365 things I learned in 2021
Living in the internet age, one tends to get overwhelmed with (often useless) facts on a daily basis. Fueled by hundreds of articles and studies via my RSS reader, social media, podcasts, journals and other content providers, the human brain meets more disposable knowledge than it can process. In 2021, I decided to keep track of one such piece of trivia every single day.
Quickly jump to the month of your choice via the menu below:
As of January 1st, 2021, most of the works of George Orwell are public domain.
During the Cold War, Switzerland put TNT in hundreds of bridges to remotely detonate them in case of a foreign invasion. Also, they don’t want to say if they really demined them or merely replaced the explosives for security reasons.
The world’s first text-based strategical computer game, The Oregon Trail, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Researchers from Ghent University found a correlation between sleep quality and the number of apps you open when using your smartphone.
Monochrome image dithering is more complex than I’d have guessed, but also a lot more fascinating!
Denmark is the country with the longest history of negative central bank ratings, and it is now offering 20-year 0% mortgages. Take note, Belgium.
The placenta evolved from a virus that looks a lot like HIV. “It just seems like in a way we’re part virus, otherwise we’d be laying eggs.”
There were tons of Soviet lighthouses powered by nuclear generators along the Northern Sea Route, saving lighthouse keeper costs but eventually proving to not have been such a good idea…
The Curiosity rover landed 3000 days ago on Mars. 3000 Martian days (or Sols), that is, which last 24 hours and 39 minutes.
When it comes to what speech by public officials or institutions is and is not allowed on their platform, Twitter is not really consistent.
Stating the obvious here, but people who believe that algorithms are universal and can’t be discriminatory are wrong. Dangerously and deadly wrong, in fact.
1.5% of people can’t smell at all – and other cool facts about one of the more underrated of the seven senses.
Magic mushrooms can grow in your blood when injected.
The very start of political theory had people worrying about ‘the power of an angry mass’. In the past decades, the times it was deployed was primarily pro-democratic (Berlin Wall, Arab spring, etc.) whereas ‘mob rule’ is now shifting toward anti-democratic sentiments.
A few interesting social distancing numbers: the richer you are – or, if you are a woman – the more likely you are to do it. Interesting: having pre-existing conditions apparently plays no part.
Disney World is fascinating, but not for the reasons you’d think.
Political parties changing their stance on a subject ‘magically’ affects that of its voters, too. Note: this research was just released, but conducted before (political) social media really blew up. One could say people follow parties/people, not ideologies.
Bitcoin mining alone could push global warming above 2°C.
“Low food and energy seem not to set the ultimate limit for life on Earth” as researchers discover 100 million year old microbes under the ocean’s floorboards.
Mei Lanfang, an actor of ‘dan_‘_ (female) roles in the Beijing Opera, was revered all over the world and is considered to be China’s first global super star.
The K-Pop world has a dark side. For a long time, it was a standard industry practice to lure aspiring idols into signing ‘slave contracts’, forcing them to earn back any costs incurred by the label in training them – sometimes taking up to a decade to fulfill.
The “birthday paradox”: in a room with 23 people, there’s a 50% chance two of them share a birthday. With 75, there’s a 99.9% chance. It makes perfect sense but it’s counterintuitive.
The term robot is a hundred years old, beep boop. It was initially pronounced as ‘row boat’.
GPS could basically crash any moment, and the consequences would be dire.
Only in 2019 did Tokyo public schools stop prohibiting their brown-haired pupils to dye their hair black, as a so-called “visible signal that they are willing to adapt to society.”
Jeanne Calment, the “world’s oldest person” was basically cosplaying as her mom – adding a few decades to her age count.
Wok racing, or bobsleighing with wok pans, exists.
A 2008 study showed that the Mormon lifestyle reduces mortality rate.
“Lens compression” is a photographic driver of fear in the corona age.
The Brookesia Nana is the world’s smallest reptile at less than 2 centimeters on average. I also learned that it’s adorable.
That one time in US history when there were serious, concrete plans about reparations for slavery… it was for Kentucky slave owners – and rejected by the receivers (in exchange for continued slave labor).
