Sometimes, when we are with our friends and family members, we can run out of topics to talk about. Thanks to the internet however, there are millions of factoids that are capable of flipping your perspective upside-down. For instance, did you know that until the 1980’s, when the government of Iceland ran TV broadcast, nothing aired on Thursdays, or that it would take you more than 20 years to eat at every restaurant in New York City? No matter what types of facts you typically find to be fancy, make sure to read these 15 totally random and wildly interesting facts that are guaranteed to make you the most interesting person in the room.
1. Bees are known to attack people who eat bananas.
Bananas can make bees go nuts, literally. If you eat a banana and happen to walk by a colony, then your banana breath can be a reason for you to get chased by bees. Turns out, bananas contain a compound called Isoamyl Acetate, the very same chemical that honeybees use as alarm pheromone. At the same time, if you want to decrease the risk to yourself, use the scent of almonds. (source)
2. Until 1987, Icelandic government turned off TV broadcasting on Thursdays so that people would go out and socialize.
It might sounds strange that a country would turn off the TV broadcast for an entire day; essentially forcing people to have no choice other than to spend time with their friends and family members. As strange as it sounds, it is in fact true that until 1987, the government desired to reduce the addictiveness in watching television. So, every Thursday, there was no broadcast, and instead, people went out and socialized. (source)
3. The U.S. Navy uses $30 Xbox controllers to control the periscope on high-tech submarines.
It might come as a surprise that the U.S. Navy would use a $30 controller to control the periscope on Virginia-class submarines. As hard as it might be to believe, it is in fact true. In an effort to cut costs, Navy engineers came up with this solution. Before the Xbox controllers, the joysticks used to control the periscope was not only heavy, but clunky in their hands. The controllers also cost about $38,000, which came with an imaging control panel. Engineers replaced the expensive system with Xbox controllers and are planning to incorporate iPads as touch screens, in an effort to cut more costs. (source)
4. Ripening bananas glow blue under UV lights.
Bananas may be famously yellow, but when they are subjected to black light, they appear as an “intense” blue color. Scientists at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and Columbia University in the U.S. discovered that the unusual phenomenon occurs because of the degradation of chlorophyll that happens in the fruit as it ripens. (source)
5. More than a million doctors in the US still use pagers in hospitals.
For some of us, pagers might appear as a technology that existed during the stone age. Despite all the high-tech gizmos existing today, doctors still prefer this stone age technology instead of mobile phones inside hospitals. The reason is simple. Most hospital walls are built to contain X-rays from penetrating, which also means that it can be hard for cell phone signals to pass through. Pagers on the other hand use very high frequency radio signals, which can pass through these concrete walls. Another reason is that unlike cellphones, which rely on towers to transmit and receive, pagers signal multiple satellites, making them reliable. (source)
6. You can turn peanut butter into diamonds.
Scientist Dan Frost was able to recreate the natural process that takes place inside the Earth’s mantle to create diamonds. In 2014, Frost created diamonds with the help of carbon dioxide, high pressure, and peanut butter. The process, while highly successful, took him more than two weeks to produce a diamond that was 3 millimeters in diameter, which is smaller than a round cut 0.25 carat stone. According to Frost, while it is possible to create diamonds with peanut butter, the process is time consuming and produces little output, so it won’t be used by jewelers anytime soon. (source)
7. Stephen Hillenburg, a marine biologist, created SpongeBob SquarePants to help him teach marine biology.
Soon after graduating, Stephen Hillenburg took a job teaching marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute. In order to make this classes a bit more interesting, Hillenburg wrote a comic book called The Intertidal Zone and drew some characters, including one called Bob the Sponge. After receiving plenty of positive feedback, Hillenburg tried to publish the comic outside the institute but was unsuccessful. Determined to bring his dream to life, Hillenburg went back to college, gaining a masters in experimental animation from the California Institute of Arts. After becoming an animator, he used the characters from his comic book as a reference to create the animated television series “SpongeBob SquarePants”. (source)
8. Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
Barbie is undoubtedly one of the most iconic dolls in existence. When the famous Mattel, Inc. toy was first introduced back in March of 1959, she was given the full moniker of Barbara Millicent Roberts. According to Barbie Media, she was named after Ruth Handler’s daughter, Barbara, and Ken after her son, Kenneth. Barbie’s official birthday is March 9, 1959, the day she was unveiled to the toy industry during the New York Toy Fair. (source)
9. Wimbledon tennis balls are all stored at perfect room temperature.
Every year, Wimbledon uses more than 54,000 tennis balls and more than 700 of them are taken as souvenirs by souvenir collectors. In order to make sure that the balls are at optimum performance, they are kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When the ball is warmer, gas molecules inside the ball expand, causing them to bounce higher. When it is cooler, the molecules shrink, causing them to bounce less. This is why Wimbledon goes through great lengths to store the tennis balls at a stable temperature. (source)
10. Every day we breathe about 22,000 times.
Ever wondered how many times we breathe during a day? According to the Lung Foundation Australia, we breathe about 22,000 times every day. Another interesting fact is that no matter how hard we exhale, our lungs will always retain 1 liter of air in the airways. (source)
11. Bangladesh has six seasons.
Based on your geographical location, you experience different seasons. For instance, those in the northern U.S. are used to living in four distinct seasons each year. At the same time, those living in the southern states are familiar with various levels of warm, hot, and sizzling. Bangladesh on the other hand has six seasons, unlike other countries on Earth. The range of seasons include summer, monsoon, autumn, late autumn, winter, and spring. (source)
12. It would take you 22.7 years to eat at every NYC restaurant.
According to data from Open Table, there are so many restaurants in New York City that if you ate at one restaurant every day, it would literally take you 22.7 years to visit all of them. There are also more McDonald’s franchises in NYC that any other city in the country. One report suggests that there are 74 locations in Manhattan alone. (source)
13. Chip bags do not contain any air, but are rather filled with nitrogen.
It is a common misconception that bags of chips are filled with air to make them appear larger. The truth is that the bags do not contain any air, but rather nitrogen. If the bags were filled with oxygen, the chips would become stale before it reaches the consumer. So, in order to preserve the crispiness and to provide some cushioning during shipping, they are filled with nitrogen. (source)
14. The reason why you can’t sleep while you travel is because your brain is on alert.
Interestingly enough, this is a phenomenon most of us have experienced at least once in our lives. When we travel and we spend the first night away in an unfamiliar environment, we might find ourselves awake in bed. This occurs because one side of your brain remains active in order to react to any danger in a new environment. This is called the “first night effect”, and happens because the left side of your brain is on guard. (source)
15. It would only take you about one hour to drive to space.
Space is not that far from us. According to astronomer Fred Hoyle, if you could drive your car straight up at 60 mph, it would only take you an hour to get to outer space. While it’s impossible to drive straight up, it is still fun to know that outer space is within driving distance. (source)