19 True Facts That Sound Like Total Bullshit
If you are anything like me, or that little kid from Jerry Maguire, you enjoy nothing more than dropping mind-blowing factoids into the laps of your friends and family, then walking away like Hugh Jackman from an explosion while they sit back and think about how their lives have changed irreparably.
Pay close attention to these next 20 anecdotes, and get ready to become a hell of a lot more interesting. Here's a bonus fact to warm you up: that little weirdo from Jerry Maguire looks like this now. Whoa.
1. Betty White is older than sliced bread
Betty White was born in 1922. Sliced bread was first sold in 1928. See? It's not as bad as it sounds.
2. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real ones
There are just under two million flamingos in the wild, whereas their kitschy plastic cousins, produced on a mass scale since 1957, number well into the millions. General fact: real flamingos die, plastic ones do not.
3. All the gold on Earth would fit into 3.2 Olympic-sized swimming pools
All of the pure gold on Earth right now would squeeze snugly into just over three olympic-sized swimming pools. Our gold supply is estimated at about 157,000 metric tons, which should give Scrooge McDuck ample diving depth.
4. A man once ate an entire airplane (and 15 bicycles)
Michel Lotito proves the French have unusual appetites—he ate bikes, planes, computers, shopping carts and pretty much everything else people aren't supposed to eat during his 57 years of life. He would break the metal and other (normally) inedible components into tiny pieces and wash it all down with mineral water. I can't say for sure, but I'm assuming his cabinet was well-stocked with Pepto-Bismol.
5. The 10th President of the United States—John Tyler—has two grandsons that are still alive right now
The Tyler family is very successful at having babies late in life (pre-Viagra, too). President Tyler had his son in his 60s, and his son had kids in his 70s. The two Tyler grandkiddies, Lyon and Harrison, are still alive and kicking to this day. Think about this: John Tyler was born in 1790. He helped annex Texas. Abraham Lincoln was the 17th President, and was born nearly 20 years after Tyler.
6. Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas
That means, if I had a baby with a banana, it would be 75% banana. I wouldn't do that though; I have too much respect for fruit.
7. On Jupiter and Saturn, it rains diamonds
The methane-rich atmosphere of these gas giants creates carbon during lightning storms, which is pressurized into graphite, and eventually into bling-bling as it plummets to the surface. This just in: Rick Ross has donated his life savings to help fund commercial space programs.
8. In 16th century France, 400 people started dancing and couldn't stop, leading to dozens of deaths
"The Dancing Plague" began with just one woman dancing intensely in a street in Alsace, France. Eventually, for no apparent reason, more than 400 people joined her in mass hysteria. Over the course of a month many ended up dying due to heart attacks or exhaustion because they literally would not stop dancing.
9. Maine is the closest U.S. state to Africa
I still wouldn't try to swim the distance, though.
10. The fax machine was invented before the telephone
The first fax machine was developed in 1865, a full 11 years before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and 140 years before people stopped caring.
11. You are one centimeter taller than usual when you wake up in the morning
Your spine compresses throughout the day (only a very little bit) thanks to gravity, that bastard. That means kids have a better chance of getting on roller coasters in the morning than at the end of the day.
12. Every time you drink water, you drink molecules that have passed through a dinosaur
The probability that any glass of water you drink contains molecules that once passed through a dinosaur is nearly 100%. I think that's how I developed my taste for Raptor meat.
13. At no point in the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme does it mention he's an egg
Yep, there is nothing egg-related in Humpty Dumpty. In fact, many early illustrations portrayed him as a young boy, which is kind of terrifying, given the subject matter.
14. The first thing ever bought and sold on the Internet was a bag of weed
Back in the '70s, a few dudes at Stanford arranged an illicit transaction for an unspecified amount of marijuana with a group of MIT students on an early version of the Internet. Not sure if they ever met up to seal the deal, but it'd be much cooler if they did.
15. You produce enough saliva in your lifetime to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools
So, an average person will produce almost as much spit as there is gold in the world. Which is kinda gross. And maybe a little hot.
16. Every other planet in our solar system can fit between Earth and the Moon
With a distance of 384,000 kilometers between the Earth and the Moon, and with the total sum of the diameters of the planets reaching 380,008 kilometers, there's even room to spare for you, and 4,000 kilometers of your friends!
17. In France, women used to take their husbands to court if they couldn't get an erection
If their husbands weren't able to...ahem...live up to expectations, French women in the 1500s had the right to take their husbands to court. There, the manhood in question would be presented before a group of priests and midwives, who would examine it and try to get it erect.
18. There are more unique games of chess than atoms in the known universe
The number of atoms in the known universe is 10 to the 79th power, while the number of possible games of chess (meaning, possible games that are totally unique) is estimated to be around 10 to the 129th power. See, this why I just stick to Don't Wake Daddy.
19. A "buttload" is an actual measurement
So, you can actually say that you drank a buttload of wine last night. But it would be about 126 gallons, so you might have some trouble getting out of bed without a buttload of Gatorade.
Want more of the Culture you actually care about delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for our daily email.