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100 ‘Today I Learned’ Facts That Show It’s Never Too Late To Learn New Things

Some facts for your inner curious child who skipped school and now realized that the world itself can teach us many things. The post 100 'Today I Learned' Facts That Show It's Never Too Late To Learn New Things first appeared on Bored Panda. ...

They say it’s never too late to learn. After all, life-long curiosity is something we all strive for, although it’s sometimes hard to keep the inner fire going. We get lazy, turn into passive observers, and sometimes forget how fun that feeling of discovering something new, both big and small, really is.

But thanks to our beloved corner of the internet known as the ‘Today I Learned’ subreddit, which boasts 25.1 million members, the internet has a perfect source of things to learn available for anyone, anywhere, and anytime.

So this time, we are taking you on a ride with a fresh batch from the ‘Today I Learned’ collection, which will surely ignite that little kid in you. And after you’re done, don’t forget to check out our previous articles on some insightful facts from this amazing community here, here, and here.

#1

TIL: In a village in India, an Indian robin had made a nest and laid her eggs on the village’s switchboard. The village decided to go without street lights for over a month for the safety of the bird and to allow her eggs to hatch. After 45 days, the bird and its hatchlings safely flew away.

Image credits: reddit.com

#2

TIL Joseph Strauss, the engineer of the golden Gate Bridge, mandated that a net be installed under the bridge for safety while being built. This was revolutionary at the time. The net caught 19 men who fell, saving all of them from a certain death.

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Staying curious is a life-long aspiration for many, since learning new things makes us feel like we’re living in the present moment. It’s no secret that new experiences make it feel like time slows down. That’s why, for example, a week while travelling abroad feels much like a year.

Collecting memories is one wonderful way to learn new stuff and broaden your horizons, but the coronavirus has drastically altered the usual modes of travelling and it’s unclear whether the pre-pandemic travelling we were used to will ever resume.

#3

TIL: In order to get improvements in their job security amidst the emergence of a rival bus line, bus drivers in Okayama, Japan decided to go on strike in a unique way in 2018. While on strike, they supported the community by continuing to drive their routes, but simply not charging customers.

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#4

TIL of the Schiphol fly, which is a fly engraved on urinals at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The psychology is that men will want to “wash” the fly off the urinal so they focus more when urinating, apparently lowering cleaning bills in public bathrooms.

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But the experts say that curiosity is something we stimulate and ignite from within. And going into the world with your heart open to new things and experiences, it all starts from a very early age. So to find out how exactly the complex urge to indulge in the novelty of things works in both children and adults, Bored Panda reached out to Jamie Jirout, an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at University of Virginia.

First of, Jamie said that we have a limited amount of attention and learn from our experiences. But “as young children, there is so much that we are surprised by or don’t understand, and things are so new.” Every single child is born naturally curious to try and understand the world, and in addition, “we have no competing demands on our time—it’s the job of young children to play, which is how they explore what it is they are curious about!”

#5

TIL: Microsoft tried a 4-day workweek in Japan as part of a “Work Life Choice Challenge” by shutting down offices every Friday. Productivity, measured by sales per employee, increased by almost 40% compared to the same period the previous year.

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#6

TIL fish eggs can survive and hatch after passing through a duck, providing one explanation of how seemingly pristine, isolated bodies of water can become stocked with fish

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However, Jamie explained that “when children begin formal schooling, attention becomes placed on learning specific things, which aren’t always things that children are curious about.” Their goals change from exploring what they are curious about to learning what they’re being taught at school.

Moreover, “Motivation research identifies academic goals as being either mastery or performance—mastery goals are those that are driven by an intrinsic desire to understand something—exploring something you are curious about simply to find an answer or understand is an example of a mastery goal.”

#7

TIL people who speak Icelandic can still understand the old Icelandic Sagas because of how little the language has changed over the past 1000 years.

