Let’s give a farewell to all those sleepless nights at school, sweaty exams, and never-ending misery that permeated the greatest part of our early adulthood, because there’s another side of the coin called the power of knowledge. And we’re talking bits of wisdom that didn’t find a place in textbooks but rather gave us a whole new way of learning new things.
Welcome to r/TIL—the internet’s homage to the continuous curiosity we carry through life, picking up all the interesting segments on the way. So get ready to soak in a new batch of hand-picked factoids below, and be sure to check out our previous posts on things people just learned here, here, and here.
TIL: A park bench in Bristol was given an official postal address so doctors could register the homeless as patients
TIL US Airways kicked a blind and and his dog off a plane in 2013 after the Dog repositioned itself during a two hour delay. They cancelled the flight after passengers disembarked in protest saying the flight attendant responsible be kicked off instead of the man and his service dog.
TIL In 1802, Napoleon added a Polish legion to fight off the slave rebellion in Haiti. However, the Polish army joined the Haitian slaves in the fight for independence. Haiti's first head of state called Polish people "the White Negroes of Europe", which was then regarded as a great honour.
TIL that during WW1, the MI5 used Girl Guides to deliver secret messages. They used Girl Guides instead of Boy Scouts because they found out that Boy Scouts weren't efficient enough, boisterous and talkative.
TIL of Bessie Coleman, the first African American and Native American female pilot who would only perform if the crowds were desegregated and entered thru the same gates.
TIL that Fermilab used to clean its particle accelerators with a ferret named Felicia, who would run through the tubes with cleaning supplies attached and be rewarded with hamburger meat
TIL that at the age of 17, Steven Spielberg directed a sci-fi film called "Firelight". The budget was $500, and it was shown at a local cinema, with 500 people coming, and tickets costing a dollar each. However, one person paid $2, so the movie made $1, making it Spielberg's first commercial success
TIL In 1911 The Rigby family included their cat Tom in their census form. 'Tom Cat' was listed as being an 8-year old, married Mouse-Catcher, Soloist and Thief with 16 children. His birthplace was listed as Cheshire and he was described as being 'speechless' in the infirmity section of the form.
TIL Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura devoted his life revitalising deserts in Afghanistan, making forests and wheat farmland and contributing to peace. Nakamura was decorated with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun and Afghan National Medal.
TIL that Mesopotamians figured out that the Earth orbited the sun about 1,700 years before Copernicus and Newton. They also figured out that the moon causes the tides and that the Earth rotates around its axis.
TIL that anatomically dogs have two arms and two legs - not four legs; the front legs (arms) have wrist joints and are connected to the skeleton by muscle and the back legs have hip joints and knee caps.
TIL that in 2009 Icelandic engineers accidentally drilled into a magma chamber with temperatures up to 1000C (1832F). Instead of abandoning the well like a previous project in Hawaii, they decided to pump water down and became the most powerful geothermal well ever created.
TIL although Wayne’s World (1992) was released after Freddie Mercury died, he got to see the car headbanging scene featuring Bohemian Rhapsody shortly before he passed away on November 24, 1991. He loved it and foresaw how the use of the song would ignite a comeback for Queen in the United States.
TIL The Godfather's famous cat-in-lap scene was entirely unscripted. A stray cat randomly wandered onto the set, so Coppola grabbed it and put it in Marlin Brando's lap without a word.
TIL early-20th-century actress, Maude Adams, wanted to do a film version of Peter Pan, but was against doing it in black-and-white. She began working with experts on those obstacles, i.e. lack of color film and inadequate lighting. She earned several electric-light patents in the 1930s.
TIL in 1977, Ben Cohen was a struggling potter & Jerry Greenfield was getting rejected by medical schools. The pair decided to open a bagel shop, but the cost of bagel machines was too high. As a result, they enrolled in a $5 ice cream making course instead. A year later, they created Ben & Jerry's
TIL of the Grand Hotel in Scarborough, England, which had 365 rooms for each day of the year, 52 chimneys for the weeks, 12 floors for months of the year, and was shaped in a V to represent Queen Victoria
TIL, the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea is a wildlife haven. While most natural wildlife and rare plants have been killed off in the South, the DMZ hasn’t been touched in over 60 years, which resulted in unique species of flora and fauna to flourish in this area.
TIL when giraffes are born, they fall six feet on their head, but it's the fall that gets them to start breathing
TIL Certain oak tree populations will synchronize to produce almost no acorns, only to rain them down excessively the following year, known as a "mast" year. The year preceding the mast year is thought to starve off the mammal populations feeding on the acorns.
TIL as a young boy Yuri Gagarin (first man in space) had his village occupied by nazis, his family forced to work while living in a 3 by 3 meter mud hut for 21 months, saw his little brother being hanged (but saved by his parents) and his two older siblings deported for slave labor (who escaped).
TIL that the Amazon River was named after the conquistador Francisco de Orellana was defeated by a few tribes of women, thus naming it after the warrior women of Greek legend.
TIL In 2007, a local Japanese railway station “hired” a cat named Tama as an official, helping the local economy bring in over 1 billion yen during her service. When she died 8 years later, thousands of people came to her funeral.
