101 Ultimate Facts Everyone Should Know

Written by: Shash Wighton
Reading time: 41 mins
Published on: September 7, 2021

Platypuses look so weird that when scientists first discovered them, they thought it was a hoax.

101 Ultimate Facts Everyone Should Know

There are facts that everyone knows, like how dinosaurs once roamed the earth, but then there are facts that most people don’t know, like how sloths can hold their breath for longer than dolphins.

What about the facts that everyone should know? Well, that leaves pretty much everything else!

While we can’t guarantee that these facts will turn you into a quiz master, we reckon they’re definitely some that you shouldn’t miss!

So, dig into these 101 ultimate facts that everyone should know!

Genghis Khan strategically married off his daughters to expand his empire.

Ghenis Khan on a horse

Genghis Khan only gained his title by the time he reached his forties, at which point he had more than ten children.

Khan married his daughters to allied kings, who he would send out to war.

 His new sons-in-law rarely returned alive, and his daughters took control of their new kingdoms for Khan.

A proposed amendment to the US constitution in 1916 would have had citizens vote on all acts of war.

Someone posting a vote in the USA

In 1916 the United States had not yet entered World War I, but all signs pointed in that direction.

The proposed amendment was submitted to Congress, along with a signed petition by Nebraska residents, but was ultimately rejected.

The proposed amendment also would have ruled that anyone who voted in favor of an act of war would have to sign up as an army volunteer.

A silverback gorilla could deadlift 1,800 lbs.

A silverback gorilla looking big and strong

That’s 815 kg for you metric maniacs. To give you a better idea, the deadlift world record is just over 1,100 pounds (500kg).

This should come as no real surprise, as gorillas are the largest primates in existence.

Costco’s hot dog and soda combo has remained at the same price since 1985.

The $1.50 Costco meal deal

If you make your way to a Costco food court, you can pick up this great deal for just $1.50!

Over time the cost price of the deal increased, but Costco countered this by opening a factory to make their own sausages.

This never seemed to affect its popularity, as 151 million hot dog combos were sold in 2020.

A company in Japan awards non-smokers an extra six days of paid leave each year.

A person in Japan smoking

It was brought to the marketing firm’s attention that employees who went for smoke breaks had more than 15 minutes of extra time away from their desks each day.

Instead of penalizing smokers, they came up with a creative incentive to quit smoking while keeping their non-smoking employees happy in the process!

In Singapore, when you turn 21, you’re automatically registered as an organ donor.

A person in Singapore celebrating her 21st birthday

The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) was first introduced in 1987 due to extremely low organ donation rates.

It was only from 2009 that citizens and permanent residents were automatically registered as organ donors.

You can opt-out, but you may not want to as you’ll be lower on the waiting list for organs should you need a transplant.

Stephen Hawking was rumored to run over the toes of people he didn’t like.

Stephen Hawking in his wheelchair

The world-renowned physicist used a wheelchair from the age of 22 due to a severe form of motor neuron disease.

This didn’t stop this from having a bit of fun, crushing the toes of many who drew his ire – including the UK’s Prince Charles himself!

When confronted about this tendency, Hawking passed it off as a “malicious rumor” before jokingly threatening to run over the toes of anyone who repeated it.

The Apollo missions have left 96 bags of poop, pee, and vomit on the moon.

An astronaut in space

All the way back in 1969, mankind made history by walking on the moon for the first time.

That wasn’t the only first that happened on that momentous trip – it was also the first time literal trash was dumped on the moon.

Subsequent voyages to the moon followed suit, leaving behind all their unwanted trash, but it turns out that’s all for a good reason – the returning spacecraft don’t have enough fuel to carry all that weight back!

Visitors to one of Hawaii’s islands can take a shelter dog out on adventures for a day.

Someone walking dogs at the beach

That’s right; if you head on over to Kauai in Hawaii, you can pick up a shelter dog and take it for walks on the beach, hikes, or just wander around the island!

Each dog is geared up with a cute vest that advertises that the dog is for adoption.

The dogs also get some much-needed exercise, which, combined with their vest, helps locals adopt them!

Samuel L. Jackson was an usher at Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral.

Martin Luther King's funeral

Jackson studied at Morehouse College, where Dr. King and other prominent civil rights activists would often visit and have debates.

When King was assassinated, his funeral was actually held in Morehouse College, which is how Jackson was able to be one of the funeral ushers.

After this experience, Jackson became much more heavily involved in the civil rights movement.

Fish eggs can survive being eaten by a duck.

A duck eating

The fish eggs can still hatch after going in one end and coming out the other.

Not all fish species can survive such a journey, and even then, not all eggs eaten are pooped out in a pristine condition.

Still, it’s a good explanation for how seemingly disconnected pools and lakes can suddenly become teeming with fish!

There’s a restaurant in New York that employs grandmas instead of chefs.

The cooks at Enoteca Maria restaurant

The menu at Enoteca Maria is a little unconventional, as half of it is a fixed Italian menu while the other half changes daily.

This is because a different grandmother comes in every day with not just a new menu but a completely new cuisine!

The owner decided to run his restaurant like this as he had lost all maternal figures in his life and wanted to re-create the feeling of eating in his grandmother’s kitchen.

The Titanic wreckage was discovered during a top-secret mission to search for sunken nuclear submarines.

An old photo of the Titanic

Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic wreckage, originally went to the US Navy to request funding to develop an advanced robotic submersible that would allow him to search for the wreckage.

The navy liked his idea but decided to use it to search for two lost US nuclear submarines.

The mission finished early, and Ballard was able to use the extra time to discover the lost ship.

Jim Carrey was the first actor to star in three consecutive box-office hits.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey didn’t have much success in the acting world until he hit his thirties, but that changed in 1994.

In the space of eleven months, Carrey starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, And Dumb and Dumber, which truly kicked his acting career into gear.

The Mask, in particular, took the world by storm, grossing $350 million and showcasing Carrey’s ability to explore a range of roles and emotions.

Ancient Roman commoners went on strike by evacuating their cities, leaving the upper classes hopelessly fending for themselves.

Plebs protesting

Secessio plebis (secession of the plebeians) is similar to a general strike but proved much more effective as the upper classes almost entirely relied upon the working classes.

Pretty much everything in the city would close down, which proved to be incredibly effective at having the peasants’ demands met.

Maybe this is something that we should try again in modern times?

The first rap song to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

Eminem when he releases Lose Yourself

It rapidly became one of Eminem’s most successful singles, staying at the top of the charts for 23 weeks running (that in itself won the song a Guinness World Record!).

Eminem didn’t actually attend the Academy Awards as he thought he wouldn’t win, so instead spent the evening at home sleeping and watching cartoons with his daughter.

One of his producers ended up accepting the award on Eminem’s behalf.

Recessions may not be good for our finances, but it turns out that they’re actually good for our health.

A happy man due to a recession

Researchers in the US initially studied data from previous economic crises expecting to find a correlation between mortalities and economic crises.

What they found was surprising, as harder times seemed actually to reduce mortality rates instead of increasing them.

This is because during a recession, there is less traffic, cleaner air, and people have less money to spend on unhealthy things like drinking alcohol or smoking.

Velociraptors were actually feathered dinosaurs.

A feathery velociraptor

If you know about velociraptors from Jurassic Park, then this may come as quite a surprise.

While scientists have been able to figure out that these vicious hunters used to have feathers, the question of how feathered they were is still unanswered.

It’s possible that they just had tufts of feathers on their arms, head, or possibly all over!

According to research, starting school at 10 am is better for your health.

An alarm clock going off at 10am with a school chalk board behind it

This is particularly true for teenagers, whose growing bodies require more sleep than they’re able to get with conventionally early start times.

Not only does starting a few hours later reduce illness by up to fifty percent, but it’s been found to boost students’ grades significantly!

It cost $265 million to make Grand Theft Auto V.

the cover image for Grand Theft Auto V

When the game was released in 2013, it became the most expensive video game ever made.

This was no cause for concern for its developers after it raked in a shocking $1 million within the first seventy-two hours of sales.

It took five years to develop the game, with Rockstar’s studios all over the world working together in tandem.

The man who invented pop-up advertisements deeply regrets it and says he’s very sorry.

Someone about to smash their laptop with a hammer due to getting too many pop ups

In 1997 Ethan Zuckerman wrote the code for the first pop-up and added it to a website.

This, he believes, was the Internet’s equivalent of the original sin.

While he understands that many websites and services on the internet wouldn’t function without getting funding from advertisements, he believes that it’s high time to find an alternative that doesn’t involve an invasion of our privacy.

More than $700 million worth of aluminum cans are thrown out by Americans every year.

Lots of aluminium soda cans

Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials on the market, and it’s also the most valuable.

This is because aluminum is relatively rare yet is used in many different areas ranging from soda cans to airplanes.

Despite the amount of lost aluminum from binned aluminum cans, more than seventy-five percent of all aluminum produced on US soil has been recycled and is being put to use.

Roosters have built-in earplugs, so they don’t deafen themselves when they crow.

A rooster about to crow

Anyone who’s ever spent a night outside the city knows one thing, and that’s the fact that roosters are loud!

Researchers measured how loud roosters actually do crow and found them to be as loud as 140 decibels – well over the amount needed to cause permanent ear damage and even deafness.

When they studied what actually happens when roosters crow, they discovered that in opening their jaw to crow, their outer ear canals close up, essentially giving them natural earplugs.

Tom Cruise got divorced from each of his three ex-wives when they reached the age of 33.

Tom Cruise and pictures of his three wives

Tom Cruise’s first wife was Mimi Rogers, he parted ways with her in 1989. Later he married Nicole Kidman, but they were not meant to be as they divorced in 2001.

Cruise got married once again in 2006 to Katie Holmes but split with her just six years later in 2012.

Fun Fact: Each of Tom Cruise’s ex-wives is successively eleven years younger than the last.

As dogs were domesticated, their eyes evolved to look cuter.

A cute puppy with adorable eyes

Have you ever seen a picture of a wolf’s eyes and seen something mysteriously menacing in them compared to those of a dog?

Well, there’s a good reason for that. Dogs evolved muscles around their eyes, allowing them to change their facial expression slightly, commonly known as “puppy eyes.”

It’s believed that they evolved so because dogs that looked cuter and friendlier were more likely to be looked after.

Nintendo used to have a hotline you could call if you were stuck in one of their games.

