Have you ever had a stranger do something kind for you? While many of us are busy going about our own lives, it seemed as though others aim to make everyone else’s day as perfect as can be. Thankfully, one pregnant waitress was about to learn how kind strangers can be.
Expecting Her First
Courtney English is 23 years old and was busy preparing for the arrival of her first child while she was working at the Lamp Post Diner in New Jersey. Courtney worked as a waitress where she had met many regular customers. Everyone knew that Courtney was cheerful and wanted to make everyone’s day as good as it could be. However, she was about to be the one with the smile on her face.
Overhearing The Conversation
Courtney was busy waiting tables and talking about her pregnancy with any customers who asked. One table wanted to know how it was all going, and thankfully, Courtney was nothing less than excited. The waitress confessed this was her first baby. Plus, being seven months pregnant meant that it was almost time for her to head on maternity leave. It was all falling into place.
Paying His Bill
They weren’t the only customers. Courtney had also been busy caring for a police officer who arrived for a glass of water and a salad. His bill came to $8.75, but he wanted to leave a tip for the kind service. It wasn’t until he left the diner that Courtney realized just how that was – $100. As well as the generous tip, the cop had also written: “Enjoy your 1st you will never forget it.”
To The Internet
The waitress couldn’t believe her luck and soon phoned her dad. He knew how kind the police officer had been and wanted to share his generosity with the world. It turned out that Courtney had been saving hard for months as she prepared for the new arrival and was taken back by his kindness. They might not know who he was, but this pair were never going to forget the police officer’s incredible offer.
Sometimes, an act of kindness can go a lot further than we ever imagined. In fact, these moments in time can be enough to change someone’s entire life.
40+ Random Facts That Are Making Us Feel Smarter
It’s always good to have a fact or two up your sleeve. Whether it’s about the animal kingdom, historical figures, or an interesting detail about language, sharing a fact is sure to make you feel – and look — smarter. Plus, it can only be a good thing to learn more information about the world we live in. So settle in, and enjoy these random facts that will make you and those around you feel much smarter.
Working Better in Teams
Let’s turn to the animal kingdom for our first fact. There are many symbiotic relationships in the natural world, where different species coexist because they’re beneficial to one another. One such example is the relationship between the dotted humming frog and the burrowing tarantula.
The little frog and the large spider have a mutualistic relationship where the frog protects the spider’s eggs from ants, and the spider provides food for the frog. It’s almost cute, if it wasn’t so terrifying.
At the Speed of Light
In our advanced and technological era, it’s easy to take scientific discoveries for granted. Modern humans can turn to the internet to find answers about life’s greatest questions, whereas previous generations needed to hit the books.
Astronomer Ole Rømer first demonstrated in 1676 that light travels at a finite speed. Meanwhile, the concept that the Earth was millions of years old only came about in the 18th century, and most scientists for the next century presumed the universe was eternal.
It’s Otter-ly Adorable
For those that haven’t discovered the extreme cuteness of otters, then now’s your time. Part of the same family as mink, badgers, and weasels, otters are aquatic, semi-aquatic, or marine mammals. Excitingly, the sea otter — found along the Pacific coast of North America — is one of the few species that uses tools.
These cute creatures hunt in rocky bottomed habitats, so they carry a pebble or stone with them in the pouch under their forearm. They use their stone to smash open shells.
Sizing Up Your Insides
Many people assume that the lungs are symmetrical. We don’t really have a good reason for believing this, except that there are two lungs, and it makes vague sense for them to match one another. However, one side of the body contains the heart, so it does follow that the lungs would be different sizes to accommodate this.
As this post points out, the right lung has three lobes, whereas the left has two. As you might expect, the right lung is also heavier.
Correctly Classifying Cucumber
Though it may sound surprising to some, cucumbers do indeed belong to a category of fruits that are prepared and eaten as vegetables. Much like tomatoes and squash, cucumbers are technically fruits due to their seeds. The cucumber plant is a creeping vine but in botanical terms, it’s a berry due to its hard rind and lack of divisions inside.
Other foods in the botanical berry category are avocados, bananas, eggplants, watermelon, tomatoes, and grapes. So many berries!
