65 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Getty Images/Arno Burgi
Getty Images/Arno Burgi

OK, "blow your mind" is a bit dramatic. But 65 Amazing Facts You'll Probably Enjoy and Likely Consider Mentioning to Your Friends didn't fit.

1. Google's founders were willing to sell to Excite for under $1 million in 1999—but Excite turned them down.

*

2. There was a third Apple founder. Ronald Wayne (pictured at home in 2010) sold his 10% stake for $800 in 1976.

*

3. The famous Aaron Burr “Got Milk?” ad from 1993 was directed by Michael Bay.

*

4. According to Amazon, the most highlighted Kindle books are the Bible, the Steve Jobs biography, and The Hunger Games.

*

5. A California woman once tried to sue the makers of Cap'n Crunch because Crunch Berries contained "no berries of any kind."

*

6. Wilford Brimley was Howard Hughes's bodyguard.

*

7. During WWI, German measles were called "liberty measles" and dachshunds became "liberty hounds."

*

8. In a 2008 survey, 58% of British teens thought Sherlock Holmes was a real guy, while 20% thought Winston Churchill was not.

*

9. At one point in the 1990s, 50% of all CDs produced worldwide were for AOL.

*

10. Toy companies failed to duplicate the success of Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear with William Taft's "Billy Possum."

*

11. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his chocolate ration.

*

12. In response to The Lorax, the forest products industry published Truax to teach kids the importance of logging.

*

13. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima for work when the first A-bomb hit, made it home to Nagasaki for the second, and lived to be 93.

*

14. A British man changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice to make it harder for telemarketers to pronounce.

*

15. J.P. Morgan once offered $100,000 to anyone who could figure out why his face was so red. No one solved the mystery.

*

16. Prairie dogs say hello with kisses.

*

17. In the mid-1960s, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book called "How to Lose Weight." One of the tips was "Don’t eat."

*

18. A 2009 search for the Loch Ness Monster came up empty. Scientists did find over 100,000 golf balls.

*

19. After OutKast sang “Shake it like a Polaroid picture,” Polaroid released a statement that said, “Shaking or waving can actually damage the image.”

*

20. New Mexico State's first graduating class in 1893 had only one student—and he was shot and killed before graduation.

*

21. In the mid-1980s, Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas was the voice of Charlie Brown's sister Sally.

*

22. Jonas Salk declined to patent his polio vaccine. "There is no patent," he said. "Could you patent the sun?"

*

23. Only one McDonald’s in the world has turquoise arches. Sedona, AZ thought yellow clashed with the natural red rock.

*

24. The 50-star American flag was designed by an Ohio high school student for a class project. His teacher originally gave him a B–.

*

25. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most commonly stolen vehicle in 2012 was the 1994 Honda Accord.

*

26. After leaving office, Lyndon Johnson let his hair grow out.

*

27. Crabs have their own version of the fist pump. Male crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females.

*

28. Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men is used by researchers to attract animals to cameras in the wilderness.

*

29. Sean Connery turned down the Gandalf role in Lord of the Rings. "I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it."

*

30. E.B. White of Charlotte's Web fame is the "White" of Strunk and White, who wrote The Elements of Style.

*

31. Chock Full o' Nuts coffee does not contain nuts. It's named for a chain of nut stores that the founder converted into coffee shops.

*

32. 12+1 = 11+2, and "twelve plus one" is an anagram of "eleven plus two."

*

33. Coach Jim Harbaugh played Screech's cousin on a 1996 episode of Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

*

34. At the height of Rin Tin Tin's fame, a chef prepared him a daily steak lunch. Classical musicians played to aid his digestion.

*

35. The Arkansas School for the Deaf's nickname is the Leopards. The Deaf Leopards.

*

36. If your dog's feet smell like corn chips, you're not alone. The term "Frito Feet" was coined to describe the scent.

*

37. A sex pheromone found in male mouse urine was named "darcin," for Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy.

*

38. Barry Manilow did not write his hit "I Write the Songs."

*

39. He did, however, write State Farm's "Like a Good Neighbor" jingle.

*

40. And "I am stuck on Band-Aids, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me."

*

41. Winston Churchill's mother was born in New York.

*

42. Officials in Portland, Ore., drained 8 million gallons of water from a reservoir in 2011 because a buzzed 21-year-old peed in it.

*

43. There's a basketball court above the Supreme Court. It's known as the Highest Court in the Land.

*

44. If you start counting at one and spell out the numbers as you go, you won't use the letter "A" until you reach 1,000.

*

45. On a 1999 episode of The West Wing, Nick Offerman ("Ron Swanson") played a man lobbying the White House to build a $900 million wolves-only roadway.

