientists think that 20,000 years ago, our most dangerous predator was the hyena.

Reddit | AmberStardustPhoenix

According to authors William B. White and David C. Culver, humans were only able to cross the Bering Strait and reach Alaska once cave hyenas started to dwindle in numbers thanks to depleting grasslands.

They were also over 200 pounds at the time and attacked in packs of 40, so that probably had something to do with why they were such effective predators.

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16. Our shadows are obviously influenced by our size, but they also change size depending on where the sun is.

Reddit | NicholasRat

If the sun is lower in the sky, more of its light is being blocked, so our shadows get longer. But at high noon, they shrink because there isn't as much in the sun's way.

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17. Gorillas use baby-talk with their young just like we do with ours.

Reddit | gunsof

Well, OK, not just like we do. Only macaque can do that vocally. But Eva Maria Luef at Freie University in Berlin found out that older gorillas will use a lot more repeated gestures and touches when "talking" to babies than they do with each other.

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18. Michael Buffer's "let's get ready to rumble" catchphrase has made him $150,000,000 in the last three years.

YouTube | IntuitiveMediums

At least, that's the number his brother and manager Bruce gave ABC News. And that money has just come from people licensing the phrase after he trademarked it.

If someone wants him to say it live, that'll run them between $15,000 and $30,000.

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19. For the first 100 years of their existence, Supreme Court justices also had to hold circuit court twice a year.

Reddit | Audi_R8_

This meant they had to travel to each judicial district twice a year. That may not sound so bad, but remember that they did this from 1790 to 1891. We didn't even have trains for much of that time.

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20. Bottlenose Dolphins jump in specific ways to pass different messages on to each other.

Getty Images | Kryssia Campos

According to Professor David Lusseau, these jumps can be split into four main categories: orientation, travel, social displays, and fights.

For example, if a dolphin does a particular side flop, it's finishing up what it's doing and starting to travel. Basically, it's saying, "I'm out."

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21. Venus the cat may or may not be a chimera.

Reddit | Mass1m01973

If she is, that means she has two sets of DNA in her cells caused by two different embryos fusing together to make her. Cat geneticist Leslie Lyons said in an interview with *The Smithsonian Magazine* that she'd need to do some genetic testing to actually find that out.

If she's not a chimera, that means half of the cells on Venus' face turned black and the other half turned orange while she was in the womb.

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22. A café in Vietnam features a large pool where fish swim around the customers' feet.

Twitter | @scixpmas

It's hard to tell exactly why the owners decided to do this, but visitors can be assured that a filtration system runs 24/7 to keep the water clean.

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23. Australia's Lake Hillier defies explanation with its unstoppable pinkness. 

Reddit | KevlarYarmulke

The best theory is that its heavy salt content is attracting salt-loving algae and pink bacteria, but that doesn't fully explain why it stays pink year-round while other pink lakes tend to fluctuate.

They do know it's not dangerous to humans, but I'm afraid you're still not allowed to swim in it. It's only for research purposes.

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