‘Today I Learned’: 100 Interesting Things People Didn’t Learn At School (New Pics)

‘Today I Learned’: 100 Interesting Things People Didn’t Learn At School (New Pics)

Today I learned there's a subreddit called "Today I Learned" (TIL). There, users submit facts they discovered on the Internet, and usually attach corresponding photos to make it easier for others to digest the information too.


Sure, it's no Britannica, but the most important rule on the subreddit is the facts must be legit, and the online community has 25 million members, constantly self-governing its content, so you know what you're reading has to be true.


Loyal Bored Panda readers probably remember we already featured TIL here, here, and here. But we can't help ourselves; we love trivia. So here's a new hand-picked selection of all the interesting posts that recently went viral on the subreddit. Enjoy.


#1


TIL on the set of Blade: Trinity, Jessica Biel was supposed to fire an arrow directly at the camera, so the camera was surrounded by Plexiglass except for a 2" x 2" square in front of the camera lens. Biel managed to shoot the arrow through the hole and destroy the $300,000 camera.


Image credits: reddit.com


#2


TIL A Scottish woman was sentenced to death by hanging around 1721. Maggie Dickson was hung, declared dead, put in a wooden coffin and carted off. She woke up en route to the churchyard, the law said her sentence had been carried out and she lived another 40 years known as 'Half-hangit Maggie'.


Image credits: reddit.com


#3


TIL Nicaraguan Sign Language is a sign language that spontaneously developed among deaf children in Nicaragua in the 1980s. It is of particular interest to linguists because it is believed to be to be an example of the birth of a new language, unrelated to any other.


Image credits: reddit.com


#4


TIL Joseph Bazalgette, the man who designed London's sewers in the 1860's, said 'Well, we're only going to do this once and there's always the unforeseen' and doubled the pipe diameter. If he had not done this, it would have overflowed in the 1960's (its still in use today).


Image credits: reddit.com


#5


TIL a professional security tester named Jayson E. Street, was once hired to attempt to compromise the computers and networks of a bank in Beirut. He succeeded in the compromise and found several exploits, but was soon shocked to discover he had just robbed/hacked the wrong bank.


Image credits: reddit.com


#6


TIL In high school, Donald Glover was voted "Most Likely to Write for The Simpsons." In 2006, Glover sent writing samples to David Miner, which included a spec script he had written for The Simpsons. Miner and Tina Fey were impressed by Glover's work and hired him to become a writer for 30 Rock.


Image credits: reddit.com


#7


TIL that during World War II, M&Ms were exclusively sold to the U.S. military. The candies were heat-resistant and easy-to-transport, perfect for American soldiers’ rations.


Image credits: reddit.com


#8


TIL that at a 1976 Amsterdam chess tournament, Soviet grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi politely asked an English competitor how to spell the words "political asylum." He then went straight to a police station and announced that he wished to defect.


Image credits: reddit.com


#9


TIL GoldeneEye 007’s multiplayer mode was so last-minute that neither Rare nor Nintendo management knew about it. The first time executives saw anything was when programmers were playing it.


Image credits: reddit.com


#10


TIL Lithuania withdrew from the 1992 Olympics due to the lack of money after the fall of the USSR. The Grateful Dead agreed to fund transportation costs for the basketball team along with Grateful Dead designs for the team's jerseys and shorts. They went on to win the Bronze.


Image credits: reddit.com


#11


TIL Tomohiro Nishikado, creator of Space Invaders, made the entire game himself. Not only was he its designer, programmer, artist, and sound mixer, but he also engineered the game’s microcomputer from scratch.


Image credits: reddit.com


#12


TIL about the Danish Protest Pig. In the early 20th century, Danes living under Prussian rule were banned from displaying the Danish flag. To protest this, they bred pigs with a red and white color pattern similar to their flag. The breed is now called "Danish Protest Pig".


Image credits: reddit.com


#13


TIL: 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.”