*

46. The medical term for ice cream headaches is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

*

47. After Leonardo da Vinci's death, King Francis I of France hung the Mona Lisa in his bathroom.

*

48. Redondo Beach, CA adopted the Goodyear Blimp as the city's official bird in 1983.

*

49. In 2001, Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia in part because anti-porn filters blocked access to the school's website.

*

50. Peeps Lip Balm is something that exists.

*

51. Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on The Golden Girls.

*

52. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas dropped out of high school but picked up his GED in 1993. His GED class voted him Most Likely to Succeed.

*

53. Sleeping through winter is hibernation, while sleeping through summer is estivation.

*

54. In Spain, Mr. Clean is known as Don Limpio.

*

55. In Qaddafi's compound, Libyan rebels found a photo album filled with pictures of Condoleezza Rice.

*

56. Reed Hastings said he was partially inspired to start Netflix after racking up a $40 late fee on a VHS copy of Apollo 13.

*

57. Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive. Researchers hoping to view them must sign a disclaimer.

*

58. Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins also wrote for Clarissa Explains It All.

*

59. When three-letter airport codes became standard, airports that had been using two letters simply added an X.

*

60. Just before the Nazis invaded Paris, H.A. and Margret Rey fled on bicycles. They were carrying the manuscript for Curious George.

*

61. William McKinley was on the $500 bill, Grover Cleveland was on the $1,000, and James Madison was on the $5,000.

*

62. In 1999, the U.S. government paid the Zapruder family $16 million for the film of JFK's assassination.

*

63. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know. But on average, a Licking Machine made at Purdue needed 364.

*

64. Janis Joplin left $2,500 in her will for her friends to "have a ball after I’m gone."

*

65. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

For more amazing facts follow @mental_floss on Twitter. Images courtesy of Getty Images and iStock. Ronald Wayne image via Karen T. Borchers/MCT/Landov.

How Much Are You Spending on Streaming Services? This Handy Calculator Can Tell You

LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images
LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images

With the recent debut of both Disney+ and Apple TV+, not to mention upcoming launches for HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, and more, streaming services are officially coming for cable television’s throne—and might sneakily empty your bank account while they're at it.

While a monthly fee of $10 to $15 seems easy enough to justify if you’re willing to sacrifice a burrito bowl or fancy cocktail once a month, the little voice in the back of your head is probably whispering, “but it still adds up.” To find out just how much, MarketWatch created a calculator that will not only tell you how much you’re spending on streaming services every month; it’ll also add up the lifetime cost of all those entertainment expenses.

The calculator covers Netflix, CBS All Access, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Disney+, Apple TV+, and YouTube TV, and it also includes a whole host of add-ons that you might not even have realized were available. Through Amazon Prime, for example, you can subscribe to HBO, Showtime, and other premium channels—but there are also more niche options like Hallmark Movies Now and NickHits (with iCarly, The Fairly OddParents, and other Nickelodeon classics).

As you check off services and add-ons, you’ll see your monthly bill on the right side of the total box, and the lifetime cost—which accounts for 50 years of streaming, adjusted for inflation—will balloon before your eyes on the left side. Below that, there’s an even larger number labeled as the lifetime “true” cost, which estimates how much you would’ve made if you had invested that money instead.

For example: If you sign up for basic monthly subscriptions to Netflix and Disney+ for $9 and $7, respectively, your lifetime cost totals around $16,200. However, if you had opted to invest that money, the 50-year prediction sees you walking away with almost $74,000.

Having said that, it’s understandably hard to look that far into the future, especially when Disney+ is tempting you with the Lizzie McGuire series, Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, and practically every beloved animated Disney movie from your childhood.

[h/t MarketWatch]

Hallmark Released Some Adorable Harry Potter Ornaments—Just In Time for Christmas

Amazon
Amazon

Even if you never received your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts on your 11th birthday, you can still add some magic to your Christmas tree this year with some Harry Potter Christmas ornaments from Hallmark. These pieces have more of a minimalist style than Hallmark's other Potter releases, which are modeled to look identical to the characters' movie counterparts. But with that simplicity comes a unique charm that is sure to be popular with Potterheads.

Shoppers can look for seven different ornaments, which include Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in mid-flight, as well as Hedwig, the Sorting Hat, Dobby, and the Hogwarts Crest. Each one comes with a hanger, so is ready to be put on your Christmas tree as soon as its out of the packaging. You can find each one for $9 on Amazon—though be forewarned that Harry is currently out of stock (but you can find an equally adorable replacement Potter for $8).

If you can’t get enough wizarding gifts this holiday season, then check out our Harry Potter gift guide, which includes everything from magical cookbooks to chess sets.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER