We have long heard about the power of learning new things. It keeps us motivated, confident, and curious about the world around us. No wonder science has shown time and again that learning plays an important role in improving the brain's ability to cope with damage.

It can also prevent memory loss, and possibly even prevent us from developing dementia. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that the dementia rate in Americans decreased by a staggering 24% from 2000 to 2012. Scientists believe that more years of education are directly linked with this decline.

And although not everyone has time (or need, for that matter) to take on learning things like chess or language, or memorizing verses from Homer’s Iliad (although this is what high school students do in European countries!), we can keep our mind open for bits of information that get those brain cells tingling! And there’s nothing that does it better than our beloved TIL posts, thanks to Reddit's powerhouse community known as the ‘Today I Learned’ subreddit where 26.6 million members share facts and factoids to fill your idle or bored mind.

Get your cuppa ready ‘cause below is a freshly baked collection full of TIL amusement, and after you’re done, be sure to check out our previous posts with things to learn today here, here and here.

#1

Fact

TIL about Tim Wong who successfully and singlehandedly repopulated the rare California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly in San Francisco. In the past few years, he’s cultivated more than 200 pipevine plants (their only food source) and gives thousands of caterpillars to his local Botanical Garden.

AwesomeFrito Report

Otter
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I saw a Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar at the Botanical Garden, in Golden Gate Park! Thanks to Tim Wong!

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New Year is just around the corner and that means it's time for New Year's resolutions. Apart from the classic ones, like ditching sugar or (insert your own), we can also think of ways to give some food for the soul and learn something we never knew we could. So we reached out to Helen Marlo, a licensed clinical psychologist and Jungian psychoanalyst who is also a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Notre Dame de Namur University, to talk about power learning and how we can benefit from it if we make it our goal.

#2

Fact

TIL when the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) denied permission to Marian Anderson for a concert at Constitution Hall under a "white performers-only", First Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and arranged for Anderson to perform before an integrated crowd of more than 75,000 people.

Iregretbeinghereokay , Carl Van Vechten Report

Otter
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I qualify for the D.A.R. because of my ancestry, but I don't want to join.

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#3

Fact

TIL about environmental activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill who lived in a 1500 year old California redwood tree (known as Luna) 180 feet (55 mm) off the ground for 738 days in order to prevent it from being chopped down by Pacific Lumber Company. She successfully saved the tree.

AwesomeFrito , Julia Butterfly Hill Report

Grant Barke
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's brave of her, proving one person can make a difference. 55 metres up a tree would give me the w*****s.

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“Having a goal of learning can be wise since learning is a process that one can fulfill in small steps or in various forms,” Helen said and added that “Learning something new can be associated with having a “growth mindset,” a mindset that is focused on the process of learning rather than the outcome.”

It turns out that staying focused on the process of learning has profound outcomes on a personality. “Staying focused on the process of learning allows one to focus on being committed to bringing less concrete but more influential qualities like openness, receptivity, curiosity, effort, and determination which are more often associated with success and mastery.” 

#4

Fact

TIL that Javier Bardem's performance as Anton Chigurh in 'No Country for Old Men' was named the 'Most Realistic Depiction of a Psychopath' by an independent group of psychologists in the 'Journal of Forensic Sciences'.

abaganoush Report

Grant Barke
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks it too. Still don't know what that movie was about.

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#5

Fact

TIL: When the Titanic rammed an iceberg, William Murdoch, the officer in charge, was portrayed in the film as shooting a passenger and then committing s**cide. In reality, he was last seen trying to fill as many lifeboats as possible and heroically went down with the ship.

Leoz_13 , williammurdoch.net Report

F. H.
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Censoring suicide? Come on BP mods, what kind of policy are you following here? Trying to deny reality?

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#6

Fact

TIL GM recalled 800k cars in 2014 for faulty ignitions. The cars would shut off while being driven which meant drivers lost power steering/brakes, and the airbags wouldn't deploy. They knew about the problem since 2005 but never fixed it because it would be 'too expensive'. 124 people died.

rexmons , JESHOOTS.com Report

Otter
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I take it there's a massive class-action lawsuit?

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According to Helen, a goal that commits to learning is something completely different from a goal that's concrete, although people more often stick to them. “Having a goal that commits to learning supports one's efforts to stretch themselves and be outside their comfort zone. This is in contrast to other kinds of concrete goals, for example, like losing 20 pounds or giving up caffeine, which does not give one the opportunity to be committed to a growth-oriented process,” the professor explained. And this growth mindset has a much more profound effect on our lives and personalities.

#7

Fact

TIL that people with dementia think that stuff like a black doormat isn’t a doormat, but a deep hole in the floor. Due to these visual perception problems, people with dementia avoid stepping the doormat, and this is sometimes used to keep them from leaving their care facilites.

simulatislacrimis , cb2 Report

#8

Fact

TIL that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was written by composer Frank Loesser in 1944 for he and his wife to sing at the end of their housewarming party as a way to tell guests it was time to leave. Afterwards, they were invited to tons of parties with the expectation of the song being the closing act.