Image credits: reddit.com


#14


TIL in 1865, Charles Dickens was traveling home from France when his train derailed while crossing a bridge, and his car was left dangling from the tracks. He helped save stranded passengers and then climbed back into the dangling car to find a manuscript he was supposed to send to his publishers.


Image credits: reddit.com


#15


TIL that it used to be illegal in the United States for actors to wear military uniforms in a production that portrayed the military negatively, until the Supreme Court ruled in 1970 that this was a violation of the First Amendment.


Image credits: reddit.com


#16


TIL that the oldest known domesticated dog remains are over 14,000 years old. The dog died young and is unlikely to have been much use to humans. Nevertheless, it was buried in an elaborate grave alongside two humans.


Image credits: reddit.com


#17


TIL of a brawl involving 50 congressmen on the US House floor in 1858. It ended when someone knocked off a man's wig and the man accidentally put it back on backwards, causing both sides to laugh and stop fighting.


Image credits: reddit.com


#18


TIL that Majel Barrett, the voice of the Starfleet computer on Star Trek, recorded an entire library of phonetic sounds before she died which allowed her voice to be used as the computer for future generations.


Image credits: reddit.com


#19


TIL Lighthouses had different techniques for rotating the light, most being too slow, making the light less visible. Augustin Fresnel proposed a mercury flotation system in 1825. Despite some lenses weighing over 6,000 lbs. the design reduced friction, increased rotation, and ultimately saved lives.


Image credits: reddit.com


#20


TIL children have more energy than endurance athletes. They have fatigue-resistant muscles and they recover faster than adults. Much of this stems from their ability to uptake and distribute oxygen, as well as synergize energy faster.


Image credits: reddit.com


#21


TIL Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were friends at one point, however Doyle refused to accept Houdini performed using trickery and believed he had supernatural powers. Their friendship ended after Houdini exposed séance mediums who claimed to have powers to talk to the dead.


Image credits: reddit.com


#22


TIL Noninvasive spinal stimulation enables paralyzed people to regain use of hands. A team of scientists reports that six people with severe spinal cord injuries — three of them completely paralyzed — have regained use of their hands and fingers.


Image credits: reddit.com


#23


TIL That when people first started using the telephone they would often yell into the wrong part, and when they did get on the phone, they had to figure out what to say to start a conversation: “Ahoy” was Alexander Graham Bell’s preferred option.


Image credits: reddit.com


#24


TIL Andrew Thielen's info was fraudulently sold to debt collectors. Their conduct enraged him to the point of spending a years-long crusade to find the source that committed this fraud. Using the same intimidating tactics collectors tried to use on him, he worked his way to the man responsible.


Image credits: reddit.com


#25


TIL that Doctor Who briefly featured Kamelion, an android who was "played" by an actual robot. Unfortunately, the writers had to kill the character off when the robot's inventor, who was the only one who knew how to control it, died in a boating accident.


Image credits: reddit.com


#26


TIL the idea of black holes was first proposed in 1783 by John Michell, calling them "dark stars" and proposing a method to detect them by looking for star systems that showed the gravitational effects of two stars, but only one star was visible, which is indeed how scientists look for them today.


Image credits: reddit.com


#27


TIL about a psychological phenomenon known as psychic numbing, the idea that “the more people die, the less we care”. We not only become numb to the significance of increasing numbers, but our compassion can actually fade as numbers increase.


Image credits: reddit.com


#28


TIL The last US Civil War Widow died in 2020. The practice of a young woman marrying an older man for his Civil War pension as a dependent was common practice in the early 20th century.


Image credits: reddit.com


#29


TIL Kevin Smith’s Dogma is unavailable to stream or purchase digitally and is out of print on home media.


Image credits: reddit.com


#30


TIL Clint Eastwood's agent told him not to appear in, "Fistful of Dollars", calling it a 'bad step' for his career. The film launched Eastwood's path to stardom, and he later named his production company, 'Malpaso', spanish for 'bad step.'


