There are often so many things happening all around us that our brains tend to only focus on things that are considered important. Whether our brain purposely ignores them or simply fails to recognize them, there are many things that are actually interesting. Here, we have collected some facts that sound completely useless but are totally interesting. If you ever wanted to impress someone with useless knowledge, then these facts might just come handy.
1. The lint or debris that collects in our pockets is called “gnurr”.
Continuous use of clothes can cause debris or substances to form at the bottom of pockets. The grey-ish colored material is made up of tiny fibers from cotton, linen and wool. During a wash cycle, the fibers in clothing can get detached, and due to their low surface area, static cling can cause the fibers to stick to one another. Other materials such as skin cells, paper towels, pollen, dust, and microorganisms can also stick with the fibers and form a “gnurr”. The reason why “gnurr” doesn’t go away during a wash cycle is because they stick to the fabric in its wet state. During the drying cycle however, the dryer uses a heating mechanism called an open-wire element that creates an air stream. This air stream sweeps through the clothing and blows them into the lint screen; which is then sucked out of the exhaust system. (source 1, 2)
2. The metal part on a pencil is called a “ferrule”.
For most of us, it’s called the “metal part of the pencil” but it actually has a name. The metal part or band that connects a pencil to the eraser is called a “ferrule”. Another interesting facts is that the earliest mechanical pencil was found in 1791, aboard a wrecked ship, the HMS Pandora. (source)
3. There are some people who are afraid of cheese. Turophobia is a real thing and sufferers often have to run away if they so much as see a slice of cheese or get a whiff of it.
While it sounds like a joke, turophobia is no laughing matter. According to experts, it is caused by a traumatic childhood experience. While many foods contain cheese, sufferers of turophobia simply cannot enjoy them. Cheese such as parmesan and mozzarella have less of a potent smell, which may allow them to cope better. Other types of cheese can cause sufferers to make a run for it, just by knowing that cheese is within their vicinity.
One such sufferer is a woman named Katie, who had a traumatic experience with string cheese when she was young. The experience was powerful enough to scar her for the rest of her life. Even after growing up and finding a job as a waitress, Katie cannot handle food that contains cheese. If a customer orders anything that includes cheese on it, then other staff members have to handle the order. (source 1, 2)
4. Sea otters hold hands while sleeping to keep from floating away from each other.
It’s true that sea otters hold hands with each other while sleeping. More often, a mother and pup will hold each other while sleeping to keep from drifting away from one another. But that’s not the only way they ensure that they are not drifting away. Researchers also found that the intelligent little creatures utilize kelp to stay in one spot while sleeping. Kelp which grows on the sea floor can grow extremely long. Sea otters wrap themselves in these long strands of kelp that stretch all the way to the surface of the water. Basically, it’s their way of creating an anchor. (source)
5. If you shine a black light on cat urine, it will glow.
This is actually a good way to detect if your carpet, bed or clothing has been stained by your beloved pet’s urine. The method can also be used to detect body fluids, which allows you to ensure that a hotel you are staying at is in fact clean. Cat urine in particular glows when subjected to ultraviolet light because it contains the element phosphorus. The light will cause it to glow yellowish green in the presence of oxygen. Although it’s visible without a black light, the light can certainly make it easy to spot the stains. (source)
6. Elephants use the skin folds on their backs to get rid of mosquitoes.
Elephants are one of the most magnificent creatures on Earth. Although they are large in size, they lack sweat glands which help them regulate body temperature. However, they have other techniques that help them to regulate their body temperature. One such method is with the help of their skin folds. The skin folds trap moisture in the hollows, which causes it to take longer to evaporate, thus keeping the elephant cooler for longer periods of time. Another use of the skin folds is to ward off mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are an invasive species that prey on all animals. Even though elephants have long trunks, they cannot reach their backs, which is where mosquitoes tend to bite. Elephants however, use their skin folds to squish them. (source)
7. Flamingos are not naturally pink. They are born with grey feathers, which turn pink due to their diet of brine shrimp and blue-green algae.
