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Many of us are exposed to a massive, constant stream of information every single day. Not just at work but during our leisure time, too. And with so much data to process, it can be hard to distinguish between real facts and twisted truths.

That’s the topic that internet user u/Leefiey tackled in a r/AskReddit thread. At times, you can end up in confusing situations where some bizarre-sounding facts and stats are actually true, even though they genuinely sound fake. We’ve collected the top ones, as revealed by the people in the thread, to share them with you, Pandas. Scroll down to check them out. They might just change your perspective on science and history.

Bored Panda wanted to learn about the reliability of statistics, so we reached out to Steven Wooding, a member of the Omni Calculator project, as well as the Institute of Physics in the UK. Steven is the creator of interesting tools like the Weird Units Converter, among others. Read on for his insights.

#1

If every church in America took in two homeless people, there would not be homeless people in America, and not all of them would have two people.

RusstyDog Report

#2

There are more museums in the US than there are McDonald's and Starbucks combined.

clownbird Report

#3

Ancient egyptians had their own historians.

By the time of Cleopatra, there were records of egyptians 'discovering' stuff about the pyrimad of Giza and others, and studying early egyptian practices. Cleopatra lived closer to modern day than she did to the building of the Giza pyramid, so that makes sense, but still.

Those f*****s had been around so long that even Egypt thought Egypt was ancient.

vampireinamirrormaze Report

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Kira Okah
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They even had specialist teams of researchers and restorers, specially to research the practices and techniques of the older Kingdoms and restore their monuments properly and faithfully.

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We were interested in what to keep front of mind when considering the possible reliability of statistics. Steven, from the Omni Calculator project, was kind enough to share his thoughts on this.

"Check the statistics are from a reliable source and up to date. In addition, a very important number to check is the sample size: A larger sample size is more likely to represent the whole population. However, the sample must also be representative of the population and not biased, so check what methods were used to ensure these critical points," he explained to Bored Panda.

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"Another aspect is to check the margin of error of data points. If they are too large, the data points effectively overlap so that no solid conclusions can be made. Finally, check the same data from multiple sources or studies to see if they agree," he suggested.

#5

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True I saw a scale model of the earth, moon and sun in a museum. The sun was about the size of a basketball, and the earth was on the opposite side of the room, the size of a small marble, I'd guess about 30 metres away. The moon was the size of a tiny pinhead, about 10cm away from the earth.

On this scale, the nearest star to earth, Proxima Centauri, wouldn't be in the same building, or even in the same city. It would be 10,000km away.

And that's just one star, the nearest one to us, in a galaxy containing billions of stars, which is just one of billions of galaxies.

The scale of the universe really is mind bogglingly big. Far bigger than we can begin to comprehend.

Qabbalah , Big Yellow Dot avatar link Big Yellow Dot Report

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#6

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True After the british made head protection mandatory in WW1, the amount of head wounds increased.


It's due to they were no longer KIA, but "only" a head wound.

WouldUKindlyDMBoobs , en.wikipedia.org Report

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Kira Okah
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Suvivor bias is an interesting and often scary logical error when viewed in statistics.

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Bored Panda was also curious as to why using statistics can make a claim seem more trustworthy. "Statistics can provide a sense of objectivity," the Omni Calculator representative said.

"When you see a statistic, it can be easy to think the claim is based on hard data, not just someone's opinion. This can make the claim seem more credible, but of course, the statistic itself could be made up," Steven noted.

"It often happens that someone's guess at a statistic becomes pseudo-facts. For example, 'You only use 10% of your brain,' which any neuroscientist will tell you is wrong."

Fake news is a very broad term that encompasses a wide range of different types of false information. For instance, fake news in the narrow sense is literally a collection of made-up stories that are presented as though they were true, the Walden University Library explains.

However, that isn’t the same as biased stories which are based more on propaganda and opinions. And that, in turn, is different from clickbait that sensationalizes and exaggerates headlines for the sake of, well, clicks and greater ad revenue.

#7

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True In English, the color orange was named after the fruit. Before that, orange was just considered a shade of red. That's why gingers are called redheads.