Nintendo used to have a hotline if you got stuck on a game

Back in the days before the internet, video games were much more challenging, and finding the right way to beat them sometimes seemed impossible.

Nintendo was well aware of this, and in the US, at least provided a service called the “Powerline,” which struggling gamers could call for tips and tricks.

Books published in Norway are bought by the government to stock the country’s libraries.

The beautiful Bergen Library building in Norway

All books must first go through quality control, and one thousand copies are purchased and distributed by Arts Council Norway if they pass this step.

If it’s a children’s book, 1,550 copies are purchased instead.

Not only does this keep small publishing businesses afloat, but it’s also of immense benefit for fledgling writers in Norway.

It turns out that you don’t need to drink six to eight cups of water per day.

A glass of fresh water

Water is without a doubt one of the most important things on our planet, and since around the 1940s, it’s been popularly believed that you should drink about 84 ounces (2.5 liters) of the stuff every day to stay healthy.

Researchers have since delved deeper into the issue and concluded that you don’t need to drink anywhere near that much, as you get a lot of water from the food you eat.

Instead, you’re merely advised to drink when you’re thirsty and drink extra on particularly hot days.

Christopher Lee released three metal albums.

A picture of Christopher Lee

Sir Christopher Lee was a fan of metal from its very beginning and was particularly fond of Black Sabbath.

That being said, it wasn’t until 2010, when he was well into his eighties, that he recorded his first album: Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross.

Lee’s second third albums were released in 2013 and 2014, but he also dabbled in several metal-inspired Christmas carol parodies.

Elephants can swim up to six hours at a time.

A happy elephant swimming in water

When you look at an elephant, the last thing you would think is that it’s particularly good at swimming, but it turns out that they’re incredibly capable!

One of their greatest advantages is their trunk, which they use just like a snorkel to stay underwater for longer periods.

Elephants also have great stamina, which allows them to swim for lengthy periods. When they’re tired, they can just float along thanks to their high buoyancy!

Shrek originally had a thick Canadian accent.

Shrek smiling

The titular character of the instant classic was voiced by Mike Myers, who spoke in an amped-up version of his own Canadian accent.

When Myers watched the first rough cut, he loved everything about it, except his voice!

He thought that Shrek would be better off with a Scottish accent to counter the English-accented villain, Lord Farquaad – a change that ended up costing about $4 million!

George Clooney had a pet pig called Max.

An old photo of George Clooney with his pet pig

In the late 80s, George Clooney bought a Vietnamese Pot-bellied pig for his then-girlfriend, Kelly Preston, but he ended up keeping the pig after they split up.

Max, the pig, ended up living for another eighteen years, only passing away in 2006.

Clooney often jokes that his relationship with Max was the longest he ever had.

Only one married couple has ever been sent to space.

The first every couple in space

Mark Lee and Jan Davis met during their astronaut training programs but decided to keep their relationship secret.

NASA had an informal policy against sending out married couples on missions.

Nine months before their mission, they got married, and by the time NASA found out it was too late to begin training replacements.

Instead, they made their informal policy formal to prevent it from happening again!

Samsung’s various business activities account for more than 15% of Korea’s entire economy.

South Korea Seoul skyline

While Samsung is known worldwide as a technology giant, it has its fingers in many pies in its home country.

Being the world’s largest manufacturer of phones is apparently not enough, as in Korea, there are hospitals, apartments, universities, and even funeral parlors owned by Samsung.

There’s a mountain in Greece that women are prohibited from visiting.

Mount Athos in Greece

It’s not just the mountain, but an entire peninsula called Mount Athos.

You see, Mount Athos has been home to a collection of monasteries since at least the 4th Century AD.

For more than a thousand years, if not longer, the presence of women has been banned not just from the monasteries but from the whole peninsula.

Mount Athos is an autonomous region of Greece controlled by the Greek Orthodox Church.

According to the Church, the Virgin Mary blessed the peninsula and made it her own holy garden, so no other women are allowed to be there.

Other than wild animals and a few cats, the animals there are also all male.

In Japan, when a train leaves the station at the wrong time, the rail company apologizes.

A train in Tokyo that might be running late

Back in 2018, a train in Japan left the station a full 25 seconds early, which probably sounds like nothing out of the ordinary to most people worldwide.

The train operator admitted his mistake, exclaiming, “the great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable.”

 Japanese trains are known for their punctuality, so there were actually a few passengers who missed their train that day!

A chimpanzee was once ranked as the 22nd most successful money manager in the US.

A Chimp that once ruled Wall Street

In 2009 Raven the chimpanzee was listed in the Guinness World Records book as the most successful chimpanzee on Wall Street.

Raven chose her stocks by throwing darts at a board with 133 different internet companies listed on it and achieved a 233% gain in 1999.

She was so good that she performed better than 6,000 professional Wall Street brokers!

Bill and Melinda Gates have given away more than $45 billion since 1994.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates alone has ranked among the world’s richest for decades now, amassing much of his vast fortune from Microsoft, which he co-founded.

Bill and Melinda Gates founded the “Giving Pledge” in 2010 to encourage other wealthy people like themselves to donate much of their wealth either during their lifetimes or afterward.

Despite giving so much away, Bill Gates is still worth over $110 billion.

