We’re often told that studying about the world keeps us motivated, feeds our curiosity, and generally makes our lives more exciting. One truly great thing about having the internet in our hands at all times is that we can quickly find fun and intriguing tidbits of information about virtually anything. Yet, we humans need constant reminders to sharpen our minds by learning something new as often as we can.

Luckily, the Today I Learned forum is a Reddit powerhouse that has more than 26.9M people on a mission to exercise our brain cells. Members of this community continue to share the knowledge they recently found out themselves every single day.

So, to celebrate their efforts, we’ve collected some of the most fascinating facts floating around the subreddit for you to enjoy. Continue scrolling, upvote the ones that were new to you, and let us know what you think about them in the comments! And after you’re done taking notes, check out our previous posts about interesting trivia right here, here, and here.

#1

Fact

TIL People built a statue of “Kabang” a hero dog that got her face disfigured after saving two girls from a speeding motorcycle. She died last year, almost a decade after her heroic action

xtremerussell , www.tripzilla.ph Report

JuniorCJ82
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In case anyone wanted to know, she was a leap day baby and from the Philippines.

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#2

Fact

TIL A juvenile narwhal lost in the St. Lawrence River got adopted by a group of beluga and has stayed with them since at least 2016

Filobel , en.wikipedia.org Report

#3

Fact

TIL, the library at University of Coimbra in central Portugal hosts a colony of bats. Every night, the windows of the library are left open and the bats come in to feed on insects, thereby protecting the centuries-old historic documents. Every morning, librarians clean the bats' excrement.

piponwa , www.smithsonianmag.com Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the furniture is covered with leather sheets for protection at night

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To find out more about the power of learning and how we can benefit from it, we reached out to Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester and author of Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything.

She had a question for you, dear readers. "Wouldn’t you like to be seen as the most creative (not to mention smartest) person in the room? It’s possible! How? By spending a little time each day with new learning!" 

Turns out, our "new knowledge serves as a sort of mental trellis that allows new neurons to survive, thrive, and grow." When we’re not eager to study, these "new neurons, instead of nestling into your neural lattice, will wither and die. And you can find yourself becoming less flexible in your thinking as you increasingly rely on older neurons," the professor explained. 

#4

Fact

TIL British actress Emilia Clarke has survived two brain aneurysms and has since founded SameYou, a charity working to develop better recovery treatment for survivors of brain injury and stroke

miguelabduarte , en.wikipedia.org Report

Susan Bosse
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom survived one 21 years ago. She now lives with four minuscule ones and has have for a few years. The day before Thanksgiving 2021, she went in for brain surgery only for them to see the scan has misread. Talk about relief!! She didn't need surgery after all. When she had the first ome, they did a "trap door" in her head. The second, they went in through an artery by entering near her groin. Science has sure come a long way.

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#5

Fact

TIL In 2019 a man robbed a bank, threw the money out onto the street, and shouted "Merry Christmas!" He then went to a Starbucks where he waited to be arrested.

haddock420 , www.bbc.com Report

#6

Fact

TIL hospital patients recover quicker when they are able to see a park/vegetation from their window

TheNewNormal1 , unsplash.com Report

Huddo's sister
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Reading that the memory of looking down from a window at the grounds of the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne instantly flashed into my head.

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According to Oakley, it's wise to have a goal when you want to become better at educating yourself since it can help with the process. "You might set a goal of reading 20 pages a day of a book, which can amount to 15 books or more each year. And there are wonderful online courses on learning!" 

The educator mentioned that she herself teaches courses like Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects that can be beneficial in your journey. "You’ll see that many of these online courses are divided into 'chunks' of material that you can reasonably cover each week," she told us. "And you’ll get weekly reminder emails to help keep you on track." 

This is a great way to exercise our minds and get those brain cells going. So if you’re looking for some helpful lessons on the internet, Oakley said that Class Central has a wonderful listing of great online courses on online platforms.

#7

Fact

TIL After conservative activist Mary Whitehouse successfully campainged to stop Alice Cooper's 'School's Out' being shown on the BBC music show 'Top of the Pops', Cooper sent her a bunch of flowers, since he believed the publicity helped the song to reach number one.