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#8

TIL that a baby elephant struck by a motorbike while crossing a road in Thailand survived after an off-duty rescue worker performed CPR on it. The man had worked in rescue for 26 years and performed dozens of CPR attempts on humans, but the elephant was the first victim he had ever managed to revive

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“Performance goals are those driven by extrinsic factors, like wanting to get good grades or avoid getting in trouble. If children are given a lot of performance goals, being curious about things outside of what they are going to be tested on or need to do to get good grades can actually make being curious come at a cost to meeting those performance metrics,” Jamie said.

#9

TIL that baby owls sleep down on their stomach because their heads are too heavy. They do that until they are large enough to sleep upright.

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#10

TIL A Stolen teddy bear with dying mother’s voice has been returned after actor Ryan Reynolds, celebrities offered a $15,000 reward

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The professor also told us that there’s a great amount of research on children’s curiosity in schools that found that “children seem to become less curious the older they get.” “However, a recent study that asked children what it is they are curious about found that many children continue to be just as curious as they get older, even about things like science topics, but that they don’t associate being curious with learning at school,” she added.

Incredibly, the findings suggest that it isn’t necessarily that people become less curious with age, “but that they have less opportunity to be curious and act on curiosity, especially in school settings,” Jamie explained.

#11

TIL during the Vietnam war, many American soldiers stationed in Japan went AWOL and fled to Sweden. Swedish PM Palme was vehemently against the war and promised that he would grant asylum to deserters.

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#12

TIL in Cuba, picking up hitchhikers is mandatory for government vehicles, if passenger space is available.

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But Jamie believes that almost everything we know and do can be practiced, as “the more we practice something, the better we are, and if we don’t practice skills we can lose them,” and added that “it’s important to provide opportunities for children to be curious so that they can continue to naturally ask questions and seek information.”

“No less important is continuing practicing thinking of things we’re curious about through our adulthood as well as practicing the process of seeking out information to answer our questions, which often leads to further curiosity,” the professor concluded.

#13

TIL while making Moana, Disney producers visited the South Pacific and assembled an “Oceanic Story Trust” comprised of local cultural experts to advise on accuracy of details. Maui was originally bald but he was redrawn with a full head of hair as hair symbolized mana (power) in Polynesian culture.

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#14

TIL in the 5th century BC, diabetes was first identified by a surgeon named Sushruta who pointed out that the urine of diabetics was sweet enough to attract ants and sticky to the touch. He noted that diabetes affected rich castes and was related to the excessive consumption of rice and sweets

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#15

TIL that Meerkats are the most murderous animals on earth. 20% of all meerkats die at the hands of another meerkat.

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#16

TIL that Ken Eto, the first American-Asian leader in the mafia, was shot 3 times in the head at close range. After the hitmen ran, he climbed out of the car, walked a few blocks over to the nearest pharmacy and politely asked for medical attention. He lived to 84.

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#17

TIL A casino’s database was hacked through a smart fish tank thermometer

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#18

TIL a 75-year Harvard study found close relationships are the key to a person’s success. Having someone to lean on keeps brain function high and reduces emotional, and physical, pain. People who feel lonely are more likely to experience health declines earlier in life.

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#19

TIL The lack of an Oxford comma in the wording of a state law laying out what activities qualify a worker for overtime pay, more than 120 drivers for the Oakhurst Dairy became eligible for a multi-million settlement for unpaid overtime.

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#20

TIL that the famous Japanese painting of a giant wave is actually from a series of 36 paintings of Mt. Fuji from different views

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#21

TIL that there’s a 43,000-square-foot basement underneath the Lincoln Memorial that was forgotten about until 1974. It has its own plant life and ecosystem and graffiti from the original workers.

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#22

TIL Harriet Tubman suffered a violent head injury as a child causing her to frequently slip into into sleep like states. These would produce vivid dreamlike hallucinations that Tubman interpreted as messages from god, to devote her life to freeing southern slaves through the Underground Railroad.

