40+ Fun Tidbits To Get Us Hyped-Up For Trivia Night
“1500 years ago, everybody knew that the earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” It’s been more than 20 years since Tommy Lee Jones delivered that line in Men in Black, but it still sticks with us.
We learn something new every day, both individually and as a species. Our world is so vast and complex that we’ll never know even a fraction of the mysteries it holds, both past and present. But we can still try, right?
One page on Instagram, Did You Know Blog, is dedicated to sharing facts, both obscure and obvious, to sate our desire to learn all we can about the world. To whet your appetite for knowledge, here’s just a sampling of facts that are as incredible as they are random.
All trivia in this article is courtesy of didyouknowblog on Instagram.
Let it go
Sneezes are annoying. They’re not under your control and can happen randomly, sometimes at the worst possible moment. But, like many other biological functions, you should pay attention to your body and let it do its thing. Stifling a sneeze is actually pretty dangerous.
We all know how strong a sneeze can be, so it makes sense that, by not directing the sneeze outward, you can cause that force to turn inward. Holding back an embarrassing sneeze can cost you a burst blood vessel or ruptured eardrum.
You don’t need to be an FBI body language expert to decode smiles and their context. In fact, arming yourself with this simple fact can make interpersonal interactions a whole lot easier. Whenever you’re unsure about someone else’s sincerity, look out for this trait…
We all know about smiling with your eyes or a smile not reaching your eyes, but we didn’t know there was a word for it. Calling it a “Duchene smile” rather than a “smize” makes it sound more legitimate as an actual biological function.
Birds can do more than just sing, fly, and poop on cars. Members of the Corvidae family, for example, are highly intelligent creatures capable of complex problem-solving and even facial recognition. But did you know that they can do a sort of sleight of hand?
When your life is all about food, shelter, and mating, you need to use every tool at your disposal to succeed. But just like in a human magic show, if there’s someone watching who knows all the moves, it becomes useless to try to trick them.
There’s a reason people love jigsaw puzzles so much. It’s a relaxing way to pass the time, and when it’s finally complete, you can claim a sense of fulfillment. Heck, you can point to your accomplishment! Too bad the fun is over when the picture is complete…
…unless you assemble the Infinite Galaxy puzzle. This is either a puzzle lover’s best dream or worst nightmare. Unfortunately, there’s no sense of completion. But on the bright side, you’d save a lot of money on puzzles since you wouldn’t ever complete this one.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “the Human body is the most perfect machine”? While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, there is some truth in the statement. Humans are capable of doing amazing things. Case in point: Katherine Johnson.
This early bloomer was so good at mathematics that she calculated the trajectory of NASA’s first trips into space and pioneered the development of computers for Orbital mathematics. The “human computer” was recently immortalized on film in the biopic, Hidden Figures.
Individual humans are amazing, but our bodies as a whole are also quite fascinating and worth appreciating. Even as you’re reading this, your body is undergoing countless changes, and cells and bacteria are in a constant cycle of “birth” and “death.”
Don’t let this trivia fool you. Not all cells have as quick of a turnover as blood and skin cells. Pancreas and liver cells have a lifespan of 1 year, while brain cells can outlast the body with a lifespan of about 200 years.
When we think of the word “iridescent,” we tend to picture shiny bugs, not food. It’s understandable why people are hesitant to eat meat with a visible spectrum. This doesn’t indicate anything harmful; it just shows how the butcher sliced the meat.
By cutting against the grain, compounds like iron and fat become exposed. When this occurs, the exposed layer is subject to light diffraction, which causes the rainbow coloring. However, this iridescent type of lunchmeat is perfectly normal and healthy for consumption, as confirmed by the USDA.
An owl’s gratitude
We hate to break it to you but owls aren’t the smartest birds out there. We feel kind of betrayed knowing that crows and ravens hold the honor of most intelligent birds. We bet Gigi the great horned owl would be hurt by that statement.