Szabo84 , en.wikipedia.org Report

#8

Fact

TIL about Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black woman in the 1800s who amassed a fortune by eavesdropping on investors while working as a domestic

ap0110 , en.wikipedia.org Report

#9

Fact

TIL Lonnie Johnson, the man who created the “Super Soaker” (the world’s best selling toy) was awarded $72.9M in a Hasbro Settlement for unpaid royalties.

Reddit__PI , en.wikipedia.org Report

The professor mentioned that virtually any kind of new learning helps keep our brains fresh. "Whether it’s a new language, bringing back your rusty math skills, improving your ability to code, or taking up a new sport." If you’re not sure where to begin, a great tip would be to start a daily habit of picking up a book and reading a certain number of pages.

"If you want to make your new learning 'stick' even better—and reduce mental fog—add some exercise to your life," Oakley continued. "Exercise helps produce a chemical, BDNF, that serves as a sort of fertilizer for newer and stronger neural connections in the brain. In other words, BDNF helps you focus and remember better!"

#10

Fact

TIL that you can buy a room on a cruise ship and live on it. You pay a yearly fee and all amenities are provided like normal cruise ships.

InquiziTor-Mo , unsplash.com Report

hilary rudd
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cheaper to live there than some residential homes!!

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#11

Fact

TIL in the mid 1890s, Mary Whiton Caulkins completed all requirements towards a PhD in Psychology, but Harvard University refused to award her that degree because she was a woman.

67demigod , en.wikipedia.org Report

#12

Fact

TIL that in Churchill, Canada, locals keep their car doors unlocked in order to provide other residents a quick escape, should they encounter a polar bear

NorthNorthSalt , en.wikipedia.org Report

Steve Fischer
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This became less effective as more bears got their driver's license

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When asked whether the internet is a good tool for increasing our knowledge, she told us that it gives us incredible opportunities to learn from some of the best teachers in the world. "Athlete Julius Yego, for example, couldn’t find top javelin throwing coaches in his native Kenya and couldn’t afford to travel overseas to train," Oakley said. "So he started watching YouTube videos." Surprisingly, by watching tutorials online and practicing on his own, "he became the world champion in the javelin!"

#13

Fact

TIL that the Judean Date Palm was extinct until scientists germinated 2,000 year old seeds to bring the tree back into existence. The seeds were discovered in an ancient jar in Israel, dated between 155 BC to 64 AD.

albino-ugandan , en.wikipedia.org Report

Abhinc
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And in 2012 a team of researchers in Siberia were able to grow viable Silene stenophylla plants from 32,000-year-old seeds. The seeds had been preserved, fully isolated from the surface, under some 30 meters of ice at an average temperature of minus 7 degrees Celsius. The plants are even fertile, producing flowers and viable seeds. https://mymodernmet.com/prehistoric-silene-stenophylla-plants/

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#14

Fact

TIL that Acacia trees can communicate with each other. When they sense injuries in their leaves, they release ethylene gas in the air to signal nearby Acacias, which pump tannins in their leaves. Tannins make the leaves bitter and are also poisonous - it can kill even big herbivores, like deers.

DesignersUniverse , unsplash.com Report

Robert T
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some trees also have a symbiotic relationship with fungi and can communicate with each other through underground fungi networks.

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#15

Fact

Til theres a place off the coast of Australia where octopus, who are mostly solitary creatures, have made a small “city” of sorts.

JulienTheBro , unsplash.com Report

Also, if you want to make new information stick in your brain, the professor said that the best way "is to use what psychologists call 'retrieval practice.'" She explained that this simply means retrieving information from your brain. "That is, checking to see if you’ve got that information stored inside you." 

To do that, you can try using flashcards or try taking a few practice tests. "Or simply look away from a page or webpage (like this one!) and see if you can retrieve (that is, remember) the key ideas. Like Julius Yego, through learning, retrieving, and practicing, you too can become a world champion—or at least the best person you can be," Oakley concluded.

