Knowledge is infinite. No matter how much we learn, there will always be something that will amaze us from time to time. For example, did you know that you can’t hum while holding your nose? Pretty cool, huh? In a course of 10 years, the average mattress doubles in weight. All that extra weight comes from an accumulation of dust mites and their droppings. Maybe after reading this, you will want to invest in a new bed. This list is about 10 such facts that are interesting, amazing and things that you may not be unaware of.
1. Ants have a cyclical pattern of resting periods – lasting around eight minutes in any 12-hour period.
Has that question ever crossed your mind? Do ants ever sleep? The answer is YES, they do sleep, but not in the way that we understand sleep. In 1983, James and Cottell wanted to know the same answer and so they went on to study these little social insects. Their research concluded that ants have a cyclical pattern of resting periods, lasting around eight minutes in any 12-hour period. This means two such rest periods in any 24-hour period, but only one of them can be considered as what we call sleep.
This is because brain activity was up to 65% lower in only one of the resting periods within the 24-hours. In 1986, another research conducted on black, red, and soldier ants, determined that black and red ants did undergo brain wave fluctuations; supporting the “sleep” hypothesis. In soldier ants however, there was a higher level of brain activity during the resting phase. Although the function of sleep in ants is unknown, it is believed that the lack of sleep for worker and soldier ants is to help ensure the queen’s safety and comfort.
2. There are only 22 countries in the world that the British didn’t invade.
When British historian Stuart Laycock’s son asked him how many countries Britain had invaded, he dug into the history of almost 200 nations and found only 22 that the Brits hadn’t marched into. These exclusive countries include: Andorra, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Guatemala, Cote d’Ivoire, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe, Sweden, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Vatican. To put things into perspective, the Brits have an impressive 88% world domination rate.
3. China’s paramilitary police are taught discipline in a rather cruel way.
Just looking at the picture itself is enough to make one feel uneasy, but this is how China’s paramilitary police learn their unwavering discipline. The images first came out in 2008, showing officers of the People Paramilitary Police preparing for the Olympics. In order to get the perfect posture, the officers are forced to wear pins in their collars and crosses on their backs. What a pain in the neck!
4. In a course of ten years, an average mattress will gain weight due to dust mites and their droppings.
House dust mites are barely visible to the human eye. Measuring less than half a millimeter long, millions of dust mites can be found in the average home in Europe, Asia and the US. Surviving on dead skin and moist air, these species are mainly found in bedding and duvets. Droppings from the mites can also cause asthma attacks on those who are allergic since their body recognizes the mite droppings and starts creating antibodies to fight it.
A study published in the journal Ethology also shows that these mites travel together from one location to another; to areas of higher humidity. Mattresses can gain weight overtime from absorbing dead skin cells and from housing colonies of dust mites. A study published by Ohio State University shows that a typical used mattress may have 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. If that isn’t enough to keep you awake at night, the study also showed that 10% of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings.
5. In 1904, t-shirts were originally sold for single men who didn’t have any sewing skills.
T-shirts have existed since the 20th century. Their fate however, did not change until 1904, when the Cooper Company began marketing them to single men as “bachelor undershirts” with a message that simply read: “No safety pins — no buttons — no needle — no thread”. Their advertisement was a hit and shortly after that, the U.S. Navy incorporated the button-less white undershirt into its uniform. The crew-necked, short-sleeved and buttonless shirts were first made from wool and then from cotton. It was popular among sailors who wore them as undershirts or wore them while doing dirty jobs to keep their uniforms from being soiled.
6. Chocolate milk – a beverage today – was once sold as medicine by its Irish physician inventor.
Chocolate milk has been part of American breakfasts and lunches for decades. It was also part of a controversy back in the early 1700’s. According to the Natural History Museum in Britain, Sir Hans Sloane, an Irish botanist, is credited with inventing chocolate milk. During the early 1700’s, Sloane was spending time in Jamaica, where the locals gave him cocoa to drink. The museum also states that Sloane found the drink to be extremely distasteful, so he mixed it with milk to make it consumable. He then traveled back to England, along with the recipe and sold it as medicine.
7. Barcode readers actually read the white parts and not the black.
Norman Joseph Woodland, an American inventor, created the barcode system in 1952. Since then, life has been easier for businesses small and large. The black-and-white zebra stripes allow huge enterprises like WalMart to keep record of the sales, as well as the remaining stock without the need for human assistance. The zebra stripes can be seen on almost all products today but did you know that the barcode readers actually read the white lines in between the black lines? The readers work by emitting rays of light onto the barcode and the white parts reflect it back.
8. Chainsaws were originally invented to serve as a surgical instrument for assisting in childbirth. Yikes!
Just by reading the title, you’re probably clenching your knees together by now. Believe it or not, chainsaws were invented in 1780 for doctors to make the removal of the baby both easier and less time-consuming. Before the caesarian, babies had to be passed through the birth canal and if the baby was too big, doctors often removed the pelvic bone using a knife; which was time consuming. To make things easier and less time-consuming, two doctors invented the chainsaw; which was basically powered by a hand crank and looked like a modern-day kitchen knife with little teeth on a chain. Thankfully, it didn’t look like the modern day tool but more like a medical tool; which put pregnant mothers at ease.
9. Those strange things you see floating in your eye are called floaters and are experienced by around 70% of people.
Have you ever been obsessed with those floating things in the sky? Of course most of us have experienced this unusual phenomenon when we were children. Those annoying little squiggly lines when you look up at the sky are actually called floaters. They are shadows cast by objects suspended in the clear, gel-like substance that makes up the majority of the eye’s interior. These proteins of the vitreous gel clump together and block light; therefore casting a shadow on the retina.
10. Every two minutes we take more pictures than all of humanity during the 19th century.
Today, smartphones and DSLR’s are readily available at affordable prices, taking the art of photography to a different level. The universal hobby of self-expression is at its peak now more than ever, with more than 1.8 billion images uploaded every day. If you think about it, that’s more than 657 billion photos per year. This means that every two minutes, we are taking more photos than ever existed in total 150 years ago.