Image credits: reddit.com


#31


TIL the Grateful Dead briefly toured with a PA system called the Wall Of Sound that consisted of six hundred and four speakers, channelling twenty-six thousand watts of power. It has been called “the greatest vessel for the amplification of sound in history”.


Image credits: reddit.com


#32


TIL of Diego, a tortoise whose high libido helped save his species. He & E5 (another male) brought the population from 15 to 2,000, and now the species is considered self-sufficient. After 80 years in captivity, Diego is now retired in the Galápagos, where he'll spend the rest of his life having sex.


Image credits: reddit.com


#33


TIL that a 14th century Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta went as far as modern Indonesia, China, India, Russia, Central Asia, Balkans, Spain, Tanzania, West Africa and Maldives, and was by far the most well-travelled human before the modern era. He wrote an account of his travels, known as The Rihlah.


Image credits: reddit.com


#34


TIL Stevie Wonder wasn't actually born blind, but became so at six weeks old due to the incubator he was placed in after birth containing too much oxygen and causing the condition Retinopathy of Prematurity.


Image credits: reddit.com


#35


TIL Spaghetti Westerns are named for being primarily produced by Italians. In Japan, they're called "Macaroni Westerns."


Image credits: reddit.com


#36


TIL that in 427BC Athens sent a ship to Mytilene which had instructions to kill all adult men in the city-state. The next day, Athenians voted to change their decision - a second ship was dispatched. Racing through the night, it reached Mytilene just in time to prevent the massacre from happening.


Image credits: reddit.com


#37


TIL that Catherine Zeta-Jones was initially offered the lead role in Chicago, but turned it down in favor of playing Velma just so she could sing "All That Jazz."


Image credits: reddit.com


#38


TIL the film Donnie Darko took only 28 days to shoot; coincidentally the timer in the movie counting down to the end of the world is approximately 28 days.


Image credits: reddit.com


#39


TIL that playing action video games can train the mind to make the right decisions faster. Video game players can develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, such as everyday activities like driving, reading small print, or navigating around town.


Image credits: reddit.com


#40


TIL that Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer for the 1933-1937 construction of the Golden Gate bridge made safety a high priority on the project. It was the first construction site in America to require workers to wear hard hats.


Image credits: reddit.com


#41


TIL That a man in horse-drawn carriage was kicked out of KFC drive-through. He then went to a McDonalds and was served a Big Mac without anyone questioning his method of transport.


Image credits: reddit.com


#42


TIL that sleight of hand artist Apollo Robbins was so proficient that he once managed to pick the pockets of 2 secret service agents assigned to former president Jimmy Carter. He managed to steal the forner president's itinerary, the keys to his motorcade and the badges of the agents.


Image credits: reddit.com


#43


TIL when NASA used electronic computers for the first time - to calculate John Glenn's orbit around Earth - officials called on Katherine Johnson to verify the computer's numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and had refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations.


Image credits: reddit.com


#44


TIL that drivers with more expensive cars are less likely to yield to pedestrians. A study has found that the likelihood of yielding goes down by 3% for every extra $1,000 in car value.


Image credits: reddit.com


#45


TIL ancient Romans used to eat hallucinogenic fish at parties to get high.


Image credits: reddit.com


#46


TIL about the Arnold Reflex, which is when physical stimulation of a nerve in the ear elicits a cough. This is why, for some people, cleaning their ear with q-tips often causes them to cough.


Image credits: reddit.com


#47


TIL that polka dots are called that simply because the polka was a fashionable dance around the time the pattern became popular, and there's no other reason.


Image credits: reddit.com


#48


TIL that Quentin Tarantino dug up and used actual KHJ radio broadcasts from 1968 and 69, along with commercials, for the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He sifted through 17 hours of airchecks to find the tracks he wanted to put in the film.


