88 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know

1. Thirty-five percent of people are born without wisdom teeth.

2. As we continue to evolve, scientists believe that fewer and fewer humans will be born with wisdom teeth ...

3. ... or appendixes ...

4. ... or even little toes!

5. India’s Dahala Khagrabari is the world’s only third-order enclave.

6. It’s a patch of India inside a patch of Bangladesh, which is inside a patch of India—all of which is surrounded by Bangladesh.

7. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V handbook classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder.

8. Catnip isn’t just for housecats—it affects lions and tigers too!

9. In the 1870s, a Belgian village attempted to train a fleet of 37 official mail cats to deliver letters.

10. It didn’t work.

11. The cotton candy machine was invented by a dentist.

12. Twelve percent of sleepers dream in black and white.

13. Zebras’ coats are just black.

14. (Their undercoat has white stripes.)

15. The light emitted by 200,000 galaxies makes our universe a shade of beige.

16. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University christened the color “cosmic latte.”

17. The oldest star is nicknamed Methuselah. It’s 13.8 billion years old.

18. If you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you’ll see is called eigengrau.

19. There may be no sound in space, but it does have a distinct smell: a bouquet of diesel fumes, gunpowder, and barbecue.

20. The aroma is mostly produced by dying stars.

21. In Japan, letting a sumo wrestler make your baby cry is considered good luck.

22. Where do baby carrots come from? Ugly carrots.

23. When a California farmer realized he was discarding 400 tons of carrots a day because they were too bent to be sold, he gave his harvest a makeover and shaved them down to snackable nubs.

24. Today, baby carrots are a $1 billion business.

25. Oreos are a knock-off of Hydrox cookies, which came out four years earlier (in 1908).

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

27. The female G-spot was nearly named the Whipple Tickle, after professor Beverly Whipple.

28. In Iceland, it’s hard to come up with a creative name for a newborn. A government committee prevents parents from giving babies names it deems too weird.

29. The committee’s name? Mannanafnanefnd.

30. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are was initially pitched as Where the Wild Horses Are.

31. His editor loved the title, but Sendak couldn’t draw horses.

32. The wild things he ended up drawing are caricatures of his relatives.

33. In the original stage version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s companion isn’t Toto, but a cow named Imogene.

34. It was easier to fit a human into a cow costume than a dog one.

35. Swiss designers are working on a milk carton that changes color as its contents nears expiration.

36. The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy.

37. In Europe, it’s cheese.

38. In Latin America, it’s meat.

39. Sweden’s Left Party has campaigned to make men sit when they pee.

40. (The campaign isn’t going very well.)

41. In 2008, Carl Mosca Dionisio strung together 18,500 latex condoms and used them to bungee jump from a 100-foot tower.

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

43. A 2009 study found that when men interact with an attractive woman, they may become “cognitively impaired.”

44. Further studies found that the mere thought of talking to a pretty girl increases a man’s likelihood of saying something really, really stupid.

45. In 2008, the U.K.’s Susie Hewer knitted a scarf while running a marathon.

46. It was five feet, two inches long.

47. New York Times illustrator Christoph Niemann doodled 46 sketches—in color—while running the New York City Marathon.

48. Juggling while jogging is also a marathon phenomenon.

49. It’s called joggling.

50. The electronic game Simon, where players repeat the sequence of lit-up colored panels, debuted at Studio 54.

51. In 2005, executives from Christie’s and Sotheby’s played a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who’d get to sell a $20 million art collection that included works by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Cézanne.

52. Christie’s scissors beat Sotheby’s paper.

53. To celebrate Andy Warhol’s 85th birthday, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh broadcast a streaming video of the artist’s grave.

54. In 1953, during the Eisenhower administration, the White House was wired to play Muzak.

55. But Eisenhower wasn’t even Muzak’s biggest presidential fan. Lyndon Johnson owned an Austin franchise earlier that decade.

56. The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” because the agency thought the lyrics were dirty.

57. After three months, the FBI abandoned the investigation because it couldn’t make out the words.

58. In the 1940s, the British government launched a series of PSAs on the proper way to use a handkerchief.

59. Kleenex was originally marketed not as a disposable hankie, but as a cold-cream remover.

60. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t drift apart.