It’s All in the Name
This is a fact that sounds like it can’t be true, but indeed, it is. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin — one of the first humans to land on the moon — is the grandson of Mr and Mrs. Moon.
There is actually a name for this phenomenon and it’s called nominative determinism. This is when your name describes the area of work you’re in, and there’s some suggestion that people gravitate towards jobs that match their name. So Mary Carpenter gets into woodwork, and Felix Baker bakes bread.
Time Is an Illusion
Remarkably, though we think of water as being “fresh,” or straight from a mountain spring, a lot of Earth’s water is millions of years old. Scientists don’t exactly know where our water came from, but some theorize it used to be flecks of ice in a cosmic cloud that was there before the sun ever shone.
Some of Earth’s water contains deuterium, making it heavier than other water. This type of water is found on other planets and moons, making it possible that it got to Earth via cloud.
Space for One More
It makes sense to imagine that when you get an organ transplant, surgeons remove the low functioning organ. However, that’s not the case. In fact, during kidney transplants, often the initial kidney is not removed. This is because removing the organ increases the likelihood of death during the procedure.
Instead, surgeons place the unwanted kidney in a different location, usually on a smooth part of the pelvic bone known as the iliac fossa. They then use a different blood supply to attach the new kidney.
The Horrors of the Abyss
The alarming looking anglerfish is so called because of its dangling fin ray that lures prey with a glowing light. Interestingly, the light is thought to come from bacteria that works in a symbiotic relationship with the fish.
More interesting is how some anglerfish merge with one another during mating. Small male fish can’t survive on their own, so they find a much larger female, bite the skin, and release an enzyme that merges the pair at the blood vessel level.
How History Happens
When we think of certain historical figures, we usually compartmentalize them in different areas of our mind. We think of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in relation to the USA in the ’50s and ’60s, and we think of German-Dutch diarist Anne Frank in relation to World War II in the 1940s.
In reality, there’s not that much time between those two periods. Indeed, both Frank and King were born in 1929 — Frank in June, and King in January
Norway Says Thanks
Unbeknownst to many Brits, the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree — prominently displayed in London each year — is a gift from Nordic country Norway. The first tree was cut down in 1942 during a raid on a Norwegian island, and was transported to the Norwegian King who was in hiding in England.
The tree is usually a 50 to 60-year-old Norway spruce and is cut in Norway with the British ambassador attending. It then arrives in the UK via boat where it’s decorated in the Norwegian style.
Hands Down the Best Fact
It’s time for a little etymology — or the historical development of words. As this Reddit post correctly points out, the phrase “hands down” does indeed come from the world of horse racing. To be precise, it comes from horseracing in the mid-19th century.
As this Redditor explains, when a jockey is far ahead of their competition, they can drop their hands and still easily win the race. Even by the end of the 19th century, people were using this phrase in a non-horseracing context.
It Happens to Everyone
OK, so this isn’t so much a fact as a little piece of trivia, but we think it’s worth pointing out that even cultural icons suffer from low self-esteem every now and then. Celebrated composer Ludwig van Beethoven did once declare that everything he did outside of music was “horribly and stupidly done.”
It’s relevant then that Beethoven was taught by a destructive father and was often reduced to tears during his lessons. Sadly, as a child, the musician was dragged from his bed to practice.
Beautiful Little Blood Suckers
As it turns out, butterflies participate in a behavior known as “mud-puddling.” This is when the insects suck the fluid out of certain moist items such as rotting plants, mud, and dead animals. In some cases, butterflies will also mud-puddle sweat, blood, and tears.
From this behavior, butterflies gain important salts, amino acids, and sugars. One species — the vampire moth — sucks blood from sleeping vertebrates, including humans. So, next time you see a bunch of butterflies in one place, you know that they’re mud-puddling.
Here’s a Fun Fact
We’re fans of this fun fact, particularly because it prevented us from writing “factoid” many times throughout this list. As this Redditor points out, the word “factoid” doesn’t actually mean “interesting, little fact” as we often assume.
In reality, the word “factoid” was coined by writer Norman Mailer in 1973 to describe something that appears to be a fact, but is not. He was specifically referring to things stated in the media that become accepted as true. Other options include “factlet,” or as this person suggests, “factid.”