Because we’re focusing so heavily on hygiene right now, one of the pandemic’s long-term effects will be chronic diseases such as asthma.
Not obesity but schizophrenia is the second highest determining factor of COVID-related death, after age.
2020 was an insane year for podcasting, with 47% of all episodes (ever) being recorded last year.
People are reverse-engineering old video game music, and it’s pretty dope.
Birds see the world in an entirely different color spectrum, with visual cues for danger, food, etc.
“Goats don’t vote.” Where other animal herds/groups have more sophisticated methods of choosing directions (check out this excellent podcast as an example), it typically only takes one random goat to lead the way.
Every POTUS impeachment so far failed, but every attempt had major political consequences.
Mississippi only officially abolished slavery in 2013, after two Mississippian professors stumbled upon the ‘oversight’ of the state never ratifying the 13th Amendment.
The Matrix defense has been used in 4 US court murder trials, and comes down to ‘I killed because I believed I was in the Matrix.’ Interestingly, this has always helped the defendant to get placed in a mental institution rather than a federal prison.
Neuropolitical consultants can “divine political preferences you can’t express from signals you don’t know you’re producing.” Weird and scary.
Concerning privacy and IT security, my Nintendo Switch is pretty uncreepy. However, remind me to never buy a Qiui Cellmate (what).
Women are far more likely to suffer serious injury in a car crash. Not because of physical differences, but because they typically drive smaller, lighter cars. Gendered product consensus is harmful.
There’s a Hawaiian fish species that climbs cliffs, sometimes climbing up to 300m in total.
Valentine’s Day started with decapitation.
Dunbar’s number remains true in a social media age: most people can’t exceed 150 meaningful relationships.
Wine tasting is mostly BS, for multiple reasons. Most interestingly, because visual cues can effectively override our senses of taste and smell – as demonstrated in an experiment that dyed white wines and presented them to self-proclaimed experts as red.
The Barbary slave trade (16th to 19th century), where roughly 1.250.000 European slaves from Italy up to the Netherlands were captured by the Ottoman empires, is said to be one of the most minimized historical facts of the past centuries.
In Korea, you start life at age 1 and have your birthday on January 1st. In other words, I’d be 30 there (whilst being 28 in Belgium).
Today, I learned how to mimic bird sounds.
We nearly ended humanity a few times, or at least weren’t aware of the risks we were taking.
We have “dogs” since the Ice Age.
Wearing glasses diminishes the risk of catching COVID by a factor 3.
The monolith in a Utah desert everyone was talking about wasn’t the only one of its kind. And that’s an understatement: today, the tracker says 203 – including some in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Colors in Chinese are mysterious, up to the point where no one really knows what a certain subset (colors with the same name) means. Also, it calls certain colors after objects that don’t have that color at all. Or just ‘dark’ and ‘light’. Confusing!
The pope endorsed Pokémon.
I knew about the Dean Scream, but always thought that it was the catalyst of ending his presidential run. Turns out it was already pretty much over.
“Black hole nests” exist and they’re scary.
Sheet music from popular television or movie scores is harder to come by than I thought.
The ‘panic’ caused by War of the Worlds is greatly exaggerated.
The I’m Lovin’ It slogan only exists since 2003 (I thought it was way longer) and was originally viral marketed via a Justin Timberlake song.
Italy had 69 governments since WWII. That’s one every 13 months.
At ages 6-17, I lived 200 metres from a former airport and never knew.
Thomas Edison filmed the first cat video.
Today I learned what a Quotron is.
The coldest place on earth has a temperature of roughly -98°C.
Truly everything is in the Game of Life.
Celebrities can’t pump ICOs (to avoid dump fraud). What defines a “celebrity” is vague.
The USA is introducing child allowance, similar to the Belgian ‘kindergeld’. How very, very ‘un-American’.
In 1977, a German tourist got off the airplane in Maine (pop. 33k) but thought he was in San Francisco for 3 whole days.
Scientists have developed a new type of light sensor inspired by the eyes of the mantis shrimp.
