Fascinating facts to lighten up your day
1. Cats have fewer tastebuds than humans and are the only mammals that can’t taste sweetness.
2. The act of playing with a cat with a laser pointer is patented.
3. A cat named Tama is a manager at a railway station in Japan, a job which pays her in cat food. During her tenure ridership has increased 10%, leading her to be promoted to super-station manager in 2008. Tama’s currently the only female employee in a managerial position.
4. Every cat nose print is unique, like human fingerprints.
5. In the 1960s, the CIA tried to spy on the Kremlin and Russian embassies by turning cats into listening devices. The program, called Acoustic Kitty, involved surgically implanting batteries, microphones and antennae inside cats.
6. The atlascopcosaurus got its name from Atlas Copco, an industrial tool company that provided the equipment for the dig where the species was discovered.
7. Scientists have no clue how dinosaurs mated, due to their enormous weight, plates, spikes and tails. Palentologists have also never found fossils of dinosaurs in the act.
8. Here’s another fascinating fact, the Stegosaurus and tyrannosaurus didn’t walk the earth at the same time — or any time close to each other. The amount of time between the two dinosaurs is as long as between T-rex and now.
9. The series finale of the ’90s TV show Dinosaurs, in which the dinos died due to an impending ice age, was a parable for the risks of global warming.
10. In 1868, paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope put the head of the elasmosaurus on its tail. His arch nemesis Othniel Charles Marsh called him out on it publicly, causing one of the longest running feuds in modern science, The Bone Wars.
11. In The Night of the Living Dead, the actors ate roast ham covered in Bosco chocolate syrupto simulate bloody human flesh.
12. Rob Zombie, the Zombie film giant, got his start in the entertainment industry as a production assistant on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
13. Zombie film legend George Romero’s first paid job was filming George Roger’s tonsillectomy.
14. When George Washington died of pneumonia in 1799, his family put him on ice for three days. Then a physician asked to revitalize him by pumping his veins full of lamb’s blood and his lungs full of air.
15. In the 1920s, American adventurer William Seabrook spent time with a cannibalistic tribe in West Africa, where he inquired about the taste of human flesh. Not satisfied with their answer, he took some for himself, mixed it in a stew, and wrote about it in his 1931 book Jungle Ways.
16. In 1983 a villain named Eye-Scream debuted in X-Man comics. His superpower was theability to turn into any flavor of ice cream at will.
17. A series of Spiderman comics from the 1970s features the Spider-mobile, a dune buggy-like vehicle.
18. Keanu Reaves was the studio’s top choice to play the fascinating Wolverine in the 2000 film X-Men, but the director decided instead to cast a relatively unknown actor named Hugh Jackman.
19. One of the strangest members of the Green Lantern core is the The Sentient Equation called Dkrtzy_RRR.
20. In 1979 Marvel created a team of Canadian Superheroes called Alpha Flight, with names like North Star, Sasquatch and Puck.
21. Mortal Kombat II had a better first week than any other Hollywood blockbuster released during 1994, netting in $50 million during opening weekend. For context, that was the same yearPulp Fiction and Forrest Gump were released.
22. In the original Duck Hunt player two controlled the ducks.
23. The most installed piece of software in 1995 was Masters of Doom, not Windows 95.
24. People spent 4.8 million hours playing Google’s Pacman Doodle in 2010, costing the world economy $120 million.
25. In the 1980s, the Atari 2600 had a service called Gameline, in which you could download games via a landline connection. It ultimately failed, but the technology formed the backbone of America Online.
26. In 1951 linguist Samuel E. Martin coined a gender-neutral term for nieces and nephews:niblings!
27. In 1993 Pepsi ran a contest in the Philippines in which it promised 1 million pesos, roughly $40,000, to the person who found the number 349 inside his bottle cap. The problem: Pepsi printed 800,000 winning bottle caps.
28. The biggest manufacturer of tires in the world is LEGO.
29. Chemicals in the urine of people taking anti-depressants are making their ways into waterways and altering the behavior of minnows. Male minnows are becoming obsessive compulsive and some are even killing the females.
30. Researches have taught pigeons to recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet.
31. When tomatoes were brought over from the New World in the 1500s, many Europeans thought they were poisonous because fancy rich people would eat them off pewter plates, and the lead in the pewter would seep into the tomatoes and kill the eater.
32. All human fetuses grow a mustache that spreads all over their entire body. The baby then eats the hair in utero and poops it out after birth.
33. When Marco Polo reached Indonesia he saw a rhinoceros, thought it was a unicorn, and was really disappointed about how ugly it was.
34. Leonard Nimoy directed 1980s classic Three Men and a Baby. Bonus fact: Nimoy nearly killed Steve Guttenberg because he kept messing with Ted Danson’s hair.
35. Vegetables have circadian rhythms, meaning they can tell day from night. Researchers found veggies can suffer from jet lag if their rhythms are messed up.
36. Caterpillars completely liquify as they transform into moths, and they retain memories from one form to the other. Researchers exposed caterpillars to a very particular smell as they gave them an electric shock, conditioning them to hate that smell. After they transformed into moths, they still reacted negatively to the same odor.
37. For the first six weeks of embryonic development only the X chromosome exerts influence, meaning we all start out female. Nipples develop before the Y chromosome kicks in, which is why men have nipples.
38. Someone made a theremin (the musical instrument) out of a badger caracas.
39. Disney has a catalogue of movies that never saw the light of day, including titles such asToots and the Upside-Down House, Uncle Stiltskin and Friday Cat.
40. Almost 100% over the age of 60 are diagnosed with eye herpes at the time of their autopsies.
41. A Saguaro Cactus takes 75 years to grow its first arm.
42. According to scientists at the University of London, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” is thecatchiest song of all time.
43. In the original draft of Back to the Future, Marty McFly traveled through time by climbing into a refrigerator. The producers nixed this idea because they feared children would do the same.
44. There’s an object in the M82 galaxy 12 million lightyears away that’s emitting radio waves. No one knows what it is or why.
45. Carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is fascinating for eyesight, but the link between carrots and good vision actually stems from a lie told by the British Army during World War II. The Brits didn’t want anyone to know why they were so good at shooting down Nazi bombers at night, so they spread a rumor that their troops were eating a ton of carrots. Turns out, it was just a cover for a top secret use of airborne radar.
46. The actor who played Sloth in The Goonies posed for a playboy centerfold.
47. In 1995, magicians Penn and Teller made a gag video game called Desert Bus. The object is to drive from Tucson to Las Vegas in eight hours and you can never pause the game.
48. Baby giraffes use their own bodies as pillows when they sleep.
49. If you spin a penny, it will land tail side up 80% of the time.
50. You can fit a baby inside the blowhole of a blue whale, now that truly is…fascinating.