I_might_be_weasel , Delphine Hourlay Report

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And the like
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We do the same in Italian with redheads though. And the words to describe fruit and colour are the same. And i doubt oranges are native from England. So... i guess there's more to know to the story

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#8

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True The Appalachian, Scottish Highlands, and the Atlas mountains are actually the same prehistoric mountain range.

StolenDabloons , Fabesh Report

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#9

Humans have patterns (like stripes, spots and geometric shapes) on our bodies that are invisible to us but cats can see them

kutupashetani Report

Other forms of fake news include satire—parodies of real events for the sake of humor and entertainment. You'd be surprised how often people fall for them: folks often read the headline and share it with their friends and followers without bothering to read the text itself.

Another subtype is astroturfing where political or religious organizations or sponsors create the illusion that their message is being shared by small, grassroots organizations. By creating the appearance that the local community is behind it, they then draw in more and more people.

Among other types of fake news is native advertising which looks like a collection of news stories but is simply meant to promote a certain product line. While incomplete news stories simply lack the proper background and context, and are examples of poorly-researched journalistic pieces.

#10

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True It took us more time to go from bronze swords to iron swords than it did for us to go from iron swords to nuclear weapons.

IMJUSTABRIK , Tor-Sven Berge Report

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Head_on_a_Stick
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My favourite "progress" factoid is that Orville Wright and Neil Armstrong were both alive at the same time so we went from the first air flight to the first landing on another planetary body within the lifetime of a single generation. EDIT: say what you want about fossil fuels but they really do get s**t done.

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#12

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years. People have a lot of trouble comprehending numbers that big

sunbearimon , Andrea Piacquadio Report

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PeepPeep the duck
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember yahoo-ing all this in 1999 as an 11 yr old with my bff 😆before google there was yahoo, remember that ?

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With so much junk, bias, and lies out there, it would be completely impractical (not to mention utterly exhausting) to double-check every tiny little claim by yourself. Doing your own research is very important. But at some point, you have to start applying strategies for spotting fake news.

Some key things to keep in mind, according to the Walden University Library, include evaluating the news source, as well as the author of the piece. Dig a bit into what kind of reporting they do, and how (un)reliable it is. Though everyone makes mistakes at times, not every source is equal. An outlet’s track record for being right or wrong, factual or sensational, is what matters.

Meanwhile, do your best to read beyond just the headline and opening couple of paragraphs. If you have the time, read the entire thing and try to get a sense of the entire story. Read a few more articles on the topic from different sources to compose a more detailed and nuanced picture of the events. Moreover, take the time to see how the sources back up claims and stats: take a peek at the sources that they themselves rely on.

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#13

1 out of every 4 girls & 1 out of every 6 to 13 boys are sexually assaulted as child. Child rape is far more common than people think & the majority of rapists get away with it to rape more children.

*Edit- sources:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childsexualabuse/fastfact.html

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf

HelenAngel Report

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PeepPeep the duck
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Back in my stripper days, not saying it’s industry related but because we are a huge groups of girls, out of about 70 of us only one claimed to never have been sexually assaulted as a child. It was eye opening. We had a group discussion one day. We were close and all friends

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#14

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Trees existed millions of years before rot. So trees, for millions of years, didn't rot.

extremeindiscretion , Lukas Hartmann Report

#15

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True We live closer in time to Tyrannosaurus Rex than the T Rex did to the Stegosaurus.

reiveroftheborder , Dennis Jarvis Report

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Loverboy
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If all of Earth's existence were squeezed into a single day, humans would have existed for about a second. We can't even comprehend that.

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Substack writer Gurwinder Bhogal, who runs the popular ‘The Prism’ blog, had a very creative and unusual approach to tackling the rise of misinformation. In his opinion, instead of censoring fake news, we should instead embrace it because then people will be more wary of misleading facts. In other words, being constantly exposed to misinformation creates a sort of immunity to it.

