50 New ‘Today I Learned’ Facts That Prove It’s Never Too Late To Learn Something New
They say that knowledge brings more knowledge — the more you know, the easier it is to learn new things. Luckily, we have an endless source of information right there at our fingertips, so discovering something novel is as easy as tapping on a few links on our screens. Still, if you’re looking for a reminder to sharpen your mind and expand your mental horizons, the Today I Learned subreddit is here to save the day.
With a mind-boggling 27.2M members and counting, this Reddit powerhouse is on a mission to share "interesting and specific facts about something that you just found out." People there collect precious tidbits of wisdom and continue to share quick and exciting facts every single day.
So let’s celebrate their efforts by taking out our notebooks, grabbing our pens, and allowing ourselves to learn something different, new, and potentially useful. Bored Panda has collected some of the best facts from this online community for you to enjoy, so continue scrolling and upvote the ones you enjoyed most! And when you’re done, be sure to check out our previous posts with more interesting trivia here, here, and here.
TIL the wolves/dogs used to film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) had to have CGI butts/tails because they were too happy to appear menacing.
TIL that figure skater Mabel Fairbanks, who was was banned from rinks as a child due to her African American and Native American ancestry, went on to coach skating greats like Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Debi Thomas, and was the first African American in the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
To find out more about how learning keeps our minds healthy, we reached out to Nate Kornell, Ph.D., a professor of cognitive psychology at Williams College. When asked why so many people find factual knowledge interesting, he told Bored Panda that “it’s crazy to think about some of the things that are true.”
Like how much water there is in the ocean. Or why are there no trees in Iceland. It’s simply fascinating for us to better understand our world and notice how it changes. After all, learning is a constant process that’s necessary to keep our minds sharp and active.
So if you would like to be seen as the most innovative and creative person in the room, just start spending a little time every day learning something new. And don’t listen to the people who say that learning fun facts is a waste of time. The professor completely disagrees with them: “Fun is fun, and if you have fun learning some facts, all the better. But we all need to know more facts than just the fun ones.”
TIL that two buttons in WWII RAF uniform can be put together to make a mini compass which indicates towards north.
TIL in the Red Sea, giant moray eels have been observed hunting cooperatively with coral groupers. The grouper approaches an eel's hiding place and shakes its head rapidly to indicate that it wants to hunt. The eel recognizes the signal and accompanies it on the hunt where they work in tandem.
TIL that some urban birds like finches and sparrows use cigarette butts as a form of pest control for their nests. The nicotine in the cigarettes helps keep parasites away.
Absorbing tidbits of information that feed our curiosity is rewarding, motivating, and generally makes life more exciting. “Factual knowledge is the foundation,” Kornell added. “We build progress and creativity on top of it.”
Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., a professor and author of Learn Like a Pro, agrees with this line of thinking. In a previous interview, she said that “your new knowledge serves as a sort of mental trellis that allows new neurons to survive, thrive, and grow. If you’re not engaged in learning, your 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.”
TIL that by 400 BC, Persians had developed Yakhchal, Ancient Refrigerators capable of storing solid ice in the summer in the desert.
TIL that Michigan police once rounded up a group of local drug dealers by inviting them to the fake wedding of two of the dealers' regular customers, who were really undercover police officers. The arrests got underway after the band (also undercover police officers) played "I Fought the Law".
TIL that during his time as the narrator for the US version of the first four seasons of the children's TV show Thomas the Tank Engine, George Carlin spoke his lines to a teddy bear in the booth because he was nervous about performing without an audience.
Virtually any kind of new learning helps keep our brains fresh — whether it’s bringing back our old rusty skills, studying a new language, or taking up a new hobby or sport. And since we have the internet at arm’s reach, picking up new facts is a great way to increase our intelligence. It “gives us incredible opportunities to learn from some of the best teachers in the world,” Oakley added.
TIL the mother of the last Comanche chief was a white woman who was kidnapped at age 9 & assimilated into the tribe. She later married a chieftain & bore him 3 children before she was found at age 33 & returned to her bio-family. She never accepted white society & committed suicide by starvation.
