One of the biggest advantages of the internet is that it makes sharing information a simple task. While not all of the information and factoids shared are accurate, there are some that sound questionable but are indeed true. For instance, did you know that geckos drink water from their own eyes, or that the American flag that we all know was in fact the class project of an Ohio high school student? Like these facts, we have gathered some interesting yet little-known facts that will make you question everything.
1. Red rain once fell in India.
Back on July 25, 2001, the state of Kerala, in Southern India, saw an unusual kind of rain. Not only was the rain blood-red, the droplets were causing the local’s clothes to change color. According to The Guardian, some of the local’s white shirts turned into pink, whereas others turned brownish red. TThe Hindu, one of India’s national newspapers, reports that yellow, green, and black rain also fell in other districts in the area. Residents also reported a strong smell of sulphur compound in the air. After studying the rainwater samples, scientists discovered that it was caused due to the suspension of microscopic red particles in the atmosphere. (source)
2. If you sneeze while driving at 60 mph, your eyes are closed for around 50 feet.
When you sneeze, it’s a habit for us to close our eyes; even if it’s only for a second. Studies however, show that if you sneeze with your eyes closed while you are driving down the highway traveling at 60 mph, then your eyes will be closed for around 50 feet. The 2014 British study by Halfords Autocentres also found that 9% of Britain’s drivers regularly took their eyes off the road because of cold or flu symptoms. According to public safety officers, if you have a cold, flu or other conditions involving sneezing fits, then you should refrain from driving. Also, reading texts takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. (source 1, 2)
3. The moon is getting farther away from the Earth.
We all know that the moon orbits the Earth once every 27.322 days. Surprisingly, it also takes 27 days for the moon to rotate once on its axis. This is one of the reasons why it appears as if the moon is almost perfectly still. While most of us know that the moon orbits the Earth, not everyone knows that it is also moving further away from Earth every year. According to scientists, even though the moon continues its celestial spinning, it is also moving 1.48 inches away from our planet every year; which is also around the same speed that human fingernails grow, according to the BBC. (source)
4. The Namibian web-footed gecko drinks water by licking dew from its eyes, that accumulates when mist forms over the desert in the early morning.
On coastal sand dunes in Namibia, life can be hard since water is scarce. Animals, especially the Namibian web-footed gecko, however, have adapted to the living conditions in the desert by drinking water from their eyes. In the early morning, when the mist bank descends as cool coastal air hits the warmth of the desert, dew forms and collects on the eye balls. The geckos stand still with their eyes open as the mist passes by and simply lick the tiny water droplets five to six times until they are satisfied. (source)
5. The 50-Star American flag began as a high school project, and the designer, Bob Heft, only received a B- for his work.
In 1958, a 17-year-old Bob Heft designed the 50-Star American flag, which did not impress his teacher. At the time, there were only 48 states in the union but Bob felt that Alaska and Hawaii would soon join, which is why he added the extra stars. So, he earned a B- for his efforts. Bob however, called and wrote to the president several times and on August 1959, 21 letters and 18 phone calls later, he was invited by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower to see his creation hoisted up the flagpole. On July 4, 1960, the 50-star flag was officially raised over Fort McHenry in Maryland. (source)
6. Cows moo in different accents.
Like humans, cows too have regional accents. Language specialists conducted the study after dairy farmers noticed their cows had slightly different moos, depending on which herd they came from. At the end of the study, researchers found the farmers’ statements to be true. The same phenomenon has been observed with birds as well as dogs. Some farmers believe that this is because of the close bond between the animals and the farmers, making it easier for them to pick up on an accent. (source)
7. Strawberry seeds up close look like ripe mangoes.
Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring. The average strawberry has 200 seeds on its surface and are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside. Not only is the strawberry one of America’s favorite fruits, American’s eat an average of three-and-a-half pounds of fresh strawberries each per year. (source)
8. Bubble wrap was originally invented as wallpaper.
Can you imagine how little work we would get done if the idea was successful and bubble wrap was covering our walls? Engineer Al Fielding and Swiss inventor Marc Chavannes were trying to create textured wallpaper when they accidentally created bubble wrap. Although their invention did not take off as wallpaper, it was soon popular to ship delicate products across the globe. (source)
9. Bed bugs have existed on our planet since the time of the dinosaurs.
According to a 2019 study in Current Biology, the bugs have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. “To think that the pests that live in our beds today evolved more than 100 million years ago and were walking the earth side by side with dinosaurs was a revelation,” said researcher Mike Siva-Jothy. “It shows that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is far more complex than we previously thought.” (source)
10. Breathing the air in Mumbai, India, for one day during the festival of Diwali is equivalent to smoking 113 cigarettes.
Diwali is officially known as the festival of lights since it’s a day for people to rejoice and light fireworks. It is estimated that more than $500 million worth of fireworks are used during the festival. While the display of fireworks can be breathtaking, it is also dangerous, according to a recent study. The India Times reports that the amount of fireworks used in Mumbai during Diwali is equivalent of smoking 113 cigarettes every day for 7 days. (source)
11. You can count cricket chirps to tell the temperature.
If you are in the wilderness and don’t have any instruments to check the temperature, you can count cricket chirps and accurately predict it. Depending on the outside temperature, crickets will adjust their chirps. So, if you count how many chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds and add 37, you will get the range of the temperature in Fahrenheit. (source)
12. The Easter Island heads actually have bodies.
Almost everyone has seen the iconic images of the Easter Island heads but little do most people know that those Easter Island heads actually have bodies. In 2017, archaeologists uncovered the mystery during an expedition. (source)