8 Fun Facts That Are Guaranteed to Bring a Smile to Your Face
FUN FACTS – Here are eight (8) fascinating facts that are guaranteed to bring a big smile to your face.
The world is vast and filled with wonders, as well as some rather weird phenomena. Take a moment to step away from your daily routine and get ready to be amused by this collection of assorted trivia, ranging from the unconventional origins of tomato ketchup to the peculiarities of Antarctic social connections.
Ever wondered what Uranus was called before it got its current name? Or why do giant pandas engage in handstands? These eight fun facts might just bring a smile to your face.
1. Ketchup: Once a Medicinal Product
The 1800s in America saw a plethora of hazardous substances being marketed as “patent medicine,” including mercury, lead, and arsenic. Ironically, tomatoes, belonging to the same botanical family as the deadly nightshade plant, were viewed as unsafe by a significant portion of the population. Dr. John Cook Bennett emerged as a staunch advocate for tomatoes and claimed that they could protect westward-bound migrants “from the danger attendant upon those violent bilious attacks to which all unacclimated citizens are liable.” He even provided various tomato-based recipes for medicinal use, including catsup, which at the time typically contained mushrooms and/or walnuts.
Eventually, Americans realized that tomato ketchup served better as a delectable condiment than as medicine. However, in fairness to Dr. Bennett, he did propose using it as a substitute for mercury, potentially offering some assistance to those in need.
2. A “Butt” as a Unit of Measurement
In the realm of imperial measurements, a “butt” refers to a cask containing liquid. While this particular usage of “butt” has become obsolete for most people, it still holds significance in the world of wine and brewing. In the context of wine, a butt typically contains around 108 imperial gallons, which is just under 500 liters or approximately 126 U.S. gallons. So, as it turns out, a “buttload” is indeed quite a substantial amount.
3. Uranus’ Previous Name: “George’s Star”
Despite being four times the size of Earth, Uranus initially perplexed astronomers, who struggled to categorize it as a planet, even after the advent of telescopes. In 1781, English astronomer William Herschel made the first official discovery of Uranus as a planet during the reign of King George III. He christened the celestial body “Georgium Sidus,” or “George’s Star,” in honor of the British monarch. However, the international astronomy community wasn’t thrilled about naming a planet after an unpopular British king instead of a deity, leading to the planet being renamed Uranus in 1850, after the Greek god of the sky.
4. Tinder Works in Antarctica
Antarctica stands as the most sparsely populated continent on Earth, with a winter population of only about 1,000 individuals (none of whom are permanent residents) across more than 5 million square miles. Therefore, when an American scientist decided to open the Tinder dating app at a research station in 2014, it was primarily out of curiosity. To his astonishment, he matched with another researcher located a 45-minute helicopter ride away. They didn’t meet in person until a few weeks after their initial online connection, just as his match was departing the station. Considering that the population swells to only around 5,000 people in the summer, the odds of their paths crossing again seem rather high.
5. Occasionally, Giant Pandas Perform Handstands When Urinating
No, it’s not a trick taught by humans: Wild giant pandas have been observed doing handstands while urinating, particularly during mating season. Because giant pandas are relatively scarce and conserve their energy, they aim to spread their scent as effectively as possible to attract potential mates. To achieve this, they seek out trees with rough bark to enhance absorption, opt for broad trees to increase the scent’s coverage area, and aim as high as they can. The handstand maneuver provides male pandas with a much-needed advantage in this regard.
6. A Jiffy Is a Real Unit of Time
Despite its whimsical sound, the term “jiffy” has a precise scientific meaning. Physicists use it to describe the time it takes for light to travel one-millionth of a millimeter, which is less than a billion-billionth of a second. In electrical contexts, a jiffy represents the duration of a single cycle of alternating current, roughly equivalent to one-fifth of a second. So, the next time you casually mention being “back in a jiffy,” consider the precision of your statement!
7. Humans Could Frame Koalas for a Crime (or Vice Versa)
Strangely enough, the fingerprint patterns of koalas closely resemble those of humans, with the ridges and whorls looking even more akin to our own fingerprints than those of chimpanzees. Despite the evolutionary distance between us and these marsupials, koalas likely developed fingerprints to assist them in gripping eucalyptus trees while climbing and feeding on their leaves. In the 1990s, a forensic scientist at the University of Adelaide in Australia cautioned that koala prints bear such a resemblance to human prints that there could be a chance of confusion by Australian law enforcement. Maciej Henneberg noted, “Although it is highly improbable to find koala prints at a crime scene, law enforcement should be aware of the possibility.”
8. The Blob in Toothpaste Ads Is Called a “Nurdle”
In toothpaste advertisements, the charming swirl of toothpaste known as a “nurdle” is a familiar sight, particularly gaining popularity when brands introduced more colorful products in the 1970s. While this fact might seem trivial to most of us, toothpaste manufacturers take nurdles incredibly seriously.
In 2010, GlaxoSmithCline, the producer of Aquafresh, applied to trademark the nurdle design in any color. Colgate-Palmolive, another company that used a nurdle in its advertising, viewed this as a legal threat, with their lawyer characterizing it as “a blatant shot across Colgate’s bow.” They sued to protect their imagery and have the trademark application canceled. GlaxoSmithCline, in turn, countersued, alleging that Colgate’s nurdle caused “irreparable harm.”