Let's have some fun! Here are 28 totally random little known facts that may sound absurd.
1. Uncommon Pet
Presidents often bring pets into the White House—George W. Bush had cats, and President Obama had Bo, the photogenic Portuguese Water Dog. In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge acquired a rather unusual pet: a raccoon! The animal was sent as a gift for President Coolidge and his family by a constituent from Mississippi, and was intended to grace their Thanksgiving table as a part of the meal. Coolidge couldn’t bear the thought of eating the raccoon, and kept her as a pet instead. The raccoon, named Rebecca, often napped on the President’s lap by the fire, and he and his wife could be seen walking Rebecca around the White House grounds on a leash.
2. Sweet Treat
Cotton Candy may be the bane of dentists everywhere, as the delicious confection is made of pure sugar and can wreak havoc on young teeth. But Cotton Candy was in fact invented by a dentist!
3. Bird Brain
Ostriches are known to be pretty dumb, but just how dumb may surprise you. The giant birds have eyes the size of billiard balls, which take up most of the real estate in their tiny skulls. Their brain is actually smaller than either eyeball! Their lack of intelligence does impede their escape from predators: while they can run at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, they often run in circles.
4. But Can He Dunk?
In 2015, Pope Francis became an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters. The basketball team gave the Pope a jersey with his name on it, and even tried to teach him their signature one-finger-spin basketball trick! He’s the ninth honorary member, and Pope John Paul II also received the honor in 2000.
5. What’s in a Name?
Many cars, like Ford, Bentley, and Honda, are named after their creators. So was there a Mr. Jeep? Nope! It’s thought that the name comes from WW2, when vehicles designated “General Purpose” were called G.P.—which was then shortened to “Jeep". The same convention saw High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) turned into “Humvee”.
6. Cradle of Humanity
According to a New Yorker profile of the Swedish furniture giant, one in 10 Europeans is conceived in an IKEA bed.
7. Strange Games
The 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis, featured some rather odd sports unknown to modern-day Olympics watchers. The games were held during the World’s Fair, causing some confusion as to which events were part of the Olympics and which were World’s Fair events. An event held during “Anthropology Days” that featured a group of “savages” competing in rock throwing, “ethnic” dancing, mud slinging, and greased-pole climbing was not part of the official Olympics, but to this day is reported to have been associated with the historic athletic competition. The Olympic Games that year saw the debut of decathlon, boxing, and freestyle wrestling, and also featured a sport now lost to time: tug of battle.
The 1904 Olympics did feature some very real triumphs: American gymnast George Eyser earned six medals in a day, among them three gold and two silver, despite competing with a wooden leg. Eyser wore the wooden prosthetic after a train ran over his real left leg.
9. A Dubious Honor
The Guinness Book of World Records holds a Guinness World Record of its own: the over 60-year-old annual volume is one of the books most frequently stolen from US public libraries.
10. Bovine Best Friends
The more that researchers study animal behavior of farm animals, the more we find out about the fascinating inner lives of animals. Researchers have discovered that cows form strong bonds with other cows, becoming “best friends”—and becoming stressed and upset when separated.
11. Are Two Heads Better Than One?
When a two-headed snake is born, the two heads have separate brains and will fight with each other over food.
12. Mostly Filler
Every year, people crowd around their TV sets with wings and brew to watch football (American football--the one with linebackers and quarterbacks). With more than 100 commercials seen per game, during the 3 hours 12 minutes of an average football game broadcast, if you added up all the actual football it would amount to only 11 minutes of gameplay.
13. Bigger Is Funnier
Whales may be an incredible and dignified species, but they’re not spared from functions deemed less than dignified…Yes, whales pass gases. And because they are big, their farts are big! A whale passed gas (or burp) can produce a bubble large enough to enclose a horse. Unfortunately, as far as we know, humans are the only species with the capacity to find farting hilarious.