#16

Fact

TIL- apples are not indigenous to North America, nor most of Europe. They originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea. The capital of Kazakhstan, Alma Ata, means “full of apples.” By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe

curiousgurl , en.wikipedia.org Report

#17

Fact

TIL that Dory from "Finding Nemo" is deemed one of the most neuropsychologically accurate movie portrayals of an amnesic syndrome and the considerable memory difficulties faced daily by people with it

1954isthebest , pixar.fandom.com Report

#18

Fact

TIL someone translated Dracula into Icelandic and it took over 100 years for anyone to point out he just made a fanfic-rewrite of what he wanted the story to be.

davidsdungeon , en.wikipedia.org Report

May
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's hilarious - now I want to know what happens in the Icelandic version!

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#19

Fact

TIL In 1992, Nirvana brought an all-girl band to Buenos Aires to open for them, and the crowd was "throwing money and everything out of their pockets, mud and rocks, just pelting them." So, Nirvana, in protest, played lesser known songs and teased hit songs without actually playing them.

seven3true , en.wikipedia.org Report

Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

They were Calamity Jane and they were full-grown adult women.

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#20

Fact

TIL fire poles in fire houses were originally installed to allow for faster descent than the houses' narrow spiral staircases, which were themselves installed because horses kept climbing to the second floors and getting stuck.

mike_pants , www.mentalfloss.com Report

Miriam L
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Horses... I suppose you couldn't keep them too far away from the stairs or behind a locked gate in case of, well, the need to access them for the exact same emergencies the place was built for. I bet somewhere there's a black and white photo of a horse being carefully removed from the second story of a firehouse, probably with a large crowd of spectators. Bit different than calling the fire department to get your cat out of a tree. A salute to the many, many working horses of the past who saved lives pulling fire wagons, ambulance wagons, and so many other things.

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#21

Fact

TIL about Kate Warne, America's first female detective, who in 1861, in the guise of a "rich southern lady visiting Baltimore," infiltrated a secessionist social gathering and revealed a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln before he took office.

WouldbeWanderer , en.wikipedia.org Report

Sinkvenice
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's a television show called The Alienist with Daniel Bruhl and Dakota Fanning; the latter's character is loosely based on this lady.

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#22

Fact

TIL scientist Claire Patterson spent over 20 years trying to convince the public that lead was poison.

HappyPoodles , unsplash.com Report

#23

Fact

TIL that actor Richard Harris only accepted to play Albus Dumbledore because his granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again if he didn't.

FrenchieSmalls , en.wikipedia.org Report

#24

Fact

TIL Robert Propst, inventor of modern day Cubicles in 1968, called them “monolithic insanity” before he died in 2000.

Holmes02 , en.wikipedia.org Report

Miriam L
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But like Alfred Nobel and dynamite, once his invention existed, it was a little too late for him to tell people "hey, wait, you're using this all wrong!"

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#25

Fact

TIL there was a trend of headless photography in 19th century Britain ("Victorian Headless Portraits"). The models usually had their heads in a platter, or were holding them in their hands. This was made by taking multiple photos and combining the negatives - kinda like the early days' Photoshop.

https://old.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/s628c4/til_there_was_a_trend_of_headless_photography_in/ , en.wikipedia.org Report

#26

Fact

TIL Humans will walk in circles when lost unless there is some sort of external reference point.

openletter8 , unsplash.com Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#27

Fact

TIL that Robert Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper only to see his invention show up in Ford and Chrysler cars without giving him any credit or money whatsoever, after years of lawsuits he settled with ford for 10.2 million and won a judgment against Chrysler for $30 million

RockNrolllegend , en.wikipedia.org Report

Abhinc
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Kearns claimed that the inspiration for his invention stems from an incident on his wedding night in 1953, when an errant champagne cork shot into his left eye, leaving him legally blind in that eye. Nearly a decade later in 1963, Kearns was driving his Ford Galaxie through a light rain, and the constant movement of the wiper blades irritated his already troubled vision. BUT let's not forget that th windshield wiper was invented in the early 1900s by Mary Anderson. it was patented on november 1903 !! here is the patent : https://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=00743801&IDKey=CB2DB6A25403&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fpatimg.htm

