There's always something new you can learn. Something that can broaden your horizons. You just have to know where to look.
One of the places that offer a never-ending flow of knowledge is the subreddit 'Today I Learned' (or TIL for short). People go there to share all the interesting stuff they discover, and the fact that its members are the ones who produce its content is what makes TIL such an enjoyable encyclopedia. It's legit. It's unpredictable. And it's constantly getting new submissions. What more could one ask for?
TIL Judith Love Cohen, who helped create the Abort-Guidance System which rescued the Apollo 13 astronauts, went to work on the day she was in labor. She took a printout of a problem she was working on to the hospital. She called her boss and said she finished the problem and gave birth to Jack Black
TIL about the Great Green Wall, an effort to plant trees to stop desertification in the Sahara that began in 2007. Ethiopia has planted over 5.5 billion seedling since
TIL Hours after being adopted from an animal shelter, 21-pound cat Pudding saved her owners life. While suffering a diabetic seizure, Amy Jung's newly acquired cat pounced his weight on her chest and began swatting her face and biting her nose until she gained consciousness.
TIL that ravens and wolves have formed a mutually beneficial relationship out in the wild. Ravens have been observed calling wolves to the site of dead animals so that the wolves will then open up the carcass and leave the scraps for the ravens once they're finished.
TIL that in 1995, a man received a "check" for $95,000 as junk mail. Jokingly, he deposited it into his account. The "check" met all of the legal criteria for a check and was cashed
TIL of Elouise Cobell (“Yellow Bird Woman”) who founded the first Native American owned bank. As treasurer of the Blackfeet Nation she tried to resolve accounting discrepancies regarding leases on Indian Land which led to a $3.4 Billion dollar class action settlement against the US government.
TIL NASA's longest serving female employee since January 1958, Sue Finley, has been an engineer and programmer for space missions since Explorer 1, for missions to the Moon, Sun, all the planets and many other solar system bodies, and recipient of NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal.
TIL the King's doctor Johann Struensee seized power for over a year in 18th century Denmark. He managed to abolish slavery, abolish censorship of the press, and have an affair with the Queen before being ousted and executed in 1772
TIL that the worlds rarest tree, Kaikōmako native to New Zealand, has been rescued from extinction after 40 years of trying to get the very last female tree in the world to fruit again
TIL Richard Simmons would wake up at 4AM to call up to 40 people who are isolated, alone, or needed empathy. Some credited Richard Simmons for saving their lives
TIL Friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992, swearing if either one won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings. Well the power of friendship and a handshake has paid off: 28 years later Tom won €22 million and split the winnings with his friend
TIL About a 17 year old kid that was given an old iPhone for free, and using the "barter" section of Craigslist made 14 trades, ending with a Porsche. Along the way he traded for newer phones, computers, motorcycles, and eventually cars.
TIL that Walter Breuning stopped smoking cigars at age 103 because they became too expensive. At age 108, he began smoking cigars again after receiving a lot of gifts of cigars. He ultimately ended up living to age 114.5 and was the second-last verified surviving man born in the 1800s
TIL in 1998, a 10-year-old girl in Austria was dragged into a car and kidnapped. The case remained unsolved until she knocked on someone's door in 2006 saying: "I am Natascha Kampusch." She had just escaped the secret cellar of a local technician that abused her for 8 years
TIL that in the 70s, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, tried creating its own artificial coral reef by dumping some 2 million used tires into the ocean. It became an environmental disaster, naturally, but also a military training exercise when divers had to retrieve the tires (almost one by one).
TIL over 8,000 pieces of music were secretly created in Nazi concentration camps; including symphonies, operas, and songs scribbled on everything from food wrappings to potato sacks. One prisoner composed an entire symphony on toilet paper using the charcoal given to him as dysentery medicine
TIL about Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete with a leg that was amputated due to cancer. He ran across Canada for about 143 days and ran about 5373 kilometers(3339 miles) in order to raise both money and awareness for cancer
TIL a new kind of artificial cornea successfully restored sight in a 78-year-old man. The surgery uses a lens which can more easily replace damaged tissue in a simpler surgery. Immediately after the surgery, the patient was able to recognize family members and read numbers on an eye chart.