As audio deepfakes move out of the uncanny valley, replacing voice actors of animated series with AI becomes a possibility.
The legends are true, getting a perfect Lighthouse score is possible.
Another deepfake story: US mom used it to defame her daughter’s cheerleading rivals. With this technology becoming accessible to literally everyone, the need for accurate detection rises.
India will be the first country to ban cryptocurrencies, whatever that means…
It started with the ocean but plastic particles are in our rain now, too.
Due to our left-to-right reading pattern, us Westerners can’t truly comprehend Hokusai’s greatness.
See, I told you my Pokémon cards were worth something!
I finally learned the structure behind Japanese kanji. Please, please take note, Duolingo.
Watch typography is serious business.
IoT-ing everything is very dumb.
A cosmic neutrino has recently been found on the South Pole, only for the second time in human history.
Dutch intelligence has secretly made tiny perforations in metal parts for an Iranian nuclear weapons facility in the short time span they were on Dutch soil.
CCTV doesn’t reduce crime.
There are hieroglyphs in Unicode.
The NYC subway system uses a signal system built in the 1920’s. And no, not because it’s good.
Beauty and ‘survival of the fittest’ have a very complicated relationship.
Today, I learned the hard way that there’s a big difference between hosting providers.
In 2021, rebranding is still a ridiculous marketing method to revamp public image.
Someone made a ‘speech to birdsong conversion script’.
Games like Fortnite and Zelda can “up your surgical game.”
By analyzing large font datasets, AI can generate ‘lower-lowercase’ and ‘upper-uppercase’ letters. The results aren’t pretty, however.
KPop group BTS pushes some wild economic waves, among which are adding several B$ to the South-Korean economy and attracting 1 in 13 foreign visitors there.
Trump was the only 2020 US Presidential Election candidate/figure to not enable 2FA on his Twitter account.
Of course there’s a guy mining Bitcoin on a GameBoy… it’s about 125.000.000.000 times slower than a dedicated GPU.
Goodreads is a dumpster fire. How is there no decent alternative either?
After ‘Sofagate‘, the previous diplomatic chair incident had Turkey on the receiving end. It was the direct cause of Israeli minister Ayalon’s dismissal.
“Bones evolved to act like batteries, 400-million-year-old fish suggest.”
Follow-up on my 15/03/2021 entry: there are serious doubts if it was a deepfake after all, raising even more issues (detection on the one hand, the possibility of refuting any video evidence as fake and people blindly believing that claim on the other).
Minichess. That’s all.
The slavery and animal rights abolition movement have a lot of common ground.
Before adopting the metric system, German-speaking countries had their own units of measurement. Those units also varied from (literally) city to city, making the need for a standard all the more pressing.
Today, I learned what FLoC is – and I hate it.
Miss Fury was the first female ‘classic’ superhero.
[The brain ‘rotates’ memories](http://Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.) : “Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.”
While developing Zelda: BOTW, the team played a lot of Skyrim and was influenced by that in the creation of the game. For its sequel, the same might be true with RDR2.
Russian hackers pretty elaborately faked news coverage of a Louisiana explosion that didn’t happen.
The ‘chamise shrub‘ is a plant that predicts how bad the fire season will be.
In the top 100 “organizations” ranked by revenue, corporations outnumber nation states by quite a lot.
Running the day before an exam is helpful, drinking coffee isn’t.
French is the sexiest accent – now scientifically proven!
There are tons of (pretty cool) scrapped Pokémon.
Having dark skin in a white-skin healthcare world is dangerous.
QAnon is big in Japan.
The late Prince Philip was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty prince by the same name.
The ‘football vs soccer’ debate only started in the 70s. Before that, the two words were used interchangeably.
A Jodie Foster-obsessed man’s attempted Reagan assassination sparked a huge debate about the ‘insanity’ argument in court.
40-50% of Brits have cancer when they die (although it’s not necessarily the cause of death).
Kindle has a 90% market share.
Today I learned the story of Ahmed Chalabi, a crucial figure in the clusterfuck that is that Iraq war.
A man got busted at JFK for smuggling 36 birds under his clothes.
Progress within the field of remotely performed surgery is moving fast. Will it do routine surgeries in the next decade?
‘If I fits I sits’ is scientifically proven: domestic cats are susceptible to illusory contours.
The oldest human burial site is 78,000 years old.
Hukuo, a concept in Chinese law, restricts citizens access to public services (such as education) and movement to the region of their birthplace in order to “maintain a healthy balance between rural and city populations”.
Open-source cola exists.
The FBI held a file on Kurt Cobain’s death and the many conspiracies surrounding it.
The White Rhino might be the first species that’s (extremely) close to extinction, but can be resurrected by reproductive science.
Rwandese officials accidentally sent the recording of their Justice minister practicing for an interview in which he denies having paid for the flight that brought Rusesabagina home (to be tried) to Al Jazeera – instead of the actual interview.
98 percent of the books that publishers released in 2020 sold fewer than 5,000 copies.
“Private-equity firm revives zombie fossil-fuel power plant to mine bitcoin.”
In an effort to combat disease, certain types of mosquitos are made sterile with a nuclear technique.
Photorealistic GTA V.
The Pirate Bay‘s story is bonkers.
Ptime numbers make spirals.
A Microsoft study shows that nearly everyone multitasks during video meetings.
Asia accounts for 81% of global plastic inputs to the ocean.
Tardigrades can survive impacts up to about 900 meters per second (like a gun shot).
CRISPR editing in primates has proven succesful.
The Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
“Pandemic-era fonts share a common theme: curved lines and rounded shapes.”
A fraction of the Texas Democratic Party that opposed FDR in 1944 openly called for ‘the restoration of the supremacy of the white race’.
A British drug dealer got caught after sharing a picture of him holding cheese.
Before electrical alarm clocks, knocker-uppers woke up people on time.
50% of the James Bond IP is in the hands of two people. And it’s not the Flemming estate or something.
Buying rare cacti is highly unethical.
A wide array of factors can influence your proneness to conspiracy theories, including mood-setting and prompting words. Also, the “backfire effect” is likely BS.
Only two or three people in the world were equipped with the cave diving skills to rescue those Thai kids that got trapped in a cave.
The shortest game of Monopoly lasts 2 player turns.
The Pepsi Number Fever marketing stunt lead to the death of 5 people after accidentaly printing the ‘unique’ lottery-type winning number in 800,000 caps instead of one.
Harriet Tubman‘s entire life story is amazing – it’s like she lived 15 lives.
It took Firefox on macOS 22 years (!) to implement native context menus.
Obfuscating, rather than avoiding or hiding, may be the best digital privacy tool we have.
Lego is becoming cheaper per piece over the years. Also, its sets are pretty coherent in terms of price vs. pieces per set.
The number of students being openly ‘gender-critical‘ is rising, but the stance is not merely political/ideological as it becomes the ‘rebel expression’ against far-reaching silencing tactics.
Not only Dubya, but many US presidents wore cowboy boots with the presidential seal.
A “human error” (wink) caused no images to appear for Tank Man on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
The Erdős number, measured in degrees of paper co-authorship, is mathematics’ equivalent to Hollywood’s Bacon number.
“Facebook is a hub of sex trafficking recruitment in the US.”
Today, the number of COVID-19 deaths in 2021 equals the 2020 total amount.
A few months before 9/11, New York Times‘ Judith Miller had phone recordings of Al Qaeda members speaking of “something so big [the US] is going to have to retaliate.” The story never ran.
Stablecoins like USDC are being “printed” at a dizzying rate.
60FPS upscaling is a crime against animation.
The Pronoun Icon could soon make its entry in profile UIs.
Women identify as sexually fluid (a lot) more often than men, and the rate that self-identification is rising rapiidly. Also, gay men are disliked more than lesbian women in nearly every country.
Gulls are surprisingly intelligent, and their quick adaption is the primary reason that they’re migrating from coasts to cities.
Australia shreds $1m in bank notes every hour (not metaphorically).
When it comes to Windows, some thing never change. Literally.
A U.S. House member proposed changing the earth’s orbit to reduce the effects of global warming. Someone did the math.
The clustering of tally marks happens differently across the world.
When researching JPEG XL, I learned about the vast differences between image codecs.
Despite living there basically his entire life, MF Doom was never granted American citizenship.
Reddit uses quite a lot of dark patterns.
“Comet strike may have sparked civilisation shift.“
Mathematically inspired fonts.
The ‘dragon man’ skull dramatically impacts the human species tree.
Anal intercourse and intercourse during menstruation are haram.
Ecocide could become an international crime soon.
The world’s concrete will soon outweigh all living matter.
Modern Monetary Theory, which states that currency-issuing states’ national debt is a fictional construct and that the control of inflation – not debt – is key, may gain ground in the upcoming decades.
Danish is a lot more difficult than its Scandinavian brethren. In fact, “Danish kids on average know 30% fewer words at 15 months and take nearly two years longer to learn the past tense.”
I want to believe. The FBI UFO report notes 18 incidents spotted by the US military that are completely inexplicable (“remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion”).
Smoking pot can get you disqualified from the Olympics, for some strange reason.
Penpa Tsering, president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, has never entered Tibet.
Citizens of many European countries have a freedom to roam, meaning that private lands are accessible for recreation – no questions asked.
Sleep inequality: poor people and minorities sleep less on average, leading to a myriad of health problems in the long run.
Drugs like cocaine and heroine were legal for parts of the roaring twenties.
Crossdressing was illegal in the US for a long time.
Tree and true have a common etymological ancestor.
Euro 2020 has some pretty cool gadgets on the field, including referee smartwatches that notify of a goal, trackers per player, and more.
Mispronouncing sucks, don’t do it on purpose. Also, “nearly half of black and Asian job applicants who altered their resumés [while applying at Stanford] did so by changing the presentation of their name in an effort to erase any racial cues.”
‘Superagers’, whose brain doesn’t age beyond its peak performance at age 25, exist.
For his The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas was inspired by a real story of a shoemaker who plotted revenge against his friends for framing him.
Being in a pandemic for 1.5 years doesn’t mean that people will learn.
One of the reasons that many Native American tribes fought for the Confederacy in the US Civil War, was the shared sentiment on slave ownership.
A British soldier spared Hitler’s life in WWI, regretting it later.
Transgender athletes are nothing new. In the 1920’s, there was ‘Devonshire Wonder’ Mark Weston (born Mary Edith Louise Weston).
The internet can be laid on its back by deleting 11 lines of code. Reminds me of the xkcd comic.
The Portuguese man o’ war is not a jellyfish, but a marine hydrozoan – a colony of different species that “work together” to seemingly form a new entity.
Leonardo da Vinci has 14 living relatives.
The second COVID shot can knock you out.
The ‘Disinformation Dozen’ are 12 people that generate 73% of all anti-vaxxer content on Facebook.
People from Michigan are often called Michiganders.
Before the July 2021 MS Exchange attacks by China, the NATO has never before condemned an act of cyber warfare.
Capitol Hill’s mystery soda machine had “?” buttons that dispensed rare cans. Also, it is unknown who filled it.
Contrary to popular belief, millennials don’t own fewer cars than previous generations.
Disinformation for hire is a thing, unfortunately.
Big tobacco embraces cannabis.
TIL what Joey Jordison looks like without the mask. R.I.P.
Cannabis Sativa was already being domesticated in early Neolithic times. Sorry for 2 pot-related TILs in 3 days.
Dung beetles navigate their ‘ball rolling path’ by starlight.
Certain species of butterflies and moths drink tears of other (often sleeping) animals.
Kenya took every single Olympic gold medal in men’s steeplechase since 1984-2016.
The 27th amendment of the U.S. constitution was ratified 200 years after it was proposed, thanks to a college sophomore that got a bad grade on a paper about it and wanted to prove his point.
Critiquing the CCP can get your PhD cancelled… in Switzerland.
A North Carolina bridge labeled the ‘can opener’ (for what it did to trucks passing) was raised, only to continue having trucks crash into it.
Every minute on the internet in 2021, 1.6m$ is spent, 200m emails are sent and 500hr of YouTube content is uploaded.
Since 1900, India has only won 35 Olympic medals (including the Winter Olympics) despite having the second largest population in the world, making it by far the country with the fewest medals per capita.
1 in 4 Vietnamese people is named Nguyen.
Whisky waste products can be used as truck fuel.
A slight reversal in chess moves can make it more balanced.
In follow-up to yesterday’s TIL, Settlers of Catan can also use an upgrade to stimulate fairness.
Can openers were invented 50 years after cans.
In the CGI rendering of their CEO (and his kitchen), Nvidia has proven that CGI is now absolutely unrecognizable from real video footage.
Tarrare – an 18th century French soldier who had ‘an unusual appetite and eating habits’ – said on his deathbed that his state of illness was probably due to ‘a golden fork he ate two years earlier’.
The world record of staying awake is 11 days and 25 minutes.
The Project HARP Space Gun is a “cartoonishly large gun to shoot things into space”.
Drinking snake blood was a common pastime for US soldiers in Thailand. Apparently it tastes like fish.
Before traveling, it’s a good idea to learn which ‘innocent’ hand gestures are highly offensive.
“Chronically lonely flies overeat and lose sleep.”
Part-time and flexible work boosts fertility.
Worldwide, 4 out 5 homicide victims are men. However, there are strong regional differences. Also: men are perpetrators in 96% (!) of the cases.
One of the PS5’s flagship games, Ratchet & Clanck: Rift Apart, would run fine on any console of the past decade.
75% of weight loss (as in the actual atoms leaving your body) happens via breathing.
Adobe’s customer offboarding is dark pattern galore.
Buying a non-smart TV is becoming impossible.
Arnold Schwarzenegger drew a chess game against Garry Kasparov.
Although “forbidden”, female sumo wrestlers have existed (and still do).
“Eating a hot dog could take 36 minutes off your life, study says.“
In 1950, North Korea was the first country to legalize abortion.
“58% of tech-savvy audiences block Google Analytics.”
Awesome branding: Chernobyl’s constantly changing new graphic identity.
The arrangement of spikes on a Stegosaurus’ tail is called a thagomizer.
The Greek alphabet is copyrighted, and the IP holders act upon “infringements”.
Finger counting differs regionally.
Although more anecdotal than evidence-based, The Psychedelic Society argues that psychedelic drugs do not a priori make you more liberal (as is the stereotype).
A 75-year old Georgian lady cut off her country’s and Armenia’s internet for 5 hours when cutting a fiber optic line with a shovel whilst scavenging for copper.
The sum of maximum sentence for all the crimes charged in a federal case usually bears almost no relation to the sentence the defendant actually faces.
“Australian talking duck proves birds can imitate speech.”
Brightening clouds could be an effective way to cool the earth.
“The obesity of a country’s politicians may be a good indicator of that country’s corruption”, and other Ig Nobel Prize winning studies.
“The universe has already made almost all the stars it will ever make.”
Animal bodies worldwide are already adapting to global warming.
Gaming on Linux is becoming totally feasible.
Jupiter is a failed star.
10-19% of gift cards go unredeemed, resulting in pretty much ‘free money’ for the supplier.
COVID-19 helped in closing the wealth gap in the US.
Lamborghini started out as a tractor manufacturer.
Dogs understand the difference between their owner’s accidental and deliberate actions, they are hard-wired since birth to do so.
The larvae of the Uraba lugens is nicknamed the Mad Hatterpillar, because it keeps the head of its previous exoskeleton attached to its body.
De Ronde Van Vlaanderen has an 84% (!) viewer share.
Visual agnosia is the inability to recognize things by shape or copy drawings.
Charles Darwin was president of a club which aim it was to taste all of the world’s animals.
Every eel we see (Europe, America, doesn’t matter) has been born in the Sargasso Sea. At the end of their lifetime, they swim back to their birthplace to mate and die.
After Vantablack, researchers have now discovered the (currently) whitest paint.
Project Iceworm was “was a top secret United States Army program of the Cold War, which aimed to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet.”
An unlikely and unfortunate combination: in South-Africa, 63 penguins were killed by bees. The reason for the attack is still unknown.
There are over 700 parts of the body named after their founders (almost exclusively men). Although their use was banned in 1895, we still hear them everywhere.
They’re a luxury product today, but in the 19th Century, oysters were so plentiful and cheap that they were eaten by the poorest in society
The prefix Ever- is very popular with Chinese brands, not only because it is short and sounds international, but also because it follows the Feng Shui belief that names transpose qualities.
Pitch inflation: classical pieces of our time are often performed in a higher pitch than they were originally written.
‘Google’ is the most searched for word on Bing.
The origin story of the Japanese ‘rabbit on the moon’ is rather gruesome.
Sapping is a siege technique where a tunnel is dug underneath the enemy’s base to attack their fortification.
The idea of a string fuse coming out of a bomb is a fantasy.
The potato paradox.
One possible reason for humans killing them so casually, is that spiders look more extra-terrestrial than other anthropods.
Even the Mafia isn’t immune to the age gap on the workfloor.
Yves Leterme was known as Mister Pork with Chinese diplomats because he mentioned Belgian pigs farms in every negotiation.
A (house)wife that suffers from retired husband syndrome exhibits signs of physical illness and depression as her husband reaches, or approaches, retirement.
(Somewhat) proven: the urge to riot is not predicted by age, gender or politics. “The most common caricature of riots suggests criminal young men are the culprits, but […] that is not necessarily the case.”
Being a monk was/is hard.
Earthshine is decreasing rapidly.
Today in ‘anything can run Doom’: play Doom with checkboxes.
Emojis mean different things in different languages.
Reporting a security issue of Missouri state websites can get you prosecuted.
New Zealand had a wizard on its payroll for 23 years.
Lab-grown coffee is on its way.
The Kentucky Fugate family had blue skin for over 200 years.
There is no Japanese adjective for ‘old’ (when referring to people).
After Nipplegate, Janet Jackson was banned from most major music video outlets – but Justin Timberlake wasn’t.
Apple’s gaming revenue exceeds that of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo combined.
Some aspects of water are still a mystery to science, including how it evaporates.
The numbers in Pho restaurant names have specific meanings.
High school student Mike Row got sued by Microsoft for his MikeRowSoft.com domain. The legal dispute was eventually settled with Microsoft getting the domain, and Mike Row an Xbox.
There’s a (at first sight) pretty convincing conspiracy theory that reads: “Cola has so much sugar in it that you’d throw up from drinking it, except they add an anti-vomiting drug to stop that from happening.“
Aging users is one of Facebook’s top concerns for longevity.
Sound behaves differently on Mars.
Extremely rapid species evolution: female elephants are evolving without tusks (as it makes them less prone to be poached).
“The grandfather rule, in sports which usually only permit participants to play for the team of their country of birth, is an exception which gives participants the option to play for the country of any of their ancestors up to the grandparents.”
The US flag on its army soldiers’ sleeve patch is reversed, because the ‘imaginary pole’ is the motion of moving forward.
34% of white US students lie about their race to improve chances of admission.
The oldest image of a ghost is 3,500 years old.
The traditional Japanese temporal system consists of six daytime units whose length varies across seasons.
1000-year old Korean drinking game die exist.
The Pacific lingcod is a fish that loses and regrows about 20 teeth every day.
Snooker is aired on TV because of David Attenborough. He proposed the idea to televise the, as the colored balls would be a perfect way to showcase color television.
During the early days of Belgian labor migration, child mortality rates among Turkish families was 17 times higher than those of their Belgian counterparts.
80% of billiard balls produced worldwide are made in Belgium.
Moscovian Igor Sergeev has a 51.7k (full) cigarette pack collection.
There are a lot of different sausages.
Building Gundam model kits is fun.
4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10 and 12/12 always share the same day of the week.
There are dozens of phantom islands, which were included on maps for a period of time but were later found not to exist.
Written Khmer is very keyboard-unfriendly, which is why over 50% of Messengers voice messages are coming from Cambodia.