A Whole Lotta’ Heart
The majestic blue whale is the largest animal on Earth, so it makes sense that it has some pretty gigantic organs. Scientists concluded that a blue whale’s heart is around the same size as a golf cart, so it’s no surprise that it can be heard from around two miles away.
With the largest heart of any animal, the blue whale’s aorta is over nine inches — the same size as a dinner plate. As it dives for food, the heart may beat just twice per minute.
Small Creature, Big Journey
You may have seen a rendered picture of a tardigrade before, showing a segmented body and a snout like face. These micro animals are also known as water bears or moss piglets, and are one of the most resilient animals in existence.
Tardigrades have been found everywhere — from the deep sea, to tropical rainforests, to the Antarctic. And, as this Redditor points out, they have also survived exposure to outer space. They can also survive extreme pressure, temperature, air deprivation, and starvation.
My Full Name Is
There are many names for the number symbol that most people have come to know as the hashtag. The symbol itself is thought to be an abbreviation for “pound weight,” and was used in mainly handwritten materials. Of course, in music the symbol refers to the sharp symbol.
The word “octothorpe” is thought to have been invented by workers in Bell Telephone Labs in 1968. Referring to the telephone keypad, employers came up with the word as a joke.
The Sands of Time
Here’s a fact that makes us question our understanding of time and space. While we think of Egyptian ruler Cleopatra as intrinsically linked to the Egyptian pyramids, there is actually more time between the building of the pyramids and Cleopatra’s birth, than there is between Cleopatra’s death and the present day.
Cleopatra was born in early 69BC, and the earliest pyramid was built around 2630BC. This means that even for Cleopatra herself, the pyramids were extremely old.
Who Would Think?
In order to understand why hippos have pink milk, we first have to pay some attention to their sweat. As you may know, hippos secrete a red-colored substance that works as a sunscreen. Whilst it looks like blood, this substance is made from two pigmented acids — one red, and one orange.
Apparently, when a hippo produces milk, these two acids are combined with the milk, creating a pink liquid. Now, if that doesn’t make you sound smarter, we don’t know what will.
The Mysterious Spice
At first we weren’t sure that this Reddit fact was actually a fact. However, it does appear in At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson — and we always trust what Bill Bryson says. Apparently, the third condiment shaker or receptacle was used up until the 1850s, though we still don’t know exactly what went in it.
Redditors guessed that it could have contained nutmeg, sugar, or asafetida — all used in cuisine in the 19th century.
A Bridge Too Far
Amusingly, this fact about Vulcan, West Virgninia is absolutely true. The community is unincorporated, meaning that it isn’t governed by its own local government. When the bridge in and out of Vulcan collapsed, leaving no legal route to enter or exit the town, the acting mayor turned to the Soviet Union and East Germany for help.
Acting mayor John Robinette asked for foreign aid, and Soviet journalist Iona Andronov visited the town. Within an hour of his arrival, the state agreed to fix the bridge.
A Perfect Parliament
Collective nouns for certain animals are satisfying little pieces of trivia. A group of crows is referred to as a murder, a group of starlings is known as a murmuration, a group of geese are called a gaggle, and a group of owls are called a parliament.
These words relate to the ways that humans understand certain species. Owls have often been thought of as wise, and are the symbol for Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.
Growing Our Own Kneecaps
Indeed it’s true — humans only develop kneecaps at around four years old. Until then, the patella is made of soft cartilage that gradually turns into bone via the process of ossification.
Once it’s fully developed, the patella — or the kneecap — is a flat and rounded bone that protects the surface of the knee. Some other animals also have kneecaps including cats, birds, and mice. As you might expect, whales don’t have a kneecap, nor do most reptiles.
Only in Florida
While alligators and crocodiles look similar to people that are afraid of them, they can be distinguished by looking at their snout shape and jawline. Alligators have a wide, rounded snout and a wide upper jaw that hides their teeth, compared with crocodiles who have more pointed snouts and a toothy grin.
While alligators prefer freshwater and crocodiles prefer salty water, both of these large reptilian species can be found in Florida. Otherwise, they don’t live together anywhere else in the world.