There’s a soviet version of The Lord of the Rings, and it’s downright woeful.

Khraniteli the Soviet version of Lord of the Rings

Titled Khraniteli (The Keepers) followed the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in JRR Tolkien’s legendary trilogy.

It was released straight to TV in 1991, and much like the Soviet Union as a whole, it ended up being a complete and utter catastrophe.

While the characters and plot may be recognizable to those that dare to watch Khraniteli, the special effects (if you can call them that!) are so lacking that it ruins the point of producing it in the first place.

Koalas may be cute, but they’re incredibly dumb.

A Koala bear smiling

No, really, they have one of the smallest brains out of all mammals, and that’s in proportion to their body weight too!

Their restrictive diet of non-nutritious eucalyptus leaves may be the cause, as this diet couldn’t possibly sustain a larger brain.

To give you an idea of how clueless they are, when a koala is presented with a branch with leaves and a pile of leaves on a plate, they will eat the leaves on the branch as they cannot recognize those on the plate as food.

Psy didn’t want to upload Gangnam Style to YouTube because he didn’t want to be humiliated.

Pay dancing in a suit wearing sunglasses

The Korean pop superstar didn’t even really know much about YouTube when his friends recommended uploading his music video.

Psy felt he would be humiliated with low views because he wasn’t very well known internationally.

He couldn’t have been more wrong, though, as Gangnam Style became the first music video to reach 1 billion views on YouTube!

There’s a pub in Ireland that’s been running for more than 1,100 years!

Sean's Bar in Ireland

Sean’s Bar in Athlone in Ireland has been open for business since about 900 AD, with records of every owner of the pub since its founding.

While surprising at first, it makes sense that it has stood the test of time.

Sean’s Bar is in the middle of a town that’s pretty much smack-bang in the center of Ireland.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs thought he didn’t have body odor.

Steve Jobs presenting an iPhone

Steve Jobs, genius as he was, had some interesting beliefs.

For example, he was vegetarian and flirted with being a vegan and a fruitarian at various points for much of his life.

He believed that his vegan diet prevented any form of body odor – something that his co-workers were quick to disagree with!

The 2007 video game Halo 3 was so popular that film executives blamed its creators for a drop in cinema attendance the week it was released.

A soldier on Halo 3

When it was released, the game was so popular that it broke previous sales records, raking in an incredible $170 million in the first day alone.

The weekend the game was released, box office numbers were down 27%, something which Microsoft wasn’t even surprised about.

Microsoft advertised the game similarly to a movie, targeting the same demographic (18-34) that frequent cinemas the most.

Platypuses are so weird that when scientists first discovered them, they thought it was a hoax.

A platypus swimming in water

Platypuses have obviously been well known for thousands of years by Indigenous Australians, but when British scholars first encountered them, they were extremely puzzled.

The confusion came down to the fact that while clearly being mammals, these bizarre creatures lay eggs, have a duckbill, a beaver’s tail, feet like an otter’s, and the males are even venomous!

McDonald’s in the United Kingdom run half their delivery fleet on used cooking oil.

A McDonald's sign

Nearly all McDonald’s restaurants in the UK recycle their used cooking oil, which is processed into biodiesel.

The delivery trucks have been adjusted to make them able to use both biodiesel and conventional mineral diesel.

Studies have found that nine out of ten people experience phantom phone vibrations.

Someone pulling their phone out their pocket thinking it was vibrating

It’s suggested that when we keep our phones in our pockets regularly, they become almost like an extension of ourselves. This is similar to wearing glasses for extended periods of time.

When we experience any kind of muscle spasm, a shift in clothing, or any other form of vibration, we instantly assume that it is our phone.

This is believed to be because we are much more high-strung these days and are always on the alert, so we don’t miss important texts or notifications.

Reindeer in the Arctic can see the world in ultraviolet light.

Two reindeers

While we cannot see ultraviolet (UV) light, reindeer seem to have developed this ability after moving to the arctic.

They likely evolved this ability to assist them in a world that would otherwise be very bright and white.

Under UV light, both food and predators stand out much more against the harsh snowy background.

Arizona fines drivers under their unique “Stupid Motorist Law.”

Someone driving in Arizona

This law addresses something which Arizona is all too familiar with – flash floods and stupid drivers.

When a section of an Arizona road is flooded, barriers are put up to prevent drivers from attempting to go any further.

If you cross these barriers and need to get rescued, you will be fined under the Stupid Motorist Law to reimburse the cost of your rescue.

Chris Pratt stole his costume from the set of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy

Pratt pinched the costume in the hopes that the film would be successful.

He didn’t steal it for any nefarious purposes but a delightfully noble one.

The lovably goofy movie star simply hoped to cheer up sick kids in hospitals by wearing the iconic costume.

When London taxi drivers tried to protest against Uber, they drove more customers towards their competitor.

Lots of London black cabs

In 2014 as many as 10,000 London black cab drivers took to the streets and blockaded much of the city to protest against Uber.

The drivers claimed not to be protesting against having competition.

They protested because Uber drivers didn’t have to go through the 4-7 years of training a black cab driver must go through.

In the end, Uber stated that the protest annoyed Londoners so much that, on the day of the strike, the Uber app was downloaded 850% more than normal.

The Internet has its very own patron saint.

St Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville may not seem at first to be the best patron saint of the internet, considering he lived all the way back in the 7th Century.

While he certainly lived well before the Internet was invented, he shared many values with it.

He tried to record all the knowledge he could get his hands on during his life, which really isn’t that far from what the internet is – a great big collection of knowledge!

Roundabouts have been proven to reduce dangerous traffic incidents significantly.

A busy city roundabout glowing in the dark

This is because they greatly lower the speed at which drivers go.

They have also been found to improve traffic conditions compared to intersections with traffic lights significantly.

They’re also much more versatile, as the wide range of roundabout designs can be adapted to fit many more traffic conditions.

The FBI had a 1,427-page file on Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein

When Albert Einstein moved from Germany to the US in 1933, he was already an internationally renowned physicist.

One year before that, the FBI began keeping tabs on him because he was outspoken against various social issues, such as nationalism and racism.

Later, Einstein took a stand particularly against the US’ nuclear ambitions, which led the head of the FBI to become deeply suspicious of him and even label him as a communist.

J. R. R. Tolkien invented the languages of Middle Earth before he even thought to write stories in the fictional universe.

Tolkien's Middle Earth landscape

Tolkien was without a doubt a natural polyglot, learning more than 35 languages over the course of his life.

When he was a teenager, he invented his first language, which would inspire the 20 or so languages he ultimately created for Middle Earth.

Once he began inventing the languages, he realized that he needed people to speak them, and it was only from this point that he thought to write The Lord of the Rings and his other works.

There’s a species of wolf that lives almost exclusively off seafood.

A Vancouver Island Wolf looking at the photographer

Found on the coast of Vancouver Island, these sea wolves are truly unique in their hunting practices.

Unsurprisingly, they have adapted to become excellent swimmers, which allows them to access food other wolves wouldn’t normally attempt to catch.

Salmon constitute up to a quarter of their diet, with various shellfish, seals, bird’s eggs, and even whale carcasses making up the rest.

One of Fleetwood Mac’s founding guitarists disappeared just before a show and was found days later as a newly initiated cult member.

The guys from Fleetwood Mac

Jeremy Spencer was with Fleetwood Mac from the very beginning, but during a tour to the US in the 70’s he became quite disillusioned with his career and life in general.

He met members of Children of God, a religious cult in California, and decided to join them instead of continuing on the road to stardom.

Jeremy Spencer is still affiliated with the cult, now known as Family International.

Seven out of ten US youths would fail to qualify for military service.

Someone failing getting into the US military

While many of them fail because of health reasons such as obesity, many others are disqualified because of poor education.

Others fail because of prescription medication they take or lifestyle choices such as tattoos or certain piercings.

It’s estimated that only one percent of US youths are eligible to join the military and are actually interested in doing so.

The moon has its own Catholic bishop.

A Catholic statue with the moon behind

You read that right; the Catholic church really does claim the moon to be a part of their religious jurisdiction and has done so since man first landed on the moon.

This is due to a Catholic law that states that any newly discovered territory falls under the jurisdiction of the bishop from whence the expedition departed.

Because Apollo 11 was launched from the jurisdiction of Bishop William Donald Borders in Orlando, Florida, he became the bishop of the moon.

The actor who played Scotty from Star Trek was given an honorary degree at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Scotty from Star Trek

The original series only ran for three years, from 1966 to 1969, but it has since inspired generations and led to countless spin-offs.

Scotty, who the late James Montgomery Doohan played, was the lead engineer aboard the fictional USS Enterprise spaceship.

When the Milwaukee School of Engineering discovered that more than half of its students were inspired to take up engineering because of Scotty, they awarded Doohan with an honorary engineering doctorate.

It turns out that most people don’t procrastinate because of laziness.

A guy procrastinating from his work

Instead, many factors have been found to cause this crippling condition, such as task aversion, perfectionism, fear of failure, and overall anxiety issues.

Other key factors that influence how much we procrastinate come down to the goals we set for ourselves and how concrete or abstract they are.

The key to combating procrastination is identifying the specific factors that cause it and combating them individually.

The Pentagon has twice the number of bathrooms it needs.

The Pentagon from the sky

The US Department of Defense’s headquarters was constructed during the time of racial segregation, and as such, an extra set of facilities were created for African American employees.

In 1941, before the Pentagon’s construction was complete, President Theodore Roosevelt prohibited racial segregation within federal organizations.

Not only did the Pentagon end up with twice as many bathrooms as necessary, but twice as many cafeterias too!

The United States of America’s longest-standing unbroken treaty is with Morocco.

The USA and Morocco flags

It began with the Sultan of Morocco, who officially opened the nation’s ports to the US in 1777. This made Morocco one of the first nations to recognize the US as a country.

By 1786, the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship was drafted and signed by the Sultan of Morocco and Thomas Jefferson.

As many as 80% of Hong Kong’s toilets are flushed with seawater.

Hong Kong skyline

In the 1950s, Hong Kong found the perfect solution to an overall lack of freshwater and installed a separate water distribution and waste-water management system.

This system has since been installed in many coastal communities such as the Marshall Islands.

Not only does it save precious drinking water, but it’s also even been found to be better for marine ecosystems!

Abercrombie & Fitch once offered the cast of Jersey Shore significant amounts of money to stop wearing their clothes.

