Every day, mankind is making history. Brilliant men and women on our planet are discovering things that were previously unknown. As these brilliant minds gaze into the eyes of science and solve mysteries, it helps us understand and make life better for future generations. These findings however, do not come easy and many of the prolific minds spent years, decades or even most of their lives to prove their findings. If you are like me, then you enjoy science and random facts about our planet. To feed your curiosity, we have gathered some absolutely amazing facts that are sure to blow your mind.
1. Coffee has the ability to change your perception of taste and make you crave for more sweet foods.
Trying to quit sweet stuff? According to a new study, coffee could be the reason why it is hard for you to control the cravings for sweet foods. Studies show that caffeine has a powerful effect on adenosine receptors, which promote relaxation and sleepiness. By consuming coffee, we are suppressing these receptors, which in fact makes us feel more awake. At the same time, the suppression causes an effect which decreases the taste buds ability to taste sweetness. A research conducted by Cornell University found that adenosine receptors are present in the sweet sensitive taste cells of mice.
Researchers from the university wanted to know whether it has the same effect on humans, so the team performed a study on 107 participants. At the end of the study, the team discovered that participants who drank the caffeinated coffee rated it as less sweet than those who drank the decaf. “When you drink caffeinated coffee, it will change how you perceive taste — for however long that effect lasts. So if you eat food directly after drinking a caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you will likely perceive food differently,” explained senior author Robin Dando. The study also found that the drink had no effect on bitter, sour, salty, or umami perception. (source)
2. Airplanes are designed in such a way that if they lose all engines, they can glide for as far as 100 miles.
Airplanes are one of the safest and fastest ways to travel around the world. Even though extreme measures are taken to ensure the safety of passengers, human error can sometimes prove fatal. One such human error occurred in 2001, when a plane carrying 293 passengers and 13 crew suddenly lost power in one of the engines. The experienced pilot and co-pilot, with more than 20,000 hours of flight time, were flying the Air Transat Flight 236, which was leaking fuel since it left Toronto six hours before. The fuel leak was caused by improper maintenance and within minutes, the aircraft lost its second engine.
Captain Robert Piche and first officer Dirk DeJager declared an emergency and prepared themselves for an emergency landing. Using their experience, the pilots glided the aircraft for some 75 miles – until landing hard at Lajes Air Base. The aircraft had to make a series of turns and one full circle to lose the necessary altitude. Despite the challenges, the aircraft landed in one piece and all on board walked away without a scratch on them. Commercial aircrafts are designed to glide for almost 100 miles in emergency situations. Even if an aircraft only loses one engine, the working engine is powerful enough to take off, fly the aircraft, and make a safe landing. (source)
3. Years of using the same mattress can make it heavier due to the accumulation of skin flakes, sweat, and dust mites.
Many believe that a mattress doubles its weight within a period of 10 years. While it’s true that mattresses do gain weight throughout the years, it’s highly unlikely that it gains double its weight. Mattresses are something we use every day, sometimes multiple times a day, for almost all our lives. The constant use causes skin flakes, sweat, and oil you secrete to become accumulated onto the mattress. Apart from that, there are tiny creatures living in them, called dust mites. These mites feed on the skin cells that we naturally shed in our sleep and thrive on the mattress.
According to a leading mattress expert and designer, spring mattresses are more susceptible to mite infestations because they have “more air pockets where dust and skin cells can accumulate over time”. The expert also explained that foam mattresses might be even more attractive to mites than others. In 2002, scientists tested his theory and discovered it to be true. So, throughout the years, mattresses do gain weight depending on the amount of skin cells, dust mites and sweat but it’s highly unlikely that they double their weight. (source)
4. The population of Mars consists entirely of robots.
So far, six rovers have been dispatched to Mars and five are still functional. After the success of the Sojourner rover, NASA wanted to send more rovers to learn about Mars. So, in 2003, they sent two rovers named Spirit and Opportunity to the Red Planet. The twin rovers were the first to take color photographs of the planet as well as find many scientific evidence that suggests that life once thrived there. The Opportunity rover, with the help of onboard equipment, also found evidence of water. Although the Opportunity rover was only expected to provide data for 90 days, the rover gathered information and gave new insights to scientists for more than 15 years.
In June of 2018, the Opportunity rover sent a final message to NASA, which said that the battery was running low and a storm was approaching. On February 13, 2019, NASA announced that its Mars Opportunity rover mission – one of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration – was over, since the rover hadn’t responded in 8 months. There’s still hope though, that one day a storm may remove the dust from the solar panels and the rover might power back to life. (source)
5. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his chocolate ration.
