Knowledge is power, and we’re about to raise all of you Pandas’ power levels through the roof. It’s time for the freshest edition of ‘Today I Learned,’ featuring the tastiest, most intriguing facts about the world, science, and history from the super popular subreddit.
With over 27.8 million members and continually growing, the TIL community is a celebration of curiosity, intelligence, and the desire to learn something new every single day. Scroll down for the coolest, most interesting facts that stunned the internet, piping hot from the digital oven.
Pssst, if you’re still hungry for knowledge (or you’re secretly a Ravenclaw like some of us), you should definitely take a peek at Bored Panda’s most recent articles about the TIL community right here, here, and here. Got any cool trivia tidbits you’d love to share with the class? Pop by the comment section to share what you know.
Bored Panda got in touch with parenting blogger Samantha Scroggin, a mom of two and the founder of 'Walking Outside in Slippers,' and we had a chat about how parents can help maintain a sense of wonder and curiosity in their kids as they grow up. It's also no secret that kids aren't really interested in doing schoolwork on topics they find 'boring,' so we also talked about what parents can do in those cases. Scroll down for our full interview with Samantha.
#1TIL in 1999, Danish physicist Lene Hau was able to slow down light to 38 mph (61 kmph), and was later able to stop it completely, manipulate it, even move it to a different location
Image credits: Hutwe
"I believe by staying curious and enthusiastic about the world ourselves, we will help our kids be openly curious and enthusiastic," blogger Samantha, from 'Walking Outside in Slippers,' told Bored Panda.
"When we visit museums as a family, for example, I always ask lots of questions and my children do the same. When we travel, my husband and I demonstrate excitement for the new sights, experiences and even food. This is an amazing world, and I want my children to always appreciate that," she said.
Bored Panda wanted to get Samantha's take on how some parents could approach their kids' disinterest in certain school subjects. "I figure my kids won't love every assignment at school. That's just how it goes. I still loathe math. But I try to help them power through school homework assignments they don't want to do," she shared with us.
#2TIL about Jean Boulet who in 1972 set the world record for the highest altitude reached in a helicopter, 40,280ft. During descent his engines failed, and he landed the helicopter without power, setting another record in the process for the highest unpowered helicopter landing
Image credits: LongshanksAragon
#3TIL that in the operatic song in The Fifth Element, composer Eric Sierra "purposely wrote un-singable things" so she’d sound like an alien. When opera singer Inva Muls came for the part, "she sang 85% of what [Eric] thought was technically impossible", the rest being assembled in the studio
Image credits: RootaBagel
"I will sit with them and we go through it together in case they have questions. If they hate the task, there's a good chance that's because it doesn't come easy to them (like me with math!). And there will definitely be a special sweet treat of their choice at the end," she revealed some of the strategies that she uses.
The mom also opened up about the homework situation in her family. "My daughter who is 6 has much more regular homework than my son who is 10. Most of her homework is on a tablet, though, which makes it easier to knock out. I make sure she completes her assignments, but fortunately she has gotten pretty independent about doing the homework herself," she said.
"My son's teacher usually only assigned homework if there was something he didn't finish in school. Which I am grateful for because I hate homework!"
#4TIL Scientists at the Parkes radio telescope in Australia spent 17 years trying to identify powerful but extremely short radio bursts that would appear at seemingly random intervals. In 2015 they finally identified the cause: a microwave oven at the facility being opened prematurely
Image credits: Jacknerik
#5TIL: Bats eat enough insects to save the US over $1 Billion a year in crop damage and pesticide
Image credits: psychcrime
#6TIL the iconic Einstein-sticking-his-tongue-out photo was his annoyed reaction to paparazzi goading him to smile on his 72nd birthday. It achieved cult status mostly because Einstein himself asked for a cropped version, ordered many prints and proceeded to send them to friends
Image credits: BekanntUndUnbekannt
The TIL community has been a powerhouse since its founding in late December of 2008. It has a very high bar on quality, and demands that people post verified information, backed up by sources. If it’s iffy, it’ll get weeded out by the moderators and the community. Reputable sources are king, as far as the ‘Today I Learned’ sub is involved.
