No matter how many all-nighters you pull devouring volume after volume of dust-laden encyclopedias, it will never be enough. Because learning is a process, and there’s no end visible on the horizon.
But most of us are just fine with one or two “did you know that?” facts always ready to be served at a dinner table. Except they get old fast and nobody wants to listen to another “banana is a berry,” like, ever.
Luckily, one Reddit user who goes by u/RyanBlitzpatrick did everyone a favor and asked people on r/AskReddit “What’s a fact that just blows your mind?” 3.6K upvotes and 3.5K comments later, the results are in and you’d better get your notebook ready, ’cause these are some of the hand-picked knowledge bites that may honestly surprise you.
November 2, 2000 was the last time all humans were on the planet together. Since then at least one person has remained on the international space station
Image credits: theguy4785
A woman once jumped off the 86th floor of the Empire State Building but the wind pushed her back and she fell on a ledge on the 85th floor. She survived.
Image credits: reddit.com
The U.S goverment has an official for a Zombie apocalypse. CONPLAN 8888 also known as Counter-Zombie Dominance was written in 2011. And just in case you think it’s weird bureaucratic humor, the first line reads, ‘This plan was not actually designed as a joke.’
Image credits: sdsanth
Arctic foxes can survive temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius
Image credits: Weeneem
The sound made by the Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883 was so loud it ruptured eardrums of people 40 miles away, travelled around the world four times, and was clearly heard 3,000 miles away.
That’s like you standing in New York and hearing a sound from San Francisc
Image credits: armagoei
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank were born in the same year.
Also, that same year, Betty White was already 7 years old.
Image credits: Rob_Vegas
When you dream, one part of your brain is making up the story, and another part is experiencing those events and is genuinely surprised by all the twists in the plot.
That the biggest bacteria species known, Thiomargarita namibiensis, can have a maximum diameter of 0.7 millimeters, which is big enough for you to see it without a microscope.
That’s insane if you consider that your average bacteria species has a diameter of 0.001 millimeters.
Image credits: Cachuchotas
2006, which doesn’t feel THAT long ago, saw the death of two colossally old tortoises. The first, Harriet, was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin when he visited the Galápagos on the HMS Beagle. She belonged to Steve Irwin at the time of her death. Charles Darwin and Steve Irwin shared a “pet.” Estimated to have lived 176 years.
The second, Adwaita, was born before the United States declared its independence from England. Think of it: just 14 years ago, there was a land creature alive that was older than our country. Just incredible.
Image credits: harpo-polo
The oldest living tree in the world methuselah is 4851 years old
If time travel were possible, you would need a time-and-space-machine to survive the trip, otherwise when you travelled back in time, the planet would be at a different point in its rotation around the sun and our solar system would be at a different point in space as it rotates, which means you’d travel back in time and be in an empty part of space
There is a termite colony in the Amazon Rain Forest that is the size of Great Britain and is almost 4,000 years old. There are also hundreds of millions of termite mounds
Image credits: Redditor_2017
If an underwater bubble is collapsed by loud sound, light is produced and no one knows why
Some people don’t have an inner monologue, like they literally don’t have a voice in their head.
The way the human brain works. These cells that are powered by tiny jolts of electricity are collectively having conscious thoughts, coming up with morals and empathy and every human behavior
Image credits: pigeon_q
Mitochondria is only passed down by mother so there’s a concept of mitochondrial eve, all humans today have their mitochondrial dna derived from her
That the Oxford Univeristy is older than the Aztec Empire
Strawberries aren’t berries.
But bananas are
A neutron star is so dense that a teaspoon of material from one would weigh around 10 million tons
Image credits: ladies-pmme-nudespls
Ant biologists still don’t know the maximum life span of most ant queens. They just live too long to keep track, and they’re not too easy to keep in captivity. The longest one on record is like 30 years old, and there could easily be species that live longer than that
Image credits: Broflake-Melter
The fact that nobody knows that if we all see colours the same way
The International Space station is closer to the earth than San Francisco is to L.A
Image credits: BareassedM
How a computer does what it does. Blows my mind how 1’s and 0’s can do so much. Maybe I’m uneducated, but still mind blowing
I still can’t get over the fact that teddy roosevelt got shot and continued to give a three hour speech
Image credits: stevew32
That there are people in the world who don’t like music. Not one specific type, but music as a whole.
