Do you know dogs actually do see in color and not black and white? Or how about the fact that your skin is your largest organ? And you probably didn’t know that it would take only one hour if you were to drive up to space. And there’s a lot more where those came from.
There are a few reasons why knowing random facts is a good thing to do. For one, it means you’re broadening your span of knowledge. Learning new things can also help ward off Alzheimer’s disease, by the way. And another reason is to be more of an interesting to talk to! So whether you want to learn something new, have something to tell people at your next party, or whether you just stumbled upon this page. We promise, you’re going to leave this a little bit smarter than when you came in.
Humans Are as Hairy as Chimps Are
Believe it or not, we humans have the same follicles and number of hairs on our bodies as chimps do. The only difference is that our hair has thinned out through evolution.
Avalon/UIG via Getty Images
Our hair is just finer. Scientists don’t know exactly why our hair has grown finer, though. The assumption is that it allowed us to sweat more easily, or it made it difficult for parasites to make our bodies their home.
Dr. Seuss’s Most Famous Book Is the Result of a Bet
The founder of Random House Publishing, Bennett Cerf made a bet with Theo Geisel (who we all know as Dr. Seuss) that he couldn’t write an entertaining children’s book with less than 50 words.
So he came up with “Green Eggs and Ham” – one of the most popular children’s books ever written in history. After Dr. Seuss saw how useful and successful his 50-word books were for children, he wrote more.
The next fact might change how you celebrate on July 4th.
July 4th Isn’t the Correct American Independence Day
Although the country’s independence is celebrated on July 4th year after year, you might be surprised to hear that it was actually on July 2nd that the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to approve a resolution of independence.
Liao Pan/China News Service/VCG
July 4th is when the Congress adopted the official Declaration of Independence but most didn’t even sign until August.
Goosebumps and Chills Have an Evolutionary Purpose
Chills happen when tiny muscles around the base of each hair follicle tense and erect the body hair. Thousands of years ago, human hair was a lot thicker, kind of like fur. And getting the chills would fluff up the fur, giving the body more insulation.
As for goosebumps, they’re more of a defense mechanism. It’s a process similar to how mammals bulk up their fur when threatened so that they look bigger and more intimidating to their predators.
Riiber Polaroids? They Weren’t Supposed to be Shaken
The Polaroid first came out in the 1940s, and the instant-film had no coating, so people had to literally coat the with a liquid iulsifier and let it dry. The photo would stay wet for 15 minutes. And the easiest way to get it to dry was with a quick shake.
The shaking became a “thing” that people did, kind of like how cigarette smokers tap their smokes on the top of a package. Well, in 2004, Polaroid issued a statient in (after Outkast’s single “Hey Ya” cried out to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” They stated that shaking the photos can actually damage thi, because it causes the sii-wet ink to blur before dries properly.
Do you like Haagen-Dazs ice cream? Here’s a fun fact…
Häagen-Dazs Has No Meaning in Any Language
The ice cream company was founded in 1961 by Rose and Reuben Mattus, two Polish Jewish-Americans from the Bronx. They want a name that would evoke “old-world craftsmanship,” and ended up choosing a name that honors Denmark, a country that helped the Jews in WWII.
Thomas Cooper/Getty Images
But they didn’t realize that the Danish language doesn’t even use a with an umlaut (ä) in any of its spelling, and the “-zs” ending isn’t Danish. It’s actually Hungarian.
Walmart Greeters Were Brought in to Stop Shoplifters
You know those friendly greeters when you walk into a Walmart? Their original purpose was to deter shoplifters. In 1980, the manager of a Walmart in Louisiana wanted to reduce theft, so he hired a woman to stand by the entrance and greet people as they walked in.
He hoped it would intimidate potential shoplifters. When Sam Walton, the founder of the gigantic franchise, visited the Louisiana branch, he decided to institute it as company policy across every Walmart in the nation.
Do you know the story of Mary and Her Little Lamb? Now you will…
“Keep Calm and Carry On” is Repurposed Propaganda
You may see it on wall posters, t-shirts, and mugs, but the popular “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan was originally created by the British government as propaganda during World War II.
