Growing up I was a total sucker for books like Uncle John's Bathroom Reader and the yearly almanacs. I just love reading random facts and learning about superlatives! There is so much information out there and the quest for knowledge never ends, no matter how obscure!
After Redditor apemodeman asked the online community, "What's your favorite random fact?" people weighed in. The more you know!
"It's also widely believed..."
Because of how cheap the hardware was when released compared to buying a bespoke supercomputer was at the time, the US military created the Condor supercomputer out of over a thousand PlayStation 3s that had been placed on a private network and was running a custom program developed for use on the then-allowed feature called OtherOS.
It's also widely believed that a major reason that Sony released a patch to remove the OtherOS feature, other than to prevent piracy, was because they objected to their console being used as an asset in war. As a result, the Condor couldn't replace their damaged and broken components if they were updated after a certain date and the slim model couldn't be used at all to replace the fat models.
Witches really did "fly" on broomsticks, in a way:
The origins of the broom as a witch's preferred mode of transportation is pretty weird.
People who practiced witchcraft experimented with herbs and potions in rituals that may have used the mandrake plant. Mandrake contains scopolamine and atropine, two alkaloids that cause feelings of euphoria in low doses and hallucinations in higher doses.
The rituals - performed in the nude - called for the participants to rub an herbal ointment containing the mandrake on their foreheads, wrists, hands, and feet as well as on a staff that they would "ride."
The friction of the ointment-coated staff on the witches' lady parts would absorb the ointment into their system and cause a floating sensation - and their description of that feeling is what perpetuated the symbol of the witch flying on a broomstick.
"No it doesn't go away..."
There's a neurological disorder called Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) that causes static like noise in the patients vision. The noise/static can range from being mild (barely noticeable tiny flickering dots) to severe (static so thick that it makes the person legally blind).
As a guy who has this I can say that this doesn't affect mi life too badly as the static becomes invisible when I look at monitor, although i'm blind as sh!t in the dark and my eyes hurt when it's bright outside. Guess the only cool thing is when I look at a light bulb I see cyan and purple blobs for a while.
No it doesn't go away when I close my eyes, it gets worse actually.
No I can't can't get it treated because, one, there's no cure/ treatment methods and two, if I went to a doctor I'd be sent off to a psychiatrist because VSS is so unheard of.
Yes it does get worse over time, I've noticed it.
"The scientific fact..."
The scientific fact that people swallow a specific number of spiders in their sleep per month is an untrue fact and it comes from a research paper stating that people will only remember the parts that they want to remember or the parts that are most interesting. Ironically, this paper was proven correct and you probably will find this untrue fact in most fact books because all people remember is the hypothetical example that was given.
"What is the northernmost..."
What is the northernmost, westernmost, easternmost and southernmost states in the US?
Hawaii is the southernmost. Alaska is the answer for the other three. Northernmost because duh. But the Aleutians stretch so far west that they cross over the 180 degree west and become an easterly coordinate.
Squid brains are doughnut shaped, and their esophagus runs through it. If a squid eats something too big it can get brain damage.
"A landlocked country..."
A landlocked country is one that is entirely surrounded by land, or only has borders with closed seas and therefore no access to international waters. A doubly landlocked country is one that is surrounded on all sides by landlocked countries, meaning it's essentially 2 steps away from international waters. There are 2 such countries currently in the world, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan.
Ants were actually one of the first species to develop agriculture in the form of growing different types of fungus.
"The male giraffe..."
The male giraffe will continuously headbutt the female in the bladder until she urinates. The male then tastes the pee and that helps it determine whether the female is ovulating. If she is, it's business time.
Anchovies are the reason chicken is so abundant in America.
You see, back in the 1920s and 30s, chicken breast cost as much as steak. Meanwhile a bunch of fishermen off the coast of South America were catching tons and tons of anchovies because they were so plentiful, and didn't know what to do with them all. They shipped the anchovies up to the states and it was so cheap and high in protein a bunch of it was turned into chicken feed. The new anchovy chicken feed drove the cost of raising chickens down, which in turn drove the price down, thereby making chicken much more available for average American families to consume on a regular basis.
The anchovies were replaced with corn feed after corn became cheaper, but the price of chicken never went back up. By that time, American families were used to eating chicken on a regular basis.
On a related note, before this happened most American families would eat some form of meat only once or twice per week at max. Poorer families would get some form of meat maybe once per month. The rest was fruits, vegetables, and grains. Once chicken became less expensive, people would eat it much more often. This meant children were getting lots more protein than any generation before them had ever gotten, and some people attribute increased growth and physical development of children to the increase in protein. We, as a species, have been getting significantly taller in the last 100 years, and the availability of chicken may be to blame.
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