The Dutch Sailor Moon opening theme is happy hardcore. What else?
Smart TV manufacturer Vizio makes twice as much from ads and surveillance as it does from selling TVs.
Crypto is haram. At least, according to Indonesia’s “Head of Sharia Compliance”.
Fruit fly sperm is 6 centimeters long.
There’s a widespread believe throughout cultures worldwide that pointing at a rainbow will make your finger fall off.
Sonic hedgehog and pikachurin are proteins.
Men are victims of sexual assault a lot more often than you’d think. Some stats: 20% is a victim of physical sexual violence, 80% of perpetrators are women, less than 1% informs authorities.
The Japanese word otemba (オテンバ) is one of many with Dutch origins. Meaning ‘tomboy’, it stems from the word ‘ontembaar’ – untameable.
Popcorn can be used as insulation.
After the Liberation of Belgium (1945), many collaborators were shot and killed in plain daylight – including the uncle of Jan Peumans (former chairman of the Flemish Parliament).
COVID had a profound impact of the imagery in our dreams.
In 1995, a trial was held to revise the sanction of famous Flemish Nazi-collaborator Irma Laplasse, 50 years after her execution. Her sentence was not changed.
The Beatles wanted to make a Lord of the Rings movie. Tolkien refused.
Black Friday’s antithesis, Buy Nothing Day, is a thing.
I Am Rich was a $999.99 Apple’s App Store app in 2008. The app did nothing except give bragging rights, and at least 8 people actually bought it in the on day that it was online.
Is your handwriting notoriously illegible? You may suffer from dysgraphia.
Doodling during class is a human trait, even if you’re a 7-year old in 1220 that writes on a birch bark.
11 babies were born on Antarctica because of a sort of one-up game between Argentina and Chile as to which nation got to claim a certain slab of its land.
Games in my browser in 2021 look more impressive than my console games in 2010.
Airline Food, a programming language based on Jerry Seinfeld’s standup routine.
The name-letter effect is the tendency of people to prefer the letters in their name over other letters in the alphabet.
In pre-patching days, Final Fantasy II had a bug that became canon.
Two California couples had their IVF tubes swapped, and it poses many ethical (and emotional) questions about parenthood and genetics.
There was a time in the US when saying naughty words on TV could get you arrested.
Kickboxing frogs: Bornean frogs flail their foot when threatened.
PTSD is only a recognized condition since 1980.
Mick Jagger asked M.C. Escher to create a Rolling Stones cover. Escher declined and told Jagger off because he addressed him with his first name.
On Greece’s Mount Athos, women are not allowed. The EU condones.
In the Chukchi, Garifuna, Ngatik, Yanyuwa and Nüshu cultures, men and women speak a different language.
Slovenia has three Santas.
Belgium had a colony in Guatemala.
Not everyone can visualize an elephant when they close their eyes.
More of a shower thought: “algorithms are causing human language to reroute around them in real time.”
Expecting you’re going to act drunk because you’re drunk is an important factor of drunk behaviour.
Ulysses S. Grant, an antisemite?
Uncle Phil (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) is also Shredder (TMNT).
The sound of wand magic in the Harry Potter movies changed greatly with the third movie.
Saving a contact tracing Excel file in the legacy format is directly related to 120,000 COVID infections in the UK.
Amputated fingertips can grow back.
Kanchō is an East-Asian prank in which you poke an unsuspecting victim’s anus.
The NBA logo features actual player Jerry West, and he hates it.
For over 35 years, the modern Olympics featured art categories next to its sports, including architecture and music.
When alligators die and wash to the bottom of the sea, they are the life of the party for sea-floor dwellers.
Alexa challenging a 10-year old to electrocute themselves raises some interesting questions about law and ethics for AI.
Under the right conditions, nuclear plants are more than twice as climate-friendly as wind turbines.
Belief in astrology is correlated to narcissism and low intelligence.
The (current) Pledge of Allegiancce in U.S. classrooms started as a marketing campaign to sell U.S. flags.
China owns half of the world’s grain.
As of January 1st, 2022, Winnie-the-Pooh enters the public domain.