Mental Floss

50 More Awesome Facts (About Everything)

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These awesome facts will have you ready for trivia night.
These awesome facts will have you ready for trivia night. / triloks/Getty Images

We couldn't put down National Geographic Kids’ book 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) 2. Here are 50 more of our favorite fun facts from its pages.

1. Black bears sometimes hibernate in the tops of trees.

Although they don’t spend all of winter passed out.

2. The first organized baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The game took place on June 19, 1846.

3. Tokelau, a group of remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, receives 100 percent of its electricity from solar energy.

It’s the first nation in the world that’s powered exclusively by solar energy.

4. All cats were considered sacred in ancient Egypt.

Sergeeva/iStock via Getty Images

If you killed a cat, you could be sentenced to death.

5. Some of the first flags on pirate ships were red, not black.

A plain red flag meant that the pirates would not spare the lives of anyone on the ships they overtook.

6. The most common gift on Father's Day is a necktie.

Mothers, on the other hand, often receive flowers.

7. More board games are sold in Germany than anywhere else on Earth.

German-style board games have gotten very popular.

8. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the U.S. capital for the shortest period of time.

It was the capital for one day: September 27, 1777.

9. Some kangaroos that lived 12,000 years ago were the size of rhinoceroses.

You certainly wouldn’t want to get roundhouse kicked by one of them.

10. Nightshades are often thought of as very poisonous plants.

A medley of ripening tomatoes.
A medley of ripening tomatoes. / RyanJLane/Getty Images

Tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes are all part of the nightshade family.

11. Human babies cannot taste salt until they are 4 months old.

So don’t bother getting a newborn to try to lick a salty french fry.

12. You can buy jam infused with sand from the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.

The same company also once sold jam infused with a tiny speck of Princess Diana’s hair.

13. Male pandas do a handstand while peeing.

They do this to mark trees.

14. There are close to 400 lakes under the ice in Antarctica.

Including one with an area nearly as big as North America's Lake Ontario.

15. Giant crystals can be found 1000 feet underground in Mexico's Cave of Crystals.

The massive crystals are about as long as a school bus.

16. There's a device that uses sound waves to put out fire.

It’s called an acoustic extinguisher.

17. If Earth were the size of a grain of sand, the sun would be the size of an orange.

A blazing hot orange, that is.

18. Golf balls were once made out of solid wood.

The wooden balls were used until the 17th century.

19. Frogs and salamanders can breathe through their skin.

Their skin is so thin, gas can pass right through it.

20. The Dead Sea is not entirely dead.

Care to float among the salt and bacteria?
Care to float among the salt and bacteria? / RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

Halophile microbes thrive in the extremely salty waters.

21. According to a 2012 survey, the second most popular pizza topping in the United States is a fungus.

Mushrooms, that is.

22. Flying the U.S. flag upside down signals extreme distress.

The United States Flag Code says as such.

23. The first horses were the size of Siamese cats.

They were the smallest horses that ever lived.

24. Only about 100 people speak Latin fluently.

It is, after all, a dead language.

25. The word brassierecomes from a military word.

The word means "arm guard" in old French.

26. A single cornflake shaped like the U.S. state of Illinois sold at an online auction.

It sold for $1350.

27. Uranus only has two seasons: summer and winter.

Each lasts 42 Earth years.

28. The heart is so strong it can squirt blood up to 30 feet.

It would be very bad if your heart started shooting blood across a room.

29. It's an Italian tradition to wear red underwear for good luck on New Year's Eve.

Meanwhile, people in Latin America wear yellow to bring happiness and prosperity.

30. Two billion people on Earth eat insects as part of their regular diet.

Snack on some sweet, crunchy protein.
Snack on some sweet, crunchy protein. / Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

Want to try? Here’s some insect-eating advice.

31. Green eyes, found in only 2 percent of the population, are more common in women than men.

They’re also more common among celebrities than the general public.

32. An 11-year-old girl from England is credited with naming Pluto in 1930.

Her name was Venetia Katharine Douglas Burney.

33. Blood makes a loop around your body more than 1000 times a day.

It’s always on the move.

34. Slowworms look and move like snakes, but they're actually legless lizards.

Want to learn more about the differences between snakes and legless lizards? We've got you covered.

35. Barbers were also surgeons in the Middle Ages.

Some say the poles outside their shops were colored red for blood, blue for veins, and white for bandages.

36. In Ancient Greece, it was believed that a person could be transformed into a werewolf by eating human flesh.

Don’t try this at home.

37. There’s a word for people who fear Friday the 13th.

It’s friggatriskaidekaphobia.

38. Worms eat their weight in food every day.

They’re hungry little creatures!

39. Researchers think the entire face of the Great Sphinx of Giza was once painted red.

Imagine this painted bright red.
Imagine this painted bright red. / Ingenui/Getty Images

Archaeologists have also found traces of blue and yellow on the ancient structure.

40. In 1963, a cat named Félicette became the first feline in space.

People often mistakenly refer to the cat as Felix.

41. Pirates had bedtimes, too.

On Captain Bart Roberts's ship, "lights out" was 8 p.m.

42. The corpse flower can take up to six years to bloom.

It’s named after its unfortunate smell.

43. An elephant's skin can be an inch thick in places.

Though thick, their skin is still highly sensitive.

44. All Scandinavian countries have a cross on their flags.

The cross on their flags began as a symbol of Christianity.

45. Camels originated in North America.

They became extinct on the continent 10,000 years ago.

46. Venus spins backwards on its axis.

On Venus, the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

47. It takes less than ONE minute for blood to travel all around your body.

Blood is fast!

48. A man in the United Kingdom holds the world record for putting on the most pairs of underpants in 1 hour.

Spoiler: He put on 144 pairs.

49. It would take a snail nearly 4575 years to circle Earth.

Just inching along.
Just inching along. / valentinrussanov/Getty Images

They do move pretty famously slow.

50. Your brain generates enough electricity to power a light bulb.

But we don’t recommend using your head as a power source.

A version of this story ran in 2014; it has been updated for 2022.