TIL that, in 2014, scientists found a giant 30,000 year old virus in Siberian permafrost. The virus, Pithovirus sibericum, was still infectious and began killing amoebas. This raised concerns that melting or drilling arctic ice could unearth previously undiscovered pathogenic viruses
TIL Police in Finland believe they have caught a car thief with the help of a dead mosquito they noticed inside an abandoned vehicle. Police saw that the mosquito had recently sucked blood and decided to send the insect for analysis, and the DNA matched the man on the Police Register.
TIL The actor who played Boss Hogg on Dukes of Hazard went to Columbia and Yale, spoke 5 languages, and was a counterintelligence officer during the Korean War
TIL that each year, 22,000 pounds of dust from the Sahara Desert is carried by air currents to the Amazon Rainforest where it is an important source of phosphorus for tropical plants
TIL Jack Black desperately wanted to use a Led Zeppelin song in School Of Rock but the band was notoriously reluctant to let their music be used in films. The director suggested having Black record a personal plea to the band members, in front of a crowd of 1,000 extras. It worked
TIL when, in 1993, the US postal service issued a commemorative postage stamp honoring Elvis Presley's 58th birthday, fans mailed envelopes with first-day issues of the stamp to fictitious addresses so that they would receive their letters back, marked with the words "return to sender".
TIL when a chimpanzee that learns an effective method to crack nuts open is placed into a new group that uses a less effective strategy, it will eventually stop using the superior method just to blend in with the rest of the chimps
TIL that Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, sold the series as a pure entertainment vehicle due to censorship he experienced with previous projects that would delve into controversial social/political issues. The Twilight Zone tackled the same issues but veiled in science fiction and fantasy
TIL that James K. Polk is the only US president who pledged to serve only one term during his campaign. He was known for fulfilling all his major promises and died 3 months after his term ended, making his retirement the shortest. He is also the only speaker of the house to be elected as president
TIL that over 200 bird species including the Northern Cardinals, wild turkeys and Baltimore Orioles use a method of pest control called "anting." They take an ant in their beak and wipe their tail feathers in order to deter lice. The ants release formic acid that the birds utilize routinely
TIL when your immune system fights an infection, it cranks up the mutation rate during antibody production by a factor of 1,000,000, and then has them compete with each other. This natural selection process creates highly specific antibodies for the virus
TIL in 1879 it was estimated the Oxford English Dictionary to take 10 years for completion, but in five years they'd only reached the word "Ant". After crowdsourcing readers to help it was completed 44 years later. The publishers now estimate it would take a single person 120 years to just type it
TIL that Gaddafi had a serious obsession with Condoleezza Rice, showering her with over $200,000 in gifts and having a famous local composer write a song for her called “Black Flower in the White House”
TIL Thomas Midgley Jr, who helped invent leaded petrol, once poured the lead additive over his hands and inhaled its fumes to prove it was safe. He was later diagnosed with lead poisoning... for the second time.
TIL that in 1999, a group of hackers discovered that they could enter any Hotmail account by simply entering “eh” as a password. It was fixed by Microsoft within two hours.
TIL that Beverly Hills, California is named after Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, which was named after the town Beverley in Yorkshire England, which came from the name "Beverlac" in the 10th century, meaning "beaver lake," because of all the beavers in the nearby river
TIL that in 1967 the Soviet cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov died in an accident on the Soyuz 1 mission, making him the first human to die in a space flight. Komarov was aware of the faulty design of the shuttle and specifically asked the authorities to give him an open casket funeral after the mission
TIL that in 2005 a Russian private was forced to squat for four hours as part of a brutal army hazing ritual and the lack of blood flow resulted in his genitals and legs requiring amputation sparking public outcry in Russia
TIL that limping was a fad in Victorian England. Young women admired the genuine limp of Alexandra of Denmark, bride of the Prince of Wales. So, women went around fake limping, dubbed the "Alexandra Limp." Shopkeepers at the time sold pairs of shoes with one high heel and one low.
TIL scientists "hacked" the genetic code of brewer's yeast to produce cannabis compounds. They inserted genes from cannabis plants into the yeast's genetic code which allowed it to produce CBD and THC. Their end goal is to allow large scale cannabinoid production without cultivation.
TIL According to a survey, 43% of American Cardiologists are overweight to obese.
TIL Jane Stanford, founder of Stanford University, was murdered by strychnine poisoning. The president of the university at the time, David Starr Jordan, was suspected of covering up the murder. The killer was never found.
Note: this post originally had 99 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.