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#23

TIL the blue planet used to be purple. 250 million years ago, the oceans lost all their oxygen and one of the only things to survive was a purple alga/bacteria which would have given the seas an irridescent violet hue. Geologists have found remnants of this purple bacteria embedded in ancient rock.

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#24

TIL There is an Austrailan fungus called “The Stonemaker Fungus” that only shows up right after a forest fire. They live underground in a stone-like mycelium and pop up through the ashes 2-10 days after the fire, sometimes as infrequent as every 100 years.

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#25

TIL Jim Henson originally wanted the Muppets to be for adults and didn’t see his characters as a vehicle for children’s education and family entertainment. Indeed, he first envisioned something closer to South Park rather than Sesame Street and in the 1950s they did dark comedy in commercials.

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#26

TIL seahorse couples greet each other every morning with a dance, which sometimes involves changing colour. It is a way of reinforcing their bond and synchronising their reproductive cycles.

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#27

TIL: Faced with a severe pilot shortage during WWII, the USA started a program called WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to train women to be pilots. 1100 women volunteered to fly military aircraft. They were finally granted military status in the 1970s and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

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#28

TIL, around 2.1 billion years ago, several multicellular organisms existed, that were likely one of the first forays into multicellularity, they coincided with a brief moment of increased oxygen levels and went extinct after the levels dropped, they do not have any modern-day descendants.

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#29

TIL In 2014 a three-year-old was rescued after 11 days in the Siberian wilderness thanks to her puppy, which she held onto for warmth. She was found less than 100 feet from her search party.

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#30

TIL ‘Saturn devouring his son’ and the 13 other Black Paintings were never ment for public display. In 1819 Francisco Goya went into near isolation and painted the works directly onto the walls of his house. The haunting pictures reflect Goya’s internal demons and civil strife occuring in Spain

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#31

TIL about Bill Millin, a Scottish soldier who walked up and down the beaches of Normandy on D-Day playing the bagpipes. Two captured German snipers would reveal why the piper at the front hadn’t been shot at. They said it was because they thought he was ‘dummkopf’, a foolhardy idiot.

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#32

TIL that the juggling done by David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth was actually performed by juggler Michael Moschen, who had to do all the tricks blind while standing behind Bowie. He won a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” for his techniques a few years later in 1990.

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#33

TIL the vocal effect used in the song Zombie by the Cranberries is known as ‘keening’. This is a wailing sound used in Ireland to mourn the dead at funerals.

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#34

TIL since 8-track tapes have a loop-play function, where after the end the tape is played from the beginning once again, the 8-track version of the Pink Floyd album “Animals” was changed for playing on repeat – a guitar solo connecting the first and the last song on the album was added.

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#35

TIL that when Hurricane Ivan was in the Gulf of Mexico in 2004, pressure sensors on the ocean floor detected a freak wave 91 feet tall. Computer simulations suggested that at the storm’s peak as a Category 5 it was producing waves over 130 feet high.

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#36

TIL – In order to bolster its waning popularity as a travel hub, Japan’s Kishigawa Train Line appointed a cat named Tama as its new station master in 2007, leading to a huge spike in popularity as a tourist destination. In 2010 a second cat was hired to “assist” Tama with her duties.

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#37

TIL oldest known boat was found in the Netherlands, it was constructed during the early mesolithic period between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE.

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#38

TIL hockey player Stan Mikita went from being one of the most penalized players to winning the Lady Byng Trophy twice for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with excellence all because his daughter asked, “Mommy, why does Daddy spend so much time sitting down [in the penalty box]?”

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#39

TIL that the ‘leaf sheep,’ a sea slug native to Japan, is an animal that can photosynthesize. It eats algae and retains the chloroplasts that plants use for photosynthesis and can live for months on photosynthesis alone.

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#40

TIL that Ireland has the oldest average age at first marriage of any country. The average Irish citizen gets married for the first time at age 35.