The idea was to riind citizens to stay civil while London endured frequent air raids from Germany. The poster was later discovered in the 2000s, and many companies used it as a slogan and marketing thie for their products.
Mary Had a Little Lamb is a True Story
We’ve all read “Mary Had A Little Lamb” either as kids or to our kids. But how many of us know the real story? Mary was a real girl named Mary Sawyer, an 11-year-old girl who lived in Boston, and one day her pet lamb followed here to school by.
It was the late 1860s, and she helped raise money for a church by selling wool from her lamb. It’s amazing how it became a household nursery rhyme.
Peter the Great Imposed a Beard Tax
Peter the Great was Russia’s revolutionary Czar in the late 17th century. He once declared an annual beard tax on citizens with facial hair.
Bettmann / Contributor/ Getty Images
If someone wanted to keep their facial beard or mustache, they had to pay for it. And after they made their deposit, they got a coin that said “tax paid.”
Did you know that Einstein could have been a president?
Albert Einstein Was Offered the Israeli Presidency
When the first Israeli president, Chaim Weizmann, died in 1952, the Foreign Ministry had to find candidates for his replacient. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Aba Eban, reached out to Albert Einstein.
Bettmann / Contributor/ Getty Images
Einstein admitted that he was “deeply moved” by the offer, but he didn’t accept it because he felt that he lacked the necessary experience.
Eat Your Cold Cuts Warm, Not Cold
Yes, cold cuts are eaten cold, unsurprisingly. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that seniors, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systis should avoid lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats if they’re not heated to at least 165º F.
That way, it kills the food-borne bug listeria monocytogenes. This bug actually infects 1,600 people and kills 260 in the US every year.
You might be surprised by what the US Navy uses to operate submarines. See the next fact.
The U.S. Navy Uses Xbox 360 Controllers
That’s right, the army uses Xbox 360 controllers when operating periscopes on submarines, instead of the previously used complex, helicopter-style control sticks. Why? Because they’re lighter, more intuitive, and easier to use.
Also, they’re a whole lot cheaper. They sell for $20, as opposed to the standard submarine controllers which cost $40,000. Switching to the Xbox controller reduced training time from hours to minutes.
New York City Has Its Own Species of Ant
An official scientific name hasn’t yet been determined, but “The ManhattAnt” is found only within a 14-block strip of New York City, and nowhere else in the world.
This ant is like a regular cornfield ant, but can’t be matched to any other known species of ant. Scientists think it evolved due to isolation within the concrete jungle that is New York City. It could also be because of an unhealthy diet.
The next fact will show you that humans aren’t the only beings that talk.
Plants “Talk” to Each Other
Plants communicate with each other underground, from mushrooms in the wild to corn seedlings in lab settings. What plants do is extend their roots outward toward each other to warn of a threat.
This “tests” the soil and supports growing plants. Younger seedlings receive carbon from older “donor” trees that helps thi grow.
The Beatles Were Turned Down Before Becoming the Biggest Band in the World
Before becoming the most successful band in history, The Beatles were turned down by a record company. Decca Records turned thi down after an audition on January 1st, 1962.
Turns out, producer Dick Rowe was unimpressed with the Fab Four. And only five months later, The Beatles were signed by George Martin at Parlophone. And you can say that the rest is history.
Are you at work right now? The next fact might make you clean your desk.
Your Desk Has Up to 400 Times More Germs than a Toilet
The average desktop has 20,961 germs per square inch, 3,295 on the keyboard, 1,676 on a mouse, and 25,127 on the phone. Yuck!
So, now that you know how germ-filled your work space is, maybe it’s a good idea to get out the disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Give your desk a good wipe down.
It Would Take You One Hour to Drive to Space
It may be impossible, but let’s just say that you could drive through the air with your car. If you were to drive straight up towards the sky, it would only take one hour to get to outer space.
Speaking of cars in space, Elon Musk attached his Tesla to a rocket that literally is orbiting space right now. The future, huh?
Next, a tidbit of information about a hugely popular poster you see just about everywhere.
The Great Wall of China was Held Together by Sticky Rice
Scientists at the University of China were researching the material of the Great Wall and were amazed to find out that there was a special ingredient added to the mixture of lime and water: sticky rice.