This next fact may seem way too mindblowing to even be possible, but it’s completely true. On the evening of December 2nd, 1979, a woman named Elvita Adams made her way over to Manhatten.
A 29-year-old from the Bronx, Adams survived what would have been a 1,250-feet fall — and all thanks to a miraculous gust of wind. We can only assume that from then on, Adams appreciated life in a whole different way.
Quirks of Geography
Whilst Nordic country Norway and East Asian nation the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – or North Korea – seem worlds apart culturally, there’s actually just one country in between them. Naturally, this country is Russia, which is the largest country in the world, taking up around 11% of the Earth’s landmass.
The land border between Norway and Russia is 121.6 miles long, with one just border crossing. The border was first defined in 1826, and has stayed more or less the same.
Sophisticated Sounds of the Pigeon
While many people might mistake an enthusiastic “woo woo” for a nearby owl, it’s actually more likely that you’re hearing a pigeon instead. There are hundreds of species of pigeons and doves, so it’s not immediately clear which type of common European pigeon this Redditor is discussing.
Regardless, the Eurasian collared dove does have two calls. The three-syllable call is used to defend territories and attract mates, whereas a lower-pitched and slower version is used when building nests.
A Panda-Sized Pile
According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Giant pandas poop around 40 times per day. This Redditor claims the large bears produce up to 28kg of excrement, which is confirmed by various Chinese sources. This makes sense considering that the adorable beasts spend between 10 to 16 hours eating every day.
A panda’s diet is 99% bamboo, and 1% eggs, small animals, pig food, and veggies. Various organizations collect panda feces from conservation centers and recycle it into usable products — like tissues.
And Also With Thee
As this Redditor informs us, the English parting salutation – goodbye – is actually a contraction of “G-d be with ye.” In the same way that “can not” is contracted to “can’t,” and “I have” is shortened to “I’ve,” the phrase in question was eventually abbreviated to “Goodbye.”
Likewise, the Spanish word for goodbye – adios – is a contraction of “a Dios,” meaning “to G-d.” And, surprise surprise, the same is true in French, where “adieu” comes from “to G-d.”
A Desert of Snow
Though we tend to think of deserts as hot, sandy places with camels, Antarctica is in fact a desert. Deserts are classified in terms of rainfall, and unsurprisingly, Antarctica doesn’t see much rain. This makes the Antarctic continent a polar desert. Altogether, the Antarctic desert is around 5.5 million square miles, making it the largest desert on Earth.
The annual amount of precipitation in Antarctica can be under 51mm. When snow falls, it doesn’t melt but builds up to make thick ice sheets.
Call Me Iron Man
Metallic element iron is important for human bodily function. Altogether, the average human body has around four grams of iron, which is just enough to make a nail. This iron is contained in hemoglobin and myoglobin, two proteins found in blood cells and muscle tissue.
These proteins help with several functions in the body, including metabolism, transporting oxygen, and storing oxygen. In order to maintain enough iron in the body, humans have to eat it in their diets. Don’t forget your spinach!
In a Different Time Zone
For many countries in the world, daylight savings time – or DST – is when nations change their clocks according to the light. For most Americans, people adjust their clocks to “spring forward” in the spring and to “fall back” in the fall.
However, for decades, Arizona has not observed daylight savings time. This is because of Arizona’s hot climate. If the state observed the time jump in the summer, they would have bright sun until nine at night. Other US territories don’t observe DST too, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Rubber Band Costs
Colombian leader of the Medellín Cartel, Pablo Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, with a net worth of approximately $59 billion in today’s money. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that Escobar’s brother, Roberto, claims that the cartel spent $2500 per month just on rubber bands to hold their money.
Roberto admitted, “Pablo was earning so much that each year we would write off 10% of the money because the rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost.”
The Numbers Don’t Add Up
World War II was the deadliest and most expensive war in human history. During the war, the US ramped up airplane manufacture and rushed many new designs. Unfortunately, many of those planes weren’t tested properly and had known flaws. It was common for engines to fail and for fires to break out on board, but the war took precedence over safety.