61. Male caimans dance to impress potential mates.

62. In 1998, a Georgia student was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt to "Coke in Education Day."

63. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he died in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

64. German chocolate cake isn’t German. It’s named for Sam German, an American baker.

65. The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.

66. Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

67. “Hello” wasn’t a common greeting until the invention of the telephone. Thomas Edison convinced the printers of the first phone books to make it the sanctioned greeting.

68. Alexander Graham Bell disagreed. He pushed for “Ahoy!”

69. In 1997, Kleberg County, Texas, designated “Heaven-o” its official new phone greeting.

70. All the characters on The Simpsons have four-fingered hands with one exception: God.

71. The best man’s original purpose was to serve as an accomplice in case the bride needed to be kidnapped from disapproving parents.

72. Meanwhile, the bridesmaid tradition started because people believed that dressing everyone up in the same clothing would confuse evil spirits.

73. Ever practical, Puritan brides-to-be accepted engagement thimbles from their fiancés.

74. When the wedding day arrived, they’d simply cut the bottom off and wear it as a ring.

75. In 1998, the U.S. Army tried developing a telepathic ray gun “where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except that it could only be heard within a person’s head.”

76. The world’s shortest scheduled flight lasts 47 seconds. It covers just over a mile on Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

77. Richard Silver invented the Electric Slide in 1976. It consisted of 22 steps.

78. When he learned that wedding revelers were bungling his masterpiece by doing only 18 of the steps, he threatened amateur dancers with lawsuits.

79. (Silver never actually sued anyone.)

80. In 2006, an Australian man tried to sell New Zealand on eBay. The price rose to $3,000 before eBay shut it down.

81. In 1967, the Nigerian Civil War ground to a halt for two days because both sides wanted to watch Pelé play in an exhibition soccer match.

82. Some cats are allergic to humans.

83. The first sales pitch for the Nerf ball was “Nerf: You can’t hurt babies or old people!”

84. In 2006, a Wisconsin man legally changed his name to Andy Griffith, hoping it would help him get elected as county sheriff.

85. Instead, he was sued by Andy Griffith.

86. PETA once asked the Pet Shop Boys to consider changing their name to Rescue Shelter Boys.

87. Winston Churchill's mother was born in Brooklyn.

88. Homosexuality was still classified as an illness in Sweden in 1979. Swedes protested by calling in sick to work, claiming they felt gay.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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10 Facts About Real Genius On Its 35th Anniversary

Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In an era where nerd is a nickname given by and to people who have pretty much any passing interest in popular culture, it’s hard to imagine the way old-school nerds—people with serious and socially-debilitating obsessions—were once ostracized. Computers, progressive rock, and role-playing games (among a handful of other 1970s- early '80s developments) created a path from which far too many of the lonely, awkward, and conventionally undateable would never return. But in the 1980s, movies transformed these oddballs into underdogs and antiheroes, pitting them against attractive, moneyed, successful adversaries for the fate of handsome boys and pretty girls, cushy jobs, and first-place trophies.

The 1985 film Real Genius ranked first among equals from that decade for its stellar cast, sensitive direction, and genuine nerd bona fides. Perhaps fittingly, it sometimes feels overshadowed, and even forgotten, next to broader, bawdier (and certainly now, more problematic) films from the era like Revenge of the Nerds and Weird Science. But director Martha Coolidge delivered a classic slobs-versus-snobs adventure that manages to view the academically gifted and socially maladjusted with a greater degree of understanding and compassion while still delivering plenty of good-natured humor.

As the movie commemorates its 35th anniversary, we're looking back at the little details and painstaking efforts that make it such an enduring portrait not just of ‘80s comedy, but of nerdom itself.

1. Producer Brian Grazer wanted Valley Girl director Martha Coolidge to direct Real Genius. She wasn’t sure she wanted to.

Following the commercial success of 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds, there was an influx of bawdy scripts that played upon the same idea, and Real Genius was one of them. In 2011, Coolidge told Kickin’ It Old School that the original script for Real Genius "had a lot of penis and scatological jokes," and she wasn't interested in directing a raunchy Nerds knock-off. So producer Brian Grazer enlisted PJ Torokvei (SCTV) and writing partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (Splash, City Slickers) to refine the original screenplay, and then gave Coolidge herself an opportunity to polish it before production started. “Brian's original goal, and mine, was to make a film that focused on nerds as heroes," Coolidge said. "It was ahead of its time."

