People Share Their Best “Let That Sink In” Fun Fact
Have you ever come across a piece of knowledge that just totally blew your mind? Many times, after watching documentaries, reading articles or falling down a YouTube rabbit hole, we learn all sorts of fun facts that make us go, “Wow, who would have thought?” Most of these facts don’t really have any functional uses in real life, other than to share during parties or small-talk conversations. People from around the world took to the internet to share their best “let that sink in” fun fact. From interesting historical facts to important medical information, these stories will certainly open your mind to new perspectives.
#1 Slow Progression
It took humanity approximately four times longer to switch from copper swords to steel swords than it took to switch from steel swords to nuclear bombs. My guess is that people had to understand fire first? I mean, to use steel swords, one must first discover how to produce a high-heat fire. Put any copper and tin in a fire and they will melt and make basic bronze, but not iron. Understanding that there are fires of different heat isn’t easy without studying fire with the appropriate tools.
#2 The Voyager Missions
When NASA pitched the idea of the Voyager missions to Richard Nixon with the idea of touring the outer planets, he was told that the last time it was possible, Thomas Jefferson was in the White House. The particular planetary alignment that Voyager 2 used on its journey occurs only once every 176 years.
#3 Wet Bones
Your bones are wet. But they can’t feel that they’re wet. Only your skin can feel that. Or maybe your bones feel wet all the time, and them feeling dry would feel unpleasant. You know what they say… Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.
#4 Space Is Big
If the sun were scaled down to the size of a white blood cell, the Milky Way galaxy would be the size of the continental United States. The vastness of space is mind-boggling. Here’s a relevant quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”
#5 Mickey Mouse Magic
Next to the US army, Disney world is the largest buyer and importer of explosives in the USA. I had to stay in Anaheim, CA for work a few times and could always see the fireworks from my hotel room. It’s nuts to think about how often they have shows and the insane amount of fireworks per show. I think they do FOUR shows with fireworks incorporated in some way every night or at least most nights.
#6 The Titanic’s Sisters
The Titanic had two sister ships, the Britannic and the Olympic. There was a woman called Violet Jessop, a nurse and a cruise liner stewardess that worked on all three. The Olympic crashed into a warship whilst leaving harbor but was able to make it back.
She was on the Titanic as it sank and is referenced in the Titanic film, a stewardess that was told to set an example to the non-English speaking passengers as the ship sank. She looked after a baby on lifeboat 16 until being rescued by the Carpathia the next day.
It’s not known what exactly caused the sinking of the Britannic but the lifeboats hit the water too early. As the ship sank, the rear listed up and a number of the lifeboats were sucked into the propellers. Violet had to jump out of the lifeboat she was in and sustained a serious head injury but survived.
She was on board for all three incidents in the space of five years. She went back to continue to work at sea for another thirty years before retiring in 1950. She died of heart failure in 71.
#7 A Scary Thought
There was a time in history when trees existed but the fungi which cause wood to rot had not yet evolved to digest wood. Dead trees and plants would pile up and the 35% oxygen in the atmosphere caused massive fires. This is also the time where petrified wood came from. Trees would sit in mud for thousands of years and not rot while minerals slowly replaced the wood structures.
#8 Becoming A Frisbee
The man who invented the frisbee was cremated and turned into a frisbee. They mixed his ashes with melted plastic. Side note: my sons were also cremated and we keep their ashes in a teddy bear so we can cuddle them whenever we want. I know it sounds sad, but it really does give us comfort.
#9 Unforeseen Allergy
Scientists who work with cockroaches often develop allergies towards cockroaches. At the same time, they also develop allergies to pre-ground coffee. I also heard that people that get bit by cockroaches often develop allergies for both cockroaches AND shellfish.
I heard of a guy in my city who bred roaches for reptile food. He was going to clean out one of the emptied terrariums. He opened the hinged plastic lid too hastily and a cloud of roach dust hit him in the face. Without any previous allergy, he still instantly fainted from anaphylactic shock.
#10 Texan Geography
The city of Atlanta in Texas is closer to Atlanta, Georgia (a city three and a half states away) than it is to El Paso, Texas. That is just how big Texas is. Also, Bristol Tennessee is closer to Canada than it is to Memphis, Tennessee.