However, underneath all the fact-checking lies something even more important—the desire to learn, no matter how young or old the person might be. TIL is all about sparking curiosity in people, helping educate them, and proving that the world is far more complex, bizarre, and interesting than we tend to give it credit for in our day-to-day lives.
Recently, Alan Castel, Ph.D., a UCLA psychology professor and the author of 'Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging,' spoke to Bored Panda about people’s curiosity, cognition, and how to maintain the sharpness of our minds as we age.
"Our awareness of our own cognitive ability and knowledge is called metacognition. Often as we get older, we are more aware of what we know, what we don’t know, and also what we are most interested in. I think being selective can be important so that we can focus on remembering and being curious about what interests us," he told us.
#7TIL that the first commercial airliner shot down by hostile forces was refurbished, returned to service, and later became the third commercial airliner to be shot down by hostile forces
#8TIL A Canadian makeup developer helped Crayola create "Colors of the World" crayons that are meant to accurately reflect human skin tones. He pared down the 40 shades he had created for Cover FX to 24 distinct colors that kids can use to draw themselves
#9TIL the 7 year rule for dog aging is incorrect - compared to humans, dogs age faster when young and slower as they age
Image credits: TypicalDumbRedditGuy
"Also, having some sense of awe is also associated with curiosity, happiness, and life satisfaction, while also making us care more about others and the world in general. I think metacognition and awe can make us more curious about the things that are important to us, especially as we get older," the professor shared with Bored Panda that a sense of awe can, in fact, make us happier.
"Research shows that physical exercise such as walking can improve brain function and memory, and being socially connected has widespread benefits for the brain," he noted that moving lots and having an active social life helps our minds.
"Thus, it is likely a combination of things that keep us sharp, such as being physically active, talking to people, reading, being connected, and remaining curious about things that are important."
#10TIL to collect taxes, Christian IV of Denmark asked captains of ships crossing the Øresund to estimate the value of their cargo, which was applied as the tax base without further audit. But the king also claimed the right to buy the entire cargo at exactly that price
Image credits: batesplates
#11TIL figure skating competitions in the 1800s involved the act of skating pictures into the ice. This required precision and wasn't as fast-paced as modern figure skating
Image credits: dilettantedebrah
#12TIL that 26 of the 36 missing children featured in the original music videos for Soul Asylum's Runaway Train have been found. Most recently, the remains of Aundria Bowman were identified in 2020, 31 years after she was reported missing
#13TIL The London Underground has its own subspecies of mosquito that lives exclusively in the stations and tunnels
Image credits: Bronesey
#14TIL about Secessio Plebis which was a form of revolt first introduced in ancient Rome. When the ruling class of Rome would become too corrupt or unjust to the commoners, the commoners would band together, evacuate the entire city and leave the elites to fend for themselves
Image credits: VoidOfEndlessDark
#15TIL that the Feeling of "impending doom" is an official symptom of a Wrong blood type Transfusion. (ABO incompatibility)
Image credits: ToggleHD
#16TIL About "Judas goats", which are trained to associate with herds and gain their trust so that other animals follow them - to a slaughter. The Judas goat is rewarded by not being killed, and used to lead other herds to the same fate
#17TIL The national anthem of Italy mentiones Poland and the national anthem of Poland mentions Italy, both in a positive way
#18TIL that a suicidal teen from the UK used several fake online personas to convince his best mate to kill him, he survived the attack but became the first person in UK history to be charged with inciting their own murder
Image credits: _Im_Dad
#19TIL Bach wrote the Brandenburg Concertos in 1721 as part of a job application to the Margrave, which he never received a reply. The concertos were unpublished until 1850 and almost lost again during WWII
Image credits: vancouver_reader
#20TIL the energy released by turning just one kilogram of hydrogen into helium is the same as burning 20,000 metric tons of coal. The sun is doing this constantly through nuclear fusion
#21TIL that on the entire 4300 mile length of the Amazon river there are no bridges
Image credits: Not_that_kind_of_DR
#22TIL that the Animals broke up because, while touring in Japan in 1968, their manager was kidnapped by the tour promoters, who were Yakuza, and put him up for ransom. After the manager escaped, the band was forced to flee the country or be killed by the Yakuza, leaving all of their tour gear behind