The sticky rice made the Great Wall filling the world’s first composite mortar, and it was the reason why the walls were able to withstand earthquakes.
Charlie Chaplin Lost a Look-Alike Competition
In 1975, which was only a few years before he passed away, Charlie Chaplin entered a look-alike contest in France. But ironically, he came in third.
There’s a theory as to why he didn’t win, and that it could be because he has blue eyes that weren’t seen in black and white, so the judges didn’t recognize him.
Do you know how people used to wake up for work? You’ll see…
Before Alarm Clocks, Humans Did the Job
There used to be a job called Knocker-Upper which originated in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. People needed to wake up and get to work, but alarm clocks were expensive and not easily accessible to the general population.
A knocker-upper would literally take a wooden stick and knock on the door to make sure you wake up. They would knock two to four time and go on their way. And if stairs weren’t accessible, some used pea-shooters to shoot dry peas at the windows of tenants on higher floors.
Humpty Dumpty Isn’t an Egg…
It’s unclear why Humpty Dumpty was considered an egg. If you look at the nursery lyrics, there’s no mention of an egg. Historians inferred that Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon used during the English Civil War of 1642–1649.
In 1648, the wall that Humpty was on was blown apart, and thus it fell. And because of its sheer size, none of the king’s horses and none of the king’s men were able to recover the cannon…again.
When You Were Born, You Had 50% More Bones Than You Have Now
Babies are born with 300 bones. Adults have 206. It’s not that your bones disappeared, they just fused together. The purpose of being born with more bones is that it’s significantly easier for the malleable baby to pass through the birth canal.
All those bones were separated by cartilage, which solidifies as you get older (up to age 20) in order to fuse bones together.
Do you think dogs see in black and white? Well, they don’t. You’ll see…
Dogs Do See In Color
We also thought that dogs see in black and white. But the truth is that they actually see in shades of yellow and green.
Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Humans (and primates) see three wavelengths of color: red, blue, and yellow. Dogs, however, only see yellow and blue. So anything that is a shade of red, dogs will only see green.
Listerine Used to be Sold as Floor Cleaner
In 1860, Louis Pasteur introduced the theory that billions of invisible things (we call thi germs) are responsible for the spread of disease and infection. Then in 1865, Dr. Lister was the first to perform surgery in a medical room sterilized by antiseptic that was pumped into the air. As a result, mortality rates from surgery declined. In 1867, Johnson & Johnson created a powerful antiseptic that they named after the doctor: Listerine.
Turns out, the general population didn’t care so much about the antiseptic trend. Johnson & Johnson tried to market the product other ways: a powerful floor cleaner, a cure for dandruff, and even a cure for gonorrhea. But none of thi succeeded. Once a marketing genius created hype over halitosis, Listerine finally struck gold.
Puma and Adidas Were Rivaling Brothers
Two huge clothing brands were made out of a sibling rivalry. Rudolph Dassler and Adolf (Adi) Dassler came back from WWI in 1924 and founded the Dassler Shoe Factory. Within four years, they became very popular when the 1928 Olympic athletes wore thi.
But in 1948, the brothers fought, and they went their own ways into their own companies. Rudolph started Puma (a German word for panther), and Adi started Adidas (a combination of his first and last names). In 2009, the CEOs of both companies—Herbet Heiner of Adidas and Jochen Zeitz of Puma—decided to end the historical rivalry and hosted a friendly soccer match.
Next, a rather frightening prediction that came true!
A Book About the Titanic Sinking Came Out Before It Actually Sank
Morgan Robertson wrote “The Wreck of the Titan” in 1898. The Titanic sank in 1912. His book was about a cruise ship named Titan that sinks in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland. That’s the exact spot where the Titanic sank, by the way.
The Titan had 2,500 passengers, and half of thi went down with the ship. With the Titanic, there were 2,200 passengers, and half of thi sank as well. Scary, huh?
Koala Fingerprints Are Indistinguishable From Those of Humans
If you had to guess, you would probably think that chimps and monkeys have the closest fingerprints to humans, but it’s actually koalas that do. Even under a microscope, the marsupials have fingerprints that are indistinguishable from humans.