Ben-Stanley , Frank Camerano Report

#9

Fact

TIL: A camel after standing in 109 F (43 C) heat all day decapitated his absent-minded owner after he remembered to untie him.

LimeSugar , Shafeequdeen Stm Report

Bob D. Lin Quint
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How does a camel decapitate someone? I'm imagining one big chomp, but I really wanna know.

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And this doesn’t end just there. The clinical psychologist explained that “having a goal of learning also helps us to align with a central, lesser known drive in humans to be curious and learn, otherwise known as “the epistemophillic instinct.” It is posited that this drive to be curious and learn is central in humans. It is associated with playing which is also central for learning and growth as humans.”

Meanwhile, failing to nurture this drive may have serious implications. “When we fail to manifest or exercise this drive, which can happen when we become too focused on external achievements and outcomes rather than the process of being curious and learning, we rob our brains and psyche of being in touch with this life-giving, epistemophillic instinct,” Helen said.

#10

Fact

TIL When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon, inside his pocket was a small piece of fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer

stonermeg , NASA Report

ZAPanda
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The same honour was paid to the Wright brothers with the current mars rover helicopter. It bears a piece of the wright flyer as well.

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#11

Fact

TIL of the Deep Lake Water Cooling System (DLWC), a natural cooling system that extracts cold water from deep within Lake Ontario, and then transfers it through a system of pipes and exchanges to cool downtown Toronto. Compared to a traditional air conditioning system, it uses up 75% less energy

NorthNorthSalt , Joe deSousa Report

KatHat
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Things like this are just brilliant. We need more lateral thinking solutions. Of course, we're past the point when we can just look for low-cost solutions. The costs of inaction on the climate crisis will be many times the cost of action at this point.

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#12

Fact

TIL in 1997 a Danish woman visiting New York City was arrested and strip-searched for leaving her baby in a stroller outside a restaurant while she and the baby's father dined inside, a common practice in Denmark. She later sued the city and was awarded $66,000.

david-saint-hubbins , ellengoestocph Report

MyOpinionHasBeenServed
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Although a bit extreme of the police, foreign visitors should do their research on the laws of the countries, and regions they are visiting, and pay attention to what the locals do. Don't see babies being left in strollers on the street? Don't assume it's acceptable.

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So since we figured out the power of having a goal that commits to the growth mindset, the question remains how exactly we can stimulate the brain. Helen shared a couple of very useful insights. “One of the best ways to stimulate your brain and mind is to start with an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. Commit to learning something new in an area that aligns with your strengths. This helps set yourself up for success rather than failure.”

For anyone who’s wondering how important it is to step out of their comfort zone when learning something new, the professor assured us that it is indeed helpful if it is a little outside your comfort zone. However, it shouldn’t be too unattainable. 

“When you think of starting on this path, consider if you can bring a spirit of play to the learning? Consider if it evokes more curiosity or wonder in you? Committing to learning something that evokes qualities of wonder and play makes the experience more affirming and encourages one to stay with the process,” the professor explained.

#13

Fact

TIL Isaac Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books, 380 short stories and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He was a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He had a triple bypass in 1983 during which got HIV from a blood transfusion which was kept secret 'til 10 years after death

photoalbumguy2 , Phillip Leonian Report

#14

Fact

TIL Jurassic Park was meant to use stop motion instead of CGI, but two artists worked on a CGI T-Rex in secret, and once they finished it, they quietly put a video of it on screen when Kathleen Kennedy visited their office. the video convinced Kennedy, Spielberg, and the rest of the team to use CGI.

TotallyJournalist Report

von Funnyname
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

except it was/is very well documented that the T-Rex in Jurassic Park is the worlds largest animatronic to date on any production...

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#15

Fact

TIL The prototype of the Rolls Royce Ghost was so quiet inside that it made test drivers sick. The engineers had to remove some of the noise isolating material, and create seats that vibrated at specific frequencies to introduce some noise into the interior.

splityoassintwo , Jakub "Flyz1" Maciejewski Report

Gavin Johnson
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There’s an anechoic chamber (silent room, that absorbs all sound waves) in Minnesota that you can’t stay in for longer than 45 minutes. It’s so quiet that you can only hear your own noises, heartbeat, lung function, and you lose the ability to balance. It’s reputed to send you a little bit mad. Having been in one (at an R.A.F. testing facility) for less than ten minutes I can confirm that it’s VERY unnerving.

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Another way to stimulate your brain is, according to Helen, to commit to exercising that epistemophilic instinct daily. “Having a commitment to learning something new—whether you can manage this daily or once a week—primes your brain and mind to be committed to discovery and learning. “ Turns out, that fidelity to this commitment is absolutely vital to learning since it encourages further learning and keeps us growing.

