The world is a crazy place. Some things we consider to be ordinary and boring can in fact turn out to have a weird backstory. For instance, did you know that trained pigeons can differentiate between Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso? And 12% of the population can only dream in black and white? As we dig deeper into this mysterious world, we can unearth things that seem perfectly normal but can be surprising. With that in mind, here are 11 weird and amazing facts you’ll likely be surprised to learn.
1. Jewelry such as engagement and wedding rings harbor millions of germs, which can be transferred to another person with a simple handshake.
Disinfecting our jewelry is not something we constantly think about, but when we do, the dirt hiding underneath makes us think of cleaning it more often. According to Dr. Robert Lahita, the chairman of medicine and vice president of the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, dirt, skin and oil sticks to rings when we wash our hands and they do not fall off that easily. She also explains that food and fecal matter can also come into contact with your jewelry, providing the perfect environment for bacteria and other organisms to thrive.
On top of that, our skin is constantly shedding epithelial cells and they can carry hundreds of thousands of potentially harmful microorganisms. This combined with the oils, dirt, soap, and fecal matter can cause infections when they come in contact with wounds. A study conducted by NCBI also shows that when a person wearing a ring shakes their hand with another person, almost 95% of the bacteria is transferred. Experts suggest cleaning your rings more often to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. (source)
2. Ziona Chana, a man from India, holds the world record for having the biggest family in the world. He has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandkids, who all live under one roof.
Ziona Chana is the head of the family and according to him, he’s blessed to have 39 wives, 94 children, 14-daughters-in-law, and 33 grandkids. The entire family lives in a 100-room, four story house in the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram. ‘I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family’, says Mr. Ziona. The oldest wife organizes the daily chores with military style discipline and even controls Mr. Ziona’s 38 other wives. According to The Sun, a regular meal will have 30 chickens, 132 lbs. of potatoes and up to 220 lbs. of rice to feed the entire family. One of his sons explains that Mr. Ziona, 65, marries the poor women from the village, so he can look after them. (source)
3. In order for a bee to produce 1 lb. of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
Bees are fascinating creatures. For decades, they have been peeking the curiosity of scientists, who managed to learn some interesting things about the insects. There are 3 types of honeybees: the worker, the drone and the queen – none of which can live on their own. The three types work together to raise a colony and make honey. The little insects can flap their wings an amazing 11,400 times per minute, which is what makes the buzzing sound. The bees also have to visit at least 2 million flowers or must fly 55,000 miles in order to produce 1 lb. of honey. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. (source)
4. Married men tend to earn approximately 30% more than their unmarried colleagues.
According to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, married men significantly out-earn single men. The St. Louis Fed studied income of workers with at least a high school diploma by age, gender and marital status and found that the wages of married men are higher than those of single men, married women and single women. The data does “not imply that being married increases a man’s wage,” Guillaume Vandenbroucke, author of the report, notes. “It might be that men with higher wages are more likely to marry; therefore, the average married man earns a higher wage than the average single man”. (source)
5. Newborn panda cubs weigh only about 3.5 ounces.
Pandas are black and white bears that are mainly found high up in the mountains of central China. The giant yet fluffy animals are omnivores who mainly eat bamboo, which counts for about 99% of their diet. The average lifespan of a panda is about 30 years and they can weigh an average of 150 lbs (75-135 kg). Panda cubs however, weigh only about 3.5 ounces when they are born. Since panda bears are now on the endangered list of animals, newly born cubs are given extra care to ensure their survival. China also owns all pandas in the world. Any panda seen in zoos, outside of China, is either given as a gift or leased by the Chinese government. (source)
6. Grocery stores and restaurants deliberately mislabel one-third of all fish sold, so that consumers will buy more expensive fish.
Our oceans are filled with different types of fish and some grocery stores and restaurants are utilizing this fact to their benefit. According to a report from the ocean conservation group Oceana, one in three fish sold at restaurants and grocery stores are mislabeled. Between 2010 and 2012, Oceana took 1,215 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states. DNA tests confirmed that 33% of the samples were mislabeled. The study also found that a majority of the mislabeled samples were from sushi restaurants and grocery stores. However, the study also explains that it could be both intentional and unintentional. Another investigation by Oceana and the Boston Globe found that seafood mislabeling is common in cities with the most fish consumption. (source)
7. The longest-living insects are not cockroaches, but termites. They can live for as long as 100 years.
Termites are insects that feed on wood. The little and creepy insects never sleep and build their colonies 24 hours a day, every day. The largest termite colony ever recorded contained over three million termites. Not only are these insects invasive, they also live for a long, long time. According to some scientists, termites can live for as long 100 years. The little critters cause at least 5 billion dollars worth of property damage every year. (source)
8. Before the invention of color TV, 75% of people said they dreamed in black and white. Today, only 12% do.
In the era where technology is highly advanced and movies are enjoyed in 3D, it’s hard to imagine that people still experience colorless dreams. In a study where participants were asked to describe their dreams, the majority of the participants reported that theirs was in monochromatic hues. In fact, the study found that this was because the participants were born and raised during the black and white TV era. Another study found that those who were 25 and younger have never had a black and white dream whereas those who were 55 or older reported dreaming in black and white about a quarter of the time. (source)
9. There are more tigers in Texas than the rest of the world.
There are now an estimated 3,890 wild tigers roaming in mostly Asian countries. There are however, more than 5,000 tigers roaming in Texas backyards. Texas has some of the most lenient exotic animal ownership laws in the country. Apart from that, the hot climate is well-suited to keeping a pet tiger. Texans consider the large felines to be easier to raise than dogs. Although the exact number of tiger population in the state is unknown, it is estimated to be around 5,000, while some animal activists claim the number to be more than 7,000. (source)
10. Salting a pineapple actually makes it taste sweeter.
When we want our fruits to be sweeter, we tend to sprinkle sugar on them. In the case of pineapples, salt is what makes them sweeter. Studies show that the reason behind this unusual phenomenon is not because of any chemical reaction in the pineapple, rather in our heads. Adding salt to pineapples suppresses the bitter flavor of the fruit, enhancing your brain’s interpretation of sweetness. A simple way to understand this is to drink coffee without sugar, which would taste bitter. When we add sugar to it, the bitterness is reduced. The reason is also due to how our brain interprets sweet and bitterness. (source)
11. Until the 1980’s, it was illegal for a woman to drive a car down Main Street in Waynesboro, Virginia, unless her husband was walking in front of the car waving a red flag.
While it sounds ridiculous and unenforceable, the law existed until the 1980’s, when cars were gaining popularity. The law in Waynesboro, Va., states that a woman cannot drive up Main Street without her husband walking in front of the car waving a red flag. Thankfully, the law, which sounds completely ridiculous (and unsafe, for that matter), was taken off the books about 25-30 years ago. (source)