‘Today I Learned’: 50 Interesting Things People Didn’t Learn At School
Like Bored Panda showed in its previous article, the subreddit Today I Learned is the place to go to get your daily dose of "Oh, I didn't know that, how cool!" There, people are constantly sharing random but interesting facts they have just discovered, often including relevant pictures too. From a guy who rode his bicycle to Nepal, climbed Mount Everest alone without Sherpas or bottled oxygen, and then cycled back to Sweden again, to research that analyzed the birthdays of 20 million husbands and wives in England and Wales and failed to reveal any evidence of attraction or compatibility between people of particular star signs—they might not be included in textbooks, but they certainly can broaden your understanding of the world. Continue scrolling and check out some of the most popular recent posts on the subreddit.
TIL that In 2018, A hacker broke into people’s routers (100,000 of them) and patched their vulnerabilities up so that they couldn’t be abused by other hackers.
Although reading these facts once or twice and then remembering them for life so you could drop them at precisely the right time would be ideal, the reality is that much of what we learn goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, research shows that within just one hour, if we don't do anything with new information, we will forget about 50% of what we learned. After 24 hours, this number will rise to 70%, and if a week passes without that information being used, up to 90% of it could be lost.
TIL after losing her position in her university's anatomy department in 1938, Rita Levi-Montalcini set up a laboratory in her bedroom and studied the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos. This work led to her discovery of nerve growth factor, for which she was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1986.
If we want our learning to stick in our memory, we need to do more than just scrolling and reading. Luckily, Marianne Stenger, a London-based freelance writer, and journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development, says we can use a variety of techniques to cement new information in our minds.
Using visual aids, seeking out demonstrations, participating in group discussions (that means leaving comments under the entries you like!), putting new knowledge into practice, looking for opportunities to teach others, relating new material to what you already know, making an effort to retrieve information from memory, reading out loud, as well as writing—doing all of this means you are far more likely to retain what you learn in the long-term.
With this in mind, here are 30 Surprising Facts That Are Actually True. Happy learning!
TIL about the symbiotic relationship of wolves and ravens. Ravens will lead wolves to prey so that they can take a portion of the leftovers, play games of tail chasing with each other, and develop individual friendships.
TIL:In January 1960, white jazz pianist Dave Brubeck canceled a twenty-five-date tour of colleges and universities across the American South after twenty-two schools had refused to allow his black bassist, Eugene Wright, to perform. He also canceled a tv show where they didn't want to show him.
TIL that when filming the TV series "The Mandalorian" in 2019, the crew ran out of Stormtrooper costumes, so they reached out to the local branch of a Star Wars fan organisation, whose members came to join the filming in their own home-made Stormtrooper costumes
TIL that paper books still outsells e-books by a huge margin, even among young people.
TIL Honeybee venom rapidly kills aggressive breast cancer cells and when the venom's main component is combined with existing chemotherapy drugs, it is extremely efficient at reducing tumour growth in mice.
TIL after Marcelo Bielsa became manager of Leeds United FC, he found out that the average fan had to work 3 hours to pay for a match ticket. He called his players together and made them pick up litter from around the training ground for 3 hours, to appreciate how the fans laboured for their passion
TIL that in September 1945 Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett defied US restrictions and snuck into Hiroshima by train. Burchett was the first to tell the world about the effects of radiation on the victims of the bombing, which the US denied both before and after his story was published.
TIL: there are otter gangs in Singapore who fight for territories. It is well followed by the locals and the press. Each gangs has names and reputations.
TIL that A man named Göran Kropp from Sweden rode his bicycle to Nepal, climbed Mount Everest alone without Sherpas or bottled oxygen, then cycled back to Sweden again.
TIL, That since domestication, dogs' eyes have changed. Dogs now have eye muscles that make them more expressive and infant-like. These same muscles are absent in wolves, their closest relative.
TIL African elephants often bury dead or sleeping humans or aid them when they are hurt. One woman fell asleep under a tree and woke to find an elephant standing over her gently touching her. As other elephants arrived they buried her under branches. She was found the next morning unharmed.
TIL a Guatemalan boy saw soldiers come into his village and murder his parents along with the rest of the village, was adopted and raised in an abusive household by one of the men who massacred the villagers, and later gave testimony that sent the killer to prison with a 6,000 year sentence
TIL a study from Yale found that kids who watched 'Mr. Rogers Neighborhood' retained more information than children who watched 'Sesame Street.' They also had a higher 'tolerance of delay', meaning they were more patient
TIL Rome has major struggles with expanding the subway system in the city because diggers keep running into major archaeological finds. The Metro C expansion has been in the works for the past 40 years and has unearthed Hadrian's Athenaeum, a military complex, and an amphitheater.
TIL firefighters that responded to last year's fire at Notre Dame knew which works of art to rescue and in which order following a protocol developed for such a disaster.
TIL in 1896, a bubоnіc plаgue epіdеmic struck Bombay, and the government asked Waldemar Haffkine, developer of the first chоlera vаccіne, to help. After 3 months of persistent work (1 assistant had a nervous breakdown and 2 others quit), a vаccіne was ready, with Haffkine tеsting it on himself first
TIL that Suzanne Somers was fired from 'Three’s Company' for asking for equal pay with her male co-star, John Ritter, who was earning five times her salary.
TIL the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted a child to visit the set of Thor: Ragnarok. When Thor sees Hulk enter the arena on Sakaar, the child said Thor should say "He's a friend from work!"