#23TIL that a Wall Street restaurant, The Exchange Buffet, operated on the honour system, where customers would tally their own bills. It ran successfully from 1885 to 1963
#24TIL Joseph Armand Bombardier invented the snowmobile after his son died of appendicitis when a blizzard prevented him from getting him to a hospital in time
#25TIL there's a gene that controls how long you sleep. "Short sleepers" function the same off of 4-6 hours of sleep as a typical individual getting 8
Image credits: D0ugF0rcett
#26TIL after the TV show Teletubbies ended, the owner of the land used had to dig out the hill and flood the field it was filmed in, due to the amount of people trespassing to see Teletubbieland
Image credits: Status-Victory
#27TIL the Masai Tribe in Africa donated 14 cows to the United States after 9/11
#28TIL that a fire destroyed most of Harvard Library’s collection in 1764. Only a small number of books were spared, including 144 that were checked out at the time. One of these books was found and returned in 1997
Image credits: unappliedknowledge
#29TIL that American ice cream company Häagen-Dazs sued American ice cream company Frusen Glädjé to stop them from using a "Scandinavian marketing theme". The court ruled against Häagen-Dazs as they had also marketed themselves as Scandinavian without having any real connection to the region
#30TIL of the high % of NASA astronauts that were Boy Scouts. Of the 312 selected as astronauts, at least 207 have been active in scouting. Of the 24 to travel to the moon, 20 were scouts, including 11 of the 12 moonwalkers, and all three members of the crew of Apollo 13
Image credits: grandlewis
#31TIL Frank Dixon, author of the Hardy Boys books and Carolyn Keene author of the Nancy Drew Series don't exist. They are actually pseudonyms for a variety of writers who wrote those stories
#32TIL that when deaf people experience stroke-related brain damage, they often lose the ability to sign in remarkably similar ways to the different forms of linguistic aphasia (difficulty speaking, forming words, sentences being nonsensical)
Image credits: cheeky_melon
#33TIL Alexander Fleming's mold that produced the first antibiotic, penicillin, was kept frozen since 1945 and its genomes are used for regrowing nowadays
#34TIL CCR's 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain?' is about the fact the band wildly exceeded all of their expectations, were rich, famous and hugely successful. Despite all this they were all miserable, angry, depressed and constantly fighting each other for control of the band. They broke up soon after
#35TIL that some male octopuses set up dens next to female octopus dens and have sex without leaving the den by extending the mating arm from one den to another. They copulate repeatedly
#36TIL about Kriegspiel, a chess variant where each player can see their own pieces, but not those of their opponent. Players attempt to move on their turns, and the umpire declares their attempts 'legal' or 'illegal'. If the move is illegal, the player tries again; if it is legal, that move stands
#37TIL Ted Kaczynski(the Unabomber) put his 8 life sentences as "awards of recognition" at his Harvard University 50 year reunion
#38TIL Florence Nightingale was not only a nurse but a statistician who created one of the first pie charts and authored 150 books, pamphlets and reports
#39TIL about Cotard’s Syndrome, also known as “walking corpse syndrome,” a rare mental disorder in which one has delusional beliefs ranging from believing that they are dead, do not exist, or have lost their internal organs/blood/souls. Many even believe they’re immortal and can’t die a natural death
#40TIL about Alexis St. Martin who, after not properly healing after being shot in the stomach, was used in experiments for 12 years as doctors could view his digestion in real time through his wound. He lived another 58 years
#41TIL that ancient civilizations developed iron tools well before the Iron Age by finding meteorites made of iron and nickel that didn’t require smelting
#42TIL a study with 30,899 participants found no link between vitamin supplements and longer lifespans
#43TIL in 2000, an art exhibition in Denmark featured ten functional blenders containing live goldfish. Visitors were given the option of pressing the “on” button. At least one visitor did, killing two goldfish. This led to the museum director being charged with and, later, acquitted of animal cruelty
Image credits: Str33twise84
#44TIL the first McDonalds Drive Thru was made for soldiers, who were unable to leave their vehicle while in uniform
Image credits: YEETAWAYLOL
#45TIL about unisexual mole salamanders which are an all-female complex of salamanders that 'steal' sperm from up to five different species of salamanders in the genus Ambystoma and recombine it to produce female hybrid offspring. This method of reproduction is called kleptogenesis
#46TIL that when "Jaws" was filmed, Steven Spielberg initially wanted to build a giant mechanical shark for realism, but its constant malfunctioning proved to be a budgeting nightmare, so he came up with the cheaper solution of shooting from the shark's POV in the waters instead
