With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, our minds are always buzzing. Every time we hop online, we’re bombarded with endless amounts of news, data, and entertainment, and it’s bound to make heads spin! While the digital world makes sure our brains never really stop, thankfully, there’s a beloved corner of the internet that helps us feel less overwhelmed by featuring the tastiest bitesize nuggets of information we all appreciate.
We’re talking about the 'Today I Learned' online community, the perfect outlet to pique our curiosity and boost our intelligence. With over 28.8 million members, the group celebrates knowledge by sharing some of the most intriguing and lesser-known things, facts, and truths that can be quickly consumed and understood.
Below, we wrapped up the freshest batch of surprising and valuable tidbits from this powerhouse to add some much-needed value to our feeds. So grab your notebooks and your thinking caps and get ready for an informative ride as you scroll down this list. Be sure to upvote your favorite facts, and then spread some words of wisdom in the comments!
Psst! For more goodness from the TIL world, check out Bored Panda's earlier pieces here, here, and right here.
#1TIL that at the ancient Olympics, cheating athletes would be fined and the fines used to build bronze statues at the entrance of the Olympic stadium, each inscribed with the name of the cheater and how they cheated
Image credits: DAJ1
#2TIL Freddie Mercury’s introductory scatting vocal on "Under Pressure" was improvised during an experiment suggested by David Bowie, as Brian May recalls it: "David said, 'Okay, let’s each of us go in the vocal booth and sing how we think the melody should go and we’ll compile a vocal out of that.'"
Image credits: Bubbly-Incident
#3TIL that Jimmy Carter, at 97, is the oldest living President, the longest-lived President, and also has the longest retirement ( 41 years ) of any President
Image credits: MetaJoel
#4TIL somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean are the Disappointment Islands. Named by John Byron in 1765, because he found the natives to be hostile towads him.
Image credits: Mans_Fury
#5TIL that if two pieces of similar metals touch in a vacuum like outer space, and if both pieces are perfectly flat and polished, they will indeed fuse to effectively make one new piece. Atoms in the metals share electrons and bond permanently. This is called cold welding.
Image credits: barzobius
#6TIL that a drop of water spends an average of nine days in the atmosphere before falling back to Earth. If it should fall in the ocean it may take it over 3000 years before evaporating again.
Image credits: John-Piece
#7TIL that in 2006, FBI agents attempted to arrest prison guards at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee, after having learnt the guards were trading drugs for sex with female inmates. One of the guards opened fire with a personal handgun, killing one agent and wounding another.
Image credits: RexSueciae
#8TIL in 400 BCE Persian engineers created an ice machine in the desert.
Image credits: Brainfreezdnb
#9TIL Tonic water was created as an early prophylactic treatment against Malaria (due to the added Quinine) by the British army. They added Gin to improve taste and now we have the G&T.
#10TIL The Golden Raspberry Awards has made retractions on two occasions. Bruce Willis had his Raspberry category retracted once it was discovered he was suffering from aphasia. Shelley Duvall's nomination was retracted because of Kubrick's mistreatment on The Shining.
Image credits: jamescookenotthatone
#11TIL that in response to fans demanding the show Metalpocalipse be continued, Adult Swim set up a live stream of the a fax machine printing the petition to bring back the show… only for the faxes to be dropped straight into a trash bin.
Image credits: lion_OBrian
#12TIL: In 1990 a courier was robbed on a street in London, England. The robber made off with bearer bonds to the value of £292 million. Today, this is equivalent to £758 million - or $1.086 billion USD. This is still the highest amount ever stolen in a street robbery.
Image credits: JonnySparks
#13TIL the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca was so terrifying to Rome that they would use the phrase "Hannibal is at the gates" whenever disaster struck. When the romans finally defeated Hannibal, they built statues of him in the streets of Rome to advertise their defeat of such a worthy adversary.
