Learning never stops. If you’re open and energetic, you can find opportunities to expand your mind with new knowledge every single day. Oh, and we mean that very literally. Every. Single. Day. It’s something that the members of the massively popular ‘Today I Learned’ online community know perfectly well.
They share the new things about history, science, and the world that they’ve learned that day, and the facts are eye-opening, to say the least. We’ve collected some of their freshest new insights to share with you, dear Pandas. Scroll down and check them out. Don't forget your thinking caps!
We got in touch with Lisa McLendon, Ph.D., with a few questions about how the news is changing as our attention spans are getting shorter, as well as what can help motivate journalists to dig deeper and stay curious as they're covering stories. McLendon is the William Allen White Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Bremner Editing Center Coordinator at the University of Kansas. Read on for Bored Panda's interview with her.
#1TIL a woman flying from Manchester to Florida had a heart attack during the flight and when the stewardess asked for help 15 cardiologists came to save her. They were flying to a cardiology conference.
Image credits: qasqaldag
Professor McLendon told us that the way that we consume the news, and how it's produced, is definitely changing.
"People consume news from a much broader variety of sources, on a much wider set of platforms. We are awash in information and we are used to seeing it in small chunks," she explained to Bored Panda.
Journalists and editors, in turn, are reacting to these changes in their audience's preferences. Some outlets, for instance, expand to social media platforms where they have to format things very differently. Brevity and engagement become more important than in-depth reporting. But that's not to say that the latter has lost its appeal!
#2TIL Missy, a 100lb injured dog abandoned by her owner on Mount Bierstadt in Clear Creek County as a storm closed in, found by hikers a few days later who treated her but couldn't rescue her, they posted her location on a climbers' forum and an epic rescue journey began to rescue a dog from a mountain.
Image credits: -WhatCouldGoWrong
#3TIL in 1947, the Canadian town of Snag, Yukon, saw a temperature of -83F (-64C). It was so cold, you could hear people speaking 4 miles away, along with other phenomena such as people's breath turning to powder and falling straight to the ground and river ice booming like gu shots.
Image credits: accidentaldeity
"News outlets know this and have adapted headlines to catch people’s eyes and presentation to keep the audiences engaged. For example, if you look at how news is presented on a platform like Instagram, it’s presented visually in a short video or series of images so people can quickly get the main point. Most of these changes have happened to optimize speed and engagement, not depth," McLendon explained.
Meanwhile, we were also curious about what can help motivate someone who is completely new to journalism to delve deeper into the stories they cover, while researching and writing them up.
"Depth is crucial for certain types of news stories, ones that aren’t easily summarized in a quick-hit format but nonetheless have great impact on people’s lives. Questions and creativity can help journalists stay motivated to delve deeper on a longer, more time-consuming story," Professor McLendon, from the University of Kansas, explained.
#4TIL that free divers' heart rates can drop as low as 11 beats per minute(as low as that of diving seals, whales and dolphins), in order to preserve blood-oxygen levels.
Image credits: casualphilosopher1
#5TIL Saudi Arabia accidentally printed thousands of textbooks containing this image of Yoda sitting next to King Faisal while he signed the 1945 UN charter.
Image credits: walkorfly
#6TIL Officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato, the oldest living man in Tokyo, on his 111th birthday. Upon arriving to his house, a mummified body wearing underwear and pajamas was lying in his bed. He had been dead for 30 years but his family kept the secret to keep receiving his pension.
Image credits: Blueberryroid
"One way to stay motivated is to first find out all the ways something affects people, then anticipate their questions: What does this mean for your audience? How can you show them why they should care? What questions might they have that you can help answer?"
Something else that can help is to think about how you can present the information in the best possible way so that your audience understands the issues and stays engaged.
"Usually this is not one big, long block of text—it may include photos, videos, maps, graphics, even interactive elements like a quiz. Thinking creatively about how to present a story can help a reporter stay motivated," she shared some practical advice.
#7TIL the Cherokee writing system was made by one man, Sequoyah. It's one of the only times in history that someone in a non-literate group invented an official script from scratch. Within 25 years, nearly 100% of Cherokee were literate, and it inspired dozens of indigenous scripts around the world.