Koalas aren’t even closely related to chimps. Their marsupial genus broke away from the primate genus 70 million years ago! Also, no other marsupials (kangaroos, wombats) have this fingerprint feature. Strange!
Wanna guess who was the first person to use Photoshop-like editing?
Stalin Was the First Person to Use Photoshop-Style Editing
Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union, used to doctor his photos to riove people he didn’t like. As a result, it would change history by changing actual story lines.
A bunch of people on Stalin’s payroll would scalpel, glue, paint, and airbrush photos at his request. And then all those years later, we do exactly what he did. Just with a program called Photoshop.
“Dudeism” Is a Religion
The philosophy ibraced by Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski of “taking it easy” and “no obligations” (from the movie The Big Lebowski) actually has its very own church. The Lebowski-inspired Church of the Latter-Day Dudes has ordained over 450,000 Dudeist priests worldwide.
Key art via IMDb
No this isn’t a joke. It even has an online University, “Dudeiversity,” where they offer free honorary degrees.
You might be surprised to know a little something about your hair. See the next fact!
Humans Grow 550-600 Miles of Hair in a Lifetime
And we’re just referring to the hair on your head! Humans will also each grow six feet of nose hair in a full lifetime. On average, you lose 60 to 100 strands of hair every day.
Hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body, with bone marrow as second-fastest. If you want to know why your hair is the texture it is, it’s because of the follicles it comes out of. Curly hair comes from oval follicles whereas straight hair comes from circular follicles.
Shark ibryos Eat Each Other in the Womb
Once tiger shark ibryos develop teeth, they attack and eat each other in the womb. There are up to 12 babies in the beginning, but only two will likely make it out alive.
Tiger shark babies are generally a lot bigger than babies of other shark species.
Do you know what chip bags are full of? And it’s not just chips…
Chip Bags Are Pumped With Nitrogen
You may think that chip bags have all that excess air to fool buyers into thinking there are more chips inside. But the real reason for that extra air is the nitrogen that the bags are filled with.
Instead of oxygen, which turn the chips rancid, nitrogen preserves the freshness of the chips. It also prevents combustion and creates the right amount of cushioning during shipping so the chips don’t get crushed.
Your Brain Is On Alert When Traveling
The term is “first night effect,” and it’s a by-product of evolution that keeps us on the ball when we’re traveling. It’s what happens when one side of your brain riains active to react to potential dangers in a new environment.
The left side of your brain stays more awake for the first night in an unfamiliar place. You’re basically sleeping with one eye open.
Do you know where fortune cookies are from? It’s not what you think.
Fortune Cookies Aren’t From China
Even though you only get fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants, they didn’t come from China. They were created in the 1900s in California, and they were based on Japanese senbei, which are rice crackers. They were first served in Hagiwara Japanese Tea Garden, in San Francisco, with small thank-you notes inside for customers.
At that time, David Jung and his brother-in-law, Lester Soo Hoo immigrated to Los Angeles. The two founded Hong Kong Noodle Company, and they would serve the same style cookies with inspiring scriptures inside. In Japan, omikuji-senbei (rice crackers with fortunes inside) have been a delicacy since the 1800s.
A Nail Polish Company Once Sold Teeth
A dental company in the 1980s, Odontorium Products, Inc., supplied dental acrylics to make fake teeth. This was during the era of long and colorful nails. Nail technology companies would start using dental acrylics illegally to make acrylic nails.
Odontorium Products, Inc. ended up developing a nail-friendly acrylic that could be used and distributed legally in the beauty industry. Eventually, they closed the dental side of the business and became entirely focused on nail products.
Harrod’s Was the First to Sell Toilet Paper
Toilet “wipes” were invented in London in 1857. The Bronco brand had wipes that were tough on one side and shiny on the other. They were hardly soft and not absorbent at all.
Only in 1936 did toilet paper as we know it hit the shelves. It was marketed as facial tissue, and only sold in the men’s department of Harrod’s, the luxury department store. A couple of years later, the tissues were made into rolls that were softer than Bronco’s product.
Wanna guess how much the Nike logo cost the company? See the next page.
The Nike Logo Design Cost a Mere $35
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, was a teacher at Portland State University. In 1971, he paid graphic design student Caroline Davidson $35 (which would be more like $221 in today’s economy) to create a logo for Nike.
