88 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know
By Alvin Ward
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.