#47TIL Peter Laird, creator of TMNT, hated the 5th turtle Venus de Milo, from the short lived The Next Mutation, so much that she's not allowed to even be mentioned or joked about around him
#48TIL that in 1889 the US Congress created a committee with two members known as the "Committee on Disposition of Useless Executive Papers." Its job was to discard papers both members agreed weren't important and report why they weren't important. This later was replaced by the National Archives
#49TIL that Captain Smith of the Titanic disaster (15 April 1912) was the Captain of the Olympic when she collided with a warship (20 Sep 1911). Olympic was the sister ship of Titanic and the repairs from the collision, back in Belfast, actually delayed Titanic’s maiden voyage from 20 March to 10 April
#50TIL After Apollo astronaut Al Worden left NASA, he moved to San Francisco, grew out his hair, and became a quasi-hippie. Worden was also a frequent guest on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, telling children what it was like to be an astronaut
#51TIL The American Civil War not only killed nearly 1 million soliders, it also had many addicted to morphine. Coca-Cola was introduced to try to help them overcome their addiction
#52TIL Stephen Spielberg acquired the rights to the Shrek! book in 1991, planning to make it into a 2D animated movie starring Dan Akroyd as Shrek and Chris Rock as Donkey. However, Dreamworks acquired the rights and created the Shrek movie we know
#53TIL When Mozart stopped by Linz on his way back to Vienna, he found out the local count wanted him to contribute a symphony for an upcoming concert. Mozart was not expecting it and had no music with him, so he ended up having to write a symphony in merely 4 days
#54TIL the last king of Egypt, Faud II, is still alive and ascended to the throne when he was just 192 days old. He was deposed a year later after his father was exiled and Egypt declared a republic
Image credits: TheSameAsDying
#55TIL in the 1800s, the country now known as Vietnam asked the Qing dynasty to change their name to "Nam Việt". The dynasty said no, and changed their name to "Việt Nam" instead
#56TIL that in 1970, a US Navy attack cargo ship accidentally hit the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, putting the bridge out of commission. For the next three weeks while it was repaired, the Navy offered commuters a free shuttle service using helicopters and Landing Craft Units
#57TIL an earthquake occurred during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge with a dozen workers trapped on top of one of the towers swaying 16 feet back and forth, while coworkers were throwing up on the deck
#58TIL The largest structure in the universe is the Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall (10 billion light years) it would take light 72.4% of the time which has elapsed since the big bang to traverse this structure
#59TIL that Rod Stewart had such terrible stage fright during his first concert in America that he hid behind the amplifiers while singing. It took a shot of brandy to get him out. Decades later, he set the record for playing at the largest free rock concert in history, in front of 3.5 million people
#60TIL that Harambe’s mother, only full brother, and two of his half siblings were killed when a tub of wet chlorine tablets was left by a space heater. The toxic fumes were blown into the gorilla enclosure and killed the four gorillas
Image credits: FidelCashflows247
#61TIL that Pop Rocks, Tang, and Cool Whip were all invented by one person, Dr. William A. Mitchell
#62TIL that when Vincent Price agreed to do the voice work for Thriller he was given a choice between taking a percentage of the album proceeds or being paid a flat $20K. He chose the $20K
Image credits: practical_slice_1013
#63TIL that on the atoll of Pinglelap, 10% of the population is affected by total colorblindness, with another 30% being unaffected carriers of the gene. This is due to a population bottleneck caused by a typhoon in 1775 that left 20 survivors on the atoll. One carried the colorblindness gene
#64TIL the North American Gray Squirrel is considered an invasive species in Britain as the squirrels carry a squirrel pox that is deadly for the Red Squirrels native to Britain. The Gray Squirrel also eats seven times as much food as the Red Squirrels, crowding out any who survive the squirrel pox
#65TIL after he was fired from his job as embassador, tortured and banished to his farm estate, N.Machiavelli would return home at night, change the dirty clothes he wore for field work and put on his ambassador outfit, just to study in his office, alone, due to how much he missed his job
Image credits: Ainsley-Sorsby
#66TIL There are over 350 recognized pasta types in Italy today, but in the 13th century, there were 4 main types: spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni and gnocchi
Image credits: thesmartass1
#67TIL in 2013 John Malkovich assisted a man who had tripped and slit his throat on a piece of scaffolding. The man credits the pressure Malkovich applied on his neck with saving his life