Image credits: Pfeffer_Prinz
#8TIL the first known résumé was written by Leonardo da Vinci, when applying to be a military engineer for the Duke of Milan. It's mainly just a list of his designs for siege weapons (including trebuchets). He briefly mentions his art: "In painting, I can do everything possible." He got the job.
Image credits: Pfeffer_Prinz
#9TIL more than 300 million people globally don’t have a single friend, according to Gallup data.
Image credits: jyang1
The r/todayilearned subreddit is almost synonymous with Reddit, the front page of the internet, by now. Created all the way back in late 2008, the ‘Today I Learned’ community has grown by massive leaps and bounds since then. At the time of writing, there were a jaw-dropping 30.6 million TIL members. The sub is living, breathing proof of how much the internet loves education that’s presented in an entertaining way (aka ‘edutainment’).
Here at Bored Panda, we’re fascinated with the TIL community’s desire to learn and share new things with everyone who’ll listen. When you’re done reading our newest post about their fascinating facts, consider checking out our earlier features about them here, here, and here.
#10TIL the song Baby, It's Cold Outside was written by Frank Losser to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at parties to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.
Image credits: BringsHomeBones
#11TIL that Black Widow antivenom is made by injecting horses with venom over a period of time. The horse develops antibodies against the venom, then the horse is bled and the antibodies purified for later use.
Image credits: Shwnwllms
#12TIL that when Californians wanted to name a new city after San Francisco businessman William Ralston, he declined and said he was not worthy of the honor. So instead they named the city in honor of his modesty: Modesto, California.
Image credits: moby323
Learning is far more than just getting good grades, being attentive in class, and doing everything that your teacher asks you to. True learning requires a lot of initiative and independence. It’s something that parents can encourage their kids to prioritize while growing up.
Recently, Bored Panda got in touch with Lenore Skenazy, the president of Let Grow, a nonprofit promoting childhood independence and resilience, and the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement. She explained to us that it’s becoming a problem that school keeps becoming a bigger part of kids’ lives. In the past, children had a lot more free time to do activities outside of school.
“Kids goofed around, played, explored. Now, with jam-packed schedules filled with adult-run activities, even those out-of-school hours are a lot LIKE school… except instead of learning fractions kids are learning lacrosse, or chess,” Skenazy said.
#13TIL the game Oregon Trail was developed by 3 college students trying to teach history creatively. The first version was coded in just 10 days in 1971 and played by middle schoolers for 5 days. The code was given to an educational nonprofit in 1974, and the creators never profited from the game.
Image credits: blueberrisorbet
#14TIL How toxic a polar bear liver actually is. The entire liver contains enough vitamin A to kill as many as 52 adults! If you spread it out and ate just enough to get your RDA every day, that liver would last you 143 years!
Image credits: Diplodocus114
#15TIL that following the Black Death in England, peasants were able to negotiate better wages due to labour shortages. In response Parliament passed the Statute of Labourers 1351 which prohibited the soliciting of wages above pre-plague levels. This contributed to the English Peasant's Revolt of 1381.
“Clever, normal kids turned into caged animals who despair they are no good, and their lives pointless. The answer? It’s so simple and so overlooked: Kids need more free time and free play—exactly what you loved most as a kid. Time spent making up games, practicing free throws, jumping rope, poking around in the woods—all of that is not wasted time. It’s a time when all of a kid’s senses are engaged and growing: Observation, participation, empathy, curiosity,” the childhood independence expert shared with us.
“It’s hard to see when you’re swimming in it, but kids learn so much from life, from friends, from siblings, from doing things on their own that they can NOT learn from an adult, even the most loving parent or gifted teacher. Give them back some free time, during the school day and after, and they will start to blossom,” Skenazy explained to Bored Panda.
#16TIL Procrastination is not a result of laziness or poor time management. Scientific studies suggest procrastination is due to poor mood management.
#17TIL that since Brazil could not afford to send a team to the 1932 Olympics, they sent the athletes on a ship full of coffee. The athletes sold the coffee along the way to fund their journey.
