Knowledge is power. And we’re aiming to have our power levels go over 9,000! One of the best infotainment features on Bored Panda is our biweekly article about the ‘Today I Learned’ online community that values education above everything else and puts the fun in learning. You know you’re on the right path when it’s not just your audience, but also you who’s expanding your mind as you work.
Go on, have a scroll down and check out the newest TIL posts. Don’t forget to upvote the ones that you found enlightening. Got an opinion that you think everyone should hear or a fun fact that you just can’t wait to share with all the other Pandas? Write us a comment below.
When you’re done absorbing all the new factoids in this list and if you’re still aiming for your PhD in cool trivia, then you should definitely check out Bored Panda’s latest posts about the TIL community right here, over here, as well as here.
TIL that a cow escaped from a Polish farm and was spotted months later living with a herd of wild bison.
TIL Juice Company Dumped 12,000 Tonnes Of Orange Peels On Virtually Lifeless Soil, 16 Years Later, It Turned Into A Lush Forest
TIL that even though Edward Bannister won 1st prize for painting at the 1876 Philadelphia centennial international exhibition, after discovering Bannister's identity, the judge wanted to rescind his award because he was black. However this wasn't possible due to protests from the other competitors.
The ‘Today I Learned’ community over on Reddit continues to grow daily. At the time of writing, it’s at over 25.4 million members, but if you’re betting smart, you know that this number will keep on climbing and climbing.
The community’s got over 12.5 years of experience documenting and sharing cool bits of information that you probably didn’t learn at school. While some of these facts will be useful no matter what stage of life you’re in, others are more niche and might only pop up in trivia competition lightning rounds.
TIL that when the Notre Dame Cathedral was on fire the some 200,000 bees that live in the roof were thought to be dead, but in fact they were still alive after the fire.
TIL that the Mississippi river was once five miles wide and whales swam up it from the gulf of Mexico. The remains of these whales have been found in Michigan
TIL that all beaches in Mexico are property of the federal government. There are no privately owned beaches in the whole country, all of them are open to public use
Learning new things is incredibly fun (and don’t roll your eyes and pretend that it’s not). But it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically easy. First of all, a lot depends on our motivation, why we want to learn something.
Whether we’re seeking education to help achieve some grand goal because we absolutely adore the topic, or because we simply want to keep our minds finely honed, having clear motivation helps keep us energized.
TIL British Parliament had an official discussion where they condemned the historical inaccuracies of the film U-571 and the rewriting of history to paint the Americans as heroes in an event they never even took part in. They felt it was unfair on the British sailors that lost their lives.
TIL Two guys honored their dead friends dying wish by using his ashes as fish bait and caught an enormous 180lb Carp in his memory
TIL about FBI agent Robert Hanssen. He was tasked to find a mole within the FBI after the FBI's moles in the KGB were caught. Robert Hanssen was the mole and had been working with the KGB since 1979.
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge” as Tyrion Lannister said, after all. But it really helps if the information is interesting, relevant, or presented in an enticing way.
However, it’s not just our love of learning that sustains us. Our brains and bodies need fuel, too. And the right fuel helps keep us focused for longer stretches of time and healthy, to boot! Healthline points out that foods like berries can help improve academic performance due to compounds like anthocyanins being present in them. Meanwhile, citrus fruits are very nutritious and promote our brain health.
TIL that the Ginkgo Tree is unique, not obviously related to any living plant; a “living fossil,”unchanged in 200 million years.
TIL in Rwanda people go to milk bars to socialise and drink milk.
What’s more, if you’re in the middle of a learning binge-fest and craving something sweet, consider going for healthier alternatives like dark chocolate and cocoa products instead of your run-of-the-mill candy bars.
Lots of us are guilty of snacking on way more junk food while studying than we’d ever honestly admit to anyone other than St. Peter, but changing habits doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a step-by-step process and even tiny shifts in our behavior can pay dividends in the long run.