#11 A Note On Ancient Egypt
Egyptians are very fun to consider. When the Romans were in power, the pyramids of the Egyptians were already 2,500 years old. More ancient to them than the ancient Egyptians are to us today, and they didn’t have pictures nor the Internet. Even more than staggering, the Sphinx actually shows signs of possible water erosion. This would put its creation at the 6th millennium BCE.
#12 Deadly Vending Machines
Vending machines have ended more people than sharks. Cows also end more people than sharks. It comes down to your likelihood of encountering these things mostly. This is the part that people don’t seem to understand. I mean, I understand basic statistics. For this very reason, I know why it’s wrong to compare being ended by a shark to being ended by, say, an elevator accident.
#13 Pineapples And Oranges
Pineapples take two years to grow. Most tropical fruit, really. It used to be common to put oranges in the branches of the Christmas tree as small gifts. When my mom was a kid, Christmas oranges were a big deal. Even when I was a kid we always received an orange in our stocking, but kids today would probably be insulted if you gifted them an orange.
#14 A Gross Upside
Dozens of Americans die every day from slipping in the shower and hitting their heads. Dozens, I tell you. It’s one of the primary leading causes of non-medical deaths in the USA. This makes me appreciate the lime build up in my tub from decades of hard water. It won’t go away, but my crusty tub is never slippery.
#15 The Longevity Of Betty White
Betty White is older than sliced bread. Betty White was born on January 17, 1922. Sliced bread was first sold in 1928, advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” I wonder what it was before wrapped bread.
#16 Constant Supernovas
There is, on average, a supernova explosion every fifty years in the Milky Way. On average, there are thirty every second in the observable universe. This one is probably the best “let that sink in” fact. Let me just repeat that: Do you know how big the universe must be if it’s 30 EVERY second while taking 50 YEARS in our galaxy??
#17 A Slow Submerge
After hitting the iceberg, it took 2 hours and 40 minutes for the Titanic to fully submerge underwater. It’s a lot of time, and that’s also part of the reason so many lifeboats left half-empty. For the first hour or so, a lot of passengers didn’t actually believe Titanic was sinking. They thought they were safer on the bigger ship than on flimsy open lifeboats in the middle of the Atlantic. So a lot of lifeboats were launched with space left over, simply because there was nobody waiting to get into them.
It’s also worth knowing that no ship before or since Titanic has survived for so long with such a degree of damage. She was insanely over-engineered and there are no passenger ships even today that are built to withstand collisions of that magnitude.
#18 Marshmellow Warhead
Neutron stars have such strong gravity that if you dropped a marshmallow into one, it would be like dropping a 3-megatonne nuclear warhead on Earth. Surely it would instantly explode outward in every direction since there is no longer the crushing gravity of the rest of the neutron star there to keep it compressed. That’s like the mass of a mountain hurtling outwards from a point at incredible speeds. You would not want to be holding the spoon.
#19 The Origin Of Coal
Once trees evolved, they grew faster than bacteria could evolve to break them down. So trees would die and fall over, and basically never rot (or rot very, very slowly). The trees grew super fast, tall and fragile. So, they were constantly piling up in many places on Earth. 60 MILLION years later, bacteria and fungi evolved to start breaking them down. All those trees left buried by sand and dirt, unable to now be digested by anything, turned into coal. That’s where earth gets the vast majority of its coal.
#20 Adwaita The Tortoise
Adwaita, the longest living animal ever, was a giant tortoise given to Clive of India. He was born around 1750 and died in 2006. He existed longer than the United States has. There was also Hafrún, a clam that died in 2006 and was born around 1499 before Brazil was discovered.
#21 Watching The Moon
The moon orbits us from the west to the east, but we see it move across the sky east to west because of the rate of the Earths rotation—our observation is like being in a faster car watching a slower car (heading in the same absolute direction) fall further and further behind us. This is no coincidence. The moon’s orbit is a vestige of it being material from the Earth. It would be like a truck pulling a trailer on a circular track, unhitching it, and then circling the track and catching up again.
#22 Tsutomu Yamaguchi
Over the space of three days, an estimated 165 people survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bomb attacks.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi is one of the more famous ones, who was only two miles from ground zero when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It hit when he was walking to work on the last day of a work trip. After he heard the drone of a plane, he looked up at it and the sky lit up. He was then plucked from the ground, spun around and tossed into a nearby potato field.
Miraculously he survived, despite being covered in burns, soaked in radiation, and with two blown eardrums. He spent a night in an air shelter then took an overnight sleeper train home to Nagasaki to see his family. When he made it to a hospital in Nagasaki he was so burnt a childhood friend didn’t recognize him. Neither did his family.
Despite his wounds, he made it to his work the next day. He started giving his boss a rundown on what happened, and his boss thought he was crazy. There was no way one bomb could destroy a city. Suddenly, a bright light lit up the room. He panicked and dropped to the floor of the office seconds before the shock wave smashed out the office windows. He had just been hit twice by a nuclear blast in the space of three days.
At the age of 93, he was given the title “Nijyuu hibakusha,” or twice bombed person. He died the next year.
It is unlikely that a person could actually die in quicksand since most quicksand is only a few inches deep. Most people who do die in quicksand get stuck in tidal basins and drown when the tide comes in. Source: I have been stuck in quicksand to my armpits but I got out before the tide came in.
#24 The First Ever
If you choose not to have children, you are the first person in your direct ancestry all the way back to the first humans related to you to not have children. Actually, you would be the first organism in your line not to reproduce, all the way back to the very first organism 4 billion or so years ago.
#25 Aztec Mystery
The Teotihuacan pyramids, known to be the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids, were not built by the Aztecs. The Aztecs found it abandoned, settled there and gave it its name. The origin of its founders is still a mystery… Apparently there are some recent theories regarding the Teotihuacan pyramids and why it was abandoned before being occupied by the Aztecs.
#26 Bing Crosby: Lawmaker
Bing Crosby advocated for salmon conservation in the North Atlantic against Denmark’s overfishing in the early 1970s. The Danish government banned everything Bing Crosby in Denmark, but because he was so popular there, the Danish people protested the government, making them overturn the Bing Crosby law and even to enact salmon conservation legislation. Bing Crosby single-handedly managed to create a piece of Danish law.
#27 Mind = Blown
As you get closer to the black hole, time goes slower. This means that everything farther away would experience time faster and faster as you get closer and closer to the black hole. A second for you could be a billion years for everything else outside of it. Thus, if you fell into a black hole and looked outside, you would see the universe die with you.
#28 Absolute Zero
Astronomer here! I always like that the coldest place we know of in the universe is… on Earth! Even dense dust clouds, that is, the coldest spots we know of, are a few degrees above absolute zero, the coldest temperature there is. In laboratories on Earth, however, it’s quite common to get a few fractions of a degree above absolute zero for experiments, ergo…
#29 Taking From A Stockpile
The United States hasn’t minted any new Purple Heart medals since World War II. We’ve been using the stockpile that was prepared in anticipation of a ground invasion of Japan.
#30 What Is Consciousness?
Scientists haven’t found out a particular brain component responsible for consciousness. There is no physical proof of consciousness, it just is. There was a guy who used an EEG machine to measure brain waves to show whether a patient is brain dead or not. He used it on Jello. Apparently, the way Jello is affected by everything in the room gives off the impression that it isn’t brain dead.
#31 Happy Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia’s hallucinations are shaped by culture. Americans with schizophrenia tend to have more paranoid and harsher voices or hallucinations. In India and Africa, people with schizophrenia tend to have more playful and positive voices. There’s a really new treatment for it called avatar therapy. It has a computer character mimic the particular person’s malicious hallucinations, but gradually over time its voice and expressions become more friendly and controllable by the patient. Apparently, this treatment has the effect of giving the patient more control over the hallucinations and either getting rid of them completely or making the hallucinations more positive in nature.
#32 Ageless Lobsters
Lobsters don’t die of old age. Taking into consideration that humanity has only explored a small percentage of the ocean: there could very well be a BIG FREAKING LOBSTER just chilling out there. Apparently, the square-cube law prevents super huge lobsters but there are still some pretty big ones out there that we don’t really get to see. I saw one on the Internet that was four feet long, had two-foot long legs, and weighed 14 pounds. Still pretty cool.
#33 We’re All Just Sims
We can’t prove we aren’t in a simulation. If we reach a stage where we are capable of creating simulations with this degree of sophistication, then we could run a vast number of them. If each computer could run multiple versions, and even a small number of computers were set up to do so, eventually, at least some of the simulations would develop until the simulated people could run simulations of their own. Then the simulated2 people could run simulations, and so forth and so on to infinity.So, if there is one reality and potentially infinite simulations, then it is statistically improbable that we live in reality. Which explains a lot about the last year or so.