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#28

Fact

TIL Bruce Willis turned down the role of Sam in the movie Ghost. He said he didn't understand how the movie would work with the main character being dead for the majority of the movie, and the role went to Patrick Swayze. Nine years later Willis would star in The Sixth Sense.

thetacticalpanda , en.wikipedia.org Report

EP
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hahahh this is great. Oh he was perfect in that movie and so was swayZe so I’m glad that turned out that way

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#29

Fact

TIL one of the cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W., asked for whiskey on his death bed, but was denied and died 36 years sober.

iansch243 , en.wikipedia.org Report

Saico Hipe
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even as a recovering alcoholic (14.5 months sober), I think this is messed up. You denied a dying man his final wish, and for what? To make a point? An example? F*cking ghoulish.

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#30

Fact

TIL that in the 1800s, US dairy producers would regularly mix their milk with water, chalk, embalming fluid and cow brains to enhance appearance and flavor. Hundreds of children died from the mixture of formaldehyde, dirt, and bacteria in their milk

Ingenuity_Silent , en.wikipedia.org Report

Chich
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And then the damn gubbermint had to stick their noses into it and ruin everything.

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#31

Fact

TIL the oldest evidence of humans in the Americas was found less than four months ago, and was several thousands of years older than previously thought

Ccaves0127 , www.npr.org Report

Abhinc
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Research done at the White Sands national park in New Mexico discovered the ancient footprints, with researchers estimating that the tracks were between 21,000 and 23,000 years old. Previously, scientists had widely assumed that the earliest appearance of humans in the Americas was 11,000 to 13,000 years ago because of stone spears found throughout North America and associated with what is known as the Clovis culture. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/sep/23/human-footprints-oldest-north-america

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#32

Fact

TIL that a 2,000 year old Roman cosmetic cream was discovered intact. The owner’s fingerprints where they last touched the cream can still be seen

[deleted] , www.theguardian.com Report

Abhinc
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

it was discovered by archaeologists who had excavated a Roman temple on the banks of London’s River Thames. https://archaeology-world.com/heres-a-2000-year-old-ancient-roman-face-cream/

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#33

Fact

TIL That the White Tailed Deer, generally considered to be herbivorous, have been caught on camera slurping baby birds out of their nests like candy and munching on human bones.

TheoriginalSquirrel , www.smithsonianmag.com Report

Nathan Pogorzala
Community Member
9 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why was this trail cam set up by a dead body? Was this that Tennessee University forensic decay lab?

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#34

Fact

TIL there are now more Spanish-speakers in the United States than there are in Spain.

moomoomeow2 , en.wikipedia.org Report

Abhinc
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

and there is NO official language in the US.

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#35

Fact

TIL about the speed camera lottery in Stockholm, Sweden. Driving at or under the speed limit would make you eligible to win the lottery where the prize funds come from the fines paid by speeders. In the trial the average speed was reduced from 20mph to 15,6mph (22% reduction)

miguelabduarte , en.wikipedia.org Report

Buskachi
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is not true. There has never been such a system in Sweden.

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#36

Fact

TIL Fish & Chips was an aid in winning WWII. Sir Winston Churchill saw the comfort food as a 'good companion' and was a dish that didn't get rationed to keep morale up. On the frontlines, troops calling "fish" and allies calling "chips" was an effective way to tell whether you were friend or foe.

ruelmoralesmusic , en.wikipedia.org Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I haven't thought of this for years, at school if a teacher was approaching, we'd say "chips!" for look out or beware

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#37

Fact

TIL we thought dolphins couldn't breathe through their mouths until 2016, when a dolphin with a damaged blowhole learned to mouth breathe

Gintian , en.wikipedia.org Report

#38

Fact

TIL Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons was originally intended to be Homer in disguise, which explains why they look so similar.

Puffx2-Pass , en.wikipedia.org Report

#39

Fact

TIL Jonah Hill was only paid $60,000 to appear in The Wolf of Wall Street, with the studio using his desire to work with Martin Scorsese as leverage to pay him the lowest fee possible. Whereas Leonard DiCaprio, who also produced the film, was paid $10m.