TIL of Ian Manuel. A man who spent years in isolation after he was condemned to die in prison for a nonhomicide offense at age 13. He won his freedom in 2016 with the help of the woman he attacked. He is now an activist, motivational speaker, and published author.
TIL the band UB40 is named after Unemployment Benefit, Form 40 - a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits. The name was suggested by a friend of the band because all the members were unemployed.
TIL that England experiences large spikes in power demand during half-time at football games due to widespread use of electric kettles
So if you’re munching on a chocolate croissant with caramel filling and almonds, like I am, while you’re reading this, consider eating only half of it. Or substitute it for a handful of delicious berries, nuts, or an assortment of fruits. That way, your brain and your body can both be happy, you’ll be absorbing new knowledge like a pro, and soon, lots of your friends will be figuring out all the neat things you learned about today.
TIL that a study from the University of Connecticut found that cholesterol in egg yolks does not raise the LDL cholesterol particles that are associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.
TIL about the rarest blood type. Named SARAS, only 2 families in the world have it and is officially recognised as an entirely new blood group.
TIL of a "Kotatsu", A traditional japanese table with attached blanket. You can use it to relax, nap, eat/drink/hangout with friends and even has a built in heater underneath.
TIL the Boeing 787 needs to be rebooted every 51 days to stop rounding errors causing it to crash
TIL of the $23 million dollar toilets designed by NASA for deep space missions. With odor control being a serious issue, NASA pays certified sniffers to smell the toilets after they've been used to evaluate odor-control measures. The lead engineer calls them the "unsung heroes of the space program".
TIL Auto-Tune, introduced in 1997, which uses a proprietary device to measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances was named one of the 50 worst inventions by Time magazine.
TIL the UK Women’s Institute invited Colin Darch, a former hostage of Somali pirates, to give a speech on his experiences. However due to a mix up many elder members of the WI attended wearing pirate fancy dress. Darch took it well, ultimately judging a “best pirate costume” competition.
TIL curry has a longer history of being served in Britain than fish and chips, with the first Indian restaurant opening in 1809 and fish and chips only served from 1858 at the earliest
TIL that sharks smell in "stereo," that is, they can detect the tiny delays in the time it takes for a scent to reach one nostril compared to the other and use it to determine the direction from where the scent is coming. This helps them in tracking their prey.
TIL by using a man in the middle, two brothers hacked the French optical telegraph system to gain advance information on the stock market. When they got caught two years later, they walked away as free men because in 1836 there were no laws against hacking
TIL that Christopher Lee always wanted to play Gandalf in LOTR and even discussed it with Tolkien himself. Peter Jackson wanted Lee to play Saruman instead, much to Lee's disappointment. Saruman's death scene was a surprise homage to Christopher Lee's, Dracula, with a wooden stake through his chest.
TIL Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, endured many tragedies. Her mother died after giving birth to her, she was in constant debt, her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd children all died, while her husband drowned on his sailing boat. She herself passed away at 53.
TIL that in 1506 Louis II of Hungary was born prematurely and doctors kept him alive by slaying animals and wrapping him in their warm carcasses as a primitive incubator
TIL Michael Jackson was terrified of the real-life fan who inspired the song Billie Jean, after she sent him a letter with a weapon and instructions to kill himself. He kept her photograph to memorize her face, “in case she ever turns up someplace.”
TIL that the French revolution gave us the metric system and almost gave us metric clocks, too. They had 10 hours in the day, 10 days in the week, and an even 30 days each month.
TIL American Football is the 9th most popular sport in the world. It is beaten by both Volleyball and Table Tennis.
TIL of the 'Banksy of Grammar', who at night would correct punctuation on shop fronts in the city of Bristol
TIL In 2018 the Cornish Language Board said that singer Gwenno's album Le Kov, which features entirely Cornish lyrics, had led to a 15% increase in the number of people taking Cornish language exams
TIL that Casey Kasem, the original voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, was a vegan and critic of factory farming. Kasem quit the show in 1995 when he was asked to voice Shaggy for a Burger King commercial. He would not agree to return until 2002 when producers agreed to have Shaggy become a vegetarian.