#34 33 Years Of Sleep
But if you take into account the fact that on average people sleep (or should sleep) 8 hours a day, if you get 99 years of age, you will have only been awake for 66 years… having spent 33 YEARS of your life sleeping. That’s why I always stay up late…
#35 A Real Chess Master
Google’s Deepmind self-learning AI “AlphaZero” spent four hours learning chess, and proceeded to beat the top chess engine in the world.
The particularly interesting part is that it wins by playing in a very “human” way. Chess engines tend to run algorithms to assess a board after a move is chosen (looking at millions of moves every second) and decide who’s better based on a set of parameters, making their play very direct. AlphaZero seemed to develop a far more human playstyle, somehow seeing something less quantifiable that led to an advantage in a position. Over the past 200 years, numerous chess masters studied a style of play similar to AlphaZero.
That means that in 4 hours, AlphaZero developed a better understanding of the game than we could over the 1000+ years it has been studied.
#36 The Mindboggling Universe
Due to the way the speed of light works, combined with our current understanding of the expansion of the universe, there are areas of the universe that are both impossible for us to visit or even observe. The fabric of the universe expands faster over that distance than light can travel so it never reaches us.
When you combine that with the bit where scientists currently think there are roughly a trillion visible galaxies (four times more stars than exist in the Milky Way)… Well then.
#37 Big Charlie
Charlemagne’s name translates to Charles the Great. This wasn’t due to his leadership, this was due to the fact that he was 6’4″ when the average male was 5’6″. His name was just Big Charlie.
#38 Too Many Numbers
There is more than one type of infinity, and they aren’t all the same size. From zero down in negative numbers? Infinite, from zero up in positive numbers? Also infinite. Combine them, still infinite but bigger than either on their own. A professor at university told me that and it blew my mind.
#39 Three Grains Of Sand
The universe is so empty that if we took three grains of sand and placed them inside a vast cathedral, that cathedral will be more filled with sand than the universe is with stars.
#40 What’s In Your Coffee?
I worked for a large coffee roaster. When you cut open the bags of green coffee from all of those third-world countries, it is amazing the things you find. Coffee is essentially dried in the middle of the streets and any number of things can end up in there. We found shoes, farming tools, huge needles for weaving the bags… There’s a high chance of finding bugs in coffee in some places. The good news is, those little guys are roasted to 400 degrees and disintegrated by the time the roast is over.
#41 Rich Beyond Belief
All six of the stars of Friends negotiated 2% syndication rights for the show. Friends still makes about a billion dollars yearly through reruns, Hulu, etc. All six friends collect a 20 million dollar check annually.
Yes, that means David Schwimmer still gets 20 million dollars a year for doing nothing. So when you are alone in your one-bedroom apartment, watching Friends and snickering at how any of them are losers who haven’t been famous since… there’s a reason why. They don’t have to work, ever again.
#42 Mosquito Dangers
About a million people die every year from mosquito bites. That’s 2,700 per day, or 100 every hour. Think about how many must have died since you started reading this prompt. In Argentina, there are 50-foot tornadoes of mosquitos spaced 100 feet apart for hundreds of miles. I contracted Dengue at the age of 21 and barely survived, leaving my bones permanently scarred. That stuff makes the flu look like nothing.
#43 Too Complex To Explain
Subjective consciousness isn’t even something that can be defined sufficiently for scientific analysis. We can, in theory, explain everything about how and why the brain does what it does, but there is nothing on which we can hook analytical tools about the ‘spark’ of sentience. We may just have to shrug and say consciousness is probably a result of complex systems in the same way gravity is a result of concentrated matter—it just is.
#44 The Meaning Of Zen
Zen and Buddhism refer to self as gods. But its a completely different kind of God that the Christian religion and all of them. It’s not the kind of god that you put at the pedestal and pray to and that he is the ultimate best of everything. The Buddhists look at god is someone who has woke up from the illusion of world being cruel and separate from us and has realized that the world is actually incredibly beautiful and that we are a part of it. They use consciousness a lot in their teachings, since its something that no one can or will be able to comprehend. Yet we all have it.
#45 From Birth
You don’t remember being born or most of the first years of your existence. All you know is one day, you just started existing and taking in experiences and memories.