If it ain’t weird, interesting, and enlightening, it ain’t got any place on the Weird History Twitter page. Home to nearly 177k adoring fans, the Weird History project embodies the best aspects of education in the digital age: make it short, make it precise, and make it fun. Throw in some spot-on illustrations and boom! You’ve made yourself popular with fact-lovers all over the globe.
Created by Andrew Rader way back in September 2011, Weird History has been going strong ever since for more than a decade. There’s always a new fact, a new tidbit of trivia to hook your interest and keep you learning. Scroll down and enjoy the best post from Weird History. Don’t forget to upvote the facts you enjoyed learning the most and be sure to give the project a follow on your fave social media (it’s on almost all of them).
Meanwhile, I reached out to Lenore Skenazy, the president of Let Grow and the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement to learn about how parents can help encourage their kids to learn new things and develop fresh interests, whether historical or otherwise, without smothering them or putting undue pressure on them. You’ll find Bored Panda's interview about the importance of stepping back avoiding the urge to control everything as you scroll down.
Pssst, Pandas, over here! We know how much you enjoy learning new facts, especially all the cool history trivia that Weird History has to offer. After you’re done absorbing all the knowledge in this list, you should definitely check out Bored Panda’s previous features about ‘Weird History’ right over here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
MIT-credentialed scientist Andrew, the founder and curator of Weird History, is larger than life. Originally from Ottawa in Canada, he’s an author, game designer, podcast host, and SpaceX Mission Manager, living in Los Angeles in California. It’s amazing that so much awesomeness fits inside a single person.
Frankly, he’s an inspiration and walking, talking proof that you really can achieve your dreams if you’re dedicated, persistent, and focused. The fact that he has enough time in his day to curate the Weird History Twitter page, picking out the very best facts to share online, is just the icing on the cake.
Child independence expert and author Lenore explained to Bored Panda that it is vital that parents take a step back and don’t overwhelm their kids with pressure the moment they start developing new interests. Patience and room to grow are incredibly important at moments like this.
“When a child develops a new interest, it can be tempting to say, ‘You like playing with clay? Great! I’ll enroll you in a ceramics class, and I’ll take you to the museum so you can study the sculptures, and we’ll arrange for you to go to Clay Camp this summer and…” she said how some parents start thinking and behaving when their kids start to develop a new interest. Whether it’s history or science, art or football.
“Stop. Breathe. Take a step back,” Lenore said that parents need to learn to slow down for their children’s sake. Similarly, if your kids take a sudden interest in history, the last thing that parents should do is immediately bombard them with books upon books, and sign them up to an after-school history club. Be patient, take a step back, don't overwhelm your kids.
According to Lenore, there’s a need for parents to find the difference between encouragement and control. “It’s great to encourage a child’s interests, but that doesn’t mean taking over. In other words, if a child likes playing with clay—lovely. Try to keep some clay around. If it turns into a deeper interest and they want to take a class or whatever, you can look into these.”
However, the expert noted that when parents and teachers start controlling every aspect of the kids’ interests, well, there’s hardly any interest left after that. “By putting an adult in charge of the activity—‘Today in ceramics class, children, we will be making a dog’—a child might actually end up a little LESS interested because now it’s not their thing anymore,” she warned.
Lenore, the founder of Let Grow and the Free-Range Kids movement, shared with Bored Panda that there are different kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. “Intrinsic motivation is when you want to do something. Extrinsic motivation is when someone ELSE wants you to do something.” It’s vital to allow children to develop their own intrinsic motivation without others constantly crowding in around them, throughout the day. When kids are left to their own devices, they can determine who they are through what they’re actually interested in.
“Kids have plenty of extrinsic motivation all day at school. Even in classes they like, someone else is telling them what to do and how to do it. So some free time when they’re allowed to do something just for the pleasure of it— not a grade, not a trophy— allows them to discover what they really enjoy and, in a way, who they truly are,” Lenore said.
“Our free Let Grow Independence Kit helps kids figure out some new things to try on their own, and helps adults let them!” she added.
A while back, I spoke about learning to separate facts from fiction with Joseph M. Pierre, a professor of psychiatry from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He told Bored Panda that most conspiracy theories in recent history ”have been fairly inconsequential without any largescale behavioral ramifications.” Theories about what happened to JFK and Princess Diana, 9/11 and Flat Earth conspiracies haven’t affected the real world. With one exception—climate change conspiracies.
“Not all of the debate around that topic involves a conspiracy theory. In fact, the most conspiratorial claim about climate change may be that ‘big oil’ companies, like ‘big tobacco’ decades before, know that climate change is real and is caused by human CO2 production, but that they’re purposely claiming otherwise and putting out misinformation to the contrary that refutes what the vast majority of climate change scientists have stated in order to protect profits from the industry,” the professor told Bored Panda.
“Those of us who believe that conspiracy theory (remembering that some conspiracy theories are true!) argue that real-life physical actions—more so on the part of industry than individuals per se—are necessary now,” he said that the time to fight back against climate change is better sooner than later.
“Determining if someone is lying isn’t easy and is complicated by the fact that we don’t really have clear agreement of what it means to ‘believe’ something, much less genuinely,” the professor said that it’s very difficult to establish whether someone truly believes a conspiracy theory that they tout or if they’re incredibly good at pretending.
So, Pandas, which Weird History facts got stuck in your heads? Were there any bits of trivia that you already knew? Are there any facts that you’d just looove to share with your friends? Share your thoughts (and any other cool history facts that you know!) in the comment section at the bottom of the article. We can’t wait to hear what you think!