Random Fun Facts That Will Amaze You - Part 4
There are lots of amazing facts about the world. Here are some of the most fascinating facts you're too lazy to google that you should know.Knowledge
There’s really no limit to the things you can learn just by surfing the internet, but sometimes it can be hard to separate masses of useless info from some real gems. Here are some more random facts that are totally worth knowing!
The Cookie Monster Doesn’t Actually Eat Cookies
There are some things you’d be better off not knowing, and this is definitely one of them. Remember the big, blue, furry cookie monster, whose famous phrases include “me want cookie!” and “me eat cookie”? He’s never actually eaten a cookie in his life.
The character was originally designed by Jim Henson in 1966 for a series of unaired snack commercials before he landed a spot on the first season of Sesame Street in 1969.
As the Cookie Monster is a pretty hefty puppet, it’s safe to assume that the cost of regularly cleaning or replacing him would be pretty high. Cookies, however, are notoriously messy snacks.
Instead of risking getting the puppet greasy or worse covered in chocolate, production swapped the cookies out for a cheaper, mess-free alternative: rice cakes, which were painted to look like chocolate chip cookies. It makes total sense, but it still feels like finding out the truth about Santa all over again.
Cats Can Understand Humans But They Just Don’t Care
In case you needed another reminder that cats are total jerks, here’s the latest: your cat can definitely hear you calling its name but it just doesn’t care. The fact that cats care less about us than dogs is nothing new, but research has now confirmed that they really are ignoring us on purpose.
For a study published in the Animal Cognition Journal in July 2013, researchers observed 20 moggies in their own homes for 8 months to monitor how they recognise and respond to human voices. In the end, they concluded that when they heard their owner calling, 50-70% of the cats turned their heads and 30% moved their ears, but only 10% actually responded by meowing, shaking their tails or moving.
According to researchers at the University of Tokyo, this is because cats basically domesticated themselves when they moved into human settlements to prey on rodents that were attracted to grain stores. In other words, your cat doesn’t need you as much as you need it.
An American Dentist Once Invented a Bomb That Used Bats
On December 7th, 1941, a dentist named Lytle S. Adams was vacationing at the famed Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, which is home to about a million bats. That same day, Adams heard on the radio that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbour. Furious and, apparently, still enamoured by his winged companions, Adams started plotting an unusual revenge plan: a bat bomb.
On January 12th, 1942, Adams sent his plan to the White House: “What if we strapped tiny incendiary bombs to bats, which they would carry into every nook and cranny in the city”. Surprisingly, the U.S. government decided that the bat bomb seemed like a totally feasible idea; possibly because Adams happened to be friends with Elanor Roosevelt and agreed to put it into development.
Thousands of bats were equipped with tiny bombs, stuck in ice trays to cool them into hibernation for shipping, and then packed into a special canister which would supposedly release them mid-air.
Unfortunately, initial tests didn’t go quite as planned. On one occasion, some of the bats were accidentally released early, blowing up an entire hangar. After about 30 failed demonstrations and $2 million spent, the U.S. abandoned the idea in favour of the atomic bomb, and Adams then tried to invent a fried-chicken vending machine instead; so it all worked out for the best.
Lobsters Don’t Age
Before you assume that lobsters are totally immortal creatures, you should probably know that lobsters do die naturally, they just don’t age like we do. Scientists have determined that the posh crustaceans don’t display a phenomenon known as senescence, which is how most living creatures show typical signs of ageing.
Basically, lobsters don’t lower their reproductive ability, slow their metabolism or decrease in strength as they get older, which probably results in some seriously beefed-up pensioners. What’s more, they have indeterminate growth, which means they don’t reach a size limit in their lifetimes.
In case you were wondering, the largest lobster caught on record off Nova Scotia in 1977 weighed a whopping 44kg and measured 3.5 feet long. That’s bigger than a human toddler. Lobsters grow by moulting their hard exoskeleton, and it’s only when they lose the energy to do this that they become susceptible to disease and die naturally.
Who is the Columbia Pictures Lady?
The draped, torch-holding Columbia pictures lady has graced the silver screen ever since the company was first founded in 1924. Millions of moviegoers would recognize her face, but could anyone tell you who she actually is? For decades, the true identity of this iconic staple of movie history remained a mystery, until New Orleans artist Michael Deas, who was commissioned to update the logo in July 1991, revealed all.
Deas had planned to make a painting for the new face of Columbia and asked his friend Kathy Anderson to help him shoot some reference shots at her apartment. On a whim, Deas asked Kathy’s co-worker, then-31-year-old graphic designer Jenny Joseph, to model for the shoot on her lunch break.
They took several shots in the makeshift studio using a bedsheet and a desk lamp, and Deas then spent two months painting his masterpiece of Jenny. The rest, as they say, is history. Jenny Joseph hadn’t modelled before she became the Columbia Pictures lady, and she never modelled again, making this one iconic mic drop moment.
There’s a Fish that Lives Inside a Butt
There are plenty of interesting relationships in the animal kingdom, but none are quite as strange as the rather one-sided arrangement pearlfish and sea cucumbers have going on. Tropical, shallow-water-dwelling sea cucumbers are pretty bizarre creatures. These odd, cumbersome lumps spend their days sucking in the sand, extracting anything nutritious out of it, and then pooping it back out again.
It’s no secret they aren’t likely to win the title of "nature’s most beautiful" anytime soon. In fact, they’re considered so repulsive that most predators won’t even go near them. That, however, is precisely why the pearlfish is so interested in getting to know the sea cucumber more, well, intimately.