Nutella is loved by millions around the globe. The chocolate spread was invented during the 1940’s by Italian bakery owner Pietro Ferrero. During the height of the second world war, chocolate supply was short and in order to extend his ration of chocolate, the baker added hazelnuts, sugar and a bit of rare cocoa. His invention contained less chocolate, which allowed him to extend his chocolate ration, but at the same time, the product was selling like hot cakes. Today, Nutella is so popular worldwide that a jar of the product is sold every 2.5 seconds. (source)
6. Elvis Presley naturally had blond hair, but he dyed his hair black to highlight his eye color.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in East Tupelo, Mississippi. The true 20th century icon had a unique style, which made him a different kind of pop star. The natural and soulful man might have had millions of fans worldwide but according to his hair dresser, Elvis had strong opinions about how he wanted to appear. Elvis’ real hair color is blond but he purposely dyed it black to give himself a unique persona, as well as to highlight his blue eyes. While serving in the Army, he was not able to dye his hair, as you can see hints of his natural hair color in some of his Army photos. Another interesting fact is that an estimated 40% of Elvis’ music sales have been outside the United States.
Despite having a huge fan base outside of North America, Elvis never performed on foreign soil; with the exception of Canada. It is believed that the reason for this was due to the fact that Elvis’ manager, Colonel Parker, turned down all offers outside the US. According to some sources, Parker was not a legal US citizen and feared that if he left the US, he wouldn’t be allowed back into the country. (source 1, 2)
7. Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men cologne is used by researchers to attract big cats towards the cameras in the wilderness.
First released in 1986, Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men has been making a surprising come back, not with men, but in the animal kingdom. Forest rangers in central India are using the fragrance to lure dangerous cats from the wild and move them to zoos or wildlife refuge centers. Wildlife photographers are also using the fragrance to lure cheetahs and tigers towards their cameras, so they can capture some amazing images. (source)
8. Reed Hastings was inspired to start Netflix after racking up a $40 late fee on a VHS copy of Apollo 13.
Netflix was founded by Reed Hastings on August 29, 1997, in Scotts Valley, CA, all because of a late video fee. The Netflix founder and CEO had rented an Apollo 13 tape but lost it. When he went to Blockbuster Video store and explained his situation, they charged him a penalty of $40. Here’s how Hastings told it in Fortune Magazine:
“I remember the fee because I was embarrassed about it. That was back in the VHS days, and it got me thinking that there’s a big market out there. So I started to investigate the idea of how to create a movie-rental business by mail. I didn’t know about DVDs, and then a friend of mine told me they were coming. I ran out to Tower Records in Santa Cruz, California, and mailed CDs to myself, just a disc in an envelope. It was a long 24 hours until the mail arrived back at my house, and I ripped them open and they were all in great shape. That was the big excitement point.”
Today, the media streaming giant has more than 139 million subscribers across the globe and according to the company’s earnings record, it makes more than $950 million per month from the paid subscribers. (source)
9. Marie Curie’s century-old books and belongings are still radioactive and are believed to continue to be radioactive for another 1,500 years.
Marie Curie was one of the most significant contributions to science during the 20th century. She devoted her life to science, which ultimately cost her the price of her own health. What most people don’t know is the fact that Curie was exposing herself to such high levels of radiation that her notebooks now have to be kept inside lead-lined boxes. It’s not just the books, but many of her possessions, furniture and even cookbooks have to be handled with extreme care due to the levels of radiation exposure. Her belongings can be viewed by anyone at the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at the Bibliotheque Nationale in France, but those who wish to visit must sign a liability waiver, just in case. (source)
10. In 1969, a musician named Jim Sullivan recorded an album titled ‘U.F.O’. The lyrics were about him leaving his family and being abducted by aliens in the desert. Sullivan disappeared six years later without a trace, and the only piece of evidence ever found was his car that was found abandoned on a desert road.
Jim Sullivan is probably a name you’ve never heard of. Back in the 1960’s, just as he was at the edge of success, Sullivan released his debut album, U.F.O. The album was released in 1969, and in 1975, he left Los Angeles, and his wife and son, to go to Nashville, where he thought he would get the break he needed for his career. Sadly, Sullivan never made it to Tennessee. Somewhere in the New Mexico desert, he disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. Coincidentally, Sullivan’s song that was released six years prior, explains his disappearance while leaving his family behind and being abducted by aliens in the desert. (source)