Image credits: reddit.com


#49


TIL Sir Anthony Hopkins was actually the second person considered for the part of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Sean Connery was offered the role first, but turned it down because he thought the script was “disgusting”.


Image credits: reddit.com


#50


TIL that the developers of the racing simulator game Assetto Corsa were attempting to find the source of what they believed to be a bug with the in-game traction control. In reality, the "bug" was the simulation accurately recreating a real world physics problem they were unaware of.


Image credits: reddit.com


#51


TIL Carl Stalling composed the music for many early Disney and classic Looney Tunes cartoon shorts, averaging one score a week during his 22 years at Warner Bros. The studio's 50-piece orchestra found Stalling's dynamic cartoon music far more challenging than the film scores they normally played.


Image credits: reddit.com


#52


TIL During the Battle of Cannae, Hannibal encircled the entire Roman army with his troops and killed between 50,000 - 70,000 Roman soldiers while loosing only 6,000 of his own men. Today this battle is often considered to be the perfect defeat of an enemy army.


Image credits: reddit.com


#53


TIL deep-water fish get the bends when they are reeled in too fast. Sports fishermen unintentionally kill millions of fish each year due to the condition called barotrauma.


Image credits: reddit.com


#54


TIL that Daft Punk's last album, RAM, had such a colossal amount of recordings and musical assets that one option was to release a quadruple album. They cut no corner in the most legendary musicians, gear or studios, going as far as recording orchestra parts for nearly all tracks on the album.


Image credits: reddit.com


#55


TIL That excessive caffeine ingestion leads to symptoms that overlap with those of many psychiatric disorders. In psychiatric in-patients, caffeine has been found to increase anxiety, hostility and psychotic symptoms.


Image credits: reddit.com


#56


TIL That despite the success of Power Rangers, the original actors were only paid $600/wk and did stunt work(pink ranger was almost electrocuted/set on fire)


Image credits: reddit.com


#57


TIL that US presidents used to give out special presidential packs of cigarettes to guests boarding Air Force One, they were later changed to packs of presidential M&M's over health concerns.


Image credits: reddit.com


#58


TIL of Doug Tompkins, a high school drop-out and the co-founder of North Face and Esprit. He eventually sold both businesses and started to do conservation work in South America with his second wife, former CEO of Patagonia. A very experienced outdoorsman, he died from hypothermia while kayaking.


Image credits: reddit.com


#59


TIL children's author Shel Silverstein has won 2 Grammy Awards. One for the audio recording of Where the Sidewalk Ends, and the other for writing Johnny Cash's famous song, A Boy Named Sue.


Image credits: reddit.com


#60


TIL During World War I, the German government carried out a census of Jews to prove that german Jews weren't pulling their weight in the war effort. What they found out instead was that Jews were overrepresented on the front lines.


Image credits: reddit.com


#61


TIL A German man (Martin Juergens) claims the Moon has belonged to his family since 1756, when the Prussian King presented it to his ancestor as a symbolic gesture for services rendered. It was decreed the Moon would pass to the youngest born son.


Image credits: reddit.com


#62


TIL: Sweden has a hotel for sourdough starters that cares for travelers’ bread dough while they go traveling.


Image credits: reddit.com


#63


TIL that a smell can recall emotional memories better than any other sense. A sense of smell is also linked to overall psychological well-being.


Image credits: reddit.com


#64


TIL After the release of the film "Jaws", fishermen started catching as many sharks as possible, believing they were doing a public service, causing a huge decline in shark populations in the North Atlantic. Peter Benchley, the author of the original book, has become a dedicated conservationist.


Image credits: reddit.com


#65


TIL the first U.S official coin in circulation, the Fugio Cent, designed by Benjamin Franklin had the insignia "Mind Your Business" instead of the modern design "In God we Trust" and had 13 chain rings on the back representing the 13 states.


Image credits: reddit.com


#66


TIL the buzzers on "Jeopardy!" will lock contestants out for .25 seconds if they ring in before the host has finished the last syllable of the question.