He argues that we should “let misinformation spread so it becomes a clear and constant presence in everyone’s life, a perpetual reminder that we inhabit a dishonest world. Deception is part of nature, from the chameleon’s complexion to the Instagram model’s beauty filters, and it will never be legislated away while life still exists, so let’s stop trying to prevent people from seeing lies, and instead teach people to see through them.”

For some more facts that sound unreal but are true, check out Bored Panda's earlier posts here and here.

#16

If you took the populations of both China and India, then removed 1 billion people from each, they would still be the two most highly populated countries on earth.

And you'd probably be convicted of crimes against humanity for wiping out 2 billion people

c0_sm0 Report

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Tushar Roy Mukherjee
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Depending on which of the two countries carries out the trial, and which communities you wiped out, you probably wouldn't face death.

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#17

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True The Oxford university in England existed centuries before the rise and fall of the Aztec civilization.

RefrigeratorStatus96 , Franco Folini Report

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Tiramisu 🇵🇸
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Everyone loses their s**t over this one, it’s not even the oldest university still in operation. That title goes to the University of Karueein, in Fez, Morocco, established in 859 AD

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#18

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Cleopatra lived closer in time to the mobile phone than she did the construction of the pyramids.

There was a window of time where a samurai could have faxed Abraham Lincoln

Mr_Mojo_Risin_83 , Louis le Grand Report

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Lakota Wolf
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She was also Ptolemaic Greek. ::gives the new Cleopatra "documentary" series the side-eye::

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#19

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Three out of every million Icelandic people are Björk.

Majestic-Mountain365 , Frédéric Vicomte Report

#20

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Continents move at the same rate that fingernails grow. Which is also the same rate that the moon is receding from the Earth.

Midnight-Ran , Mikhail Nilov Report

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Edward Finger Hands
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There’s an answer to the meaning of life here…I’m just sure of it! Something about our interconnectedness 🙃

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#21

The world population has never been more peaceful, healthier or happier than in the last few decades. On average we live in the best time humankind has ever had.

Dennis_enzo Report

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Jessica Shookhoff
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, this is absolutely true. In fact, you can even see it as our bones changed over human evolution, becoming thinner and more delicate, particularly the skull, and particularly in subsaharan Africa and East Asia populations, which is highly correlated with increased sociability. However, we still have a ways to go, and there are still many who need our help and compassion. But I like to remind myself of this fact when I hear something that really makes me hate all of humanity for a few seconds...

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#22

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True George Washington didn’t know dinosaurs existed

Silver34 , Boston Public Library Report

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Janner Wingfeather
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

“D is for dinosaur, but it’s a brand new word/ Invented in 1841, it means ‘terrible lizard’/ Spelled D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R/ Sir Richard Owen thought it up: D for dinosaur.” Isn’t it funny how little jingles you learn as a kid stick with you?

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#23

Not positive how accurate these are but I seem to remember them being reliable.

80% of the people on the planet will never step foot on an airplane.

If you make more than $40K in a year you're in the top 1% of the world.

My life is far more privileged and luxurious than I lead myself to believe.

OpossomMyPossom Report

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Kira Okah
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The first is from a quote by the CEO of Boeing. It's probably based on a US Bureau of Transport Statistics survey that found only 18% of people said they had ever flown on a plane. Not sure of the second, thought it was like net worth of 800k/annum.

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#24

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True New Delhi hired people to hunt cobra snakes which led to people having Cobra Farms to earn money then the government stopped the project which led the Cobra Farmers to release their snakes causing twice as many snakes than they first started.

cathabit , Steven Belcher Report

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#25

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Horses [takes out] more people every year in Australia than all the other beasties combined. Everyone thinks it's the spiders and snakes that'll get you, but it's the horses you've really got to watch.

Gingerbread_Cat , Bartosz Bartkowiak Report

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Niall Mac Iomera
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I live in Australia and I've never heard of a horse taking anyone out. No movies, no dinner dates, nothing!

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#26

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Tyromancy is the art of divination/prediction by studying cheese.

