‘Today I Learned’: 40 Interesting Things People Haven’t Learned At School
"Today I Learned", often shortened as TIL, is an online expression typically used in the title of a post or thread when introducing an interesting fact or trivia that had been previously unknown to the poster, in a similar way to the phrase "did you know?".
Bored Panda already introduced you to the concept when we covered the "Today I Learned" subreddit with nearly 24 million members. But TIL posts are all over the Internet not just Reddit, so why stop there? This time, we put together a list of some of the best "Today I Learned" trivia gems we could find online, so get your notebooks out and enjoy.
TIL that in 1920, the town of Jackson, Wyoming elected an all-female town council by a margin of 2-1 over the men, drawing the most voters the town had ever seen. Known as the "pettycoat rulers," the women served for 3 years and did a great deal to clean up the notoriously lawless town.
TIL there’s a cemetery in the Netherlands consisting of 8,300 US veterans who died in WWII. For the past 70 years, Dutch families have come to the cemetery every Sunday to care for a grave they adopted. Hundreds of people are currently on a waiting list to become caretakers.
TIL that in during WW2, an American bomber -*ye olde pub*- was nearly shot down. A German fighter gave chase and once in range, he noticed the dead and injured crew and the terror in the pilots face. He didn’t attack and escorted the plane. Both pilots survived the war and finally met in 1990
TIL Prairie dog language is complex. They don’t just have a call for “danger”: their calls differentiate human, hawk, domesticated dog, coyote etc. and specify size & color. One study found that they can communicate “Here comes the short human in the yellow” (vs the tall human in blue) to each other
TIL that Bill Murray once drove a taxi cab so that the cab driver could spend time playing saxophone in the backseat. The cab driver mentioned that he never had time to play his sax since he had to work 14 hours a day. Murray took the driver’s seat so that he could finally play some tunes.
TIL of Ken Allen, a Borneo orangutan in the San Diego Zoo who escaped his enclosure three times. He never acted aggressively towards anyone during his escapes, and generally wandered around the zoo looking at other animals.
TIL the founder of Hyundai was born to an impoverished family of peasants in what is now North Korea. In 1998, he sent 1001 cows to his hometown in North Korea as a repayment 1000 times over for a cow that he stole in the early 1930s to afford his train ticket to Seoul and escape from poverty.
TIL That Aki Ra, a former Khmer Rouge child soldier has personally found and/or destroyed over 50,000 land mines. He now trains bomb experts, curates a mine museum, and advocates for demining and the victims of mines.
TIL in the 1790s, an Oxford student introduced using guano (bird poop) as fertiliser. He spread guano across the university lawn, using it to spell G U A N O. The lawn was soon scrubbed, but when spring came, the word GUANO was clearly visible, growing higher and thicker than the rest of the grass
TIL that elephants are tremendous distance swimmers. They can swim for up to six hours and 25 miles (48km). They are so buoyant that if they tire in the water, they can just rest by floating and will not sink. They can also use their trunk as a snorkel and dive.
TIL in 1980 the FBI formed a fake company and attempted to bribe members of congress. Nearly 25% of those tested accepted the bribe, and were convicted.
TIL scientists used 2,000 year old seeds to regrow an extinct species of date tree. The tree long disappeared from the Judean desert but archeologists found seeds on digs. Surprisingly, the seeds worked and grew a male and female of the species. They hope to use them to produce biblical era dates.
TIL that in the Falklands, an abandoned minefield has accidentally become a penguin sanctuary. The mines were set in the Falklands conflict and have remained there since, keeping humans away. The local Magellanic penguins are too small to set them off and have thrived in the area.
TIL The holes in honeycombs don't actually start out as hexagons. Bees create circular tubes staggered with one another. The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which connects the gaps between the holes. Then the wax hardens into the the most energy efficient shape, the hexagon.
TIL that when Eli Wallach, who played "The Ugly" in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," arrived in Madrid to shoot the movie, all hotels were full. He ended up having to sleep in the same bed as Clint Eastwood and later often bragged that he was the only man who ever slept with Clint Eastwood.
TIL Not only do bats make high-pitched sounds for echolocation, many bat species also sing. A team of scientists that analyzed one species’ song translated it as a sequence that opens with a hello, then a gender identification, then some geographic information, & then a "let's talk" section.
TIL that the founder of Old Bay seafood seasoning founded his own company after being fired by McCormick after two days on the job after they found out he was Jewish
TIL that Alan Alda met his wife of over 60 years at a dinner party when they were the only two guests who ate the rum cake after it fell on the kitchen floor.
TIL Harry Houdini wanted to prevent people from copying his "Chinese water torture cell" trick, but didn't want to patent it, as that would require explaining how it works. So he gave a performance of the trick as a one-act play before an audience of one, and then filed for a copyright on the play
TIL The formal clothing of the Roman Citizen was the Toga. During Roman elections, those running for political office would rub their Toga with a dazzling white chalk to stand out. Called Toga Candida (pure-white) this clothing was the origin of the word "candidate".
TIL Chris Evans turned down the Captain America role multiple times because of Anxiety, fear of a 10-movie commitment and the public spotlight. He went to therapy before taking the role
TIL: 44% of adults have held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and as many as 34% of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night
TIL wild orangutans use medicinal plants to sooth joint and muscle inflammation. The apes chew leaves of the Dracaena cantleyi plant to create a white lather, which they then rub onto their bodies. Local indigenous people also use the plant for the same purpose.
TIL the red stuff dropped from airplanes to put out forest fires also acts as a fertilizer.
TIL of Miguel Wattson, an electric eel from Tennessee with its own Twitter account. Whenever he discharges a large enough jolt, a tweet will be automatically send out to his account EelectricMiguel. Apart from sending tweets, he also helps power up Christmas trees at the aquarium.
TIL in 1506, a 1000+ year old statue was unearthed. The main figure, Laocoön, was missing an arm. The pope commissioned a contest to find who would recreate the missing arm best. Michelangelo's version lost. In 1906 the original arm was found and in nearly the exact pose Michelangelo had sculpted.
TIL in 2007, 33-year-old Steve Way weighed over 100kg, smoked 20 cigarettes a day & ate junk food regularly. In order to overcome lifestyle-related health issues, he started taking running seriously. In 2008, he ran the London Marathon in under 3 hours and, in 2014, he set the British 100 km record
TIL - A man suffering from gastrointestinal distress in a Kansas Home Depot mens room provided a friendly warning to other bathroom goers by saying: “You need to get out of here because I’m fixin’ to blow it up.” Police were called on suspicion of a bomb threat. No charges were laid.
TIL The Tollund Man, who lived during the 4th Century BC, was so well preserved on discovery that that he was mistaken for a recent murder victim. His internal organs were intact; it was concluded that his last meal was porridge consisting of 40 kinds of seeds, eaten 12 to 24 hours before his death.
TIL that when future US President Lyndon B. Johnson was Senate majority leader, he instructed his staff to make his scotch and soda significantly weaker than his guest’s, so that he could keep a clearer head
Note: this post originally had 111 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.