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.
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.
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.
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
I wish it was as easy to remember these facts as it was to scroll through. In reality, we do learn things every day, but not much of that information sticks with us.
But memory is a very complex function. It turns out, much of it is generated not only through recollection, but also through the emotions that are attached to it. Shahram Heshmat, a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield, believes that “emotion affects all the phases of memory formation.”
For example, “Attention guides our focus to select what’s most relevant for our lives and is normally associated with novelty.” And nothing focuses the mind more than a surprise which escalates emotional intensity.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank were born in the same year.
Also, that same year, Betty White was already 7 years old.
The oldest living tree in the world methuselah is 4851 years old
That the Oxford Univeristy is older than the Aztec Empire
Another interesting thing which escalates long-term memory is not the recollection of a fact itself, but rather the so-called mood memory. Prof. Heshmat explains that “Our current emotional state facilitates recall of experiences that had a similar emotional tone.”
For example, being in a bad mood primes us to think of and remember unpleasant moments.Having said that, most of the things we forget easily have to do with our inability to put them in our long-term memory.
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
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
The International Space station is closer to the earth than San Francisco is to L.A
Meanwhile, forcing yourself to memorize things is likely not to be very effective because our brains are not capable of making sense of dense information quickly and forming strong associations.
It's better to use super simple tricks such as visualization (imagine what you are trying to remember), repetition (boring but effective), and learning the opposite things (create associations in your head).
And never underestimate the power of understanding that which you’re learning, because you'll never be able to remember something you can’t explain yourself.
Arctic foxes can survive temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius
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.
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.
The fact that nobody knows that if we all see colours the same way
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
I still can’t get over the fact that teddy roosevelt got shot and continued to give a three hour speech
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
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
The U.S government 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.'
There are more trees on Earth then there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Confirmed by NASA.
A neutron star is so dense that a teaspoon of material from one would weigh around 10 million tons
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Note: this post originally had 59 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.