Oldandnotbold , Community Archives Report

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Janner Wingfeather
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

*Stares at cheese* Lo, I prophesy that I shall soon taste delicious Cheddar! *chomp* The prophecy has been fulfilled!

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#27

Nintendo has existed longer than Disney.

Ok-Autumn Report

#28

Joe Biden was born closer to the Lincoln presidency than to his own.

KoalaTeaControl Report

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

*puts on aviator sunglasses* *does fingerguns* *gives someone a shoulder massage* *tells an anecdote about Delaware*

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#29

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Chainsaws were invented to assist with childbirth…

[In 1780, two Scottish doctors invented the prototype of the chainsaw. Not to cut down trees or clear debris. No, John Aitken and James Jeffray invented the hand-cranked chainsaw to cut through the pelvises of delivering mothers who were having trouble pushing their babies out.]

fuzzygroodle , Sabine Salfer/WikiCommons Report

#31

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True If you made $100,000 a day since birth you'd still not be worth as much as Bezos

IllustriousAd3838 , Van Ha Report

#32

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True You are more likely to be married to Kim Kardashian in the United states then you are to die of Ebola in the United States. ( I know. Poor sample size and all. )

kamain42 , Jernej Furman Report

#33

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True Meerkats have the highest "homicide" rate of any mammal.

ChadmeisterX , Pixabay Report

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Kira Okah
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They are very hierarchical and resource competitive. If a higher ranked meerkat is pregnant, she will kill the offspring of subordinates to make sure the resources go to hers. They will also cannibalise their offspring if resources are scarce.

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#34

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True The weight of a sloth is anywhere up to one-third poop.

Sharks are the largest threat to the Internet.

neohylanmay , Steven Paton Report

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Chocolate llama
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sharks apparently like to chew on underwater cables if they get the chance to do so

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#35

Barcode scanners scan the white lines, not the black ones.

the_blast_radius Report

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Mat Hall
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, but also no. While the scanner can only "see" the white lines, the black lines tell it where the white ones are - if you changed the size of the black ones it wouldn't work, so they're just as significant a part of the code as the white ones...

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#36

If for some strange reason you WANTED your child to be kidnapped by a stranger you would have to keep them outside, unattended, for 750,000 years. Based on statistics.

Hannah_LL7 Report

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

depends on country, surely? I imagine this statistic would be higher in my country

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#37

The average human a**s can stretch up to 8 inches in diameter, and also an average full-grown raccoon can squeeze through a 4 inch hole. Therefore, technically speaking, you can fit two adult raccoons in your a*s.

Orbnotacus Report

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Chocolate llama
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well, those 3,500 rectal foreign bodies removed by doctors kinda advice against trying that out

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#38

There are different sizes of infinity.

Raddatatta Report

#39

We are bioluminescent.We glow the light just isn't perceptible to the human eye.

idratherbeinendor Report

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Florence O'Grady
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How can we make this light perceptible to the human eye? I want to see myself glow, pretty please.

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#40

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True If we lost all the dead space inside our atoms, we would each be able to fit into a particle of dust, and the entire human species would fit into the volume of a sugar cube.

bonjelascott , Polina Tankilevitch Report

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Head_on_a_Stick
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There is no "dead space". Atoms don't work like that. Quantum mechanics describes atomic-level behaviour in terms of clouds of probability densities determining the position of the particles so the "empty" space isn't empty at all.

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#41

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True There are 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible arrangements of a 52 card deck.

MegaGrimer , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

#42

The most efficient use of energy is achieved by a human riding a bicycle

Getupb4ufall Report

#43

USA is only 2.4 miles from Russia.

2 islands in the Bering Strait, the body of water in the Pacific Ocean that separates Alaska from Russia, are 2.4 miles from each other at the narrowest point; one island is owned by Russia, the other is owned by USA.

Qabbalah Report

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#45

These 45 Mind-Boggling Facts Seem Unreal But Are Totally True The number one cause of death for pregnant women is [being unalived].

boredasballsyo , cottonbro studio Report

Note: this post originally had 101 images. It’s been shortened to the top 45 images based on user votes.