To conclude, Helen shared this beautiful quote about learning for us all to reflect on:“'The best thing for being sad,' replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, 'is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.'” (T.H. White, The Once and Future King)

#16

Fact

TIL the nurse,Caroline Hampton, helped popularize surgical gloves. She almost quit her job as a surgical nurse at John Hopkins due to severe hand eczema caused by surgical disinfectant until her boss bought her custom rubber gloves. Other staff members copied this and found they made work easier.

dilettantedebrah , Jernej Furman Report

#17

Fact

TIL if a camel rejects her new-born or there's a need to adopt an orphaned calf, Mongol herders use a chanting ritual accompanied by fiddle or flute to coax her into accepting the calf. The camel mother may act aggressive initially, so the herders will change the melody depending on her behavior

Brutal_Deluxe_ , Bernd Thaller Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For the most part, animals reject their offspring for a good reason. I would also accept any child to make them stop whistling at me :/

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#18

Fact

TIL of Daniel Kish. Blind since the age of 13 months old, he taught himself to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes, similar to echolocation in bats. Kish and other researchers believe that echolocation produces images similar to sight.

IphtashuFitz , PopTech Report

rumade
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is on an early episode of NPR's Invisibilia. It's absolutely fascinating. He now teaches others to echolocate, and MRI's have shown that the parts of his brain responsible for sight light up.

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#19

Fact

TIL that nature has evolved different species into crabs at least five separate times - a phenomenon known as Carcinisation

harryrose122 , Nhobgood Report

Thorfin Wolfsbane
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hear that people!? We need to behave or nature will turn us into crabs!!!

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#20

Fact

TIL Ian Fleming originally wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened. He chose James Bond because it was the dullest name he had ever heard.

puppiadog , www.GlynLowe.com Report

ZAPanda
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In the novels he is quite dull and uninteresting apart from violence. He's also not superhuman in the novels, frequently coming close to death, being severely beaten, etc. He's also much more like connery in the novels - a blatant sexist with little regard for women. As such, he definitely is uninteresting.

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#21

Fact

TIL that in 2002, two airplanes collided in mid-air killing everyone aboard. Two years later, the air traffic controller was murdered as revenge.

hailnaux , Shuttlefly Report

M M
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The murder was a revenge: the murderer was a relative of one of the victims. And the murder victim was exhausted at work because he was working far to much which caused the accident.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#22

Fact

TIL in 1986 a Russian commercial pilot made a bet with the first officer that he could land blind with curtains over the cockpit windows. He lost the bet, crashing and killing 70 people

TROLL_CALIBER , Eduard Marmet Report

#23

Fact

TIL Andromeda galaxy has already started merging with our Milky Way

csbod , Adam Evans Report

#24

Fact

TIL a cancer treatment known as Dynamic Phototherapy has the side effect of giving humans a slight level of night vision. Under this treatment, the retina becomes able to process light at wavelengths higher than the visible light domain.

The_Ry_Ry , Rebecca Swafford Report

J Baker
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I saw a movie about this. You can get it done at the Ursa Luna Penal Facility.

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#25

Fact

TIL Boris Mikhailov, captain of the USSR hockey team, was offered a $1 million contract to leave Russia in 1980 after the Miracle on Ice. However, he declined as the KGB was standing next to him when the offer was made.

MarineKingPrime_ , Sports Illustrated Report

#26

Fact

TIL A woman put over a million miles on her Hyundai Elantra and was given a special badge and a brand new car

icemage27 , Nguyenstreak Report

Grant Barke
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cars that usually last this long with high mileage, are cars that are driven mainly on highways, freeways etc. If you were to drive a car for 100 000 miles on the highway, that would roughly equate to 10 000 miles of wear and tear compared to suburban, stop start city driving.

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#27

Fact

TIL a park ranger sat down in his office on Rinca Island and was attacked by a Komodo dragon hiding under his desk. The cleaner had the left the door open the night before. The smell of blood attracted more dragons outside. The ranger was taken to the hospital and survived but he has nightmares.

AwesomeFrito , Charles J. Sharp Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"but he has nightmares"... Is that all sentence really weird, or is it just me?

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#28

Facts

TIL that the name George has the same root word as Geography and Geology, and means "Earth worker" or farmer.

Thundermijo , British Library Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Georgia means agriculture in Greek and comes from the word gea which means earth

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#29

Fact

TIL studies show the reason why we "click" with certain people is due to people's brain waves being sync in wavelengths called the alpha–mu band, or what scientists call brain-to-brain coupling, and mirror each other neurologically in terms of what they are focusing on.

operator139 , NeONBRAND Report

Eric Mesh
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I call BS. Can I see a P2P published study on this in a reputable scientific journal?

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#30

Fact

TIL that the violin that was played as the Titanic sunk was rediscovered in an attic and auctioned off for $1.6 million in 2013.

Realistic_Work_5552 , Titanic Belfast Report

Anapv
Community Member
11 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

To me this seems strange. If it sank with the Titanic, how was it rediscovered at an attic? And how would anyone know that a violin in an attic was the same that was being played in the Titanic while it sank?

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Note: this post originally had 86 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.