Jersey Shore stars

The American retailer feared that the association between the questionable reality TV series and their clothes would hurt their image overall.

Ironically, the clothing brand’s stock value dropped by 9% on the first day of trading after the offer was sent to the cast of Jersey Shore, but this is said to have merely been a coincidence.

The inventor of the USB originally designed it to be plugged in either way up.

Someone holding up both ends of a USB cable

One of the most frustrating things to do with technology has got to be the fact that, try as hard as you will; whenever you go to plug a USB in, it’s the wrong way up.

The original design would have been much better but ended up being canned as it would have cost twice the price to make it flippable.

The inventor of the USB has since agreed that they made the mistake of not going ahead with the original idea.

Barbara Bush, George Bush Snr’s wife, once called The Simpsons the “dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.”

A photograph of Barbara Bush

The former First Lady seemed to be completely against the show and didn’t hold back when quizzed on the topic in 1990.

Soon after this, she received a letter “penned” by Marge Simpson, which pleaded with Bush to reconsider her opinion and find a way out of the controversy.

Barbara Bush actually wrote back to Marge, apologizing for her loose tongue, and even went on to call Homer Simpson handsome!

Stan Lee created the character for Iron Man as a challenge.

Iron Man flying in the sky

Stan Lee had been playing around with the idea of a businessman superhero for a while and finally bit the bullet in 1963 when he came up with the concept for Iron Man.

Marvel’s readers at the time were very much against war, so he thought it would be a unique challenge to create a character who fans would originally hate but come to love – and it worked!

Three towns in Scotland, Australia, and the US are united by how boring they are.

The welcome sign for Dull in Scotland

The towns themselves probably aren’t actually that boring, really, but their names sure are.

Dull, Scotland; Boring, Oregon; and Bland, Australia teamed up back in 2014 to get a much-needed tourism boost by creating the tongue-in-cheek League of Extraordinary Communities.

It wasn’t long before the three towns’ union gained a new nickname – the Trinity of Tedium.

A town in Antarctica forces would-be residents to have their appendices removed.

The little town of Villas Las Estrella's in Antarctica

Villas Las Estrellas lies on King George Island, one of Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands.

The island itself has a rotating population of around 100 or so people, primarily made up of researchers and various military personnel.

Because the island is so remote and the medical facilities there so small, anyone who wishes to live there must get their appendix taken out to ensure it doesn’t become a problem down the line.

The person who proved the existence of radio waves thought they were completely pointless.

Radio waves

Between 1886 and 1889, Heinrich Hertz did a series of intricate tests that proved the existence of a previously theoretical form of wave – electromagnetic waves.

When asked about the practical uses, he responded, “It’s of no use whatsoever[…] this is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right—we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the naked eye. But they are there.

Hertz’s name is now used to indicate the various degrees of electromagnetic frequency despite calling them pointless.

In their sales pitch, the inventors of silly string sprayed their interviewer with an entire can.

Someone being squirted with silly string

The inventors were attempting to pitch to the children’s toy giant Wham-O, but the interview went south when they emptied the can of silly string all over the interviewer.

The Wham-O representative got incredibly upset and promptly asked the inventors to leave the building.

The next day, they received a telegram from Wham-O to send over 24 cans of the stuff for market testing.

Michael Jackson once had an entire supermarket closed so he could shop “like a normal person.”

Michael Jackson in a black top hat

Being famous from a very young age, Michael Jackson was never able to do many completely normal (and rather tediously boring) day-to-day activities.

When he mentioned that it was his dream to go shopping and put things in a basket, one of his friends shut down his store for a day and filled it with Jackson’s friends and family posing as employees.

The superstar donned a single latex glove and went about his business up and down the supermarket’s aisles, later likening it to a trip to Disneyland.

Charles Dickens’ novels were so popular in his day that poor people who couldn’t read would collectively pay someone to read his stories out loud.

Charles Dickens sitting at an office table

Charles Dickens was undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest novelists, at least in the Victorian era.

While his works filled the shelves of aristocrats’ libraries worldwide, one of his greatest feats was his ability to reach out and inspire all classes of society.

Masses of impoverished and illiterate fans would each pay a halfpenny (£0.25/$0.35 today) to have each of his monthly updates read out to them.

Research has found that people who swear tend to be more honest.

A girl cussing

While society rejects those who utilize profanity on a general level, many people still swear worse than sailors if given the opportunity.

A researcher from Stanford University was inquisitive about the connection between swearing and expressing one’s true feelings.

Eventually, he concluded that there was a direct link between those who swear to their heart’s content and those who are generally more honest.

The quietest place on earth is in Minnesota.

The Anechoic Chambers are the quietest place in the world

Pretty much wherever you go in the world, there’s always going to be some sort of background noise, whether that’s the chirp of crickets or the slow, lazy whoosh of a gentle breeze.

That’s the case everywhere except Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where something called an anechoic chamber lies.

While the background noise in a tranquil bedroom measures somewhere around 30 decibels, Orfield Laboratories anechoic chamber recorded an average of -13 decibels – that’s so quiet that the inner workings of your body are clearly audible.

A wall of trees is being planted across Africa to help prevent desertification.