14. Tea Time
During WW2, the British Army had a problem: their army man became vulnerable to attack when they got out of their tanks each day for their daily tea break. On June 13th, 1944, Germans attack a British tank during a tea break, resulting in the loss of 14 tanks, four weapon carriers, and many deaths. Now all British tanks come equipped with a “boiling vessel” so that tank operators can make tea without exiting the tank.
15. Flattering Likeness
If Prince looks a little different on the cover of his single “Breakfast Can Wait,” that’s because the face on the cover isn’t Prince at all! The musician loved comedian Dave Chappelle’s impression of him from Chappelle’s own tv show so much that he asked Chappelle to dress up in his Prince garb for the single’s cover. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery!
16. Who Rescued Who?
It didn’t take long for Pudding, a rescued tabby cat, to earn his keep. His new owner, Amy Jung, slipped into a diabetic seizure, and the cat snuck into Jung’s son’s bedroom and pounced until the boy woke up and was able to go to his mother’s aid and call for medical assistance. That cat is a true hero!
17. A Worthy Bet
Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham to win a bet against his publisher, who bet against Seuss writing a book with fewer words than The Cat In The Hat, which used 236 different words. Green Eggs and Ham uses only 50 different words!
18. New Friends
In 2012, zookeepers at the Oregon Zoo took Chendra, an endangered Asian elephant, on a morning walk that passed by their marine exhibit. Chendra was delighted by a sea lion named Gus, and a photo taken of the two new friends saying hello went viral.
19. Long Haul
Pop songs that clock in over 5 minutes raise eyebrows, as did Bob Dylan’s “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” (11 minutes, 22 seconds). But the longest song ever written makes those songs look like mere millisecond blips. John Cage’s musical piece, “ASLSP 1985” typically takes 20-70 minutes to play on a piano. He adapted the piece in 1987 for organ, now titled “Organ²/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible)”—a performance begun in 2001 at a church in Germany is estimated to take 639 years to play. The piece will end in the year 2640!
20. Forwards & Backwards
Leonardo da Vinci could draw forwards with one hand while simultaneously writing backwards with the other. The result was a mirror-image script that was very difficult to read.
21. Sea Sneak
The Mimic Octopus can change colours with chromatophores in its skin—cells that can change pigment. The octopus uses color change for camouflage, but will also mimic the shapes of other animals, like the flounder, lionfish, and sea snakes. It can hide from predators in plain sight by mimicking a larger predator, or unappetizing prey!
22. America’s Richest Duck
Watch out, Bill Gates! In 2013, Forbes estimated that Scrooge McDuck, fictional star of Duck Tales and uncle of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, would be worth a whopping $65.4 billion if his swimming pool of gold coins was real and not a cartoon. If he were real, he’d sit at #3 on the Forbes 2013 list of richest people in America.
23. Dark Mystery
Neptune was the first planet to get its existence predicted by calculations before it was actually seen by a telescope. Its orbit was first suggested by Galileo in 1612-1613, but at the time no telescope existed that was strong enough to see a planet that far. The planet was first observed over 200 years later, in 1846, when an astronomer with a telescope searched for Neptune at coordinates given to him by Urbain Le Verrier.
24. Light As A Feather
The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird on Earth. This tiny, brightly colored bird weighs just 1.6-1.9 grams, less than a penny, and because of that they are often referred to as "Penny Hummingbirds" or "Penny Birds". Because of their small size, these birds are often mistaken for honey bees, which lead to their common name.
25. Lasting Legacy
The last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan, promised his daughter he’d write her initials on the moon. He did, and her initials, “TDC,” will probably be on the satellite for tens of thousands of years.
26. Heck of a Pool
The swimming pool on the Titanic is still technically still full. Let that one sink in... For those that didn't get it: it's filled with water because it's underwater.
27. Froot Lies
There is no actual fruit in Froot Loops, and they are all the exact same flavor. Childhood ruined.
28. Silly Millennials
Millenials are 270% more likely to find it a "turn on" when someone binge watches the same TV shows. As a millenial, I totally get this: if a girl is willing to binge watch Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad with me, we'll probably get along just fine.