She’s clearly emotionally intelligent. There’s no question how much Doug’s actions meant to Gigi. We’re not ornithologists, but we’re pretty sure owls don’t hug. But that’s what makes her action so special! Gigi couldn’t help but show her gratitude with a warm embrace.
We all have that one TV show or movie that we can watch a million times and never get bored of. When we’re overwhelmed after a long day and don’t want to scroll endlessly through Netflix, it’s nice to have our comfort show/movie to fall back on.
And apparently we’re not just imagining things when we feel comforted by our favorite characters. Even if we know the characters are fake, there’s a part in the back of our minds that cheers for them with the same enthusiasm as we would our own family.
Green Eggs and Ham
Theodor Seuss, popularly known as Dr. Seuss, was a pioneer of excellence and was a companion to many generations. The children’s book author had over 60 books under his belt, all written and illustrated by him. Dr. Seuss became an irreplaceable figure in our childhood.
50 years after being published, the iconic book Green Eggs and Ham sold a whopping 8 billion copies! We can’t imagine how much Dr. Seuss laughed after cashing in on that bet. By the way, that bet was $50 (roughly $500 today).
King of the Underworld
Osiris is one of the great deities of Ancient Egypt’s pantheon. As the fable goes, he was the son of the sun God, Amun-Ra, and ruler of Egypt. However, Osiris was later defeated by Set, who took over Egypt and scattered bits of his body across the land.
His body was then pieced together by his wife, Isis, and they conceived a son, Horus, who avenged Osiris’ death and reclaimed the throne. Osiris became the ruler of the Underworld and a revered deity for his people who sought a blissful afterlife.
There’s more to saturn than just its rings. For starters, here are some intersting facts about the planet: it’s 9 times wider than the Earth, its density is only 1/8th of the Earth’s density, and it has an estimated 83 moons orbiting it.
To us ordinary folk, we’d have a hard time telling any of the moons apart. But it turns out that one, Mimas, isn’t just one of the crowd. If humans ever make it to Saturn, we hope there’s one nerd on board that quotes Star Wars as they approach the planet.
Dogs have been companions of man for longer than we know. In fact, archeological evidence has found dogs to be the first animals domesticated by humans, occurring more than 300 centuries ago. This dates back to 10,000 years before traditional livestock!
Maybe they should make BFF necklace/dog collar combos, instead of charms for teenage girls. It’s interesting to think that humans can form connections with being that are of a completely different species that are stronger than those for their fellow humans.
Going to the bathroom isn’t a private affair for our four-legged friends, but it’s not an exciting event, either. However, some dogs are known to be easily distracted, and even going out for a leak can earn them an award.
The small town of Elkmont, Alabama are used to seeing Ludivine wandering around. One day, she caught everyone’s attention at once when she ran for an hour and a half straight, clocking in at 1:32:56 at a half-marathon and clinching the seventh-place medal.
If you ever feel like the world sounds different in winter, you’re not imagining things. After a fresh snowfall, things don’t just look calming, it sounds peaceful, too. Fresh powder absorbs sound waves more than grass or bare earth, which dampens any sound.
However, once that snow becomes ice, things look and sound harsher. The ice doesn’t just reflect sun rays, but sound waves, too. It’s easy to see how much the world changes when it snows, and now we’ll pay more attention to how it sounds when winter rolls around.
Tower of Ravens
Ravens are no strangers to superstition and mythology, often linked to bad omens. Perhaps it’s their intelligence that’s led them to have such negative connotations. We’re just not used to seeing our feathered friends outsmart us on a regular basis.
Such strong beliefs in good and bad fortune were stronger centuries ago, so we can’t fault King Charles II for taking it seriously. On the bright side, we bet those 6 ravens are well cared for and won’t be yelled at for pooping on toursits’ heads.
House of Thunder
Lightning can strike twice in the same place. Tall, isolated objects know this all too well—the Empire State Building is hit roughly 25 times a year. But that pales in comparison to one place that gets about 200 strikes a year!