A sea cucumber breathes by taking in water through its anus, so the sneaky pearlfish will just wait around for the right moment to swim right inside. The sea-cumber acts as a perfect hidey-hole for the pearlfish, as well as other sneaky creatures like crabs.
The Current U.S. Flag Was Designed as Part of a High-School Project
Everyone knows the inspiring story of upholsterer and flag-maker Betsy Ross, who sewed the original 13, 5-point star U.S flag design in 1776, so it’s easy to assume flag-makers just added an extra star for every new state since. However, the current 50-star U.S. flag has far humbler beginnings.
Back in 1958, the flag featured 6 rows of 8 stars, for 48 states, but rumblings that Alaska and Hawaii would soon gain statehood were already underway. That’s where then-17-year-old high-school student Bob Heft comes in.
Heft’s history teacher at the time assigned a class project to bring in something they made, so Heft made alterations to his parents' 48-star flag and triumphantly placed it on his teacher's desk. Heft’s teacher was not impressed with the extra stars and graded the project a B-. However, he did say that if the design was accepted into Washington, his grade would be bumped up to an A.
Heft accepted the challenge, and after two years of phone calls and letters, his 50-star variation was declared the official U.S. flag on July 4th 1960, and it’s the longest-running design yet! Take that, teach.
In Arkansas, it’s Illegal to Pronounce ‘Arkansas’ Wrong
If you’re someone whose name can be pronounced a number of different ways, you’ll know just how annoying it can be when people constantly get it wrong, but making a real-life law to govern the pronunciation might be pushing it slightly. That’s pretty much what happened in the state of Arkansas.
According to Title 1 Chapter 4 Section 104 of the Arkansas Code, there’s only one right way to pronounce the state name, and that’s ‘Arkansaw’. Not ‘Arkansas’, or ‘Arkansasss’, those would both be considered illegal.
According to the rule, the correct pronunciation of Arkansas with the final S being silent was made official by an act of state legislature in 1881, although It’s unclear what the punishment is for getting it wrong, if there even is one.
Snails Have 25000 Teeth
If you were asked which creature has the most teeth in the animal kingdom, what would you say? A crocodile or a great white shark, perhaps? The answer is, in fact, the snail. Don’t be too fooled though, snails teeth are not like regular teeth, so don’t expect to see a grin lined with pearly whites anytime soon.
These so-called teeth are actually arranged in rows along its tongue, known as a radula ribbon which they use for scraping and cutting food before it enters the oesophagus.
As these teeth get worn down, they’re also constantly replaced. Different species of snail can have varying amounts of teeth; the common garden snail typically has around 14,000 teeth while other species have up to 25,000. Can you imagine the dental bill?
That’s not even the most shocking part, because the teeth of an aquatic snail called the limpet are actually the strongest biological material known to man, even stronger than titanium!
Almost 163,000 Pints of Guinness are Wasted in U.K. Facial Hair Each Year
Guinness, which had humble beginnings in Dublin, Ireland, is now one of the most popular beers in the world. In fact, so many people in the U.K. alone drink Guinness on a regular basis that scientists were once able to estimate that about 163,000 pints of the stuff get wasted in facial hair annually.
How did they reach such a figure? Hair scientist Dr Robin Dover, who was commissioned by Guinness to do the research in the year 2000, observed that the average drinker takes 10 sips to sink a pint, of which 0.56ml of Guinness is trapped between fibres of the average moustache.
With an estimated 92,370 drinkers with facial hair in the U.K. who consume an average of 180 pints a year, that apparently worked out at a total average cost of around £423,070 or $530,000 worth of wasted beer.
Around 162,719 pints are lost each year by drinkers with moustaches, which also means that, if every one of the 1.8 million men in the UK with facial hair drank a pint of Guinness, the total loss in just one sitting would be 17,684 pints; that’s something worth shaving for.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa Was Never Straight
Anyone visiting the leaning tower of Pisa is expected to pose shamelessly with the wonky landmark like it’s some unwritten rule. It makes sense to assume that the tower started out like any other upright building and started slowly leaning as time passed, but that wasn’t exactly the case.
Construction of the monument began in August 1173, but there was one problem; its foundation was set on soft ground consisting of clay, sand and shells. By the time workers reached the third floor the tower had started to sink, and construction was placed on hold. When work was eventually restarted some 100 years later, it became clear that the tower wasn’t just leaning, it was falling at a very slow rate of about 2mm a year.
In 1989, engineers were commissioned to help stabilise the leaning tower, but it’s unlikely it will ever stop leaning completely. In fact, since regular measuring of the tower began in 1911, the top has leaned over 5 meters off-centre!
An Octopus Has 3 Hearts and 9 Brains
Octopuses are some of the world’s strangest creatures. They’re so bizarre, in fact, that they sometimes don’t even seem like they’re from Earth at all. The average octopus could give a timelord a run for his money because each one of these 8-armed ocean-dwellers has 3 hearts, and not just because they’re big romantics.
While one, the systemic heart, circulates blood around the body and vital organs, the other two, known as branchial hearts, pump blood through each of their gills.
When an octopus is swimming, the systematic heart actually stops beating. This exhausts the octopus, which probably explains why they prefer crawling rather than swimming if they can help it.
Hearts aren’t the only thing octopuses have an abundance of, because they’ve got 9 brains too, which probably explains why their head is so big. Believe it or not, an octopus actually only has one brain in its noggin, which controls the central nervous system, while the other 8 are located in its 8 arms.
These small brains are clusters of nerve cells that control independent movement, meaning one arm could be cracking open a shellfish while the other scours a cave for food; that’s some serious multitasking.
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.