Living in the 21st century has its perks, but it often means we are awash at sea in an ocean of data, information, history, and research. Fortunately, infotainment is the lifeboat we all need. By gathering those morsels of engaging information and presenting it in a bite-sized form, it can help us learn about the world around us in a way that doesn’t put us to sleep. 

One good example of this is the “Interesting Facts” Instagram, which, unsurprisingly, focuses on curious and possibly less-known bits of trivia. So be sure to upvote your favorites as you scroll and comment what you learned. 

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It can be somewhat hard to pin down what exactly makes a fact “fun,” since for most of us, fun time activities are aggressively subjective. You couldn’t pay me to collect stamps, but for some, it’s a lifelong pursuit. So for me, a fun fact is that “scraunched" and "strengthed” share the title for the longest-spelled one-syllable words in English. Note that it’s not “strengthened,” but the considerably less common "strengthed,” which is the simple past tense and past participle of strength. The fact that sometimes strength can be used as a verb might be an additional fact for some, though perhaps not quite “fun.”

A fun fact that might actually be useful during, say, a trivia competition is that one mile in every five must be straight in the US interstate highway system. However, it’s a bit of a trick, as there is an urban legend stating that this was so airplanes could land on it during emergencies or times of war. While this is a happy side effect, this was not actually the intention behind this regulation. Even "worse," this law did not actually exist, though in hindsight it does not sound like a bad idea.

This often is true for many fun facts. They simply are passed around and repeated, but bear little to no connection to reality. The good news is that you aren’t eating spiders in your sleep. Despite the fact that some male spiders really do have a thing for being eaten. Just not by you. Setting spiders aside, (thank goodness) this does demonstrate a common problem with fun facts, namely, that they often are just wrong. 

We can start debunking at breakfast. Coffee is a staple drink in most households, offices, and elsewhere. Those seeking a heavy dose of caffeine can turn to the trusty espresso, which tastes stronger than your average cup of joe. Well, despite a truly bitter flavor profile, it actually has just as much caffeine as a regular serving of coffee. And while we are on this topic, coffee beans are not beans at all (which now probably seems painfully obvious) and are in fact just seeds. 

Now that we’ve subtracted coffee from the legume family, we can replace it with an unlikely candidate. Peanuts, despite the name, are not nuts. They are, in fact, part of the bean family. And to screw with your understanding of foods, avocados are fruits. Regarding peanuts, people with nut allergies might be curious why this bean causes them issues. It actually has a chemical composition much closer to other tree nuts, like a walnut or almond. It does grow underground, however. 

Enough ruining food, let’s consider some classic myths that we all were sure of as children. We can all imagine the classic bullfighter, with a snappy outfit and red cape. The red, or so the story goes, infuriates the bull. Except, it doesn’t, as bulls are basically colorblind. If anything, the red color is to make it more visible to the audience, not the animal. Bulls, however, are territorial and somewhat aggressive and are infuriated, like Edna "E" Mode, by capes. 

Now, cats and dogs are often thought to be colorblind, but in reality, they do see a few shades of different pigments. They can see blue, gray, and yellow, as well as whatever can be mixed out of them. Unlike the common depictions of black and white, it’s better to think of their vision as similar to that of a person with colorblindness. This is particularly interesting since both animals have pretty different eyesight abilities, from cats who can see a fly crawling on a wall on the other side of a room, to dogs who manage to not notice the whole cat they just sat on. 

To combine the two, avoid giving your cat milk. They are lactose intolerant, though like many humans, still enjoy milk and its products. While it’s not deadly, unless, in excessive amounts, milk will cause gastrointestinal issues. For outdoor cats, it’s not a big deal, but if you own an indoor cat, be prepared for some cleanup. On the other hand, they still do get the necessary vitamins and minerals from milk and tend to enjoy drinking it, which can’t be said about all food as some are excessively picky eaters. 

Now, finally, some fun facts that you can actually use. If you plan to do a coin toss that you really want to win, use a penny and bet on tails. Lincoln's head actually makes the coin unbalanced and that side is 80% more likely to face down. And if you can’t use a penny, because, honestly, who keeps spare pennies around when using a normal coin, attempt to bet on the face that was up when it’s thrown. It has a, roughly, 1% better chance of landing in your favor. And if you want to explore more fun facts from around the world, check out our other articles here, here, and here

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