Image credits: firstpc13
#14TIL in silkworm farms of 16th century Italy, delicate silkworm eggs were incubated by women who carried them in small bags next to their skin, sometimes between their breasts
#15TIL award-winning writer William Goldman would make up bedtime stories for his daughters (4yo & 7yo). One of them wanted tales of princesses, the other wanted brides, so he combined them. These stories became his next book: "The Princess Bride"
#16TIL when Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy, came out in 1983 it was legal to use misappropriated government information to trade in the commodity markets. In 2010 it was finally made it illegal and it is known as the "Eddie Murphy Rule". (reposted with valid source)
#17TIL in the wake of the Mississippi Burning murders, the FBI, having no leads or informants, enlisted the help of mafia enforcer Gregory Scarpa. His kidnap and 'interrogation' of a local suspect provided the information the DOJ needed to prosecute within days.
#18TIL Hummingbirds have an exceptional memory due to an enlarged hippocampus. This allows them to remember the exact location of specific hummingbird feeders along their migration path from North America to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.
Image credits: Winger52
#19TIL that the Allstate "Mayhem" actor Dean Winters, died for about 3 minutes, and was then revived. The infection that caused this also led to two toes and a thumb needing to be amputated.
Image credits: Aerodim101
#20TIL Chicken Parmesan is not an Italian dish, it was invented in America by Italian immigrants and the first published recipe was in a NY newspaper in 1953. The dish became wildly popular in Australia where its served with salad and fries, although they hotly debate if the fries go under the chicken
Image credits: Bluest_waters
#21TIL of the 'Fry and Turnbull effect' on prostate cancer in the UK. In 2008 news presenter Bill Turnbull and broadcaster Stephen Fry both had a prostate cancer diagnosis and urged other men to come forward for help. It caused a 36% increase in patients receiving treatment the following year.
Image credits: Status-Victory
#22TIL For weeks, Ganeshpur, a village in eastern Bihar, India, had to put up with frequent power outages that only seemed to occur a few hours after sunset. It was later revealed that an electrician was cutting the village's power whenever he wanted to see his girlfriend in secrecy in the dark.
#23TIL that there's a room in the basement of Oregon State Hospital now known as, "The Room of Forgotten Souls." In 2004, several copper cans were discovered containing the remains of 3,600 psychiatric patients cremated on-site between 1917-1973.
#24TIL The final episode of M*A*S*H was two and a half hours long and was viewed by an audience of 121 million.
#25TIL that in Singapore, one would require a permit to own a car known as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), often costing as much as the vehicle itself, if not more. Introduced in 1990, its implementation is largely due to regulate the growth of cars in the country.
#26TIL that the human fingertip can feel the difference between a smooth surface and one with a pattern embedded just 13 nm deep
#27TIL The Carmen Sandiego Show (1991-1995; 295 episodes) was created partially in response to the results of a National Geographic survey that indicated Americans had alarmingly little knowledge of geography, with one in four being unable to locate the Soviet Union or the Pacific Ocean.
#28TIL an Orange County man named Jeff Reitz went to Disneyland every day for over 8 years, 2,995 consecutive days, and only stopped because of Covid on March 14, 2020.
Image credits: fenix1230
#29TIL Medieval myths surrounding salamanders being resistant to fire were due to salamanders habit of hibernating in logs… putting another log in the fire = salamander scurrying from the fire … leading people to believe they were “born of fire”.
Image credits: Geek_Nan
#30TIL that in 1956, the Comics Code Authority tried to prevent a story from being printed because it involved a black astronaut, even though this was never actually forbidden by the Code. Fortunately, the publisher managed to get the CCA to back down by threatening to take the matter to court.
Image credits: ShabtaiBenOron
#31TIL cyber criminals with the help of A.I voice cloning software, used a deepfaked voice of a company executive to fool a Emirati bank manager to transfer 35 million dollars into their personal accounts. The bank manager had recognized the executive's voice from having worked with him before.
Image credits: delano1998
#32The surface layers of the vaginal wall are made of mucosal tissue—similar to the tissue that lines your mouth, nose, and digestive tract.
Image credits: danuser8
#33TIL that when a poisonous gas leak was found at 11:45pm immediately before the Bhopal disaster in 1984 that killed thousands, a decision was made to do something about it after the 12:15am tea break.
Image credits: mankls3
#34TIL that raw sweet potatoes are actually not very sweet on their own but contain an enzyme called Beta-Amylase which breaks down the starch in the potato and turns it into sugar. When a sweet potato is cooked, the higher temperature speeds up the enzyme resulting in the sweet potato's sweetness.