The B-24 bomber was known as “the flying coffin” because of the amount of people that died in the plane. US plane losses alone were around 95,000.
A Bridge to Somewhere
Alexander III of Macedon, or Alexander the Great, was a Macedonian King who was undefeated in battle. Because of his immense reputation, the leader was enraged when the peoples of Tyre, Lebanon, defended their city and refused to surrender.
The Siege of Tyre took place in 332 BC, and happened because the Macedonian army couldn’t access the walled island. Alexander the Great besieged the island for seven months, then eventually built a causeway in order to climb the walls. Tragically, thousands of civilians were killed.
Let Me Hold Your Hand
We’ve already talked about otters and how they keep a rock tucked under their arm in case they need to break open a shell for a snack. Well, these furry little sea creatures get even cuter because they do hold each other’s hands while sleeping.
Sea otters hold each other’s paws while having a snooze so that they don’t drift away from each other. They also entangle themselves in large bits of kelp and seaweed to stay anchored in place. Impressive!
A Soft Spot
We mentioned already that babies don’t have a kneecap until they’re four years old. Well, they have a similar situation going on in their skulls, where their newly developed bones aren’t joined together yet. This leaves spaces where the brain can grow, and where the bones can move during the birthing process.
The soft space on the top of a baby’s head is known as the fontanelle. Over time, this will harden and close, usually when the baby is between seven to eighteen months of age.
So Much Space
It’s hard for humans to really grasp the enormity of space, but as this Redditor points out — space is truly gigantic. Though the word “collision” is often used in relation to galaxies coming together, it’s more accurate to describe the process as a merging.
When two galaxies do merge together, it takes large periods of time. The galaxies will interact gravitationally, and the stars and planets of one galaxy will merge with those of the other, creating a much larger galaxy with a new structure.
See You Overmorrow
Here’s another fascinating language fact that sheds some light on earlier forms of English. It’s true that the day after tomorrow used to be known as “overmorrow,” though it has now fallen out of use.
Overmorrow was a Middle English word, spoken in the period following the Norman conquest, and up until the late 15th century. In German, there is still a word meaning “the day after tomorrow” – übermorgen. We vote that we bring overmorrow back. We will begin overmorrow.
Around the World in DNA
When you start tumbling down the rabbit hole of information about DNA, there is no telling how many remarkable details you can learn about our genetic code. The following Reddit post sheds light on one of the most fascinating aspects of our DNA, its length.
When you take into account the kilometers worth of DNA running through our body, it is basically the equivalent of traveling back and forth from the Earth to the Sun about 66 times!
Time to Reset
To say that humans do some pretty remarkable things would be the understatement of the century. With that said, we are very vulnerable in a variety of ways. One way is the way that we maintain airflow. If we don’t breathe for a certain amount of time, we will perish. However, one single breath can save our lives.
It takes just 2-3 minutes for our bodies to run out of oxygen. However, as soon as we breathe again, the timer resets and we’re back to square one.
There are plenty of fascinating milestones surrounding the popular video streaming website YouTube. Of course, the first YouTube video came out back in 2005 and as of December 2020, the video with the most views is the Baby Shark Dance Video with a staggering 7.5 billion views.
Not many people know though that the first YouTube video ever to be uploaded in high definition resolution of 1080p is the Muppets’ rendition of the classic Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It came out over a decade ago, back in 2009.
Sure, we wouldn’t recommend you trying out rat poison anytime soon. After all, the proof is in the pudding. This nasty substance is designed specifically as a form of pest control. But do you know who doesn’t seem to be bothered by rat poison? That’s right folks – slugs!
When you take into consideration how vulnerable these slimy creatures are, it makes this fact even more remarkable. After all, it is so easy to squish one by accident or for it to dry up from a lack of moisture.
The Shark That Never Quits
There is no denying that 100 years of age is an impressive number for a human being. But for these creatures, that is basically the same as making it to early adulthood. Greenland sharks are native to the North Atlantic and the Arctic, and they are believed to have one of the longest-known lifespans of any vertebrate.
Then there are bowhead whales, who are called this because of their huge triangular skulls. They also have the largest mouth of virtually any animal. Moreover, they are the only baleen whale native to the Arctic.
