Some facts are sometimes so astonishing, so surprising, that you can hardly believe them. However, this does not mean that they are wrong. These are the facts that users of the Today I Learned (TIL) subreddit share, to the delight of general knowledge lovers.
Today I learned that Javier Bardem’s performance as Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men was published by an independent group of psychologists in the Journal of Science. Legal has been called “the most realistic portrayal of a psychopath”.
I learned today that environmental activist Julia “Papillon” Hill lived in a 1,500 year old tree in California (known as Luna) for 738 days, 55 meters tall, to prevent it from being felled by the Pacific Lumber Company. She successfully saved the tree.
Today I learned that Jurassic Park was supposed to use stop motion instead of CGI (Computer Imagery), but two artists were secretly working on a T-REX in CGI and when they finished they played it silently on the screen as Kathleen Kennedy visited her office. The video convinced Kennedy, Spielberg, and the rest of the team to use CGI.
Today I learned that General Motors recalled 800,000 cars in 2014 for faulty ignition. Cars would switch off while driving, which means that drivers would no longer be able to steer or brake and the airbags would not be deployed. They had known about the problem since 2005 but never fixed it because it would have been “too expensive”. 124 people died.
Today I learned of the existence of Theodore Hall, one of the youngest scientists in the Manhattan Project. He graduated from school at 14, graduated from Harvard at 18, and was recruited into the nuclear program at 19. Fifty years later, on the verge of death, he admitted to having been a Soviet informant during that time.
Today I learned that in 2002 two planes collided outdoors, killing everyone on board. Two years later, the air traffic controller was killed in revenge.
Today I learned that a cancer treatment called dynamic phototherapy has the side effect of giving people easy night vision. With this treatment, the retina is able to perceive light with wavelengths that are longer than the visible light spectrum.
Today I learned that when the Titanic hit an iceberg, William Murdoch, the officer in charge, was shown in the film killing a passenger before he committed suicide. The last time we saw him he even tried to fill the lifeboats as much as possible and heroically sank with the ship.
Today I learned that nature has evolved different species into cancers at least five times: a phenomenon known as “carcinoma”.
Today I learned that the locals in Churchill, Canada keep their cars open for quick shelter in case they encounter a polar bear.
Today I learned that there is a eco-friendly mushroom suit that will digest your body after death, and Luke Perry was buried with one.
Today I learned that Mongolian shepherds use a singing ritual, accompanied by a violin or flute, to persuade them when a camel rejects their newborn or has to adopt an orphaned calf. The mother camel can behave aggressively at first, so that the shepherd can change the melody according to his mood.
Today I learned that the Russian Soyuz spaceships have been used in the same form for 55 years and 140 flights without a break. They are widely considered to be the most profitable human ships. At least one is still docked on the ISS to serve as a rescue ship.
Today I learned that America’s strategic oil reserves are stored in underground salt caves. Salt does not react to oil and is self-healing. The plasticity of salt means that it naturally closes fractures and prevents any leakage.
Today I learned that Andrzej Sapkowski sold the rights to CD Projekt Red to develop The Witcher games for a pathetic sum of $ 9,500.
Today I learned that a Russian traffic pilot made a bet with the first officer in 1986 that he could land blind by closing the curtains on the cockpit windows. He lost his bet by annihilating and killing 70 people.
Today I learned that actress Olivia Wilde, nee Olivia Jane Cockburn, changed her last name in high school as a tribute to loved ones and also to a specific author. She chose Irish writer Oscar Wilde because she spent the summers of her childhood in Ireland, where she also took acting classes.
Today I learned that a ranger was sitting at his place of work on Rinca Island and was attacked by a Komodo dragon that was hiding under his desk. The cleaning man had left the door open the night before. The smell of blood attracted other dragons from outside. The guard was hospitalized and survived but actually had nightmares.
Today I learned of the existence of Tim Wong, who alone managed to repopulate San Francisco with the Californian butterfly Battus philenor. In recent years he has grown over 200 pipe plants (their only source of food) and donated thousands of caterpillars to the local botanical garden.
Today I learned that the Rolls Royce Ghost prototype was so quiet inside that the drivers felt sick. The engineers had to remove some parts that isolate the noise and make seats that vibrate at certain frequencies to create some noise inside.
And for even more unusual facts, it’s here!