You’ll never believe these crazy facts.
Unsurprisingly, the attempt to get kids to eat healthier didn’t go over well with the child testers, who were “confused by the taste.” Find out which countries have banned McDonald’s.
Some fungi create zombies, then control their minds
The tropical fungus Ophiocordyceps infects ants’ central nervous systems. By the time the fungi been in the insect bodies for nine days, they have complete control over the host’s movements. They force the ants to climb trees, then convulse and fall into the cool, moist soil below, where fungi thrive. Once there, the fungus waits until exactly solar noon to force the ant to bite a leaf and kill it.
The first oranges weren’t orange
The original oranges from Southeast Asia were a tangerine-pomelo hybrid, and they were actually green. In fact, oranges in warmer regions like Vietnam and Thailand still stay green through maturity. For more interesting facts, find out which “orange” came first: the color or the fruit.
There’s only one letter that doesn’t appear in any U.S. state name
You’ll find a Z (Arizona), a J (New Jersey), and even two X’s (New Mexico and Texas)—but not a single Q.
A cow-bison hybrid is called a “beefalo”
You can even buy its meat in at least 21 states.
Johnny Appleseed’s fruits weren’t for eating
Yes, there was a real John Chapman who planted thousands of apple trees on U.S. soil. But the apples on those trees were much more bitter than the ones you’d find in the supermarket today. “Johnny Appleseed” didn’t expect his fruits to be eaten whole, but rather made into hard apple cider.
Scotland has 421 words for “snow”
Some examples: sneesl (to start raining or snowing); feefle (to swirl); flinkdrinkin (a light snow).
Samsung tests phone durability with a butt-shaped robot
People stash their phones in their back pockets all the time, which is why Samsung created a robot that is shaped like a butt—and yes, even wears jeans—to “sit” on their phones to make sure they can take the pressure.
The “Windy City” name has nothing to do with Chicago weather
Chicago’s nickname was coined by 19th-century journalists who were referring to the fact that its residents were “windbags” and “full of hot air.”
Peanuts aren’t technically nuts
They’re legumes. According to Merriam-Webster, a nut is only a nut if it’s “a hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell and interior kernel.” That means walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios aren’t nuts either. They’re seeds.
Armadillo shells are bulletproof
In fact, one Texas man was hospitalized when a bullet he shot at an armadillo ricocheted off the animal and hit him in the jaw.
Firefighters use wetting agents to make water wetter
The chemicals reduce the surface tension of plain water so it’s easier to spread and soak into objects, which is why it’s known as “wet water.”
The longest English word is 189,819 letters long
We won’t spell it out here , but the full name for the protein nicknamed titin would take three and a half hours to say out loud.
“Running amok” is a medically recognized mental condition
Considered a culturally bound syndrome, a person “running amok” in Malaysia commits a sudden, frenzied mass attack, then begins to brood.
Octopuses lay 56,000 eggs at a time
The mother spends six months so devoted to protecting the eggs that she doesn’t eat. The babies are the size of a grain of rice when they’re born.
Cats have fewer toes on their back paws
Like most four-legged mammals, they have five toes on the front, but their back paws only have four toes. Scientists think the four-toe back paws might help them run faster.
Kleenex tissues were originally intended for gas masks
When there was a cotton shortage during World War I, Kimberly-Clark developed a thin, flat cotton substitute that the army tried to use as a filter in gas masks. The war ended before scientists perfected the material for gas masks, so the company redeveloped it to be smoother and softer, then marketed Kleenex as facial tissue instead.
Blue whales eat half a million calories in one mouthful
Those 457,000 calories are more than 240 times the energy the whale uses to scoop those krill into its mouth.
That tiny pocket in jeans was designed to store pocket watches
The original jeans only had four pockets: that tiny one, plus two more on the front and just one in the back.
Turkeys can blush
When turkeys are scared or excited—like when the males see a female they’re interested in—the pale skin on their head and neck turns bright red, blue, or white. The flap of skin over their beaks called a “snood,” also reddens.
Iceland’s last McDonald’s burger was sold eight years ago
… and you can still see it today. Its home is in a hostel, but you can catch a glimpse on the 24/7 live webcam stream dedicated to it.
The man with the world’s deepest voice can make sounds humans can’t hear
The man, Tim Storms, can’t even hear the note, which is eight octaves below the lowest G on the piano—but elephants can.
The American flag was designed by a high school student
It started as a school project for Bob Heft’s junior-year history class, and it only earned a B- in 1958. His design had 50 stars even though Alaska and Hawaii weren’t stated yet. Heft figured the two would earn statehood soon and showed the government his design. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower called to say his design was approved, Heft’s teacher changed his grade to an A.
Cows don’t have upper front teeth
They do have molars in the top back of their mouths though. Where you’d expect upper incisors, cows, sheep, and goats have a thick layer of tissue called a “dental pad.” They use that with their bottom teeth to pull out grass.
Thanks to 3D printing, NASA can basically “email” tools to astronauts
Getting new equipment to the Space Station used to take months or years, but the new technology means the tools are ready within hours.
Only a quarter of the Sahara Desert is sandy
Most of it is covered in gravel, though it also contains mountains and oases. Oh, and it isn’t the world’s largest desert—Antarctica is.
Bananas grow upside-down
Or technically, we peel them upside-down. Naturally, they grow outward from their stems, but that means their bottoms actually face the sky. As they get bigger, the fruits turn toward the sun, forming that distinctive curve.
There were active volcanoes on the moon when dinosaurs were alive
Most of the volcanoes probably stopped one billion years ago, but new NASA findings suggest there might still have been active lava flow 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs were still roaming.
Dogs sniff good smells with their left nostril
Dogs normally start sniffing with their right nostril, then keep it there if the smell could signal danger, but they’ll shift to the left side for something pleasant, like food or a mating partner.
Avocados were named after reproductive organs
Indigenous people of Mexico and Central America used the Nahuatl word āhuacatl to mean both “testicles” and “avocado.” The fruits were originally marketed as “alligator pears” in the United States until the current name stuck.