#18TIL in 1985, drug smugglers dropped 40 containers of cocaine from a plane above Tennessee because the plane was too heavy. 3 months later, investigators found the containers and a dead black bear that had consumed 75 pounds of the drug. It’s stomach was “literally packed to the brim with cocaine.”
Meanwhile, good grades aren’t the end-all, be-all indication that you’re doing well in life. “Quick! What was Einstein’s grade point average? How well did Dolly Parton score on her SATs? How many AP classes did Rachmaninoff take? Those questions are absurd. And so is the idea that a child is only as bright or talented as his grades and school performance,” Skenazy said.
“There are so many aspects to a person and yet so few are reflected in their report card. Creativity, kindness, a sense of humor, loyalty, wackiness—those aren’t measurable and so we forget they are even more valuable than an A+ on the spelling test.”
#19TIL the USA was supposed to adopt the metric system but the ship carrying the standardized meter and kilogram was hijacked by pirates in 1793 and the measurements never made it to the States.
Image credits: KTthemajicgoat
#20TIL Bosses spend significantly more personal time on social media during work hours than their subordinates, according to a Norwegian study of more than 11,000 people.
Image credits: theotherbogart
#21TIL a school social worker noticed a young Jimi Hendrix's habit of emulating a guitar with a broom and attempted to get school funding to buy him a guitar. Her request was denied.
Image credits: drtrillphill
Raw IQ scores aren’t as strong an indicator of future success as many believe it is, but grades and doing well on school projects might just be. For instance, economist James Heckman’s found that someone’s IQ isn’t all that tightly correlated to how well you do financially when you’re all grown up. What’s far more important is your personality. Traits like diligence, perseverance, self-discipline, and conscientiousness are far more important than how smart you (think you) are.
You don’t get good grades just by having a high IQ score. You do so by having good study habits and being able to collaborate well with other students. In short, intelligence in the broad sense encompasses non-cognitive skills and traits which are far superior to scoring high on IQ tests. At least, as far as real-life success goes.
#22TIL about the now-extinct Stellar's sea cow, a 30 ft long sea mammal similar to a manatee which had so much blubber that its buoyancy wouldn't permit it to ever be totally submerged.
#23TIL The top (summit) of Mt Everest is grey limestone, complete with embedded marine invertebrate fossils (e.g. trilobites). This means that the rock that makes up the top Mt Everest was once underwater.
#24TIL In 1998 part of the hull of the Titanic was recovered and is displayed in a casino. Visitors are given a 'boarding pass' with the name of a passenger and find out the fate of their passenger at the end of the exhibition.
Image credits: Standard-Assist-5793
#25TIL that women die 17% more often in car crashes then men. In a frontal car crash with both sexes buckled in, their injury rate is also 73% higher.
Image credits: Bazzzzzinga
#26TIL The country of Kenya gets nearly one half of all it’s electricity from geothermal power plants.
#27TIL that when bears hibernate, they "hold it in" for almost half a year. This is due to a fecal plug that forms in their lower intestine that prevents them from pooping while hibernating.
Image credits: idiocrites
#28TIL that the number of abs you have is genetic and varies from person to person. The number of abs you have depends on the number of rings of abdominal tissue that someone is born with, and some people can actually have 10-pack abs.
Image credits: BeeIsBack
#29TIL Fender Guitars did a study and found that 90% of new guitar players abandon playing within 1 year. The 10% that don't quit spend an average of $10,000 on hardware over their lifetime, buying 5-7 guitars and multiple amps.
Image credits: grandlewis
#30TIL the "Empty London" scenes in 28 Days Later were achieved by filming at dawn and simply asking people to stop walking through shots, as there was no room in the $8m budget to actually shut down any parts of the city.
#31TIL 130 million American adults have low literacy skills with 54% of people 16-74 below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level.
Image credits: LocalChamp
#32TIL about Pupfish, the most rare endangered fish species. They live exclusively in "Devil's Hole", a single tiny pool of water of unknown depth, roughly 90 miles NW of Las Vegas.