Die_Nameless_Bitch , en.wikipedia.org Report

Chich
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well how else is Dicaprio going to pay for those private jets to take him to climate change summits? Geeze people !

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#40

Fact

TIL in 1890 as part of a program to bring all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to North America, 60 starlings were released in New York's Central Park. There are now over 200 million European starlings across the US, causing billions in crop damage and deadly hazards at airports

geekteam6 , en.wikipedia.org Report

#41

Fact

TIL that due to their high fat and low water content, pistachios can self-heat and spontaneously combust if stored inproperly

SIRasdf23 , en.wikipedia.org Report

#42

Fact

TIL that PhD students display twice as many symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as depression than other people.

Nice_Dude , unsplash.com Report

Beth S
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Honestly doesn't surprise me. It is pretty well documented that ignorance is bliss - people who have higher intelligence are more likely to have depression/anxiety.

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#43

Fact

TIL Dolly Parton sleeps in make-up (and washes it off in the morning) just in case she has to go out in the middle of the night if a natural disaster strikes

MorsesTheHorse , en.wikipedia.org Report

#44

Fact

TIL that Aspirin and Heroin were both invented in a two-week period by the same man: Felix Hoffmann, a German chemist who worked for Bayer (and under Adolf Von Baeyer) in the late 1880’s.

TummyStickers , en.wikipedia.org Report

Saico Hipe
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And heroin was originally developed in the hopes of finding a LESS addictive form of morphine. Whoops :(

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#45

Fact

TIL: that its a common practice in China, to not tell an old person about their cancer diagnosis, where it is believed that telling them can make their condition deteriorate quicker.

Weak-Hamster- , unsplash.com Report

Clare C
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

UK not China, my late FIL wished he hadn't have known, he spent his last 4 months of life in and out of hospital getting treatments and operations where as he could have been at home with his family and possibly lived just as long.

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#46

Fact

TIL 75–80% of Olive Oil sold in the US is adulterated, including major brands. Organized crime's profit margin on adulterated olive oil is 3x that of cocaine. Olive oil fraud has gone on for 4 000 years.

smyrna1 , en.wikipedia.org Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Adulterated how? With what? Like, what does this even mean?

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#47

Fact

TIL Kurt Cobain didn't particularly like his song Smells Like Teen Spirit saying "It's almost an embarrassment to play." And "I can barely, especially on a bad night, get through 'Teen Spirit.' I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away."

SonOfQuora , en.wikipedia.org Report

Saint Thomas
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A lot of bands/artists despise the song that made them famous. I can understand it, it must be boring to hear the crowd ask for this song every time. But at the same time, it's a bit like biting the feeding hand... A french artist I really like kind of found a way around it : he plays one of his most famous song at every tour he does, but arrange it in a totally different way every time. (His name is Dominique A and the song is "Le courage des oiseaux", if you want to know :-) )

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#48

Fact

TIL when Christopher Columbus and his crew were stranded on Jamaica for 6 long months, fearing the indigenous people would turn on him, he successfully predicted a lunar eclipse and successfully used it to frighten them into thinking it was God’s wrath.

Salty-Photo-57 , en.wikipedia.org Report

Saico Hipe
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wish I believed in hell so that I'd know that bastard was rotting there. One of the worst human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.

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#49

Fact

TIL that Groundhog Day was introduced to America by German settlers who originally used a hedgehog to predict the weather, switching to the groundhog as they were easier to come across in the Keystone State.

InformalCommunity , unsplash.com Report

Nathan Pogorzala
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

RIP Milltown Mel. In heaven, the only shadow you will see will be God's. You were a beautiful fur ball.

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#50

Fact

TIL in 1989 a Soviet pilot ejected from a Mig-23 fighter jet over Poland after experiencing technical problems. The jet continued to fly on autopilot for 600 miles before running out of fuel and crashing into a house in Belgium, killing its occupant.

yayyemen , en.wikipedia.org Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I remember that, nobody dared to shoot it down when it flew over Germany

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