The Christmas season is officially upon us and with it comes corporate Christmas dinners, family functions, and endless holiday-related events. While some of these can be incredibly fun, spending quality time with the people who matter to us most in life, others, however, will try your patience. If your family is anything like mine, there is always that moment during family dinner where someone stands out, sharing their vast knowledge of the world around us, appearing far more intelligent than you know they actually are. Interested in being that person this year?
Check out these 33 surprising and mind-blowing facts about the world around us, sure to shock and awe your family this holiday season:
#1 – If you are driving in Japan heads up, some of their traffic lights feature a bluish light in place of the traditional green one. Why? It’s a matter of linguistics – historically there has been an overlap in the language, meaning that blue and green were described with the same word.
#2 – With the large population in China it is no wonder that all three of the world’s most common last names can be traced back to the Chinese people. The names – Van, Lee and Zhang – account for approximately 21% of the population of China.
#3 – It is a well-known fact that the modeling industry can be incredibly difficult to get into, but in Brazil, it’s all about where you’re from! 70% of all Brazilian models hail from the Rio Grande states, however, it’s population only accounts for 5% of the overall population of the country.
#4 – If you die in Amsterdam with no friends or family to prepare your funeral or mourn your loss, there are a couple heartfelt individuals who will ensure that everyone gets a proper send off. Civil servant Ger Fits chooses the must and places flowers on the casket in what has been deemed the ‘lonely funerals,’ while poet Frank Starik handles the eulogy.
#5 – As a population, we continue to learn and discover the various organisms and forms of life around us from year to year. In fact, approximately 99% of the microbes that live within the human body are still unknown to science.
#6 – Do you find yourself wondering what the top-selling toy is for Christmas each year? Let’s take that curiosity a step further! The top 3 selling products in all of human history are the Rubik’s Cube, the iPhone, and the Harry Potter books.
#7 – When we look back on those that have graced this Earth we often revel in the profound knowledge that they leave behind with their final worlds. The great final declaration by Albert Einstein, however, will never be known as he spoke them in German to a nurse who had no knowledge of the language.
#8 – Have you ever been curious about the curved shape of the banana? Experts say that it forms in this way due to the fact that it is reaching up towards the sunlight as they grow.
#9 – American composer and pianist Earl Wild holds claim to a couple significant titles over the years. In 1939 he performed the first concert in the world to be broadcast on live television, and then 58 years later his performance was the first online concert made available on the internet.
#10 – Are you trying to determine whether that beautiful diamond is real or fake? Breathe onto its surface and watch to see if it fogs up – a real diamond will remain clear while a fake will display a foggy appearance.
#11 – Looking to burn a few extra calories today? Experts say that taking a hot bath can burn as many calories as taking an average 30-minute walk – and it’s far more relaxing!
#12 – When you are attempting to signal distress using radio chat you do not use the well-accepted SOS, instead operators use the phrase ‘Mayday.’
#13 – When putting up powerlines, there has never been a need to protect them from the animals that may have access. Why you may wonder? Powerlines give off ultraviolet flashes that scare animals off. In fact, of all the mammals in the world, the only ones that are unable to see these ultraviolet rays are apes and humans.
#14 – The Mona Lisa is one of the best-known pieces of art the world over, admired and loved by people of all nationalities. This includes the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte, who had the painting hanging in his bedroom for a number of years.
#15 – If you are trying to create those perfect clear ice cubes for your next big party or event there is one secret – boil the water first! Regular tap water frozen has a cloudy appearance, however, if you boil the water prior to freezing they will appear transparent.
#16 – Have you ever wondered where the creators of Pokemon came up with all the different names? Two specific characters were inspired by the stars of Hollywood! Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan were named after Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
#17 – Interested in burning calories while using your computer? Prepare for it to take some time… The action of clicking a mouse button would require approximately 10 million clicks just to burn a single calorie.
#18 – You don’t want to try to kill a cockroach by cutting its head off! These resilient creatures can live a few weeks without a head. In fact, when it does die it won’t be from having its head cut off, it will die of hunger as it is unable to eat without it.
#19 – Are you a fan of Dracula? Curious about where the inspiration for the iconic character came from? Experts say that the man who inspired this legendary vampire was Vlad Tepes, a man who was actually related to Queen Elizabeth II.
#20 – We often hear the joke about the ‘old ball and chain’ in references to marriage and our partner, but the Spanish language takes it a step further. The Spanish word ‘esposas’ can be translated both to say ‘wives’ and ‘handcuffs.’
#21 – It is always heartwarming to hear of various nations helping one another through times of great trial. In 2011, following a great earthquake, North Korea gave $500,000 to Japan.
#22 – There is a small portion of the human population, approximately 0.0004% actually, who can’t be classified with one of our accepted blood types as they possess a mixed blood type. This is known as the Bombay phenotype. Due to this difference, they are unable to accept standard blood transfusions, resulting in a special storage of this blood in the event that it is needed, however, they can donate to any blood type.
#23 – With the ever-increasing cost of electricity, have you ever wondered just how much it costs to charge your smartphone over time? Good news – it takes so little power that the yearly cost wouldn’t even add up to $1.
#24 – Have you ever been curious about the little bird in the Twitter logo? This little mascot is more important to the creators of the social media platform than you think, they even gave him a name! His name is Larry, named after basketball player Larry Bird.
#25 – Do you enjoy the mobility of your office chair? You can thank Charles Darwin – He was the first person who came up with the idea to attach wheels to his office chair in order to allow him to move around quicker.
#26 – Wish you could be closer to the great mind of Galileo? While his mind may no longer be available, Galileo Galilei’s middle finger still is. It can be found in The Museum of Science in Florence.
#27 – If you are attending the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as TOPGUN, be careful using quotes from the movie that shares its name! The school reportedly fines anyone uttering Top Gun quotes $5 per quote!
#28 – There has been a lot of talk about bees here in the United States with the fears surrounding the dwindling population of the honey bee, but how much do you really know about bees around the world? There is a population of bees in the mountain forests of Nepal that can grow up to 1.1 inches in length, huge in comparison to those that are found here, and they produce a special honey that can cause hallucinogenic effects in those that consume it.
#29 – Have you ever wondered why a papercut hurts so much more than a standard cut? Papercuts rarely bleed – instead, they remain open to the air, exposing various nerve endings which causes painful irritation.
#30 – As children, we learn about the five senses – taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound, however, experts say that those aren’t the only senses we possess. The sense of proprioception refers to the ability to be aware of one’s body parts.
#31 – The island of Okinawa, Japan has come to be known as the healthiest place on earth, with over 400 people living on the island over the age of 100.
#32 – We often talk about the importance of ‘losing weight,’ but did you know that you don’t actually lose a single fat cell when you’re shedding those pounds? Instead, the fat cells actually change their size, still present but shrinking as the ‘weight comes off.’
#33 – Have you ever wondered about the true staying power of a mustache? When Salvador Dali was exhumed in June 2017 it is said that his mustache looked exactly the same as the day that he died.