#68TIL that Flo Rida tests his upcoming songs at strip clubs first to check if girls are dancing to it before releasing them
Image credits: officiakimkardashian
#69TIL "the 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris" came from a single study of cows, back in the 1970s
#70TIL because Pillsbury forced "The Great British Bake Off" to be called "The Great British Baking Show" in the US, a lot of creative editing had to be done to obscure the logo in the show, including using computer-assisted VFX to change the text on the trophy
#71TIL in France it is illegal to disinherit one’s children, meaning that a particular share of the deceased’s estate is legally required to be kept for their children
#72TIL about Sigurd Eysteinsson's unusual death. Sigurd had his enemies' heads strapped to his victorious men's saddles as trophies, but as Sigurd rode home, Máel Brigte's buck-tooth scratched his leg. The leg became inflamed and infected, and as a result Sigurd died
#73TIL that possums don’t “play dead”, they actually pass out due to fear of predators. They go into shock and faint when confronted, involuntarily. They are in a catatonic state until they become conscious again
#74TIL Madagascar was settled by a small population of no more than 30 women. These 30 women are the ancestors of all native Malagasy today
#75TIL the classic cartoon image of a beehive looks so different from the real thing because it's based on an ancient manmade hive called a skep
#76TIL D-Day was originally supposed to happen on 5th June but meteorologist James Stagg persuaded Dwight Eisenhower to postpone by a day right at the last minute. The weather conditions had to be just right for the landings and planners took the tide, wind speed and even the moon cycle into account
Image credits: thewhit23
#77TIL in Asia, honeybees smear their hive entrances with animal poop to ward off Murder Hornets. One of the few observable times insects have used tools
#78TIL about the Epley maneuver, a simple and effective treatment for vertigo which involves a sequence of head movements. Doctor John Epley had a hard time convincing other doctors that it was effective despite the ease of application and proven efficacy
#79TIL Spitfire planes were "crowdfunded" in some cases in World War II. Large scale contributors were allowed to give the plane a nickname which was printed on the side. For example, ‘Dorothy of Great Britain and Empire’ was named by a group of women, all with the name 'Dorothy'
#80TIL in 2007 a Tombstone with the inscription "you will always be remembered, never forgotten", was left behind by a passenger at Dublin airport, subsequently ending up in lost property
#81TIL amidst early concerns about leaded gas, the engineer who discovered tetraethyllead as an additive demonstrated its 'safety' by pouring it over his hands and inhaling its vapor, stating he could do this every day without issue. He later took a leave of absence due to lead poisoning
#82TIL that in Haitian rural folklore, there are actually two kinds of zombies: the more widely known corporeal zombie, which is missing its spirit, and the "zombie astral," which is missing its body
#83TIL that a 1982 Harvard study confirmed that Tibetan monks can raise their body temperature with their minds. Practitioners of "g-tummo" yoga demonstrated the ability to raise the temperature of different parts of their bodies through meditation alone
#84TIL earthworms are unable to drown like a human would, and they can even survive several days fully submerged in water. They breathe through their skin and can handle water as easily as air
#85TIL about Bradford Bishop, who allegedly killed his wife, mother and three sons in 1976. Bishop was only removed from the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted List in 2018, due to his advanced age, and is still being pursued by the FBI, as there have been sightings of Bishop across Europe for 40 years
#86TIL Mr. T's trademark gold neck chains and jewelry was the result of customers losing the items or leaving them after a fight at the nightclub where Mr T. worked as a bouncer. A banned customer could return to claim his property from Mr. T wearing it conspicuously right out front
#87TIL that Julie Andrews was snubbed for the starring role in the film My Fair Lady, yet took home the Oscar for the same year for Mary Poppins, while Audrey Hepburn wasn’t nominated
#88TIL that in 1830, an attempt was made to steal the skull from the remains of American president George Washington, which resided in a tomb at Mount Vernon. However, the thief mistakenly stole the skull of Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington, who also happened to be the former Washingtons Nephew
#89TIL that baby formula dates back to 1865 and became more popular due to a decline in wet nursing and upon rising concerns with infant deaths due to dry nursing
#90TIL That Smedley Butler was one of the most decorated Marines with 2 Medals of Honor. He served 33 years & became an anti war advocate. He wrote "War is a Racket" about war profiteering. He said "the best he[Al Capone] could do was to operate his racket in 3 districts. I operated on 3 continents."