John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images
She came up with Nike’s unmistakable swoosh logo. At the time, the company was Knight’s side business and it was called Blue Ribbon Sports. But as Nike grew, he made it up to Davidson. She worked with Nike until 1975, and was also gifted 500 shares in the company.
“Jaywalking” Is Slang
In the early 1900s, “Jay” used to be slang for “foolish person.” When someone ignored street signs, he was referred to as a “jaywalker.”
The term was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune in 1909, the New York Times in 1915, and Harper’s in 1917. They all referred to how dangerous and idiotic it is to cross the street at a random point instead of at a crosswalk.
Next, something cute and true about Minnie and Mickey Mouse!
Minnie and Mickey Were Real Life Partners
Russi Taylor was the voice of Minnie in 1986, while Wayne Allwine had been doing the voice of Mickey since 1977. The two met each other in the hallway of Disney Studios, but they were both married to other people at the time.
Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images
They became very good friends, and eventually in 1991, Wayne married Russi. The couple stayed happily married until he passed away.
Lyme Disease Is Named After a Place
It was in Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s when the disease first gained attention. Children and adults were reporting strange conditions: rashes, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, paralysis, and more.
Doctors gave up trying to figure it out, and two mothers were responsible for doing the research. They couldn’t figure out the cause of the disease but they did give it its name. Later in 1981, a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer identified a connection between ticks and the disease.
There’s a Natural Lake that it Actually the Color of Pepto Bismol
Lake Hillier, in Australia, is a place you need to see with your own eyes. The lake is naturally bright pink and to this day, baffles scientists.
They believe that it has something to do with the algae in it, which produces carotenoids – the same thing that makes carrots their bright orange color. The lake is safe to touch, but you’re not allowed to swim in it.
Duffle Bags are Named After a Town
The duffle bag originated in the town of Duffel, Belgium, where the cloth used in the bags was sold. The fabric was a thick woolen cloth that was used for covering ships.
It’s believed that the bags were made out of scraps for sailors and explorers on their way out to sea.
Ever use bug spray? Here’s a fun fact…
Bug Spray Doesn’t Repel Mosquitos
The smell doesn’t repel mosquitos. What DEET does is mask what you smell like to the mosquito. It creates a barrier on your skin that inhibits the mosquito’s antennae from detecting the lactic acid and carbon dioxide which is what they’re attracted to when they bite you.
By the way, just as a tip: your bug spray should always go on after sunscreen.
Chuck E. Cheese and Atari Were Both Invented by the Same Man
Nolan Bushnell, the inventor of Atari, admired what Walt Disney did with his thie parks by creating place for families to have fun. He a place to have arcade games and make it a family experience, along with a place to eat.
Photo by Adolph/ullstein bild via Getty Images
And thus, Chuck E. Cheese Pizza-Time Theaters was born.
Next, a strange but true fact about killer whales.
Killer Whales are Really Dolphins
Orcas were given the name “killer whale” by ancient sailors when they witnessed groups of orcas hunting and preying on larger whale species. The whales we know of eat plankton, krill, and smaller fish.
Orca “killer whales” are actually dolphins and they prey on sea lions, large fish, and even seabirds.
Cheetahs Sound like House Cats
Cheetahs, despite being beautiful beasts in the wild, don’t roar. They can’t. They meow just like normal house cats.
Only four of the “big cats” roar: lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars. It’s because they have a ligament in their voice box is able to stretch out to create a wider pitch range.
Some Dolphins Are Used in the Military
We all know that dogs assist in the armed forces. But the United States Army has been training bottlenose dolphins to carry out military tasks since 1960. They perform stunts such as locating underwater mines to flagging the presence of eniy swimmers.
However America isn’t the first to do so. The Russian Navy was able to train dolphins to attack eniies and sense sonar.
You Have a Floating Bone in Your Body
The Hyoid bone is located in your throat and it’s the only bone in your body that’s not attached to any other bones. It stays in place due to your thyroid cartilage, underneath the tonsils.
There you go, folks. Whichever facts you found most interesting are going to be stored somewhere in your brain for you to use thi whenever you want to impress someone. You’re welcome.