1. You probably have more hands than the average person.
If you have 2 hands you have more hands than the average person. Confused? Let me explain. There’s a multitude of people in the world who only have one or no hands, who were either born without them or lost them later. Because of this, statistically the average amount of hands is slightly less than two.
For a smaller scale imagine a town with 1000 people. In this town, one person is missing a hand, so the total number of hands in the town is 1999.
So the average amount of hands per person in that town is 1999/1000 or 1.99, slightly less than two.
So depending on how you choose your data, a person with two hands has more hands than the average person. It’s explained in more detail here.
2. Each year more people are killed by cows than sharks.
We tend to think of cows as calm domesticated herbivores, and sharks as terrifying sea creatures hungry for people, but this isn’t really true.
In the United States of America it’s estimated that twenty-two people are killed by cows each year, and that seventy-five percent of those were deliberate attacks. One third of the cow attacks were committed by cows that had already acted violently towards people. The really scary part? In five cases people were killed by cows working together in a group.
Sharks on the other hand, aren’t as violent as we’re lead to believe. Most of our perception of sharks being killers comes form the movie Jaws, and the books writer Peter Benchley even regretted writing the book for its effect on the sharks population.
3. A molasses flood killed 21 people in Boston in 1919.
On January 15, 1919, in Boston, Massachusetts, a large tank full of molasses burst, causing a literal flood of molasses to pour out through the streets. The wave was 8 meters high at it’s peak and it traveled at 35mph. It killed 21 people and left 150 more injured. It even broke buildings away from their foundations and was waist deep for several blocks. The disaster is usually known as The Great Boston Molasses Flood.
It was cleaned up by 300 people who used salt water and sand. Some residents of the area still claim they can smell molasses there on hot summer days.
4. Stainless steel will remove bad food smells from your skin.
Anyone who cooks knows how annoying it can be to make a delicious meal only to have that garlic smell on your fingers lasting no matter how much you wash your hands. But some people have discovered a surprising way to get rid of it, using stainless steel.
Stainless steel absorbs sulfur molecules, which is what causes the strong smell of garlic. Some people have made a piece of stainless steel the size of a bar of soap, so with a quick run you can transfer the molecules away, and the smell with them.
Back in 2007 an exoplanet named Gliese 436b was discovered. The temperature of the planer is 712 K (439 degrees C), which shows how close it is to it’s star. At this temperature, you wouldn’t think ice could form, but the planet is covered in what is known as “Ice-X”.
This ice is formed as the immense gravity of the planet compresses the water molecules back into ice, so no matter how hot things get the ice can’t return to it’s liquid form.
6. Trains were invented before bicycles.
The first bicycle was invented and patented in February 1818 by the German Karl Drais. The first steam engine was built in England in the 1820’s. But long before the steam engine wagonways were being used in mining. and the earliest rail transport can be dated back to the ancient Greeks.
7. Oxford University is older than the Aztec empire
There’s no exact date of when Oxford University was founded, but records show that people were teaching there in 1096. It quickly became popular, especially after Henry II restricted English students studying at the University of Paris.
Before 1200, the Aztecs were largely nomadic. Most historians consider the Aztec civilization to have stared on the 20th of June 1325, as that’s when the capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan, was founded.
The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was conquered in 1521 by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro. The Aztec empire was considered over, though many descendants of the empire still live on today.
8. There’s a place on earth that has seen no rain for nearly 2 million years.
While the driest place on earth might make you think of deserts, the driest place on Earth is actually in Antarctica.
There’s an area called Dry Valleys that hasn’t seen any rain for nearly two million years. There’s a lake in the area, called Lake Bonney which is permanently covered with three to five meters of ice.
There is no rain or snow in the Dry Valley due to Katabatic winds, which flow from the mountains and are full of water. They become to heavy to reach the valley, and so the valley remains dry.
9. Your smartphone is covered in more germs than your toilet seat.
Swab tests on smartphone screens have repeatedly shown them to be covered in more germs than a toilet seat, as people tend to sue screens constantly and rarely clean them besides wiping them on a sleeve. It’s recommended to regularly clean them with antibacterial wipes.
10. Sharks have existed on earth much longer than trees.
The earliest known type of tree lived on earth about 305 million years ago, and is known as Archaeopteris. It was a softer tree with fern like leaves, and is long extinct. Fossils of sharks have shown that they were on earth over 400 million years ago, making them much older than trees.
11. Avocados have twice as much potassium as bananas
Most people think of bananas as the best source of potassium, but in truth an Avocado has twice as much, as well as being a great source of vitamin K.
12. Polar Bears have transparent fur and black skin.
You might think a polar bears fur is white, but that’s just an optical illusion. A polar bears coat has two layers of hair, one is longer guard hair, and there’s also a thick undercoat of short hair.
The guard hair is transparent, and traps sunlight within it. This causes the transparent hair to seem to glow, and matches better with snow under sunlight.
13. There’s more trees on earth than there are stars in the galaxy,
Maggie Masetti, an education and outreach specialist in NASA, has stated that there are 100 billion to 400 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. A paper published in the September 2015 issue of scientific journal Nature, titled “Mapping tree density at the global scale” has given an estimate of the total number of trees on the Earth as 3.04 trillion. Even if neither of those estimations are entirely accurate, it’s clear that there’s more trees than stars in our galaxy.
14. Can openers were invented almost 50 years after the invention of cans.
Canned foods weren’t invented until 1910, and soldiers had to break cans open with a hammer and chisel until the creation of the can opener, 48 years later.
15. Tomatoes weren’t grown in Italy until 1548.
Tomatoes are so popular in Italian cooking it’s strange to imagine they one didn’t exist in the country. Tomatoes were originally native to America, and were bought back by explorers. They also looked different, being yellow and closer in size to cherry tomatoes.