#35TIL: John Michell in 1783, published a paper speculating the existence of black holes, and was forgotten until the 1970s
#36TIL Lal Bihari Mritak is an Indian farmer and activist who was officially declared dead between 1975 and 1994. He fought with Indian bureaucracy for 19 years to prove that he is alive.
#37TIL about Enforcers, an unofficial role in ice hockey who's job is to deter dirty or violent plays by the opposition by responding with more violence.
#38TIL When a horse and donkey mate they make a mule (or hinnie). Mules are stronger than horses and donkeys of the same size and are more resilient to disease.
#39TIL due to a blight that wiped out most N. American Chestnut trees, most domestic Chestnut hardwood is salvaged from old support beams or fallen trees and is very rare/expensive.
#40TIL The US banned sliced bread during WWII as a rationing measure to save the wax paper and plastic used to wrap it. The ban was reversed 3 months later because there was widespread consumer backlash and savings were less than anticipated.
#41TIL about rescue buoys used in the English channel in WWII. Designed to provide shelter for the pilots or crew of aircraft shot down or forced to make an emergency landing over water, they contained food, cigarettes, liquor, flares and even board games to pass the time.
#42TIL Empress Anna of Russia was known for her cruelty and once forced a prince to act as her jester and had him married to her maid. Anna had an ice palace constructed for their wedding where they were locked in for the night and informed they had to consummate if they wished to survive the cold.
#43TIL that 95% of all thoroughbred racehorses today can trace their lineage back to a single horse, Darley Arabian, born over 300 years ago.
#44TIL that in his famous paper, Computing Machinery And Intelligence, Alan Turing recommended that the Turing Test be performed in a 'telepathy-proof room' so the human couldn't use psychic powers to identify the computer
#45TIL that you don’t need a state driver’s license to compete in NASCAR.
#46TIL the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was founded by FDR's New Deal in 1933. In its 9 year existence the CCC employed nearly 3 million men, planted over 3.5 billion trees, and established more than 700 state parks. It was the most rapid peacetime mobilization in US history.
Image credits: foxymoxy18
#47TIL that the oldest ship in the world still afloat is the USS Constitution. Built in the 1790s to serve as one of the first ships of the brand-new US Navy, she served for approximately 80 years before being removed from service and converted into a floating museum.
Image credits: SplittingHares
#48TIL a donut shop in Portland, Oregon was told by the FDA to stop adding medicine to food because it included Nyquil and Pepto Bismol to its donuts.
Image credits: AudibleNod
#49TIL Sushi grade and Sashimi grade fish is actually super frozen fish, not fresh fish. It is frozen below -60f. in the usa, there is no regulation, and any supplier can claim sushi grade fish.
Image credits: zenthing
#50TIL Apple created a custom mouse colloquially nicknamed 'the hockey puck', that lasted for only two years, 1998-2000, before it was discontinued in favor of a more traditional shape. It is considered one of Apple's more notorious flops.
#51TIL: Of the 8 known polar bear - grizzly bear hybrids, all of them are descended from the same mother polar bear
#52TIL that in 1909 the entire town of Ulysses, Kansas was relocated 3 miles west to escape their debts
#53TIL that in 1962 there was a bill proposed to change the name of Philippines to Malaysia but the then newly independent neighbouring country took the name before the bill was passed.
#54TIL that fingernails grow 3 times faster than toenails
#55TIL In the 1940's, the Japanese army designed specialized bombs full of live mice, specifically to infect Chinese and Korean civilians with the Plague (which has a 70% mortality rate without immediate treatment).
#56TIL that the Chinese warlord Zhang Zongchang, who ruled Shandong during a turbulent period of civil war and was known for his exceptional brutality and sexual exploits, kept his elderly mother near him at all times. Even on campaign, he gave her a personal railcar to accompany his army in.
#57TIL everyone has Olfactory Adaption and cannot smell their surroundings after a few minutes. This is why you cannot smell your house but your guests can.
#58TIL during the salem witch trials, none of the people who actually confessed of being a witch were executed. All 19 who WERE executed of being a witch refused to confess.
#59TIL that Billings, MT has the highest rate of depression in the United States (31% of the population).
Image credits: LuckyLaceyKS