Have you ever wondered why flamingos are pink or slightly orange in color? Their color has to do with their diet. Flamingos consume algae and crustaceans, which gives their feathers the unique color. Although the algae they consume is not pink in color, once consumed, the pigment molecules are broken down into pink or orange carotenoids, which are then deposited into the birds feathers, bill and legs. These pigments are mainly found in the brine shrimp and blue-green algae, which flamingos favor greatly. Flamingos in zoos will often lose their pink coloration, unless they are fed synthetic canthaxanthin diets. (source)
8. Akon’s full name is “Aliaune Damala Bauga Time Bongo Puru Naka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam”. He has also brought solar electricity to over 1 million Africans, and counting, and indirectly created 5,500 jobs.
The American singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and actor is known for his popular songs such as “Locked up” and “Lonely”. Born Aliaune Damala Bauga Time Bongo Puru Naka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam, in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973. Shortly after his birth, his parents returned to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, where young Akon lived until he was 7 and then returned to the United States. Today, he uses his fame to bring electricity to many African communities. So far, he has managed to collect more than $1 billion from investors to install utilities, such as 100,000 street lights, in 480 communities in 15 countries. That’s $75,000 per village on average. Through his project “Akon Lighting Africa”, he has indirectly created more than 5,500 jobs. (source)
9. The groove located in the middle of the place above your lips is called a “philtrum”.
We all have it, and for centuries, scientists have wondered why it even exists. The odd little groove below your nose that runs into your lip is known as the philtrum. Fascinating enough, studies show that the philtrum relates to how faces are formed within the womb during development. According to Dr. Michael Mosley, “It is the place where the puzzle that is the human face finally all comes together. The three main sections of the puzzle meet at your top lip, creating the groove that is the philtrum”. The doctor also explained that if for some genetic reason the face doesn’t develop within months two and three in the womb, then it never will. (source)
10. Charlie Chaplin once lost a Charlie Chaplin look-alike competition.
One of the most iconic characters in the film industry charmed the United States and the rest of the world since 1914 onwards. He was so popular that Charlie Chaplin look-alike competitions started popping up everywhere to honor the man. According to The Straits Times, in August, 1920, Charlie Chaplin himself decided to enter one such contest just for the laugh. Surprisingly, he failed to win the competition, probably because he left his trademark facial fluff and boots at home. An excerpt from The Straits Times reads:
“Lord Desborough, presiding at a dinner of the Anglo-Saxon club told a story which will have an enduring life. It comes from Miss Mary Pickford who told it to Lady Desborough, Charlie Chaplin was one day at a fair in the United States, where a principal attraction was a competition as to who could best imitate the Charlie Chaplin walk. The real Charlie Chaplin thought there might be a chance for him, so he entered for the performance, minus his celebrated mustache and his boots. He was a frightful failure and came in twentieth.” (source)
11. Nachos were invented by Mr. Nacho.
The splendor of tortilla chips topped with cheese is a popular food all across the US and Mexico. In fact, it is so popular that there is an official nacho day. The snack was actually created in 1943 by Ignacio Anaya when he was pressured to create a meal using whatever he could find in the kitchen. Just as he was about to close his restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico, the wives of US soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Duncan walked in. The women were tired and hungry after a long day of shopping. Sadly, the restaurant’s cook was nowhere to be found and Ignacio did not want the women to be upset or leave with their bellies empty.
So, he combined the first three things he found in the kitchen: shredded Wisconsin cheddar, tortilla chips, and sliced jalapeños. The women loved it so much that they asked him what the name of the dish was, to which Ignacio replied, “Nacho Especiales”. By 1949, it was popular all across the US. Ignacio is often shortened to ‘Nacho’ in Spanish, and that was Ignacio’s nickname amongst his friends.(source)
Here are a few more useless but interesting facts:
- The sleeve on the outside of a coffee cup is called a “zarf”.
- The original height of Mount Everest was calculated to be exactly 29,000 ft (8,839.2 m) high, but the scientists who measured it added two extra feet to make it 29,002 ft (8,839.8 m) in order to avoid the impression that an exact height of 29,000 feet (8,839.2 m) was nothing more than a rounded estimate.
- A strawberry is not actually a berry, but a banana is.
- “Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia” is the scientific term for brain freeze.
- It’s impossible to hum while holding your nose.