Random Fun Facts That Will Amaze You - Part 2
There are so many amazing and interesting facts you won't believe are true. Coming up are some of the most incredible facts in the world.Knowledge
In the digital age, there’s a goldmine of talk-worthy trivia and mind-blowing knowledge just a few clicks away. Few people have the luxury of full-time internet surfing, but that’s where we come in. Buckle up for another installment of incredible facts you never knew you needed.
There Are More Fake Flamingos In The World Than Real Ones
Those garish plastic garden ornaments became a beloved staple of trash culture and you might even have one in your front yard, especially if you live in Florida. America’s answer to the garden gnome was first designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone and mass-produced by Union Products.
The Featherstone Flamingo came dangerously close to extinction in 2006 when Union Products went out of business, but Faster-Form Corporations purchased the copyright molds to resume production. Nowadays there are around 2 million walking, squawking flamingos in the wild, but their kitschy, plastic cousins outnumber them by the millions.
A ‘Dancing Plague’ Killed Dozens of People in 16th-Century France
It’s July 1518. A woman named Frau Troffea has started dancing in the streets of Strasbourg in Alsace, France. Nobody knows why, but she dances constantly all day and night. Within a week, 34 others have started dancing too. There’s no music, and things are getting weird. By August, 400 people are now dancing feverishly.
This can only mean one thing: A so-called ‘Dancing Plague’. Authorities are at a loss. Local physicians announce that the plague is a ‘natural disease’ caused by ‘hot blood’, and they prescribe one thing: more dancing! To accommodate the growing number of dancers, two guild halls, an open-air grain market, and even a wooden stage with paid musicians are erected for continuous dancing.
Unsurprisingly, this strategy was a total disaster. As the ‘contagion’ worsened it was reported that 15 people a day were dying from heat exhaustion, strokes, and even heart attacks. To this day, no one knows why dozens of people danced to their deaths.
A Man Once Ate An Entire Airplane
Everyone has guilty pleasures when it comes to food: fries with ice cream, pickles by the dozen, or an entire Cessna 150 Airplane. That might sound crazy, but it was a mere snack for Michel Lotito or ‘Mr. Eat-All’, who ate that very aircraft in 1978 seats included. He started in 1978, but it actually took Lotito two years to gobble the plane, so he wasn’t really finished until 1980.
That wasn’t the only unconventional snack he ate either; his other conquests include 18 bicycles, 7 TV sets, 2 beds, 15 supermarket trolleys, a computer, an entire coffin (dead person not included), a pair of skis, and 6 chandeliers.
Lotito’s taste for the inedible began when he was 9 years old when a glass he was drinking shattered and he started chewing the fragments. This behavior surprisingly wasn’t discouraged by doctors, who determined that he just had a super-thick stomach lining and resilient digestive system.
His technique involved breaking objects down into smaller digestible pieces and downing them with mineral oil to keep his throat lubricated. Surprisingly Lotito died of all-natural causes in 2007, but I’d still lay off eating the furniture if I were you.
A ‘Buttload’ Is An Actual Unit Of Measurement
Ever heard someone say they drank a buttload of beer last night? If that was really true, they wouldn’t have lived to tell the tale. A “butt” is quite a stupendous amount in the alcohol industry. It’s a pretty old term nowadays, but the measurement refers to a casket or barrel traditionally used to store whiskey or wine.
Two full barrels, also known as ‘hogsheads’, generally equal one “butt” and two heads make a full butt; it’s really that stupid. The capacity of a hogshead depends on its contents, but in the US it’s generally 63 gallons, which means a buttload would be around 126 gallons. If two glasses of wine are enough to have you seeing double, you should probably steer clear of ordering a buttload next time you hit the bar.
Boston Once Experienced a ‘Toffee Apple Tsunami’
On Wednesday 15th January 1919, residents of Boston’s North End neighborhood heard an ear-splitting bang followed by the almighty rumbles of what sounded like an earthquake. Before they knew it, an enormous wave was heading towards them, but this wasn’t any old tsunami, it was a surge of sickly-sweet treacle.