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#41

TIL that for centuries the city of Troy was considered a myth until it was re-discovered in 1871 in present day Turkey. The area had been excavated before but the ruins of Troy were beneath newer excavations and had gone untouched for millennia even though the site had people living on top of it.

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#42

TIL that George Takei respectfully declined an offer to voice himself in the Simpsons episode Marge vs. the Monorail because he didn’t want to ridicule public transportation.

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#43

TIL that prior to establishing an acting career, Harrison Ford worked as a roadie for The Doors. He stated that after the job was done he was “was one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery” and that he “couldn’t keep up with those guys. It was too much.”

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#44

TIL the Pan-American Coffee Bureau coined the phrase ‘coffee break’ in 1952, and ran a $2 million advertising campaign with the message that a ‘coffee break’ would give workers ‘a needed moment of relaxation along with a caffeine jolt’

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#45

TIL that in 585 B.C., a solar eclipse occurred in the middle of a battle between the Lydians and the Medes. The darkening sky was interpreted as a sign by the soldiers, so they stopped fighting. As a result, a six-year war was ended.

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#46

TIL evidence suggests that sloths grow algae in their fur and then eat it. This algae-farming is thought to be aided by moths that live in the fur, and whose growth the sloth actively promotes.

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#47

TIL a goat that was sold to be slaughtered for an Indian restaurant in Alaska escaped from the owners and a goat chase ensued around town. The goat became famously known by the name Curry and people would post photos anytime they spotted him. He was eventually caught and became a mascot.

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#48

TIL country singer Loretta Lynn had more songs banned from radio than every other male country artist combined in the 20th century.

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#49

TIL notorious gangster Al Capone had the mental age of a 12 year old at the time of his death and the years prior to his death, despite being 48 years old. This was caused by mental illness due to untreated neurosyphilis.

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#50

TIL In the original stories, Sherlock Holmes was addicted to cocaine. When the author, Conan Doyle, learned more about the dangers of cocaine, he wrote that Sherlock Holmes had quit cocaine by being gradually weaned off it by Watson.

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#51

TIL in the US 49% of corporate industry leaders and 50% of government leaders come from just 12 universities

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#52

TIL Loretta Lynn’s Song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is 100% a true story. The song describes her dad working all night in the coal mine and hoeing corn all day. Her father really was “a coal miner and subsistence farmer,” and she really was born in Butcher Hollow, KY.

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#53

TIL while studying Madagascar periwinkle leaves used as folk remedy for diabetes in the 1950s, scientists found plummeting white blood cells instead and isolated out vinblastine and vincristine — effective chemotherapy drugs which has dramatically improved survival in leukemia patients.

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#54

TIL that after mainland mammoths became extinct, a population of mammoths lived on Wrangel Island for another 7000 years after getting cut off from the mainland. However, due to the small gene pool, these mammoths suffered life-threatening mutations that resulted in their demise.

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#55

TIL there are “witch camps” in Ghana where women accused of witchcraft can flee for their lives. They live in squalid conditions for the rest of their lives unless a priest determines their innocence by killing a chicken and watching how it dies.

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#56

TIL about the fictional South American country of “Poyais,” created by scam artist Gregor MacGregor in 1821. He invented a diverse economy, a government, a history, a bustling capital city, and even set up embassies in European cities. He made millions scamming investors and enthusiastic immigrants.

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#57

TIL while the winners of the 1971 Cannonball Run – a street race across the USA – were driving a Ferrari Daytona, the 2nd place finishers had a Chevy van fitted with a 248-gallon auxiliary tank to minimize the refuel count. The van took only 53 minutes longer than the Ferrari to finish the race in.

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#58

TIL Homer Simpson’s infamous “d’oh!” was originally scripted simply as “annoyed grunt”. Voice actor Dan Castellaneta took inspiration from comedic actor James Finlayson, who used a longer “d’ohhhh” in old Laurel and Hardy films because “damn” was too offensive at the time.

