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10 Useless facts you’ll be glad you learned anyway
There are facts that you need to know: like the speed limit, who the president is and where you can get a good burger in town. Then there are facts that might be useful to know in your industry, like how much water should be added to cement, where to cut on the skull for brain surgery or – in my case – where all 26 letters are located on the keyboard.
Then there are facts that nobody NEEDS to know. Nobody. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t fascinating. We had a good read around the internet and found some thoroughly useless, but undeniably fascinating facts. Enjoy.
1) Giraffes have the same number of vertebrae as humans
How flexible is your neck? Probably not as bendy as a giraffe’s. Well try harder: you’ve got exactly the same number of vertebrae in your neck as our tall, spotty cousins: seven.
2) There’s an ant colony that spans three continents
There are three Argentine ant supercolonies across America, Europe and Japan that it turns out are genetically related. These stretch 3,700 miles along the Mediterranean coast, 560 miles along California and another found on the west coast of Japan. Scientists studying the chemical profiles of the ants (and their grooming behavior when in contact) realized – we assume with horror – that this was likely actually one giant super-colony.
3) The Boeing Everett Plant could fit Disneyland and parking inside it
It’s really, really big. The plant, 25 miles north of Seattle and first opened in 1967 could hold the whole of Disneyland and its parking inside. It has no heating, but the 15,000 employees and machinery keeps the temparature a warm 19 degrees centigrade. Without ventilation the factory generates its own clouds.
4) Michael Jackson wanted to buy Marvel to play Spiderman
5) Fred and Wilma Flinstone were the first couple pictured in bed together on primetime TV
In more puritanical times, married couples wouldn’t be pictured in bed together on television. So what was the first primetime show to break this taboo? The Flintstones. Fred and Wilma sharing a bed led the way for TV prop designers to ditch the single beds and invest in doubles.
6) There are more things living on your skin than there are people alive
Does that fact make your skin crawl? It’s probably not the fact actually – could be, y’know, the trillion individual microbes that call your skin home. There’s around 1,000 species, by the way.
7) On average you own 75 Lego bricks
Kind of: there are 36 billion Lego bricks created every year. As of 2011, The Telegraph reckons there were 75 Lego bricks for every person on Earth. And I’m personally probably bringing that average up slightly.
8) The number of combinations to a 7x7x7 rubiks cube will hurt your head
Guess how many Rubik Cube combinations there are. Wrong. Higher. Keep going.
Okay. There are 1950055118373130783532912675401974879490499269204343456715 2132912323232706135469180065278712755853360682328551719137 311299993600000000000000000000000000000000000 possible combinations. That’s not a typing error. That number, since you ask, is a duoquinquagintillion.
9) Termites eat wood faster when listening to rock music
You may run faster when listening to Eye of the Tiger, or the music from Benny Hill, but termites work faster too. Researchers in Australia discovered that termites munch through wood faster when its being vibrated at the 2.8-kHz – the frequency much rock music is recorded at.
Why? Well termites use vibration to figure out the size of the wood they’re working on, and they like wood ever more when other termites are feeding on it. Blocks vibrated at electric guitar range were more attractive to termites than other blocks. So now you know. You can read more – including the species’ preference for Spooky Tooth over the Steve Miller Band over in Google’s news archives.
10) The longest English word in the dictionary that isn’t a technical term is ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’
And what does it mean?
…which seems like a fitting way to end this article.