Every day, interesting things happen all around the world. With our busy lives, we often miss things that we consider to be interesting. Here, we have collected some random facts that are sure to make you say, “Whaaaaaaaat?!”. While the facts in this list are not necessarily powerful enough to scar you forever, some of them can surely disgust you. In fact, you will remember them even when you don’t want to. Without further ado, here are some fascinating random facts for you.
1. A study conducted at the University of Colorado found that about 15% of the air in the New York Subway system consisted of human skin.
The New York City Subway is the biggest rapid transit system by ridership in the United States. Close to 2 billion people ride the subway every year, also making the NYC subway system by far the busiest in the United States. A study however, shows that 15% of the air that the passengers breathe when they are using the subway contains human skin. From 2007 to 2008, biologists from the University of Colorado analyzed air samples from different subway platforms around New York. All of the collected samples were analyzed and found to contain at least 15% of skin cells. To make things worse, the skin samples were found to be from the heels, heads, belly buttons, ears, armpits and rear ends. However, the study concluded that the organisms discovered were not of public health concern. (source)
2. High heels were originally made for men. Horse riders wore them to get a better grip on the saddle.
Today, high heels are part of a fashion trend among women but believe it or not, they were intended to be worn by men. High heels were more for horse riders and warriors so that they could get a better grip on the saddle. The invention quickly became popular, spreading towards rich courtiers and kings in particular. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the high heel became a fashion accessory for women. The first recorded incident of a woman wearing a high heel shoe was at a wedding. Catherine de Medici, who was only 150 centimeters tall, wanted to appear taller at the ceremony, so she had a custom heeled shoe designed. (source)
3. Less than 1% of the US budget goes towards fighting extreme poverty. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 40,056 homeless veterans living in the U.S. in a single night in January 2017, which was a little more than 9% of all homeless adults.
In 2017 alone, there were around 554,000 homeless people in the United States on any given night, or 0.17% of the population. At the same time, there were 40,056 homeless veterans in a single night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. While there are effective programs that assist homeless people and provide meals for them at least once a day or week, there is not enough funding or help to reach them all. According to ABC, numbers from 2015 show that the US was the largest single donor country of foreign aid in the world. In 2017 alone, the US spent $18.25 billion in economic aid to 92 recipients, and $18.23 billion in security aid to 143 recipients. (source)
4. A 10-second French kiss can transfer over 80 million bacteria between mouths.
Our mouths are homes to communities of bacteria; more than 700 to be exact. The ecosystem of bacteria, or microbiome help digest and break down foods. Curious researchers from The Netherlands wondered whether these bacteria and microbes transfer from one person to another when they kiss. As it turns out, a single kiss that lasts as short as 10 seconds is capable of transferring up to 80 million bacteria.
The study also found that couples who kissed regularly also shared similar oral microbiome. If you think that’s disgusting, another study found that kissing in the cheek is healthier than shaking hands with someone since handshakes are much more likely to pass on germs such as flu, cold and stomach bugs. (source)
5. The average office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
A study conducted by Printerland in the UK found that one in every 10 office employees never cleans their desk. This allows dangerous bugs such as Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to thrive. The study also showed that an average desktop harbors 20,961 germs per square inch and that’s in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on the phone. At the same time, only 49 types of germs were discovered in an average office toilet seat. (source)
6. If you ever feel like someone is looking at you, then your feeling is probably right. Our brains have “gaze detection”, which senses when someone is staring at us.
Have you ever walked through an unfamiliar neighborhood and felt like someone was staring down at you? Even if we brush it off as just a feeling, it is most likely true. Our brains have “gaze detection” that responds to us being observed by someone unfamiliar. Studies show that when the observer’s gaze is averted just a few degrees to the left or right, our brain cells do not respond. Scientists believe that the ability could be an evolutionary trait that helps us avoid potential danger. (source)
7. You can break a rib by sneezing too hard. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you might end up with a ruptured blood vessel in your head or neck.
Sneezing too hard can indeed cause your ribs to suffer a stress fracture. According to WebMD, a sneeze expels a jet of air at about 100 miles per hour and the quick, sudden motion can aggravate an underlying problem, like back or neck discomfort. Also, if you have a bone-weakening disease, you can be prone to extreme sneezes. Not only can sneezes break ribs, but if you suppress them by pinching your nostrils or closing your mouth, it can rupture your eardrum or damage your middle ear. (source)
8. Red-colored grocery items like fruit punch and strawberry yogurt are often dyed with carmine, which is made from ground-up cochineal beetles.
Despite the warnings of using dye to color foods, manufacturers still use different colored dyes to make their products look more appealing. However, there’s one food dye that will make you think twice before buying some foods. Anytime you see an ingredients list that includes carmine, cochineal extract or natural red 4, just remember that there’s a little powdered bug in there. Cochineal extract is extracted from the cochineal, specifically the female bugs. Aside from its role as an allergen, cochineal has no known health risks. (source)
9. Most shampoos, soaps, hair dyes and other cosmetic products sold at retail stores are known to contain carcinogens that can cause cancer.
Next time you’re on the market for a new bottle of shampoo, you might want to check the contents of the product before buying. A watchdog organization located in Oakland, California, called the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), performed an independent study where different products available from common U.S. retailers were tested. The study found that some of the 98 different products contained high levels of the compound cocamide dethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products.
In 2012, California listed cocamide DEA as a carcinogen based on testing conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to the official report, some of the products with high levels of DEA include Shea Butter Shampoo by M&M Products Company, Bliss Body Wash, Rejuvi Shower Cream, and Herbal Essence shampoo. (source)
10. A study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that 16% of cell phones have fecal matter on them.
The study found that keyboards, on average, are five times dirtier and have 60 times more germs on them than toilet seats. An average mobile phone on the other hand was found to contain at least 16% of fecal matter, whereas the dirtiest device in a household was none other than the TV remote. So, if you want to keep your electronic gizmos clean of fecal matter, try some sanitizing wipes, UV light cleaners or microfiber cleaning cloths. (source)