Green trees lined up in the Sahara Desert

The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel is Africa’s leading attempt to help mitigate the effects of desertification.

The initiative also aims to transform the lives of millions of people living along the edge of the Sahara Desert.

Unsurprisingly, planting trees at the edge of a desert is difficult.

Despite having planted more than 5.5 billion seedlings in Ethiopia alone, only four percent of the project had been completed by the end of 2020.

71% of people in Iceland have a Costco membership.

A Costco store in Iceland

With just under 357,000 people, Iceland is far from being an overly-populated country.

That means that there are around 253,000 Icelanders with access to the members-only wholesale retailer.

While this is far less than the number of members in the US, there’s only one Costco store in the entire country!

Sloths don’t fall out of trees when they sleep because of how their claws evolved.

A sloth happily hanging from a tree

Fortunately for many a sleeping sloth, their claws evolved quite the opposite to how ours did.

While our hands are naturally open, and it takes force to clench them, this isn’t the case for sloths.

Instead, their claws’ “relaxed” position is a tight grip, and it takes quite a lot of force for them to unclench their claws.

All those scam emails you get from Nigerian Princes have purposefully bad grammar.

A gullible woman reading an email from Prince Charming of Nigeria

At this point, it’s almost certain that every person in the world has received one of these emails, including actual Nigerian royalty.

It turns out that there’s a good reason these scams are littered with mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

This essentially filters out those who are less gullible and simply ignore the emails, while those more likely to be defrauded will ignore the typos and reply!

M&Ms were exclusively sold to the US military during World War II.

M&M's - Lots of them!

When they were first produced in 1941, they came in cardboard tubes, and the colors were violet, green, yellow, orange, red, and brown.

By the time the US entered WWII, M&Ms had grown big enough to score a contract exclusively producing the conveniently easy-to-transport chocolate for the military.

Following the war, M&Ms were wildly popular, as they were the best part of the day for many soldiers in the trenches.

8th-grade students from a town in Alaska must spend two nights on an uninhabited island as part of their science exam.

A school in Alaska sends children to a remote island to learn survival skills

The tradition began forty-six years ago when a school teacher in Ketchikan, Alaska, made it his goal to educate the town’s youth on how to really survive in the harsh climate of Alaska.

He also just wanted kids to have more fun at school, as there wasn’t much fun going around back in his schooling days.

Despite not being mandatory, most of the town’s grade eights eagerly make the trip each year.

The 1927 Liberian general election was the most rigged election in world history.

An old black and white photo from the most rigged election in history

People are quick to claim an election was rigged when their ideal candidate isn’t chosen, but the people of Liberia had something to complain about back in 1927 genuinely.

While there were only 15,000 registered voters, Charles King of the True Whig Party somehow managed to rake in 243,000 votes! 

Despite the results being clearly falsified, the True Whig Party still won the election.

Government vehicles in Cuba are legally required to pick up hitchhikers.

A backpacker waiting for a ride

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba went through a period of severe economic hardship called the “Special Period,” and the majority of the country’s vehicles came to a standstill.

Unable to take public transport because there wasn’t enough oil or parts to maintain the buses, citizens resorted to hitchhiking.

Times got so difficult that the government forced all of their vehicles with free space to pick up any hitchhikers, typically found at designated pick-up points.

Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone let his fans vote on what he should change his middle name to.

Macauley Culkin looking surprised

The famous child star has faded away a little into obscurity these days, but he’s still managing to stay relevant.

In November 2018, he asked the world to give him a new middle name, as his name was “something dumb.”

Out of a wide range of ridiculous finalists, he ended up changing his middle to his full name and is now officially known as Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin!

The more money people spend on their weddings, the more likely they are to get divorced.

A couple placing rings on each others fingers at their wedding

Maybe it’s time to ditch those plans of a fairytale wedding.

It’s not just how much you spend on your wedding, but the engagement and wedding ring too, with bigger spenders finding themselves more likely to be looking for love again sooner than more frugal fiancés.

Instead of splashing out on your wedding, it’s better to go all out on the trip of a lifetime!

Spiders move their legs using biological hydraulics.

A spider with big legs and eyes

Their blood powers the hydraulic systems in their legs; they’re able to increase and decrease the pressure in individual legs to move them.

In fact, they can increase the pressure in their legs up to eight times their resting blood pressure, allowing them to jump at least 50 times their own height!

The only muscles that spiders have in their legs are in their three hip joints.

Kim Il Sung loved Hennessy cognac so much he bought more than $800,000 of it per year!

A picture of Kim Il Sung

The vast majority of people in North Korea live rather impoverished lives, and this has been the case under multiple generations of the ruling dynasties now.

High-ranking officials and North Korea’s leaders live very different lives, spoiling themselves lavishly and allowing themselves access to otherwise forbidden imported goods.

For example, Kim Il Sung was so crazy about Hennessy that he was the cognac company’s number one customer for a few years in the 1990s.

Zebras are actually black with white stripes.

Three Zebras

There are three different species of zebras, which can be found in Africa’s southern and eastern regions.

Their overall coat of hair is dark in color, broken up with stripes of white, unpigmented hair.

We’re still unsure why they have stripes, but scientists suggest it may be some form of protection against predators.

Every year 22,000 tons of dust is blown from the Sahara Desert all the way to the Amazon Rainforest.