TIL that the Animal Planet reality series ‘River Monsters’ ended because star Jeremy Wade was able to catch essentially every exceptionally large freshwater fish species on earth, leaving no remaining content for the show.
TIL the crawfish farming industry in Louisiana grew after rice farmers began breeding them in their rice fields. They realized that they could farm crawfish throughout the year without it affecting their rice. It also served as an extra source of income for them.
Still, even if the internet is a good tool that can quickly assist us in our journey, some information there is false and should be taken with a pinch of salt, Kornell argued. “Always be skeptical,” he said. “Try to see if it’s a reputable source.”
“Fact-checking is important because anyone can say anything on the internet and you want to know that the information you consume is grounded in reality,” Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN, previously told Bored Panda. “A general rule of thumb is to make sure that your news comes from established, well-known sources. These outlets get their information straight from primary sources and must uphold their reputation,” the expert added.
TIL that during a murder trial in 1994 an English jury got drunk and consulted an Ouija board to determine the killer. This led to a retrial.
TIL that smokers whose insula got damaged after a stroke were able to quit smoking easily one day after the stroke, with no relapse and urges, suggesting that this brain region might play a role in nicotine addiction.
TIL that In 2015, that a three-story tall lamp post became so corroded by urine that it snapped and fell over, crushing a nearby car.
So, remember that you can easily look into the author and make sure that what they’re saying is, in fact, true. And once you do, don’t be shy and dive deep into the world of knowledge. “Most people reach a point where they think they’re good enough, so they stop learning and improving,” Kornell added. “Don’t stop if you want to get to the top!”
TIL Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young stole a pickup truck in order to get to Woodstock to play their sets.
TIL that dingoes were brought to Australia by humans around 4,000 years ago, and are actually an ancient breed of domestic dog.
TIL about Operation Meetinghouse - the single deadliest bombing raid in human history, even more destructive than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. On 10 March 1945 United States bombers dropped incendiaries on Tokyo. It killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed 267,171 buildings.
TIL Oreo has to call the white center "creme" instead of "cream" because the FDA does not allow manufacturers to use the word "cream" to describe a food that contains no cream at all.
TIL in 2015 an Australian woman put a bet on a horse at 100-1 and won $825, she then took a selfie with the winning bet slip, posted it to Facebook, somebody saw it and put the barcode into an automated betting machine and stole her winnings.
TIL that two dim stars from the Big Dipper served as an ancient eye test. If you had lived in the time of the early Romans and could see them, you would have been eligible to be an archer in the Roman army.
TIL: Robin Williams autopsy revealed he had about 40% loss of dopamine neurons and almost no neurons were free of Lewy bodies throughout his entire brain and brainstem from Lewy body disease (LBD).
TIL Wild Rodents Will Run on Mouse Wheels if You Leave Them in the Woods.
TIL that In 2010, a black Nigerian couple living in London gave birth to a white, blond haired & blue eyed baby that they called 'The Miracle Baby'.
TIL that a "Silent Man" in the UK repeatedly gets arrested for standing on a certain road to block traffic. He never speaks a word, not even to the court or his own lawyer. Everytime he is released, he repeats the crime and remains completely silent.
TIL that the snow used in the Wizard of Oz was actually asbestos fibre.
TIL the samurai Yanagizawa Yoshisato helped his samurai clan pay off their debts by selling goldfish. He took his best goldfish breeders over to the town of Koriyama so they could use its plentiful waters for this. His clan made goldfish more available to the general public and not just the rich.
TIL of J. L. Hunter "Red" Rountree, who after his wife passed and seemingly with nothing left to live for decided to commit his first bank robbery at the age of 86. Red blamed banks for making him bankrupt and by the time he passed away in 2004 he had robbed 2 more banks.
TIL the record for the longest name ever used was held by a German-American man. The name is so long it can't fit in this title but was abbreviated as Hubert B. Wolfe + 666 Sr. The name has its origins in his Great-Grandfather's sarcastic response to a law mandating German Jews take a second name.