2. Martha Coolidge’s priority was getting the science in Real Genius right—or at least as right as possible.

In the film, ambitious professor Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton) recruits high-achieving students at the fictional Pacific Technical University (inspired by Caltech) to design and build a laser capable of hitting a human-sized target from space. Coolidge researched the subject thoroughly, working with academic, scientific, and military technicians to ensure that as many of the script and story's elements were correct. Moreover, she ensured that the dialogue would hold up to some scrutiny, even if building a laser of the film’s dimensions wasn’t realistic (and still isn’t today).

3. One element of Real Genius that Martha Coolidge didn’t base on real events turned out to be truer than expected.

From the beginning, the idea that students were actively being exploited by their teacher to develop government technology was always fictional. But Coolidge learned that art and life share more in common than she knew at the time. “I have had so many letters since I made Real Genius from people who said, 'Yes, I was involved in a program and I didn’t realize I was developing weapons,'" she told Uproxx in 2015. “So it was a good guess and turned out to be quite accurate.”

4. Val Kilmer walked into his Real Genius audition already in character—and it nearly cost him the role.

After playing the lead in Top Secret!, Val Kilmer was firmly on Hollywood’s radar. But when he met Grazer at his audition for Real Genius, Kilmer decided to have some fun at the expense of the guy who would decide whether or not he’d get the part. "The character wasn't polite," Kilmer recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 1995. "So when I shook Grazer's hand and he said, 'Hi, I'm the producer,' I said, 'I'm sorry. You look like you're 12 years old. I like to work with men.'"

5. The filmmakers briefly considered using an actual “real genius” to star in Real Genius.

Among the performers considered to play Mitch, the wunderkind student who sets the movie’s story in motion, was a true genius who graduated college at 14 and was starting law school. Late in the casting process, they found their Mitch in Gabriel Jarrett, who becomes the third generation of overachievers (after Kilmer’s Chris and Jon Gries’s Lazlo Hollyfeld) whose talent Hathaway uses to further his own professional goals.

6. Real Genius's female lead inadvertently created a legacy for her character that would continue in animated form.

Michelle Meyrink, Gabriel Jarret, Val Kilmer, and Mark Kamiyama in Real Genius (1985).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Michelle Meyrink was a staple of a number of ‘80s comedies, including Revenge of the Nerds. Playing Jordan in Real Genius, she claims to “never sleep” and offers a delightful portrait of high-functioning attention-deficit disorder with a chipper, erratic personality. Disney’s Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers co-creator Tad Stones has confirmed that her character went on to inspire the character of Gadget Hackwrench.

7. A Real Genius subplot, where a computer programmer is gaming a Frito-Lay contest, was based on real events.

In the film, Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite) plays Lazlo Hollyfeld, a reclusive genius from before Chris and Mitch’s time who lives in a bunker beneath their dorm creating entries to a contest with no restrictions where he eventually wins more than 30 percent of the prizes. In 1969, students from Caltech tried a similar tactic with Frito-Lay to game the odds. But in 1975, three computer programmers used an IBM to generate 1.2 million entries in a contest for McDonald’s, where they received 20 percent of the prizes (and a lot of complaints from customers) for their effort.

8. One of Real Genius's cast members went on to write another tribute to nerds a decade later.

Dean Devlin, who co-wrote Stargate and Independence Day with Roland Emmerich, plays Milton, another student at Pacific Tech who experiences a memorable meltdown in the rush up to finals.

9. The popcorn gag that ends Real Genius isn’t really possible, but they used real popcorn to simulate it.

At the end of the film, Chris and Mitch build a giant Jiffy Pop pack that the laser unleashes after they redirect its targeting system. The resulting popcorn fills Professor Hathaway’s house as an act of revenge. MythBusters took pains to recreate this gag in a number of ways, but quickly discovered that it wouldn’t work; even at scale, the popcorn just burns in the heat of a laser.

To pull off the scene in the film, Coolidge said that the production had people popping corn for six weeks of filming in order to get enough for the finale. After that, they had to build a house that they could manipulate with hydraulics so that the popcorn would “explode” out of every doorway and window.

10. Real Genius was the first movie to be promoted on the internet.

A week before Real Genius opened, promoters set up a press conference at a computer store in Westwood, California. Coolidge and members of the cast appeared to field questions from press from across the country—connected via CompuServe. Though the experience was evidently marred by technical problems (this was the mid-1980s, after all), the event marked the debut of what became the online roundtable junket.