That both blows my mind and disturbs me
That Neutrinos have mass and every second of every day about a billion of them are going through every square inch of your body – but the space between your atoms is so huge there’s pretty much a 0% chance they will ever hit you
Image credits: ProbablyNotArcturian
If the timeline of the universe (up to now) was compressed into a year starting on new year’s day, Homo sapiens would appear at 11:54 pm on December 31st
There are more trees on Earth then there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Confirmed by NASA.
A pig will eat a whole human body except for the teeth
Several thousand years ago, the Sahara was actually grassland with massive lakes that rivalled the Great Lakes of North America.
Also, at one point the Straight of Gibraltar was closed. This meant that the Mediterranean Sea almost completely evaporated.
Image credits: hekatonkhairez
The v2 rocket killed more people while actually making it than during ww2 when it was used. Also pepsi once had the 6th largest army/navy in the world.
Image credits: lolcoren
There are about 100 times as many cells in a human body than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy
Took more time to go from bronze swords to steel swords than steel swords to nuclear weapons and less time from nukes to melting lasers that literally MELT metal is seconds
It took us about 70,000 years to go from stone tools to settlements
Image credits: mindfeces
That our galaxy and the Andromeda are going to collide a long, long time from now to form Milkdromeda!
That and that our universe will slowly die one day. There’ll be no galaxies, no stars, no nebulae, nothing. It will all die out and leave noting but black holes and dwarf stars
Some animal abilities are truly amazing to me.
There’s a type of lizard called the axolotl that can regenerate lost limbs in a matter of months.
And there’s also a jellyfish called the immortal jellyfish that is, well, immortal. When they are attacked or when they get old, they can somehow revert to when they were babies and start growing up again.
Also, some animals can live without a head. A chicken once lived 18 headless months. And a turtle (tortoise? what’s the difference?) lived 1.
A now-closed cave in Utah still holds the body of a man who died in 2009
Your brain automatically translates wtf but not lol
Image credits: anartisticusername
The Fermi Paradox.
With the number of potentially habitable Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, it’s very strange that we haven’t detected alien signals of any kind so far.
There’s lots of theories as to why that is, but my favorite is called the great silenceDark Forest (which sounds way cooler). Basically everyone else out there is being quiet and not transmitting because they know of some danger that we are unaware of, and they don’t want it to find them. Gives me chills.
Edit: It’s interesting that most of the replies here, joking or serious, correspond to legitimate theories on the Fermi Paradox.
There is a world war between ants
Kleopatra was born closer in time to the launch of the first iphone than to the construction of the piramids
Russia is bigger than Pluto!
The 10th president of the USA John Tyler, born in 1790 has two living grandsons
You are outnumbered in your own body. The bacteria present in/on your body outnumber your own cells. We wouldn’t even be able to survive without most of them
A gram of uranium is roughly 20 billion calories… Mind was BLOWN!
One million seconds = approx 12 days
One billion seconds = 32 years
One trillion seconds = 32,000 years
Seeing as people are currently throwing the word ‘trillion’ around a lot lately (as in pounds or dollars) this really highlights the truly massive differences between these sums.
One quadrillion seconds = 32 million years.
I recently got my cat some catnip treats and as I was googling what to buy, I found that catnip actually works as an insect repellent. In fact, catnip is 10X more republican than DEET!
Ounce for ounce, bone density is stronger than steel.
France is the only country that has recorded a successful cavalry charge against boats
The biggest thunderbolt ever recorded in the universe was 150 000 Ly long. Our galaxy the milky way is 100 000 Ly long. And it came from a blasar which is a fucking insanely big blackhole : M87. And yes this is the black hole we took in photo. It is way way bigger than our milky way’s super massive one
Every 2 years there’s a convention that reunites all the cities called newcastle in any language, this convention is called Newcastles Of The World, it even has his own website
A concept more than a fact but how the whole body functions. Like, even just your heart beating in order to get blood round your body, let alone everything else working in sync. And most of it is done without us even noticing. It’s no wonder some are flawed.
