I hope you’ve got your thinking caps on and you’ve got plenty of dark chocolate that our brains love so much stacked somewhere nearby, dear Pandas, because we’re seriously going to push the limits of your mind today. They say that knowledge is power, and we’re about to make you very powerful, indeed.
We’re continuing our tradition of sharing the best posts shared on the ‘Today I Learned’ online community with all of you, so go on take a peek at what curious internet users were proud to have figured out about the world recently. As you’re scrolling down, don’t forget to upvote the facts that were new to you as well. And if you’ve got any other interesting TIL-worthy things to share with everyone, then the comment section is the place for you to share your knowledge.
When you’re done absorbing all the history, science, and other knowledge from this post, we cordially invite you to have a look at Bored Panda’s previous in-depth TIL articles here, here, and here. Enjoy!
TIL In Kaziranga, a national park in north-eastern India rangers can shoot and kill poachers to protect the Indian one-horned rhinoceros with legal immunity, reducing rhino poaching.
TIL after the holidays, the Rockefeller Christmas tree is cut into lumber for Habitat for Humanity homes
TIL that Gary Sinise, A.K.A. "Lieutenant Dan" from Forrest Gump, started the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, and it has raised $194 million for wounded veterans
The TIL online group is absolutely massive. Founded way back in late 2008, r/todayilearned has since then grown into a thriving community of 26.4 million people. They focus on sharing verified, trustworthy facts and avoid opinions and subjective interpretations.
In short, they do their darn best to check every single fact that gets posted on the subreddit. All with the help of the sprawling community, of course. If you want to be a valued member of the community, then you’ve got to be willing to put in the time and do at least some rudimentary research. What this means is being humble enough to admit when you’re wrong and when you don’t like the facts.
TIL After Ayrton Senna's death, it was discovered he secretly donated an estimated $400 million of his personal fortune to help poor children
TIL In 1975 Elvis went to see a movie with his gf. He was spotted by fans and they went crazy. His gf walks up and pranks the fans saying to Elvis, "Charlie, you're not using that Elvis bit again are you? Come on, you're not telling these people that you're Elvis again are you? The fans left.
TIL women in Viking Age Scandinavia did enjoy an unusual degree of freedom for their day. They could own property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.
Not too long ago, I had an in-depth chat about learning things on the internet and choosing our future paths in education with Steven Wooding, a member of the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom.
He told Bored Panda that the internet “can be both” a tool for good and evil, for education and distraction. It all depends on how we use this tool.
"The internet reflects the world around it, so everything you find in the world will also appear on the internet. I see it as a great shortcut to information (gone are the days of having to visit a library) that can speed up your learning and ability to do things," Steven told Bored Panda earlier.
TIL that in 1993 the Barbie Liberation Organization switched the voice boxes on talking G.I. Joes and Barbie dolls causing the barbies to say phrases like "vengeance is mine" and G.I. Joes to say "The beach is the place for summer." 300 to 500 dolls were modified.
TIL Indonesia put a nation wide stop on manta ray fishing after it was calculated that a single animal is worth an estimated US$1 million over its lifetime in tourism versus its value of $40-$500 when killed
TIL Sir Paul McCartney's mother (Mary McCarthy) died when he was just 14 years old. He struggled with the grief for around 8 years, until one night she appeared to him in a dream saying things like "Don't worry, live your life, let it be". From this he wrote the world famous Beatles song "Let it be"
According to Steven if we find ourselves constantly distracted and unable to focus while online, we should set clear boundaries for learning, work, and entertainment. “Set aside specific times for studying and other times for fun,” he suggested.
Few of us are strangers to burnout. In Steven’s view, burnout and apathy ambush us if things get too stressful or too boring.
“I believe that burnout awaits us at the two ends of a graph in the shape of an inverted letter 'U.' The graph represents the level of difficulty of what we're doing. If it is too high (e.g., we get too stressed, feel too insecure), we will eventually give up. But the same happens when the difficulty level is too low: when we're doing exactly the same thing over and over again," he told me.
TIL Molly Brown survived the Titanic and was rescued by the Carpathia. Aboard the Carpathia, a battered Brown did what she could to help the other survivors, including raising money from the wealthy to help poor passengers. Her acts of heroism earned her the nickname "the Unsinkable Mrs. Brown."
TIL of Cain's Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers, a 1934 mystery novel printed with its 100 pages out of order. To solve the puzzle, readers must determine the correct page order as well the names of both the six murderers and six victims. The mystery has only ever been solved by three people.