A 90-foot-wide cast iron tank of crude molasses had exploded in the heat 50 feet above street level, unleashing 2.3 million gallons of the stuff without warning. The wave – some 25 feet high at its peak – hit the neighborhood at 35mph, demolishing buildings, carrying cars and even knocking a railroad car off its tracks.
Some residents were trapped waist-deep in the stuff, while the less fortunate were engulfed in the sticky mass altogether. Horses died like flies on paper, and reports say you couldn’t tell who or what lay writing beneath. 21 people were killed in the catastrophe, and 150 more were seriously injured. Eye-witness accounts said people arriving at the hospital looked like human toffee apples, and so the event became known as the great ‘toffee apple tsunami’.
How Much Does a Cloud Weigh?
Clouds seem to float so effortlessly in the sky, but you should probably know that if the sky really did fall, those fluffy white blobs would be well worth running from. Forget bounding along the clouds like feather-light pillows, because scientists now estimate that the average cumulus cloud actually weighs a whopping 1.1 million pounds.
According to Peggy LeMone, a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, a cumulus cloud has a water density of ½ gram per cubic meter, and an overall volume of 1 billion cubic meters. That’s 500,000kg of water or about 1.1 million pounds.
To really visualize that, just imagine 100 adult elephants floating above your head. But how do clouds stay afloat? That’s all down to the way the weight is spread out into millions of tiny droplets over the space of about a kilometer. No need to get too paranoid.
Researchers Once Turned a Cat into a Telephone
It’s 1929, Princeton University. Professor Ernest Glen Wever and his research assistant Charles William Brayare kicking about in the lab when they have a lightbulb moment: “Hey, do you reckon we could turn a cat into a telephone?”. This was no throw-away hypothesis, and before you know it Chuck and Ernie got their hands on everything they needed to find out.
Enter one sedated, but very-much-alive feline. First, the men opened the cat's skull and attached one end of a telephone wire to its right auditory nerve, then attached the other end of the wire to a telephone transmitter. Ernie then took the receiver into a soundproof room 50 feet away and had Chuck speak into the cat's ears, and to their surprise, it worked!
There’s no record of the first words spoken through kitten transmission. Unfortunately, Chuck and Ernie got a little trigger-happy after their initial success and decided to kill the cat and try again. This led to another crucial discovery: only an alive cat can be a telephone.
What Does ‘OK’ Stand For?
According to author Alan Metcalf, ‘OK’ is the most frequently spoken word in the world, but what does it actually stand for? Historically speaking, ‘OK’ is an abbreviation for the phrase "All Correct" but how could that be when there’s not even a ‘K’ in sight?
Well, it turns out millennials aren’t the only ones who like to butcher words for the fun of it, that trend actually started back in the 19th century. The word first appeared in a Boston newspaper in 1839, when an editor clearly trying to get down with the kids decided that the new, hip way to spell "all correct" was "oll korrect".
This was apparently pretty frequent at the time – with "No Go" becoming "Know Go" and "All Right" becoming "All Write". But how did OK survive for nearly 200 years? During the 1840 election campaign of America’s 8th President Martin Van Buren, supporters formed a club that was affectionately named after his nickname "Old Kinderhook". They called themselves the ‘OK’ club, and the phrase was so inescapable that it stuck forever.
Butterflies Taste With Their Feet
Could you imagine anything worse than having the soles of your feet lined with taste buds? Re-wearing a pair of socks from the laundry basket or accidentally stepping in a suspicious stain on the carpet would probably spell disaster. For butterflies, this is daily life. These flying insects have receptors on their legs that are similar to human taste buds, but 200 times stronger.