A Morbid Factoid
Not all of the facts on this list are particularly uplifting and this certainly isn’t going to brighten up your day anytime soon. It is no secret that climbing Mount Everest is a very dangerous thing to do, and is full of risks and requires a lot of preparation. With that said, a lot of people have lost their lives trying to reach the summit.
Moreover, over 200 perished climbers are believed to be scattered around the mountain, and those who are trying to survive the climb actually use the bodies as markers to indicate their progress.
History Can Be So Confusing
There is no denying that this fact is one of the most shocking on this list. You would assume that the University of Oxford is only a few hundred years old. When in reality, the Oxford, England university is actually much older.
While the foundation date of this university is unclear, students and teachers have been gathering in this part of the world since 1096. This means that in some shape or form, Oxford is older than the Aztecs, 200 years older, approximately. it is also 300 years older than Machu Picchu.
Lemurs Living it Up
It’s amazing what kind of adaptations certain animals go through that make them immune to the threats of those around them. Take the lemur, for example. Sure there are millipedes living side-by-side with them that cause a lot of trouble for other creatures with the cyanide they secrete. Not for lemurs though.
Amazingly, Lemurs actually get a kick out of the cyanide and will go out of their way to provoke the millipedes so that they feel threatened and secrete it.
Babies Get Away With Everything
First things first – we will clarify that fingerprints actually develop in the womb before a human is actually born. About 23 weeks into the pregnancy, the early signs of fingerprints and footprints begin to form, with the ridges growing on the palms and soles.
With that said though, the ridges on the palms and soles can be very subtle. It’s only by the time the baby is six months old that they have clearly visible prints.
480 Mothers Later…
It is no secret that there are over seven billion people in the world and the number is rapidly growing. However, when you take into consideration the small number of generations the human race has been through since it began, it makes that huge number even more staggering.
During the last two millennia, humanity has been through about 80 generations. This is backed up by the fact that the average family goes through about four generations in a century.
Watching Plants Grow
Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant that humans eat as a vegetable. While many people mightn’t have ever considered how asparagus grows, we bet they wouldn’t guess that it’s straight out of the ground. Crowns of asparagus are planted in winter, and the first shoots appear in spring.
In optimal conditions, asparagus grows around seven inches per day, with beds cut daily, and sometimes more. With a 70 to 80 day harvest, this means that you could watch your asparagus grow in real-time.
Godzilla, Is That You?
In order to make 2014’s Godzilla, the production team went through an extended process to recreate the creature’s iconic roar. The 1954 Godzilla team managed to make a spine-tingling sound by coating a leather glove in resin and rubbing it on the strings of a double bass.
The 2014 team ended up renting the tour speaker for The Rolling Stones and playing their sound through it to capture the feeling of hearing the noise through the city. It traveled three miles, and puzzled many residents.
Try To See Me Now
Heat radar technology is used to locate things based on their temperature. Therefore, if a team of research scientists wanted to go and locate some nocturnal creatures, they could spot them thanks to their body heat — that is, unless they’re polar bears.
Not only are polar bears very difficult to spot amidst their snowy habitat, but they’re almost completely invisible via heat radar. Layers of fat and blubber keep the bear’s body warm, but their outer skin stays roughly the same temperature as their surroundings.
The Immortal Crustacean
Lobsters are large marine crustaceans that humans enjoy eating. And, thank goodness for that, or else we’d be overrun with clawed, immortal sea-bugs. Incredibly, it’s true that lobsters don’t die of old age, and they can also regrow limbs if necessary.
According to scientific research, lobster cells don’t age, meaning the creatures are technically immortal. They do not slow down or weaken, and might actually get more fertile with age. This is all down to an enzyme named telomerase that repairs sections of DNA.
Hard to Believe
We’ve already discussed the huge size of Russia in relation to Norway and North Korea, but what about in relation to planets? Well, technically Pluto was declassified as a planet in 2006, making it a “dwarf planet.” While it used to be thought that Russia had a larger surface area than Pluto, NASA checked the measurements in 2015.
Pluto does easily fit within Russia’s east-to-west width and north-to-south heights, but its surface area is actually marginally bigger than Russia’s.