It’s important that every now and then, we see life from a different perspective. Not only does it shed light on different things happening around the globe, it also allows us to think rationally. By viewing life from a different perspective, we tend to focus on things we usually overlook. In order to shed light on some of the historical occurrences, as well as current events (and for your pleasure of learning new things), we have gathered some interesting facts for you. For instance, did you know that one of the designers of the Titanic was aboard the ship when it sank? Without further ado, here are some interesting facts…
1. On April 29, 1899, Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian driver and engineer, managed to reach a speed of 100 kilometers per hour with an electric vehicle.
On July 3, 1886, the first automobile was driven by Karl Benz, a German engineer, who was capable of reaching a top speed of 16 km/h (10 mph). A decade later, Camille Jenatzy drove an electric car that was able to reach a speed of 100 kmph or 62 mph. The car had small wheels, a pointy front and back, and had an appearance more similar to a torpedo than that of a car. It was proudly called “La Jamais Contente” or “The Never Satisfied” and the car surprisingly traveled a kilometer in just 34 seconds, which equates to 105 kilometers (852 meters per hour). The car was a masterpiece of Camille Jenatzy, who was a well-known engineer of the International Car Transport Company. (source)
2. This is the last known cycad tree in the world. Termed by botanists as the loneliest plant to ever exist, there will likely never be another one since it needs a partner to pollinate.
In 1895, John Medley Wood, a botanist, was walking through the Ngoya Forest in Zululand, southern Africa, when he discovered the cycad tree. Wood collected one of the seeds from the tree and took it back with him. After arriving back home in Britain, Wood left the seed in a box at the Palm House at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew; where it sat for the next 100+ years. The specimen discovered by Wood is the only known cycad tree in existence. Botanists around the world have been searching for a female counterpart but so far, there has been no luck. For now, botanists have managed to create hybrid clones of the tree but only with time and patience can they produce a female plant that can successfully mate with the only known existing tree. (source)
3. Roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted. This could be used to feed more than 821 million people, who are hungry.
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption, or approximately 1.3 billion tons of food, is lost or wasted every year. In industrialized countries, that costs a staggering $680 billion and in developed countries, wastage of food costs around $310 billion. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers are the most wasted food in the world. This is because most people refuse to buy foods that have any discoloration on them. Producers and grocery stores also throw out billions of tons of food every year. If we could reduce the wastage by at least half, then we can feed more than 821 million people, who are starving every day. (source 1, 2)
4. Frozen lobsters can come back to life.
During the 1800’s, lobster was one of the least desired foods. They were in fact so common that they were only eaten by poor people. Today, lobsters are considered part of fancy and expensive meals. The shellfish is either frozen or kept alive until the dish is ready to be prepared. Recently however, it was discovered that frozen lobsters can thaw back to life. In 2004, a Connecticut-based company called Trufresh encountered one such phenomenon when they froze lobsters in a -40 degree chemical. Once the lobsters thawed, some of them sprung back to life. However, only about 12 of the 200 lobsters survived the freezing process. (source)
5. A traffic jam once lasted 12 days.
A traffic jam that occurred in 2010 in Beijing, China, is termed as the world’s worst traffic jam in history. Usually, long traffic jams occur due to a natural disaster, accident or maintenance work. This however, happened because of too many cars that clogged the road. According to Forbes, the traffic jam was 62 miles long and lasted for 12 days. Local merchants saw this as an opportunity to boost their sales and make some quick money since overpriced food, water, and cigarette stalls sprang up instantly on the side of the road. Drivers were able to move their vehicles only 0.6 miles (1 km) per day. (source)
6. If Bill Gates dropped a $100 bill, it’s literally not worth his time to pick it up from the ground. With a worth of $100.5 billion, a 6% rate of return would earn Gates roughly $150 per second he is alive, making it a poor investment for Bill Gates to bother picking up a $100 bill if he dropped it.
The second richest man in the world is literally worth more than $100 billion. If Bill Gates were a country, he would be the 37th richest country on Earth. Even when he was young, Gates knew that he would be successful in life and end up a millionaire or a billionaire. In fact, he bragged to his teachers that by the time he was 30, he would be a millionaire. Gates however, managed to become a billionaire by 30. Despite his large wealth, he lives a modest life and spends more than $26 billion dollars to philanthropic causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (source)
7. Toilet seats are cleaner than your cell phone.
Most people don’t give it a second thought but we use our smartphones literally everywhere. We take it when we go out, use the bathroom, eat or even sleep. Studies show that our cellphones are far more dirtier than we imagine them to be. According to a study, an average American checks their phone at least 47 times a day.
“Because people are always carrying their cell phones even in situations where they would normally wash their hands before doing anything, cell phones do tend to get pretty gross,” says IHPI member Emily Martin, assistant professor of epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health. Although studies vary, a recent study found more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies on the phones of high school students. Scientists at the University of Arizona also discovered that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Experts suggest using anti-bacterial wipes on your phone every now and then. (source)
8. The FDA allows up to 60 bugs in 100 grams of broccoli.
The annual or biennial vegetable is extremely popular across the globe. Since the Roman Empire, broccoli has been a valuable food. First introduced in England during the mid-18th century and in the US during the 1920’s, it is known as the “Crown Jewel of Nutrition” because it is rich in vitamins and minerals. While producers try their best to reduce the number of pests and insect fragments, the reality is that gross things always manage to get into the foods no matter what. The Food and Drug Administration does give producers some flexibility. How much flexibility? According to the FDA, up to 60 aphids, thirps, or mites from the broccoli field are allowed into 100 grams of broccoli sold in stores (or a little more than 200 in the standard 12-ounce bag of frozen florets). (source)
9. The Earth does not orbit around the sun.
In school, we were taught that the Earth orbits around the sun. Despite this, it’s technically not true. The sun, Earth and all other planets are orbiting around the center of mass of the solar system. The center of mass of our solar system is very close to the Sun itself, but not exactly at the Sun’s center. So, most people assume that the Earth orbits the sun. (source)
10. There are castles and even lighthouses around the world that are less expensive than NYC apartments.
An average apartment in NYC can cost at least $1 million and renting one can cost more than $3,000 a month. As the rent and price of apartments are constantly rising, many are opting to move somewhere else. At the same time, there are medieval castles and lighthouses that are cheaper than buying an apartment in NYC. (source)
11. Thomas Andrews, Jr. was one of the designers of the Titanic. He was on board the ship when it sank.
Thomas Andrews, Jr. was an Irish architect who became the principal designer for the infamous RMS Titanic. He was involved in the construction of numerous vessels, including RMS Oceanic and RMS Baltic, before designing the RMS Titanic. During the design phase, Andrews recommended that a double-hull, water-tight bulkheads, and double the number of lifeboats be added. His desicion was however overruled. During the maiden voyage, Andrews wanted to be aboard the ship and as the ship was sailing across the open ocean, he was taking notes on how to improve the ship.
When the Titanic struck the iceberg, Andrews compared the blueprints to the damage and predicted that the ship would sink in less than two hours; and he was right. Because of his prediction, evacuation began earlier than it would have, saving hundreds of lives. When it was time for him to board a lifeboat, he gave up his seat to a woman and her child. Andrews then proceeded to throw anything and everything he could find that would float, so that people who were in the water could use them to save their lives. Sadly, Andrews was last seen in the first-class smoking room staring at a naval panting. (source)