#91TIL For production of 'The Bellboy ' (1960) Jerry Lewis was actor and director, so he invented a system of multiple cameras and monitors enabling him to act, review the performance, and reshoot immediately. Lewis received the Golden Light Technical Achievement award for the invention
#92TIL that in 2019, a man from Gujarat, India, bit a snake after the snake had bitten him. Both he and the snake died
#93TIL in 1967, hundreds of Singaporean men panicked that their penises were disappearing into their abdomen. They were actually fine but had succumbed to a culture-bound delusion disorder known as koro, which means turtle (as in a turtle’s head retracting into its shell)
#94TIL Christopher Lee Rios, better known as rapper Big Pun, weighed nearly 700 lbs when he died at the age of 28
#95TIL of Folkracing, a form of rallycross racing originating in Finland. There is cost cap on the cars of €1,500, to make sure nobody gets an unfair advantage by spending more on their car, anyone can buy the car for €1,500. If the owner refuses to sell their competition license can be revoked
#96TIL The Harlem Globetrotters had one officially recognized loss in 1971 and other rumored losses in the 1950's that aren't recognized
#97TIL one of the original dwarves in Disney’s Snow White was named “Deafy” whose primary trait was misunderstanding others. This idea was later jettisoned in favor of “Sneezy”
#98TIL McDonald's character Grimace was originally introduced as "Evil Grimace", who had four arms and would steal milkshakes
#99TIL that the US army awarded 20 Medals of Honor, the highest and most prestigious military decoration, to soldiers for their actions at the Wounded Knee Massacre. Many of those killed by US troops during the massacre were unarmed women and children
#100TIL During Julius Caesar's siege of a Gallic fort, the Romans dug tunnels under the spring that served as the fort's water supply. The defenders, believing that the spring drying up was a sign from the gods, surrendered. Caesar spared their lives, but had their hands cut off
#101TIL a modern Formula 1 car costs over $20 Million to build, with almost 90% of the cost being the engine
#102TIL that Potassium's main role in the body is to help maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells. Sodium, its counterpart, maintains normal fluid levels outside of cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and supports normal blood pressure
#103TIL Ted Turner created his own alternative to the Olympics, the Goodwill Games, and Turner believed international sporting competitions would prevent future wars. The Games lasted from 1986 to 2001 and featured the first major international beach volleyball event
#104TIl Las Vegas grew 780,000 people since 2002 but water usage dropped by 24 billion gallons anually in 2020 and Nevada's allotment of water from Lake Mead is only 4% of the total inflow
#105TIL the convention of naming a dog "Fido" was popularized by Abraham Lincoln. "Fido" means "faithful" and it's use as a dog's name dates back to the ancient Romans
#106TIL Dr Seuss studied English at the University of Oxford, with a plan to eventually become a professor there but dropped out when he realized drawing was his only passion. He moved back to the US to become a cartoonist
#107TIL that when Abraham Lincoln took off his Stovepipe Hat to give his first Inaugural Address, he awkwardly looked around for a place to put it. The losing Presidential Candidate, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, stepped forward, said “Permit me,” and took the hat to hold on his knee during the address
Image credits: AspireAgain