TIL Nearly 70% of the Steel used in the US is recycled from scrap. Steel used in construction has a 90% recycling Rate.
TIL In 1939, a woman tried to assassinate 11 year old Shirley Temple while she was singing “Silent Night” on a live radio show, under the logic that the star had swiped her daughter's soul and shooting her would unleash it.
TIL citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau may enter, reside, study, and work in the United States indefinitely without a visa.
TIL of Mark Roberts, a man from England who has streaked at more than 565 international events. He has his own set of 'rules' for streaking: don't interrupt the play of a game, be prepared to spend an evening in jail, have a good lawyer on hand, and don't eat spicy food the night before a streak
TIL that English Parliament was conducted entirely in French until the 1400s. Even today, bills are formally passed into law with a French phrase: "Le Reyne le veult", meaning "The queen wills it."
TIL Adidas bought the iconic three stripe design from Finnish sportswear company Karhu for two bottles of whiskey and equivalent of 1600 euros
TIL that in 1918 the federal government tried to find the geographical center of the United States by balancing a US-shaped cardboard cutout on the head of a pin. They were accurate to within 20 miles.
TIL about pinball prohibition, pinball was banned in most major cities from the early 1940s to the mid 1970s because it was considered a game of chance and therefore gambling.
TIL The ‘Batman Effect’. Adopting an alter ego is an extreme form of ‘self-distancing’, which involves taking a step back from our immediate feelings to allow us to view a situation more dispassionately. It can help control anxiety, and help the subject pursue exercise and healthy diet
TIL in 1935 "Happy Birthday to You" was copyrighted with a value of 5M making it illegal to sing. In 2016 a federal judge ruled that the copyright was not valid and the song had no other claim to copyright, placing it in the public domain, and making it free to sing for all.
TIL a former Google employee bought the Google domain for $12 from Google's very own domain registrar. He owned the domain for one minute before the purchase was rescinded, and he was later offered $6006.13 due to the incident.
TIL The Lord of the Rings films originally would have been released by Disney via Miramax but they chose not to fund it due to costs. They let New Line Cinema have it on the condition they pay $10M in "turnaround" costs. The LOTR trilogy will later on gross over $2.9B at the global box office.
TIL that William Shatner played a prank on the set of the Twilight Zone while shooting the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet episode. Shatner staged a fake fight on the plane, and had a dummy fall off the wing to the concrete below. Richard Donner, the episode's director, thought Shatner had died.
TIL that ‘smell dispensers’ mimicking the smell of lion shit is used to scare off deer and wild boar despite these animals having never met a lion.
Christopher Lee was once a member of Britain's Special Operations Executive, aka the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
The group was an A-Team-esque crack commando unit tasked by Winston Churchill himself to "set Europe ablaze." The team included Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming and no freaking joke, the entire James Bond universe. The full extent of Lee's "ungentlemanly" actions remain classified to this day, and perhaps for good reason. Christopher Lee on the set of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" revealing to Jackson the actual sound a human makes when you lodge a knife in the person's unsuspecting back. Ah, classic Lee.
According to the video, Jackson was blocking a scene in which Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) stabs Saruman (Lee) in the back. Jackson goes into a long explanation about how he wants Lee to react and Lee says, "Have you any idea what kind of noise happens when somebody’s stabbed in the back? Because I do.” This was from Lee's experiences in World War II.
TIL avocados evolved alongside extinct megafauna like giant ground sloths whose digestive system could pass the intact pit. Human cultivation saved the avocado.
TIL that, in July 2020, marine biologists studying the seafloor in the South Pacific Gyre ("the deadest spot in the ocean") discovered aerobic microorganisms in "quasi-suspended animation." At 101.5 million years old, they are the longest-living life forms ever found.