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#59

TIL Austria’s only nuclear power plant in Zwentendorf was completed in the late 70s and was ready to be switched on, but in a referendum in 1978 the Austrian people rejected nuclear power by a slim majority of 50.47% against. As a result the power plant was never started up.

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#60

TIL that the director of The Notebook wanted someone “not handsome” for the male lead in the movie, so he cast Ryan Gosling for the role.

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#61

TIL that Wayne Gretzky is the only Hockey player to have scored over 200 points in a season, and did so a total of four times. His stunning success as a Hockey player was immortalized in the fact that not only did is own team retire 99, Gretzky’s Jersey number, but the league as whole did as well!

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#62

TIL that around 21 million people in Uganda, half of it’s population, are under 15 years of age.

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#63

TIL the rise of Japanese whisky rests on the efforts of Masataka Taketsuru, a pioneering chemist who brought the craft of Scottish whisky to Japan. He married a Scottish woman and they founded Yoichi distillery in 1934. While the first whisky was maturing, they sold apple juice to make ends meet.

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#64

TIL about Christopher Knight, a man that left his normal life at 20 years old to become a hermit. He lived in the wilderness, completely alone, for 27 years. He was apprehended only in 2013, after committing over a 1000 burglaries.

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#65

TIL The Herpes Virus is being used to treat Cancer. A modified form of Herpes is already FDA approved to treat melanoma.

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#66

TIL there is a water vapor cloud in space which has 100 trillion times the amount of water present on Earth

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#67

TIL that when Helium is cooled close to absolute zero, it becomes a superfluid that flows without friction, and behaves in a similar manner to the event horizon of a black hole

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#68

TIL in 1628 a Swedish warship Vasa, coined as the most spectacular warship ever built, sank only 20 minutes into her maiden voyage, sailing less than a single nautical mile.

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#69

TIL of Alec Cabacungan, the spokesperson for Shriners Childrens Hospital for the last 6 years, has Brittle Bone Disease. He has broken over 60 bones in his lifetime. He is an 18yo college freshmen, plays wheelchair basketball, interviews athletes and has appeared on sports shows such as NBA on TNT.

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#70

TIL, when filming the music video for ‘Beat It’, Michael Jackson worked with the LAPD to recruit members of the Bloods and Crips for the video to help foster peace between the two gangs

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#71

TIL during the Great Depression Clifton’s Cafeteria eateries boasted the slogan “Dine free unless delighted.” In the original restaurant’s first three months of business, ten thousand customers took him up on the offer. Enough customers paid their bills to make them a success.

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#72

TIL: There is a Canadian island called Devon Island, which is largest uninhabited island in the world and it is used to simulate Mars like environment by scientist because of its uncanny similarity with Martian surface .

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#73

TIL in 1996 the Argentine branch of Coca Cola announced they would give away free tickets to a Ramones concert in exchange for ten bottle caps. Massively underestimating the band’s appeal in Argentina, Coca Cola didn’t have enough tickets available, resulting in riots and looting

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#74

TIL Actress Cloris Leachman was awarded 8 Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated and, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, most awarded actress in Emmy history. She won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award.

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#75

TIL The Great Gatsby was a commercial failure. The book failed to sell more than 20,000 copies upon release and F. Scott Fitzgerald never earned more than $2,000 from the book. By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, the book had fallen into obscurity.

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#76

TIL we don’t see fully authentic film portrayals of Martin Luther King Jr. because in 2009 Steven Spielberg was granted the exclusive film and life rights to the works of MLK (and for a biopic never made). Now, dialogue/speeches are manufactured to prevent copyright issues – including 2014’s Selma.

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#77

TIL George A. Romero wrote a whole screenplay for a Resident Evil movie after watching a playthrough of the first game, but Capcom rejected it.

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#78

TIL in 400s BCE, Athens would herd citizens into a town hall assembly with red-stained ropes to get them to participate in the local Democracy. There was a fine if they got any red die on their clothes.