Image credits: reddit.com


#67


TIL various sequels to Space Jam were considered after its success, including Spy Jam (starring Jackie Chan), Race Jam (starring Jeff Gordon), and Skate Jam (starring Tony Hawk).


Image credits: reddit.com


#68


TIL A grizzly bear has the best sense of smell on Earth thought to be roughly 2,100 times better than a humans (7 times better than a bloodhounds) and have been known to catch scents from up to 20 miles away.


Image credits: reddit.com


#69


TIL 65% of Staten Island voted to secede from the rest of New York City in 1993, only to have their efforts blocked by the State Assembly.


Image credits: reddit.com


#70


TIL that Stephen Cobert donated his portrait to the Smithsonian Institution, which accepted it initially on loan, and displayed it between two bathrooms and above a water fountain at the National Portrait Gallery.


Image credits: reddit.com


#71


TIL Paul Horn, a flautist, went on a 1968 trip to visit the Maharishi with The Beatles and during a visit to the Taj Mahal recorded an entire album there in one take. A nearby guard started chanting during recording and there was a natural 28 second echo. The album would usher in "New Age" music.


Image credits: reddit.com


#72


TIL British actor Roger Moore, best known for playing James Bond, thought he looked awkward running so every scene that showed Moore running was performed by a body double. He also had hoplophobia, a fear of firearms, due to a childhood accident.


Image credits: reddit.com


#73


TIL in 2004 a Taiwanese woman died of alcohol intoxication after immersion for twelve hours in a bathtub filled with 40% ethanol. Her blood alcohol content was 1.35%. It was believed that she had immersed herself as a response to the SARS epidemic.


Image credits: reddit.com


#74


TIL White-tailed Eagles kept flying into moving turbine blades at the Smøla wind farm in Norway. An experiment of painting a single blade black on each of two turbines compared to two unpainted turbines found that the bird deaths declined by 70%.


Image credits: reddit.com


#75


TIL ancient Mesopotamian beer has been recreated by archeologists who describe it as flat, lukewarm, sour, milky-looking and sometimes a bit cloying; the Mesopotamians didn't know about hops and drank it with long reed straws.


Image credits: reddit.com


#76


TIL the martial arts style portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 2010 movie "The Book of Eli" is called Kali and is the national martial arts form of the Philippines. It teaches to focus on and react to angles of attack rather than particular strikes/attacks.


Image credits: reddit.com


#77


TIL the Rubik's Cube was originally designed to solve “the structural problem [of] how could the blocks move independently without falling apart.” It wasn’t until the designer Erno Rubik couldn’t “reset” his cube that the idea of a puzzle was conceived.


Image credits: reddit.com


#78


TIL when pursued, kangaroos will lure the chaser to bodies of water. So they can hold their pursuer under and drown them.


Image credits: reddit.com


#79


TIL that Waluigi wasn’t actually created by Nintendo- he was created by Camelot designer Fumihide Aoki solely for the purpose of being Wario’s duos partner/Luigi’s rival in Mario Tennis N64.


Image credits: reddit.com


#80


TIL that a the Netherlands supposedly declared war on the Isles of Scilly (off the southwestern coast of Cornwall, England) in 1651, and essentially forgot about it until a treaty was signed 335 years later, in 1986. Not a single shot was ever fired.


Image credits: reddit.com


#81


TIL that "Made in Germany" was used in the UK as a warning of allegedly inferior German products. Over time, they turned out to be of excellent quality, establishing the brand as a seal of quality.


Image credits: reddit.com


#82


TIL in 2006 50 Cent was sued by Luther Campbell's manager for plagiarizing the lines "It's your birthday" in the song "In da Club". However, the lawsuit was dismissed because the phrase was ruled a "common, unoriginal and noncopyrightable element of the song".