How MASSIVE the solar system is compared to Earth. Not even regarding any other part of space, just the solar system. It’s insane.
There’s this website that shows the entire solar system lengthwise – If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – take the time to read everything in it while you scroll through and just take in the massive expansiveness of space
When something is in orbit, that essentially means it is perpetually falling
Vacuum decay could completely annihilate the entire universe at any moment and we wouldn’t even see it coming. One moment you’re doing your thing, the next you and everything else just blips completely out of existence
The 52 factorial story (52 factorial being the number of possible combinations of a deck of cards.
If you haven’t read this before here. It still hurts my brain every time I read it.
“This number is beyond astronomically large. I say beyond astronomically large because most numbers that we already consider to be astronomically large are mere infinitesimal fractions of this number. So, just how large is it? Let’s try to wrap our puny human brains around the magnitude of this number with a fun little theoretical exercise. Start a timer that will count down the number of seconds from 52! to 0. We’re going to see how much fun we can have before the timer counts down all the way.
Start by picking your favorite spot on the equator. You’re going to walk around the world along the equator, but take a very leisurely pace of one step every billion years. The equatorial circumference of the Earth is 40,075,017 meters. Make sure to pack a deck of playing cards, so you can get in a few trillion hands of solitaire between steps. After you complete your round the world trip, remove one drop of water from the Pacific Ocean. Now do the same thing again: walk around the world at one billion years per step, removing one drop of water from the Pacific Ocean each time you circle the globe. The Pacific Ocean contains 707.6 million cubic kilometers of water. Continue until the ocean is empty. When it is, take one sheet of paper and place it flat on the ground. Now, fill the ocean back up and start the entire process all over again, adding a sheet of paper to the stack each time you’ve emptied the ocean.
Do this until the stack of paper reaches from the Earth to the Sun. Take a glance at the timer, you will see that the three left-most digits haven’t even changed. You still have 8.063e67 more seconds to go. 1 Astronomical Unit, the distance from the Earth to the Sun, is defined as 149,597,870.691 kilometers. So, take the stack of papers down and do it all over again. One thousand times more. Unfortunately, that still won’t do it. There are still more than 5.385e67 seconds remaining. You’re just about a third of the way done.
To pass the remaining time, start shuffling your deck of cards. Every billion years deal yourself a 5-card poker hand. Each time you get a royal flush, buy yourself a lottery ticket. A royal flush occurs in one out of every 649,740 hands. If that ticket wins the jackpot, throw a grain of sand into the Grand Canyon. Keep going and when you’ve filled up the canyon with sand, remove one ounce of rock from Mt. Everest. Now empty the canyon and start all over again. When you’ve leveled Mt. Everest, look at the timer, you still have 5.364e67 seconds remaining. Mt. Everest weighs about 357 trillion pounds. You barely made a dent. If you were to repeat this 255 times, you would still be looking at 3.024e64 seconds. The timer would finally reach zero sometime during your 256th attempt. “
That scientist was able to figure out what a girl looked like, where she was from and even her last meal from just a piece of chewing gum
Charles Darwin is considered to be the Father of Evolution. But he never once used the word “evolution” in his masterpiece book “On the Origin of Species”.
There used to be nine different species of humans.
At least that is…
Homo Sapiens (aka us)
Homo Floresiensis (sometimes called Hobbits)
Those are all the members of the Homo family I can think of right know. However it is important to remeber that there are almost certainly some that I forgot to mention and there might be some that we haven’t discovert yet. Furthermore it is surprisingly difficult to find out if the groups I’ve listed are distinct species or different groups of the same species (the fact that our definition of species is kinda arbitrary doesn’t help). This is actually a surprisingly interesting topic I would recommend you look into.
That if you could fold a piece of paper 45 times, you could reach the moon
Image credits: ceph42
That one guy who tried to assassinate Andrew Jackson. He had two guns and both of them jammed. Best part is that the secret service had to pull Jackson off the assassin because the latter was beating the former to death with a cane
Modern Humans existed for some 250,000 years, and civilizations really only started in the past 5000 years. Before that all humans did was hunt for food and live in caves, with no agriculture at all