TIL of Herman Francis Mark, an Austrian scientist and son of a Jew, who chose to flee Austria in 1938. He clandestinely bought platinum wire, worth roughly $50,000, which he bent into coat hangers while his wife knitted covers so that the hangers were able to be taken out of the country.
For a period of time after the rise to power of Hitler/ the Nazis, Jews were allowed to leave Germany, but have to leave their fortune behind. So he was smuggling his money out of country.
"My little secret for avoiding apathy is giving myself little challenges, difficulties, or assumptions that I need to stick to during my tasks. This way, I can polish my skills, avoid burnout, and (as a bonus side effect) get better results over time. Try to be conscious of 'the burnout curve'—and adjust your life's challenges so that they always hit somewhere near the top of the curve,” Steven said.
The expert opened up about how we should pick our path for college and university if we’re feeling unable to choose. In his opinion, we should listen to our hearts. “Don’t choose based on things like the job you could get, as you’ll always be wishing you were doing the thing that really interests you," he said.
"If you have no idea, ask yourself what subject at school did you enjoy most? Or what other activity do you find yourself doing? Can that be a starting point as to what to study at university?"
TIL Dr. Charles R. Drew, an African American, developed improved techniques for blood storage, which saved thousands of Allied forces' lives during WWII. In 1942, however, he resigned as director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank because of their exclusion of African-Americans' blood.
TIL a Brazilian priest strapped himself to 1000 balloons as a fundraising event for truckers. He set off into the sky and then disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. His body was recovered months later.
TIL that a hurricane hit Hawaii when Jurrasic Park was filming. The sets were destroyed and the cast and crew were stranded in a leaking hotel ballroom. Steven Spielberg played cards with the kids for hours and told them stories to distract them. Real footages of the hurricane were added to the film
TIL of the end of Brazil's monarchy. The last emperor; Pedro II's liberal regime pushed for women's rights, ended slavery, gave power to the parliament and respected freedom of speech. But he was overthrown, exiled and replaced by a republican regime that was practically a military dictatorship.
TIL the classic Kong dog toy was created after an auto-repair shop owner's dog kept chewing a VW Bus suspension part
TIL that On July 21, 1972, George Carlin was arrested and charged with violating obscenity laws after performing his famous "Seven Dirty Words" routine at Milwaukee's Summerfest. He would go on to be arrested a total of seven times for reciting that same routine.
TIL in 1944, a 21 year old tail gunner of a Lancaster Bomber jumped from his aircraft after being shot down over Germany. He fell 18,000 ft without a parachute and survived with a sprained leg as his only injury.
TIL that a pilot's 16 year old son was allowed to sit at the plane's cockpit of an Aeroflot flight while it was on autopilot. He disengaged the autopilot, triggering a series of events which led to the plane crashing and the death of all 63 passengers and 12 crew onboard.
TIL teenagers take more risk not only due to an undeveloped frontal cortex, but also due to higher dopamine response that provides greater rewards for novel activities
TIL that a couple days before the deadly eruption of Mt. Pelee in 1902, the town of St. Pierre was plagued by in invasion of giant centipedes and pit vipers, claiming the lives of 50 people.
TIL after the massive success of his #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know", Gotye stopped recording solo music, went back to his old band and hasn't released a song under the Gotye name ever since
TIL the original John Hughes cut of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" ran 3.5 hours because there was so much improv between Steve Martin and John Candy, and that that cut is probably lost forever.
TIL two thirds of Argentina's population is of Italian heritage. They fled there for economic opportunities and to escape devastating wars. It is the only other country besides Italy with an Italian heritage majority population.
TIL that in 1924, a tunnel network was discovered underneath Washington D.C. Speculation behind the network's origins included a Confederate hideout or a liquor depot for bootleggers; they were actually dug by the Smithsonian Institute's entomologist Harrison G. Dyar, who 'did it for exercise'.
TIL Utqiagvik, Alaska. People often call the town "the top of the world," When the sun sets on November 18, it will stay below the horizon until January 23, resulting in a polar night that lasts for about 66 days.
TIL that the most successful predator in Africa is the African wild dog. If a pack targets a prey, there’s an 85% chance they’ll bring it down successfully
TIL Elvis Presley Never Wrote Any of His Own Songs despite being one of the most recognizable musicians of all time.
TIL Richard Scrushy, charged with masterminding $2.7 billion fraud case, came up with a novel strategy: "[play] the religion card" and become a televangelist to curry favor with jurors (the trial was held in Alabama). He was acquitted of all charges.
Note: this post originally had 75 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.