#33TIL that in the Vietnam war the US conducted a psychological warfare operation which used loudspeakers to play eerie sounds and altered voices to represent the spirits of dead N. Vietnamese soldiers so as to undermine their morale. Operation Wandering Soul.
Image credits: Naturallynoble
#34TIL movie theater sound quality was greatly improved thanks to Star Wars. Sound across movie theaters was generally inconsistent or low quality, George Lucas then co-created THX to fully project the audio quality of Return of the Jedi.
Image credits: S-XMPA
#35TIL That in 2004, a 25 year old virginal Japanese woman had surgery to remove a mature fetiform teratoma (a tumor that formed a doll-like structure) that contained brain, eye, spinal nerve, ear, teeth, thyroid gland, bone, bone marrow, gut, trachea, and blood vessel tissue... and more.
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#36TIL that a Kentucky man won $450,000 in a lawsuit against his former employers who allegedly fired him for having a panic attack and leaving his own surprise birthday party.
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#37TIL NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean.
Image credits: MrManslayer
#38TIL Robert De Niro paid a dentist $5,000 to have this teeth ground down to look more menacing for Cape Fear. He later paid $20,000 to have his teeth restored once production was complete.
Image credits: TheFrederalGovt
#39TIL that cats are more vocal with humans than with other cats.
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#40TIL That 38% of world wide unprovoked shark attacks occur in Florida.
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#41TIL The writer for "Die Hard with a Vengeance" was investigated by the FBI after they revealed that his story's plan of robbing the Federal Reserve through a breached subway wall would have worked.
#42TIL: The pre-game military fly-overs conducted while the Star Spangled Banner plays at pro sports events is actually a planned training run for flight teams and doesn't cost "extra" as many speculate, but is already factored into the annual training budget.
#43TIL that after Ayrton Senna's fatal crash, an Austrian flag was found in his race car. He had intended to raise it in honor of Roland Ratzenberger, who had died during qualification the previous day.
#44TIL There were 121 witnesses to the JFK assassination, and 51 of them believed shots came from the grassy knoll. A further study examined 64 witnesses, with over half putting gunshots from the knoll.
#45TIL when Dan Shechtman discovered quasiperiodic crystals, he was widely ridiculed. Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling said of the discovery, "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists." Shechtman would later win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery.
#46TIL Monty Python reunited for Monty Python Live (Mostly) (2014) because they suddenly owed £800,000 pounds to Mark Forstater over Spamalot royalties. The ten shows were their first live ensemble performances in 34 years.
#47TIL when Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who had a famously deep voice, quit smoking cigarettes at 77-years-old in 2012, he thought that his vocal range would become higher and improve. Instead, his voice became even lower.
#48TIL Mice don’t actually like cheese and are even repelled by many cheeses due to the smell. If they’re hungry enough they’ll try to eat anything, but they won’t actively seek out cheese.
#49TIL 5-time world champion figure skater Michelle Kwan is the US ambassador to Belize.
#50TIL that Titanic crewman Herbert Pitman made an attempt to row his lifeboat over to rescue people in the water, but was overruled by the other occupants of the boat, who were worried about people swarming them and duly complied. Pitman said that this haunted him throughout his life.
#51TIL that it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full.
#52TIL a Looney Tunes director and animator, Robert McKimson, bragged to colleagues for getting a good bill of health at 67. His family history of living past their 90s caused him to tell his colleagues: "I'm going to be around after you guys are gone!" He died two days later of a heart attack.
#53TIL that a cup of grape juice contains 33% more sugar than a cup of grape soda.
#54TIL the B-2/Stealth Bomber costs $135,000 for every hour of flight time.
#55TIL Mount Everest is named after Sir George Everest despite him having zero connection to the mountain (he never even saw it) and against his own wishes. He objected to the naming on the grounds that "Everest" could not be easily written in Hindi nor pronounced by the local people
#56Til Texans eat pickles at the movie theater, and many are surprised to learn no one else does.