The craziest part is that adult butterflies don’t even eat, they only drink; so why the weird tongue-feet? While butterflies don’t need solid foods, caterpillars do eat a lot. In fact, as soon as they arrive they chow down on the leaf they're born on.
Their voracious appetite means parents need to select their birthplace carefully so that their offspring don’t start munching a toxic plant and die moments after entering the world. Therefore, testing potential egg-laying sites involves basically licking them with their feet, first.
King Charles III Owns Every Swan in England
Being a part of the royal family comes with its own perks, and if you happen to be the King of England one of these is the immediate ownership of every unclaimed swan in the country. This bizarre custom goes right back to medieval times when the majestic creatures were considered a delicacy only bona fide bluebloods could expect to dine out on.
The only other people allowed to hunt and eat unmarked swans are the fellows of St Johns College in Cambridge. Fortunately for the swans, though, there’s no record of anyone at the college tucking into roast swan since 1896.
Still, the kings' monopoly over the winged creatures reigns on. During the third week of July each year, there’s even a centuries-old ceremony called ‘Swan Upping’ which involves having people count and mark every swan in the River Thames while the king watches.
What Would Happen if You Didn’t Bathe for 65 Years?
There’s no need to be hypothetical here, just look at the now-deceased Amou Haji, aka the world’s dirtiest man. Haji, who lived in isolation in the Iranian village of Dezhgah, was bestowed with this glowing title after he proudly announced that he hasn’t bathed in 65 years.
The logic behind his unconventional lack of personal upkeep is the belief that cleanliness would only make him sick. Meanwhile, Hajis diet consisted of ‘carrion’, which is basically rotting animals, mostly porcupines, that have been hit by cars or just generally died. Haji was also partial to a smoke, often smoking 5 cigarettes at a time.
If he couldn’t get cigarettes from passing strangers, he was also known to smoke animal poop out of a steel pipe. He may not have bathed, brushed his teeth or generally paid any attention to his appearance, but he did have one surprising mantra: drinking 5 liters of water a day, albeit from a rusty can. Stay hydrated!
The Inventor Of The Pringles Can Is Buried In One
In 1966, Frederic Baur had a revolutionary idea: “What if you stacked chips neatly in a can rather than just tossing them into a bag all willy-nilly?”
It took years for people to appreciate the uniformity of Pringles after Procter & Gamble bought the idea to supermarket shelves; it was the 60’s after all, and identical chips clashed with the whole ‘individualism’ thing they had going on. Eventually, consumers came around and the Pringles can have earned its place in the junk-food hall of fame.
Baur was so proud of his creation that he approached his family with a special request, that he be buried inside one. Baur’s kids took this just as anyone might after discovering that their father's dying wish is to be buried in a discarded snack packet; they laughed it off. That is, until 2008 when Baur died from Alzheimer’s, aged 89.
On the way to the funeral, the Baur family stopped at a local Walgreens and headed straight for the snack aisle. They picked out the only reasonable flavor – original – and sure enough Frederic Baur’s ashes were buried inside his pride and joy.
You Produce Enough Saliva In Your Lifetime To Fill A Small Swimming Pool
Our bodies create all sorts of secretions we try not to dwell on in daily life. One of these is salvia, which you probably don’t notice until you suddenly become aware of just how much of the stuff constantly coats your tongue and mouth.
Its primary purpose is to moisten food for digestion, and that means your body needs to have it on tap. Everyone produces different amounts based on factors like age, lifestyle, and fitness, but the general range is thought to be anywhere between 0.75 – 1.5 liters per day. In just one year, that’s 273.75 – 547.5 liters.
Let’s say the average person lives for 80 years, that means your salivary gland could produce a maximum of 43,800 liters of the stuff in your lifetime, which is about as much as you’d need for a backyard swimming pool. Don’t get any ideas though, can you imagine diving into drool head-first?
I hope you were amazed at these weird and wonderful trivia facts. If you want to find out more interesting facts, you might want to take a look at our whole fun facts series. Thanks for reading.