TIL on Nov 22, 1963 while watching TV reports of JFK's death, Annie Shapiro had a stroke and slipped into a coma. 29 years later she awoke in bed as a 79 year old grandmother still married to her husband. Her first words upon sitting up were "Turn on the television. I want to watch I Love Lucy"
TIL in 1911, physicist George de Hevesy suspected his landlady was bulking up his meals with leftovers; he proved it by sprinkling radioactive material over his dinner and detecting it in the next day’s portion
TIL that Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Joe Walsh of The Eagles and Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis of Devo were all eyewitnesses to the Kent State Massacre.
TIL Vitali Kaloyev, a Russian Architect who lost his family when the airliner they were flying in collided mid air with a cargo plane. He stalked and later murdered an air traffic controller he blamed for the incident.
TIL Fruit flies are considered model organisms to understand human alcoholism. Also, after extensive binge drinking males are known to engage in homosexual behavior
TIL all beaches in Hawaii, outside of military bases, are public. Landowners are even required to maintain public access paths to the beach in front of their property.
TIL that Cinco De Mayo's popularity as a holiday in the US is largely due to a marketing campaign launched by Corona's importer in 1989.
TIL Bill Gates had an arrangement with Melinda that he and his ex-girlfriend, Ann Winblad, could keep one vacation tradition alive. Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage.
TIL the claim on Cheerios' box that it could lower cholesterol by 4% was removed after the FDA warned General Mills that it was false advertising. GM fought back but eventually changed the box to read the cereal could lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet.
TIL Although considered a contemporary classic, the original Back to the Future script was rejected more than 40 times, was going to be titled Space Man From Pluto, & had a refrigerator as the time machine, not the DeLorean.
TIL that in 1977, the FBI started to build a tunnel under the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C to eavesdrop on the Soviets; the construction took years, was riddled with complications, and worse yet - the Soviets knew about the tunnel because of a tip-off
TIL in 1967, hippies attempted a ritual to levitate the Pentagon in the air to end the Vietnam War.
TIL: When merging two lanes of traffic, a zipper merge is recommended because leaving a lane unoccupied as a result of early merging is inefficient. It only makes traffic heavier.
TIL that since 2012, 6 people have choked to death during competitive eating contests.
TIL about the 1991 "Great Butter Fire" which burned for 8 days (due to water having little effect on the fire), had flames 300ft high, and destroyed 50 million pounds of food.
TIL Christian radio host Harold Camping predicted the world would end on May 21, 2011. Followers gave up their jobs, sold their homes, and stopped investing in their children's college funds. On May 22, his office had a paper note in the window stating, "This office is closed. Sorry we missed you!"
TIL Hall & Oates never really liked to be referred to as "Hall & Oates". In an interview with Esquire, Oates said, "There isn't one album that says Hall and Oates. It's always Daryl Hall and John Oates, from the very beginning. People never note that"
TIL When Bill Gates got married, he bought out all the available hotel rooms in Lanai to keep media from staying there & hired all the helicopters on Maui to keep photographers from flying over the wedding
TIL American country music is one of the most popular music genres in Nigeria
TIL in 2012, Demi Lovato did an MTV documentary about her sobriety and how she overcame addiction. 5 years later, she admitted she was on cocaine while filming it.
TIL that when Apple ads claimed the iPhone X took “studio quality photos” there were complaints to the UK’s advertising standards about misleading statements. These were was rejected because there isn’t a technical definition of what “studio quality photos” is: it’s completely subjective.
TIL that in the original "Wayne's World" script, the T-1000 simply told Wayne "you're speeding". The line was changed at the last second when a producer's son said it wasn't funny.
TIL the average Philadelphian consumes twelve times as many pretzels as the national average
TIL In 1985, an F-15A launched an anti-satellite missile from a 65-degree climb at 38,100 feet, knocking out an orbiting satellite 345 miles above the Earth; the missile traveled at 11,000 mph when it hit the satellite, which was orbiting at 17,000 mph
TIL: That there's a North Korean embassy in South Africa