TIL that Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to space walk, became in June 2020 the only person to have visited both space and the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.
TIL that a giant tortoise species was believed to be extinct for 113 years, only for it to be discovered again in Galápagos, 2019.
TIL a field of seagrass converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at over 8x the rate of a forest the same size.
TIL: Jim Carey used to get to do stand up in his 7th grade class. He used humor to fit in and his teacher made a deal with him - if he was quiet all day he would get 15 minutes at the end of class where he did stand up using material from life, the class, or doing impressions of faculty members.
TIL: A research that analyzed the birthdays of all 20 million husbands and wives in England and Wales failed to reveal any evidence of attraction or compatibility between people of particular star signs.
TIL after the 2011 earthquake in Japan, members of the yakuza gathered supplies and gave food to the victims. Some even opened their offices to people who couldn't return home. Some people felt like their response was much quicker and efficient than that of the government.
TIL America recruited 29 Navajo speaking men during world war 2, who later came to be called, Navajo code talkers. They had created a brand new set of code words in Navajo language, which even if intercepted could not be translated by the enemy forces.
TIL that legendary Hollywood director Martin Scorsese, best known for his violent gangster films, has used the same female editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, on every movie he's made since Raging Bull in 1980.
TIL Carrie Fisher was a highly regarded Script Doctor; someone who does uncredited rewrites on screenplays. She did rewrites on Hook, Lethal Weapon 3 and The Wedding Singer among many others
TIL James Earl Jones decided to go uncredited for his role of voicing Darth Vader because he considered David Prowse’s performance inside the Vader costume to be the more defining of the two performances.
TIL Tchaikovsky had a patron who gave him enough money to quit his job and become a full-time composer, on the condition that they never meet in person.
TIL in 1935, in a newly built Sydney aquarium, a tiger shark vomited a human arm that belonged to a man that went missing recently, which sparked a murder mystery when it was discovered the arm was severed with a knife instead of being bitten off.
TIL That Sri Lanka only became an island in 1480, when a cyclone destroyed the land bridge connecting it to mainland India.
TIL that Tolkien wrote yearly letters to his children as if they were from Father Christmas. They started off as simple Happy Christmas letters but grew more complex including a polar bear sidekick, the man on the moon, goblins, snow-elves, pictures, and he even developed an Arktik language.
TIL that the Soviets realised that the Americans and British were developing an atomic bomb when they noticed that Western scientists had ceased publishing papers on nuclear science. Correctly guessing that nuclear science had been made a state secret, they began their own program
TIL the reason snow is able to absorb sound is because it is porous. Snowflakes are six-sided crystals, and they are filled with open spaces.Those spaces absorb sound waves, creating a quieting effect over a blanket of snow.
TIL In 1913, The Daily Mail suspected its competitor The Daily Standard was copying its news stories. The Daily Mail published a hoax article claiming the SS Waratah had been discovered in Antarctica. The Daily Standard also published the story and added a statement from the harbourmaster
TIL that Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician and astronomer (276 BC), measured of Earth's circumference by using the shadow angles from the sun in two locations. He calculated it was 39,375 km, which is 1.4% less than the real number of 40,076 km
TIL David Bowie was punched in the left eye as a teenager, leaving it permanently dilated. He later thanked his friend, George Underwood, for doing so, saying it gave him "a kind of mystique." This mystique helped enhance some of Bowie's most iconic images.
TIL that when Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 1963, doctors predicted he had about 2 and a half years to live. Fortunately, the disease progressed much slower that the doctors expected, and Hawking lived up to 76 years before dying in March 14, 2018.
TIL a South African farmer rescued a baby hippo from a flood and gave it a home. The farmer fed him, brushed his teeth and helped him. The farmer was found dead with severe bite marks from the hippo and his body submerged in the river where he rescued the hippo 6 years earlier
TIL that for a while in the 2010s, you could rent the country of Liechtenstein on Airbnb for $70,000 a night. This included hanging out with the monarch, temporary currency, the ability to rename streets and a key to country.
TIL that Jurassic Park's visual effects were so groundbreaking to filmmakers that it inspired Peter Jackson to begin work on Lord of the Rings, George Lucas to start on the Star Wars prequels, and Stanley Kubrick to invest in his pet project, A.I (Artificial Intelligence). Jurassic Park (film)
TIL Ketamine was given to boys trapped in a cave to keep them unconscious & to prevent them from panicking during their six day rescue
TIL during the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and thus contract the virus.Days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D decreasing immunity to virus
TIL according to Paul McCartney there is no mystery to who broke up the Beatles. John Lennon did. He called a meeting and said he was leaving the band.
TIL Frank Sinatra died the night of Seinfeld's finale and his ambulance made it to the hospital in record time because traffic was so light due to everyone watching the show.
TIL that Kyrgyzstan is more distant from the ocean than any other nation. At a minimum of 1620 miles from any ocean, it is the most land-locked state in the world
TIL Curry was introduced to Japan by the British. The British brought curry from India back to Britain and introduced it to Japan after it ended its policy of self-isolation. Curry in Japan is categorized as a Western dish
TIL in 1749 a stage show was advertised a where a man would squeeze his body into a wine bottle. It was a bet between the Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield that they could advertise something impossible and get fools to pay for it. The sold out theatre rioted when no performer showed up.
Note: this post originally had 111 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.