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#79

TIL while the Venus Flytrap is available all over the world through cultivation, it only grows naturally in a small area of the coastal plain in North and South Carolina.

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#80

TIL The Chief Engineer for the SR-71 started as a tool engineer but was promoted for detecting a flaw in an airliner that made it unstable. He went on to create the famous Lockheed Skunkworks.

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#81

TIL that in Friday the 13th (1980) an actual snake was killed in the scene where one is found in one of the camper’s cabins. The snake’s handler, who was unaware of the snake’s fate, was incredibly upset and had to be held back by crew members after it happened.

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#82

TIL there was land bridge between India and Sri Lanka you could pass on foot 600 years ago

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#83

TIL the famous image of musician Johnny Cash flipping the bird came about as a result of his frustration that a TV crew from the UK filming his performance in San Quentin prison were between him and the audience and wouldn’t “clear the stage” upon him asking them to do so…

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#84

TIL that Michelangelo’s statue “David” has a bulging vein in his neck that only appears during certain types of heart disease or during extreme stress or excitement.

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#85

TIL Carmel, a city in Indiana, has the highest number of traffic roundabouts in the US. Since late 1990s the city has built 125 roundabouts.

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#86

TIL The song ‘(She’s a) Brick House’ was written after the band (The Commodores) couldn’t come up with lyrics to the funky riff. The wife of the record’s producer wrote the lyrics one night and the band loved it. She never got official credit but the band has publicly acknowledged her as the writer

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#87

TIL the University of Southern California’s Spirit of Troy is the only collegiate band to have two platinum records. They have performed at the Oscars, the Grammys, on Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”, for five U.S. Presidents, and at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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#88

TIL Tom Hanks gets his brother to do Toy Story voiceover work when he’s busy with other projects

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#89

TIL Tom Nook from Animal Crossing is not a racoon in the original Japanese translation, but a tanuki (hence his name.) The animal is portrayed as a mischievous trickster in Japanese folklore.

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#90

TIL John Hinckley Jr’s motive for attempting to assassinate Ronald Reagan was to try and woo Jodie Foster, emulating Robert De Niro’s character from the film Taxi Driver

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#91

TIL about Hanoi Hannah, a Vietnamese radio personality who read the names of GIs that were KIA directly from the Stars and Stripes newspaper, and played popular anti-war songs to incite homesickness, attempting to persuade US GIs to go home during the Vietnam War.

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#92

TIL that in 1965 the Soviet Union detonated a nuclear device near the Chagan river to create an artificial lake with a volume of about 10 million cubic metres under it’s Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program. To date the lake is slightly radioactive and is nicknamed “the atomic lake”.

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#93

TIL Australian serial killer Ivan Milat lost 25kg from a failed hunger strike in prison when he was denied a PlayStation

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#94

TIL The beef scraps that become hamburger meat are mixed communally during processing, and according to a study done in 1998, the average fast-food burger contains meat from 55 different cows.

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#95

TIL Not only did Jon Favreau direct the movie “Elf” but he also had 2 roles in the movies. He was the doctor (credited) and the voice actor of Mr. Narwhal (uncredited). He is most proud of his Narwhal role because that’s the one that is on T-Shirts and Sweaters.

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#96

TIL that in 2015 a German student used his countries FOIA to request the answers to an upcoming final exam.

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#97

TIL about Jolt Cola, created in the 1980s as a stimulant for students and young professionals with the slogan “All the sugar, twice the caffeine!”

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#98

TIL that on April 1st, 1996 Taco Bell made an announcement that they bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell causing outrage and a huge spike in Taco Bell sales

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#99

TIL that every year Romans would crucify dogs while geese sat upon purple and gold pillows and watched. This was because when the Gauls attacked Rome in 390 BCE the geese raised an alarm while the guard dogs were silent.

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#100

TIL the HBO drama series ‘Succession’ hires wealth consultants to advise the writers and the crew how the very wealthy live.. the clothes they wear, how they get off of helicopters, etc.

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