Image credits: reddit.com


#83


TIL in 1995, a Russian Ilyushin Il-76 was intercepted and captured by the Taliban. After negotiations for a prisoner exchange fell through, the Russian crew physically overpowered and disarmed their guards and started their plane, narrowly dodging a firetruck as they took off towards freedom.


Image credits: reddit.com


#84


TIL that “Weird Al” Yankovic sought permission from Coolio before making “Amish Paradise”, offering a percentage of the revenues, but he declined. Coolio later stated that it was a stupid decision and that he wished somebody had stopped him.


Image credits: reddit.com


#85


TIL that in the last year of his presidency, Teddy Roosevelt rode a horse 100 miles in one day in order to prove that his new military physical standards (100 miles in three days) were not unreasonable.


Image credits: reddit.com


#86


TIL that the town of Winneconne, Wisconsin, after being left off of of the official state road map, attempted to secede from Wisconsin. They wished to either declare independence and annex neighboring towns, or alternatively be integrated into another state, 'preferably one with better weather'.


Image credits: reddit.com


#87


TIL that in Ukraine if a marriage proposal isn't accepted by the bride or her family, the would-be groom is given a pumpkin, so he doesn't leave empty-handed.


Image credits: reddit.com


#88


TIL that in the early 1940s a Mexican scientist named Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena created a color television system some considered better than any American system at the time. His work made it possible in the 1970s for NASA to transmit color photos of Jupiter from the Voyager satellite.


Image credits: reddit.com


#89


TIL about a Japanese seafood processing company where workers can work whenever they want, and every week they report what tasks they dislike, which they are then not allowed to do.


Image credits: reddit.com


#90


TIL: The huge underground secret bunker located at Mt. Weather, VA, intended to house the Government in case of a nuclear war, was disclosed to the public when TWA Flight 514 slammed into the mountain close to the entrance of the base in 1974.


Image credits: reddit.com


#91


TIL that the red liquid seeping out of a cooked rare steak isn't blood. It is in fact a mixture of a protein called 'Myoglobin' and water. Myoglobin helps muscle tissue store oxygen and just like Hemoglobin, contains iron that turns red when it binds with oxygen.


Image credits: reddit.com


#92


TIL the concept of "Casual Fridays" began in Hawaii as "Aloha Fridays" as a way for the Hawaiian Fashion Guild to sell more Hawaiian clothing.


Image credits: reddit.com


#93


TIL of Sir David Brailsford, a British cycling coach who theorizes if you make a 1% improvement in a host of tiny areas, the cumulative benefits will be extraordinary. Utilizing this theory of "marginal gains"; his teams have won 18 gold medals, six Tour de France titles, and 59 World Championships.


Image credits: reddit.com


#94


TIL that in the last 7 years craters started to appear in the Siberian Tundra, similar to the craters that form by cryovolcanism on the Saturn's moon Enceladus.


Image credits: reddit.com


#95


TIL of Frederick McKinley Jones - an orphaned black American who, in the 1930s when racial segregation was the norm, invented the first successful automatic refrigeration system for trucks. This lead to the development of supermarkets and better combat-zone medical supply.


Image credits: reddit.com


#96


TIL Two French brothers hacked a national semaphore-based telecom system in 1834 to beat the stock market. Later caught, they were not convicted because no law existed to prevent their actions.


Image credits: reddit.com


#97


TIL about Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. Scapegoated for taking jobs away from "real" Americans during the Great Depression, state and local governments illegally forced hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens into forced exile simply for having Mexican ancestry.


Image credits: reddit.com


#98


TIL during the filming of "Trading Places", Aykroyd's and Murphy's presence on the floor distracted the active traders and over $6 billion of trading had to be halted.


Image credits: reddit.com


#99


TIL the stereotype of Native Americans saying "how" as a greeting comes from the Anglicization of the Lakota word "háu", which was used by men to greet other men.


Image credits: reddit.com


#100


TIL that if you get a doctorate in Finland, you get a special doctoral hat and sword.


Image credits: reddit.com