Record-breaker Lake Maracaibo is the largest lake in South America and one of the oldest lakes on Earth—it was formed 36 millin years ago. On this lake, the Catumbo lightning frequently occurs over and around the lake. Catumbo means “House of Thunder,” which seems to fit quite well.
We wouldn’t have the legendary band Queen without Freddie Mercury. And it seems like Freddie himself couldn’t exist without cats. One of the world’s first rock stars known for his flamboyance and all-around brilliance had a soft spot for this fluffy creature.
He wasn’t your orndinary cat lover. Aside from his cat-themed vest, the rock star wrote songs and even albums about them. Freddie’s deep affection for cats was so immense that it extended his appreciation to his fellow cat lovers around the world.
Let’s all just take a minute to be grateful for the internet. It wasn’t all that long ago when we didn’t have access to endless knowledge right at our fingertips. In reality, we’ve only had search engines like Google for a few decades.
Google was officially added to Merriam-Webster in 2006. It takes a while for any word to be used for it to make it into the dictionary. We bet the “Scoobies” played a big part in its rise in common lexicon.
Lost in Translation
Translation fails are always fun, but we love literal translations even more. What might sound exotic to a foreigner could be something completely mundane, if not comically accurate. For example, the German word for raccoon literally translates to “wash bear” in English.
In fact, there are plenty more funny German-English translations. “Nacktschnecke,” which means “slug” in German, translates to “naked snail” in English. Our favorite, though, is probably the German word for glasses, “nasenfahradd.” It rougly translates to “nose bicycle.” That certainly fits.
Hear me roar
Disney has had some iconci movies over the years, but none hold a candle to The Lion King. The award-winning film was (and still is) a favorite among people of all generations. Honestly, we could go on for pages about how amazing the movie is.
Voice actors and foley artists are underappreciated. Their jobs are way harder than just speaking or making noises into a microphone, and it was even more impressive with older films. There weren’t as many resources to digitally alter sounds, so the cast had to get creative and work it out with practical effects.
There is something about elevators that triggers our survival instincts. We employ every strategy we can to avoid confrontation with the other person (or persons) present in the elevator. Nobody is looking to recreate that scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
So instead, we look at our phones or stare at the floor, ceiling, and buttons. Basically, we do everything to avoid acknowledging the other person. Don’t feel weird, it happens to everyone. The elevator is a small confined space compounds all sorts of energy.
Heroes in fur
Okay, we’ll admit to being dog people. That’s why we’re back with another fact about our four-legged friends. We all know that dogs can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, and that has more applications that you might have thought.
Talking about any traumatic experience can cause your body to go into overdrive, and doing so in front of a group of strangers is sure to be even more stresstul. Good thing some courtrooms have some dogs on their payroll to keep witnesses calm and healthy.
Back to the present
Over the years, we’ve seen dozens of “science fiction predictions” come true. Credit cards, submarines, and even 3D printing were all first depicted in sci-fi books, films, and TV shows. One that will likely never become a reality is time travel.
For decades scientists have been studying the [im]possibility of time travel. The focus has normally been on FTL (faster-than-light travel), but researchers at CERN discovered another way to disprove the possibility of time travel. We’ll just have to settle for our holograms and bionic limbs as other predictions that came true.
While we’re on the topic of science fiction, let’s look at the digital age. AI and predictive algorithms have advanced beyond belief, but there are small-scale ways technology outsmarts us. There’s been discussion for years about technology tracking us and the applications therein.
It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that companies use any and every tool at their disposal to increase sales. However, we bet they didn’t expect to be the cause of some family drama. Target better pay for that baby shower!
As we mentioned before, companies will do anything and everything to increase profits. This could be anything from reducing product size without lowering costs to working around technical definitions of their products. Converse, for example, is guilty of the latter.
They couldn’t get around taxation altogether, so they did the next best thing. They weighed the cost of an additional layer to the reduced taxes. It seems like cheating to us, but it’s admittedly a smart move on their part.
Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the most iconic president of the United States. Cultural icon Tom Hanks is another legend that has earned his spot as a household name. And let’s not forget the beloved George Clooney. Bear with us here; this trio isn’t as randomly assembled as you might think.