TIL That a journalist accidentally discovered his wife was the world's best Tetris player.
TIL that in the 1990s, actor Marlon Brando would often spend time in AOL chatrooms getting into political arguments with unsuspecting strangers. His account was frequently suspended for ending arguments by telling others to “F*ck Off”.
TIL the 1972 Attica prison uprising in Upstate New York, in which the prisoners demanded better living conditions, ended on the 5th day when law enforcement stormed in and killed 29 prisoners and 10 hostages. Prisoners were then stripped naked and forced to crawl through the latrine and beaten.
TIL about Frieda Caplan, a pioneer in the world of produce who built a successful business in the 1960s by promoting items that, at the time, were relatively unheard of in the U.S. such as mangoes, shallots, and a New Zealand fruit originally called "Chinese gooseberry," which she dubbed the kiwi.
TIL Miranda Gibson lived on a small platform 60 metres above the ground in a 400-year-old Eucalyptus tree to protect the surrounding forest. A bush fire forced her to evacuate after 449 days but Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area was officially extended by 170,000 hectares a few months later.
TIL that actor Gary Busey once refused to perform a scene set in heaven because he said the set design looked nothing like the real heaven he visited during a near-death experience while in a coma.
TIL that, on average, half of all service dogs fail their training. Due to this poor rate, South Korea experimented with cloning service dogs that had already passed their training. The resulting clones passed at rates much higher than average.
TIL: Sum41 named their album "Chuck" after the UN Peacekeeper who got them out of their hotel in the Congo near a warzone.
TIL Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of Portugal. Following the conquest of Portugal by Napoleon, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil (1808-1821). They then established the capital of Portugal in Rio de Janeiro.
TIL 45 years ago, ahi (tuna) were caught for fun and ground into pet food. In Japan, tuna was called neko-matagi, meaning “fish that even a cat would disdain”.
TIL that during a college football game in US, many people gathered upon the roof of a glass blowing factory to watch for free. The roof collapsed, spilling fans onto a furnace. Twenty-three people were killed but the game continued. The event is known as The Thanksgiving Day Disaster.
TIL that Iceland was once covered in trees until the Vikings came and cut them down to make room for sheep.
TIL Women have been legally allowed to go topless in public in New York City since 1992.
TIL the King of Norway's firstborn, Princess Märtha Louise, is a self-described 'clairvoyant'. She has started a school for communicating with angels and dead souls, and is currently dating a self-described shaman.
TIL Freshwater snails are one of the world's most deadly animals because they transmit the organism that causes schistosomiasis (aka bilharzia), which is, in and of itself, one of the most deadly parasites on the planet! Nearly 230m people were infected in 2014 and there are~200,000 deaths annually.
TIL: For The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Bruce Campbell auditioned by grabbing himself by the collar, then performing a forward-flip, a trick he and Raimi had taught themselves back in high school.
TIL the modern gas container, the jerry can, was invented in 1937 Germany. In the start of WWII, the UK used leaky, flimsy tin containers called "flimsies" but soon captured jerry cans and the Allies started copying the German design.
TIL spaces between words in documents first appeared in Irish and Anglo-Saxon Bibles in the seventh century. Paleographers today identify the extinction of 'scriptio continua' as a critical factor in augmenting the widespread absorption of knowledge in the Pre-Modern Era.
TIL that a proposed 1896 Pennsylvania law required motorists who encountered livestock to: stop their vehicle, disassemble it, and conceal the parts until the livestock were sufficiently pacified.
TIL in Minnesota in 2017, a 20 year old woman shot her 22 year old boyfriend through an encyclopedia from about a foot (30 cm) away for a Youtube video and he died. She was sentenced to 6 months in prison.
TIL Eurypterids, an order of arthropods completely wiped out by the world's biggest mass extinction, were scorpion-like giants that could reach almost ten feet in length.
TIL that in 1429, King Charles VII of France exempted the town of Domrémy from paying taxes "forever", after a promise to Joan of Arc. Taxes were imposed again during the French Revolution.
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