A map of earth showing sand sweeping across the seas from the Sahara to the Amazon Rainforest

Long, long ago, the Sahara Desert used to be a lake, and the dust and sand left behind are actually rich in phosphorous.

This is quite fortunate, as this phosphorous-rich dust is carried through the skies to the Amazon rainforest, which is surprisingly in need of fertilizer.

The rainforest loses just about as much phosphorous as it gains because it all gets washed away through streams, creeks, and the Amazon River.

The longest train journey in the world is in Russia.

A train travelling along the trans Siberian rail network

This should come as no real surprise, considering the absolute enormity that is Russia.

The 5,778 miles (9,300 km) long Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow all the way to Vladivostok in the country’s far east.

If you combine the length of the Trans-Siberian with all the other railway lines in the country, it would be able to circumnavigate the world twice!

The world’s first Guinness world record for push-ups was 6,006.

Someone doing lots of push-ups

Charles Linster took home the first Guinness World Record in this category when he completed all 6,006 push-ups non-stop back in 1965.

There are plenty of different record categories for push-ups these days, ranging from the most completed in one hour (2,806) to the most consecutive one-finger push-ups (124).

Antarctica isn’t owned by any single nation.

Antarctica landscape of snowy mountains and icebergs

Instead, the continent is governed by many of the world’s countries through the Antarctic Treaty.

The first signatories of the treaty were the seven nations that had some form of territorial claim to Antarctica: The UK, Norway, New Zealand, France, Chile, Argentina, and Australia.

In the 18th Century, the doctor to the Danish King seized control of Denmark.

A portrait painting of King Christian VII of Denmark

Johann Friedrich was the royal physician for King Christian VII of Denmark, who could not truly serve as king due to mental illnesses.

Friedrich soon realized the position of power he was in and declared himself the country’s de-facto regent.

During this time, he changed 1,069 laws, including abolishing torture, press censorship, slave trading in the Danish colonies, and reformed the nation’s universities, among many other things.

The author of the James Bond novels wrote the first book to take his mind off the fear of getting married.

Ian Fleming sitting at his writing desk

Ian Fleming was a bachelor of 44 years when he wrote Casino Royale in 1952, the first in a long series about the devilishly handsome British spy.

Many years later, Fleming wrote in his memoirs that he was so terrified at the concept of finally getting married that he wrote his first Bond novel.

Some authors doubt this dismissal, claiming he simply wrote it as a quick cash job, but it makes a hell of a good story!

The most popular car model in the world is the Toyota Hilux.

The Toyota Hilux

This rugged pickup truck is known around the world for its incredible versatility.

With that said, it should come as no surprise that half of the top-selling countries for Hiluxes are in Africa, where the true mettle of the cars is tested on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, four out of the top six car models worldwide are Toyotas – the other three are the Toyota Corolla, Rav4, and the Land Cruiser.

Panama hats aren’t originally from Panama but Ecuador!

Lots of Panama hats

These timelessly stylish hats have been known to the western world since at least the 1800s and have been seen atop the heads of many famous people ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to Brad Pitt.

They’re made from a type of palm called the Toquilla palm, a native Ecuadorian plant that is painstakingly woven together into the iconic shape.

Artisans were struggling to sell the hats in Ecuador, so they exported them to Panama – where they ironically gained their name instead of from the country of origin!

Frogs literally eat with their eyes!

Two green frogs eating a butterfly

If you get close and personal with a frog and watch it eat, you may come away wondering why it closes its eyes every time it swallows.

It’s not just that they really savor every bite, but it’s actually biological.

Frogs will close their eyes and then retract them down towards their throat, which helps push food down towards their stomach!

Recorders actually used to be a popular instrument.

A kid playing the recorder wind instrument

Many people around the world will fondly recall the moment in their early schooling years when they no longer had to screech out a horrifying rendition of Three Blind Mice or something along those lines on a recorder.

This seemingly useless musical instrument, while shunned today, was all the rage back in the Baroque period of the early 1700s.

It was so quiet that it was eventually replaced with the significantly louder flute so that the rest of the orchestra wouldn’t drown it out.

Stripey things like escalators and Venetian blinds can cause migraines.

Venetian blinds that give you a headache just looking at them!

It turns out that our brains are simply unable to process incredibly uniform stripes, particularly vertical stripes.

They increase something in our brains called gamma oscillations, which is one of the leading causes of migraines and even seizures.

We’re not sure why, but it’s only artificial stripes that set us off, while the irregular stripes of a zebra are easy on the eyes.

The US army has its own private herd of bison.

Lots of bison of different ages

Unfortunately, it’s not part of some sort of secret plan to create a mounted bison regiment.

Instead, the US army base of Camp Pendleton in California was gifted the bison back in the 70s.

The San Diego Zoo entrusted the bison to the base for safekeeping, and they’ve done such a great job at it that the herd had grown from 14 to 90 or so!

The herd is constantly monitored, not just to ensure they’re in good health but also because they’re quite dangerous wild animals!

 

What makes a fact something that someone should know, other than the fact that the fact is a fact and therefore is worth knowing?

If you manage to come up with an answer to this soon-to-be age-old question, please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you enjoyed this delightfully entertaining list of facts and hope that you come away from this not just entertained but informed!

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