The 16th president’s legacy still lives on today. Tom Hanks is Licon’s third cousin four times removed, and George Clooney is the president’s half-first cousin five times removed. Whoever cast Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln missed the perfect ironic casting choice.
For many years, the voice of James Earl Jones has been known as “a stirring basso profondo that has lent gravel and gravitas.” His voice was the most defining part of Star Wars as Darth Vader, The Lion King as Mufasa, and many more.
Jones is a phenomenal national treasure, and even he knows it. He took his voice on an informal cross-country tour to mess with some unsuspecting truck drivers. We want to laugh at the freaked-out drivers, but, admittedly, we’d also be shaking if we suddenly heard his voice on the radio.
Abraham Lincoln wasn’t just an advocate for human rights; he believed in taking care of cats, too. When the legendary president wasn’t working on the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment, both life-saving changes in US history, he was busy rescuing stray cats.
He was also an unapologetic cat lady! We both feel sorry for and envious of his cabinet members. Who wouldn’t love going into work only to be greeted by some sweet little kitties. Can Lin Manuel Miranda please make a short one-act play about Lincoln’s love of cats?
We’re back with more raven facts. It seems like there’s alot more to these ebony, winged creatures than we realized. For example, they can identify human faces, hold grudges, and even know the value of gift-giving. The latter two track with the fact that ravens are altruistic beings.
In the animal kingdom, it’s all about survival, and thievery and trickery aren’t uncommon. However, with ravens, they don’t just take that sitting down. There are repercussions for taking advantage of your fellow ravens! It’s settled: ravens are smarter than [some] humans.
Investing funds off-world
The International Space Station is one of the peaks of humanity’s accomplishments. It remains the largest modular space station in the earth’s orbit which is manned by five agencies, including the USA’s NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos, Japan’s JAXA, Europe’s EXA, and Canada’s CSA.
We can’t even fathom how much time and effort went into building the International Space Station. Engineers had to factor in zero gravity when designing the parts, and astronauts assembled it in arguably the most dangerous work environment—space, the final frontier. (Sorry, not sorry for that one.)
The body is a strange machine, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what mysteries lie within. That is why we appreciate all the facts we (as a species) have learned so far, especially when it comes to our brains.
Who would have thought that forgetfulness was just as normal as memory recall. We know that there’s not technically a limit to how much we can learn, but our brains care more about efficiency than winning trivia night with our friends.
When you’re stuck in a boring meeting or just can’t get into that new Netflix series, daydreaming is a welcome escape. If we’re lucky, the time will fly by and we might even have some fun new ideas for a DIY project or short story to write.
Next time someone scolds you for zoning out, just tell them you’re just exercizing your brain. Sure, not every drifting thought holds meaning, but as a whole, giving your mind the freedom to wander can strengthen your mental abilities when you actually need to put some thought into a task.
Oh boy, this one is the ultimate form of inception. It took us a few reads to fully grasp this trivia. Let’s start at the beginning. There are lakes on the islands of the Philippines. Simple enough to understand, right?
Well, within one particular lake lies an island. Repeat that one more time and you have Vulcan Point. It sounds more like a tongue-twister or logic problem than it does an actual natural phenomenon. We want to go just so we can brag about having visited the lake/island-ception.
There is an innate desire that arises in everyone not to get up and do what needs to be done. Although it can vary from person to person in the magnitude of strength, the potential exists within everyone and is completely normal.
Like many other human behaviors and habits, there’s a name for it. Trypophobia has become more widely-recognized in the past few years; let’s make clinomania well-known, too! Maybe people won’t be so judgemental if we sleep in on Saturdays with the excuse of having clinomania.
Pack Up + Go
It’s hard to take a surprise trip to some unknown destination. To be cost-effective, there’s a lot of prep and planning that needs to happen. Luckily for those adventurous souls, Pack Up + Go allows you to do the seemingly impossible.