#57TIL Terry Crews said the reason Fox didn't promote Idiocracy was because Mike Judge had companies pay for product placement and then he made them look bad (Starbucks gave out hand-jobs). The film tanked in limited release but made over 20 times its gross domestic box office revenue in DVD rentals.
#58TIL the ice cream truck jingle most Americans grew up with was used in minstrel shows, so RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) created a new, publicly-available ice cream jingle.
#59TIL about Ken Fritz, an audiophile that spent close to 30 years developing in his home what he and others consider the worlds greatest stereo sound system and listening room that boasts 35,000 watts, nine-foot-tall speakers, and a 1,500-pound turntable.
#60TIL Scans have revealed there’s a large unexplored void in the Great Pyramid of Giza.
#61TIL Cheryl Gates McFadden (Dr Beverly Crusher from Star Trek TNG) was Director of Choreography on The Labyrinth (1986). She goes by Cheryl McFadden when doing choreography, and Gates McFadden when it's an acting role.
#62TIL that during WWII workers at the Henry Ford aircraft factory Willow Run built a staggering 8,685 B-24 bombers in three years. No one had ever manufactured airplanes on such a scale before. At its peak in 1944, it produced a B-24 every hour.
#63TIL In 2012, Canadian Justin Williams assaulted and stabbed his neighbor for coming over tell him to stop yelling over a video game (World of Warcraft), he replied "it's not a game, it's my life" then grabbed and stabbed his neighbor. The neighbor lived, but now has a scar in his chest.
#64TIL James Doohan (who played Scotty on Star Trek) was shot several times by friendly fire on D-Day after surviving the storming at Juno Beach. He lost a finger as a result, which was mostly (but not always) hidden using camera angles while filming Star Trek 21 years later.
#65TIL We often turn the radio down or off when looking for an address to allow the brain to shift its focus to a critical task, finding the desired location.
#66TIL that Neil Armstrong was the subject of a hoax claiming that he converted to Islam after hearing the call to prayer on the Moon. Despite being officially refuted, the rumor persisted partly because of the confusion between Armstrong's residence in Lebanon (Ohio) to Lebanon the country.
#67TIL that an audio recording of a lock being opened provides enough data to reproduce the key required to open that lock, even with a cell phone's microphone.
#68TIL that depleted Uranium is used to create projectiles capable of puncturing tank shells and armor. This is not only because it is extremely dense, but also because upon impact, a uranium shell will continually sharpen itself and retain its shape.
#69TIL that in 2017 former NBA star Kevin Garnett showed up at the sentencing of his accountant Charles Banks to provide him with moral support upon his conviction for defrauding NBA star Tim Duncan of $7.5 million. Garnett later learned that Banks have also defrauded him of $77 million.
#70TIL that 1.3 million Americans have a Top Secret security clearance.
#71TIL that in 1988 with the 1,390th pick, the Dodger's drafted Mike Piazza because the manager of the team owed a favor to Piazza's father. Piazza ended up playing in the league for 16 years and is regarded as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball history.
#72TIL the Irish Potato Famine, an agricultural disaster that occurred between 1840 and 1850, resulted in over one million deaths and another million emigrants leaving the country.
#73TIL of the Carolina Parakeet, which was once native to the US and went extinct in the 1910s. It lived as far north as New York and Wisconsin and as far west as Colorado.
#74TIL Manuel Noriega was a real person, a former dictator who sued Activision over using him in the game Call of Duty Black Ops II without his knowing and as a villain. He lost the case.
#75TIL of Gilles Garnier, a french recluse living in a forest in France. Due to his lifestyle he had trouble finding food so he began hunting children and eating them raw, like an animal. People initialy thought the attacks were done by a werewolf, so he was convicted of lycanthropy and witchcraft.
#76TIL restaurants can lose their Michelin star(s). If there is an inconsistency and things become less than satisfactory in an awarded restaurant, Michelin stars can be taken away. Gordon Ramsay once equated losing his Michelin stars in 2014 to breaking up with a girlfriend.
#77TIL Thomas Edison electrocuted dogs, cats, cows, horses, and an elephant in an attempt to discredit Nikola Tesla's work with AC electricity.
Image credits: JRODthehero