Sometimes we read something on the internet that sounds completely absurd. While most of the time you are right, it’s not always the case. There are certain facts which sound so strange and exaggerated that we have a hard time believing them; even if there’s concrete evidence that it is 100 percent true. Take the case of Mike, the headless chicken. During the mid 1940’s, Mike the chicken lived without his head for 18 long months. At this point you are probably thinking, “What? There’s no way a chicken lived that long without its head!”. Do a simple Google search and you will be surprised to find images and articles about Mike. Another strange fact is that human children do not develop knee caps until they’re around three years old. Having a hard time believing that? Well read on, because we have collected 10 such facts that may be hard to believe but are totally true.
1. A woman named Violet Jessop survived the sinking of both the Titanic and its sister ship, the Britannic.
Violet Jessop was a woman who survived the sinking of the sister ships Titanic and Britannic. She was also aboard the third of the trio of olympic class vessels, the Olympic, when it had a major accident. Born in 1887 in Argentina, Jessop was known for being incredibly lucky. At an early age she contracted tuberculosis and was given only a few months to live. She fought and beat the disease to live a long, healthy life.
In 1910, Jessop started working on the Olympic. In 1911, the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke, which was a ship designed to sink other ships by ramming them. Although both the ships sustained considerable damage, they didn’t sink. Years later, Jessop took a job at the White Star Line on their unsinkable ship, the Titanic. As you know, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 people. Jessop however managed to survive after boarding lifeboat 16. Once again, Violet lived to sail another day.
After the Titanic disaster, Jessop decided to serve as a nurse on board the Titanic’s other sister ship, Britannic. The Britannic ran into a mine that had been planted by a German U-boat and sank to the bottom of the sea. Jessop once again managed to survive by jumping overboard. She died at the age of 84, in 1971, of congestive heart failure.
2. Nintendo was founded in 1889.
Nintendo’s story dates back to the 19th century. Before becoming a gaming giant, Nintendo started as a humble Japanese card game company. Today, the company is 126 years old and it was originally founded to produce “Hanafuda” (flower cards), playing cards in Kyoto, Japan. Fusajiro Yamauchi was a 29-year-old entrepreneur who founded Nintendo Koppai, a company which manufactured Hanafuda cards from crushed bark. The cards beautiful design and quality made it popular, converting Nintendo Koppai into the largest card manufacturer in the country.
After Fusajiro Yamauchi retired at the age of 70, his son-in-law Sekiryo Kaneda took over the business in 1929. For the next 20 years, he was the head of Nintendo before suffering a stroke. The company was then left to his grandson, 21-year-old Hiroshi. Although Hiroshi was very young and inexperienced, over the years that followed he transformed Nintendo from a card-making company into a multi-billion dollar video game publisher. After Hiroshi’s ideas almost bankrupted the company, they decided to shift focus towards the Japanese toy industry.
“EVR Race” was the first arcade game designed by Nintendo in 1975, and six years later “Donkey Kong” was born. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in 1985 and “Super Mario Bros.” became a global star.
3. A large percentage of U.S. dollar bills have traces of cocaine on them.
While most of us have a hard time believing that a large percentage of the U.S. currency is tainted by cocaine, it is sadly true. This does not mean that almost all tainted currencies were once used by a junkie to snort cocaine. The drug is extremely fine in powdered form and can be passed from one bill to many while going through a sorting or counting machine. ATM’s can also spread tiny amounts of the drug to bills as they are distributed to multiple users.
Although scientists cannot precisely calculate how many percentage of bills are contaminated every year, it is estimated that almost 90% of bills are contaminated. According to Snopes, a 1985 study by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, revealed that almost half of random samples of $50 and $100 bills tested bore traces of cocaine. If you do not have the habit of washing your hands after handling money, then this might be a good reason to start.
4. Starquakes are like earthquakes except on neutron stars.
Like earthquakes, there’s something called starquakes that happen on neutron stars. These explosions have enough gamma radiation to kill you from nearly 10 light years away. Whenever there’s a starquake, scientists get excited because it reveals information about stars; helping us unravel the mysteries of the solar system. In December 2004, scientists detected a massive starquake 50,000 light years away in the neutron star known as SGR 1806-20. Although these stars are relatively small in size, a teaspoonful of neutron star matter would weigh at least a billion tons on Earth.
According to Space.com, the starquake on SGR 1806-20 released a flash of energy lasting about a tenth of a second, but adding up to more energy than the Sun emits in 150,000 years. Scientists observed the explosion and believe that it was caused by an abrupt change in the star’s magnetic field.
5. 14 years before the tragic sinking of the Titanic, a novel was written about the largest ship the world had ever seen called Titan, which was sunk by an iceberg.
14 years before the Titanic disaster, American author Morgan Robertson wrote a book called Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan, about the sinking of an “unsinkable” ocean liner. The similarity between the book and the Titanic were astounding. In Futility, the ship was described as the largest ship of its day and was called the Titan. The ships were practically the same size, with the Titanic measuring only 25 meters longer. Both ships, described as “unsinkable,” hit an iceberg and went under in mid-April.
Despite having thousands of passengers on board, both ships carried the bare legal minimum number of lifeboats. These eerie “coincidences” strike most as borderline creepy but was Robertson really a predictive writer? Well, skeptics claim that Robertson was just an experienced seaman who wrote about maritime affairs. He saw ships increasing in size and the possible danger of one of these behemoths hitting an iceberg. After the Titanic disaster, Robertson achieved wide popularity around the world.
6. A can of diet Coke will float, while a regular can of Coke will sink in water.
Have you ever wondered why a regular Coke can sinks while a Diet Coke can floats in a tank filled with water? The answer is simple; sugar. While both beverages contain water, the regular Coke has sugar added to it, lots and lots of it (or dense corn syrup). This makes the density of the Coke liquid greater than that of pure water, so the regular Coke sinks. A regular Coke can contains roughly 39 grams of dense corn syrup per can while Diet Coke contains less than one gram of sweetener. This results in the density slightly lesser than that of water, so it floats.
7. Barbara Walters, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all born in the year 1929.
What do Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barbara Walters have in common? Although we hardly hear these names mentioned in the same sentence, when we look into their birth dates, it changes our perception of time. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in January 1929, Anne Frank was born in June 1929 and Barbara Walters was born in September 1929.
8. Aphids give birth to other pregnant aphids.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects that use their piercing sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap. This common garden insect is stranger than it appears. Most of them are born pregnant and do not require men to reproduce. According to the US National Library of Medicine, most aphids are born pregnant and beget females without wastrel males.
“Embryos complete development within the mother’s ovary, one after another, in assembly line fashion. These developing embryos contain developing embryos of the third generation within them, like Russian dolls.”
Aphids have sex once a year and depending on the condition of the weather, it produces eggs rather than embryos. Ladybugs eat aphids and are often introduced as a method of population control.
9. France executed the last person by guillotine as recently as the same year that “Star Wars: A New Hope” was released.
The first “Star Wars” movie was released on May 25, 1977, however, the last person executed by guillotine in France was Hamida Djandoubi, on September 10, 1977. Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be legally executed by beheading in the Western world and the last person to be legally executed in the European Union.
10. There are more trees on Earth than stars in the Milky Way.
The sheer scale of the universe that encompasses the Earth often makes it seem like space must be infinite, with an uncountable number of stars surrounding it in every direction. Yet, NASA scientists have come up with very good estimates for the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. This number stands at around 400 billion. While that is certainly a lot, it is dwarfed by the number of trees that are on the planet’s surface. Recent studies have concluded that there are around 3 trillion trees on Earth, almost 10 times the amount of stars in the galaxy.