TIL Caffeine is the coffee plant's natural defense mechanism. It leaches into the surrounding soil as leaves from the plant drop and are decomposed into the soil. Since caffeine is toxic to other plants, it prevents other plants from growing around the coffee plant and competing for sunlight.
TIL that in 2019, Pope Francis received a bottle of Oban malt whiskey while visiting Scottish priests, and declared it to be 'the real holy water'. The BBC captured the footage for a documentary, which was censored by the Vatican.
TIL - Mozart has a pet starling (bird) which could sing part of his piano concerto in G Major. He had bought it from a shop after hearing it sing a phrase from a work he wrote six weeks previously, which had not yet been performed in public
TIL during the Golden Age of Piracy, women sometimes became pirates by disguising themselves as men in an effort to take advantage of freedom and rights that men could only enjoy. Anne and Mary were two famous female pirates of that time who fell in love with each others' disguised manly appearance!
TIL that a breed of wool dogs existed on the pacific northwest coast. Indigenous people would keep the dogs isolated on small islands to prevent inter breeding with hunting dogs. The wool dogs were cared for and feed a rich diet of seafood to produce strong yarn to make blankets from.
TIL “The road not taken” by Robert Frost, was actually written to mock an indecisive friend and intended to inspire no one.
TIL when Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs first opened in 1916, the owner hired people to dress as doctors and eat hot dogs outside his shop, to convince people his hot dogs were healthy.
TIL measles gives your immune system 'amnesia.' Exposure to measles leaves the victim with a strong response to the measles virus, but an increased vulnerability to all other pathogens.
TIL the eye sockets of the Moai statues in Easter Island used to have eyes made of coral
TIL:During a SAS special operation against Nazi forces in Italy, using a force including Italians, a Scottish bagpiper volunteered to join the attack so that the Nazi's would think it was solely a British operation and not attack the locals
TIL that Brazil was a monarchy until Crown Princess Isabel signed a law emancipating all slaves in Brazil in 1888. This was unpopular among the rich plantation owners and the imperial family was deposed in a military coup
TIL Louis Vuitton burn any excess stock at the end of each year to main exclusivity, theft and avoid discount prices
TIL Texas didn’t have safety regulations on natural gas until after a school blew up and killed hundreds of children. Nobody was held accountable, but they passed strict regulations afterwards. It was so bad that even Hitler sent a letter of condolence.
TIL that monkeys in Japan learned to wash sweet potatoes in fresh water to clean them. They later switched to washing sweet potatoes in salt water. It is theorized that this is because they like the salty taste more than plain potatoes.
TIL That in 1948 the Idaho Department of Fish and Game used surplus parachutes from WWII to drop threatened beavers into a nearby protected area. After some careful calibrations, 76 beavers made the skydive and all but one survived the drop.
TIL that beer bottles are brown as it blocks out the sun's rays and helps preserve the taste. A shortage of brown glass after the Second World War meant higher quality beer makers chose green to distinguish themselves from the companies using clear glass.
TIL there are 23 floating-year-round boat schools in Bangladesh due to constant flooding in the country. Starting in 2002, these schools ensure year-round education in a country where heavy monsoon rains can submerge 70% of the land mass under water.
TIL a man built the world's largest treehouse after claiming God told him to do so. It was 97 feet tall. It took 12 years to build and burned down in 15 minutes in 2019.
TIL that in 2006, a woman farted on a plane and tried to cover up the smell by lighting matches, causing an emergency landing and an FBI investigation. Although she was not charged in the incident, she was also not allowed back on the plane.
TIL In 1443, King Sejong single-handedly created Hangul, the Korean alphabet, in response to the immense difficulty that common people faced learning Chinese characters. The publication date of the document revealed in 1446 detailing the new alphabet is now a national holiday in both Koreas.
TIL In 2008, a man altered an old story he had written to resemble Kung Fu Panda, then sued DreamWorks for $12 million. After the court found out he was lying, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
TIL It would take 375,000 Lego bricks stacked one on top of another to destroy the bottom brick. The tower would be nearly 12,000 feet tall.
TIL a 1000 year old bronze buckle from East Asia was discovered in Alaska, showing that indigenous people in North America might have been interacting with the Old World earlier than previously thought
TIL that Einstein's support for pacifist, civil rights and left-wing causes in Europe had drawn suspicion from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, and after his arrival to America, the Bureau launched what would eventually become a 22-year surveillance campaign since the FBI believed Einstein was a Soviet spy.
TIL that flowers are physically growing with darker coloured petals nowadays due to their rapid adaptation to combat the suns radiation from the thinning ozone layer.
TIL Lafayette’s grave in Paris is filled with dirt from Massachusetts as he wished to be buried in American soil. Additionally, I learned the flag remained in place during WW2 because the Nazis never looked behind the private cemetery’s walls.
TIL : During the Salem witch trials, the accused witches weren’t actually burned at the stake. The majority were jailed, and some were hanged. But none of the 2,000 people accused ever got burned alive.
Note: this post originally had 70 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.