Customers just fill out a budget survey and the company takes care of the rest. It’s certainly a better and cheaper way to travel than taking a map to the airport and throwing a dart at it to pick your destination.
We praised ravens for their intellect, so we need to give a special shout-out to our marine friends who outshine us all. Octopuses are terrifyingly intelligent. Though perhaps it’s an unfair comparison since octopuses technically have nine brains—a central one and an additional cluster of neurons per arm.
Given they’re so elusive, we don’t know all that much about octopuses’ capabilities. However, a recent discovery shed a little bit of light into their societal makeup. Honestly the thought of an octopus city is terrifying. With all that brain power, they might be able to take over the world!
No matter what your base for comparison is, Switzerland is a great country. The nation has not fought an international war since 1815 and continuously pushes in the path of progress for the benefit of humanity; being Swiss is something to be proud of.
You have to meet a number of necessary requirements, including long-time residence, language proficiency, and communal approval. Since citizenship is not decided at the federal level but on a local level in the villages and cantons, your neighbors can deny you citizenship by voting against your application.
Planned obsolescence is one of the worst “designs” of modern technology. It is true when people say “they don’t make things like they used to.” There’s a reason old cars can still run today. Things today simply aren’t built to last.
Even lightbulbs, which seem to have a longer lifespan today with LEDs, can’t compete with those from previous generations. It’s crazy to think that there’s a lightbulb that’s been on for longer than the average human’s brain is firing its electricity.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
Back in the early 20th century, French mathematician Emile Borel thought up a statistical concept colloquailly known as the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Essentially, it states that, given enough time, randomly typing on a keyboard will generate any/every complete work of literature.
About a hundred years later, lecturers and students at the University of Plymouth put the phenomenon to test. We’re both disappointed and delighted to learn that they disproved the mathematician’s theory. RIP typewriters. We hope those monkeys got paid well for their efforts.
The world’s oldest hotel
At the foot of the Akaishi Mountains lies the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan inn. The hot spring hotel was founded by Fujiwara Mahito, the son of an aide to Emperor Tenji of Japan, in 705 CE. In its early days, it was a major attraction due to the healing waters of the Hakuho Springs.
52 generations later, it’s still in business. The family hasn’t let it fall behind the times, either. If you visit it today, you’ll find modern features like free Wi-Fi and a kaiseki restaurant. We bet Fujiwara Mahito would be really proud of his legacy.
Humans are so egosticical that we tend to compare other species’ lifespans to our own. But, apparently, “short” and “long” aren’t even accurate when compared to humans. While the years don’t equate, the number of heartbeats remain the same. Well, in mammals, anyway.
It sounds way more impressive to say that technology has doubled the number of heartbeats in a living human than it does to say we’ve extended our life expectancy by a couple of decades. We do wonder where exercise factors in, since it both speeds up your heart rate and contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
A Really Scary Movie
Not many horror movies can compare to The Silence of the Lambs. The 1991 movie shook even the boldest moviegoers, raked over $250 million in Box Office revenue, and instantly became one of the most influential movies ever. It even made an impression on the actors.
Maybe that’s why the acting is so good… it’s not all fake! We hope they made up post-production, but it’s fascinating to learn that Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins embodied their character so well it led to some off-screen drama.
One food we could never give up is chocolate. Even if we go on a diet, we’ll find ways to keep the delicious treat on the menu. And, thanks to research, we might not have to worry about it impacting our health as much.
A consulting firm for Mars Inc. (Snickers) reached out to Rongja Tao, a researcher at Temple University who had used a similar technique to improve the viscosity of crude oil for easier transport. After the successful research, Temple University has acquired patents for this new technology.
To be honest, the phrasing in this trivia isn’t so great. Evolution is seen over hundreds of thousands of generations. Let’s think of this more as an inherited genetic anomaly, like detached versus free earlobes, or a presence or absence of a widow’s peak.
Your body is a museum and this is one of its many relics. This muscle is known as the Palmaris Longus and only 10-15 percent of humans are born without it. We wonder what that number will be in another few hundred years.