Today I Learned (TIL)

You learn something new every day; what did you learn today? Submit interesting and specific facts about something that you just found out here.

View /r/todayilearned on Reddit.

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Recent posts

Karma Comments Title
42,048 1,174 TIL that when the CEO of discount supermarket chain ALDI was kidnapped, he haggled about his ransom money and claimed the sum as a tax-deductable business expense in court after his release
18,734 720 TIL when Professor Robert Goddard proposed using rockets to send men to the moon the New York Times ran a scathing editorial questioning his credentials, his chair at Clark College and intelligence. In response to Apollo 11 they printed one of the most famous retractions in history.
13,750 500 TIL That in 1974, Time magazine researchers learned, and informed Jack Nicholson (30 at that time), that his sister was actually his mother, and his mother was his grandmother.
56,096 1,550 TIL Platypus venom causes excruciating pain that can last for months on end, which cannot be relieved with conventional painkillers. Not even morphine works against it. The venom causes victims to become nauseated, suffer from cold sweats, and can even cause muscles to waste away.
33,600 1,572 TIL During the Beijing Olympics, a 9-year-old girl who sang a patriotic song at the opening ceremony, was revealed to be a fake lip-syncing. The real singer was a 7-year-old girl who was kept backstage, because she was considered not good looking enough and that might’ve damaged China’s image.
35,819 485 TIL A statistician spent years writing a science fiction novel to teach university statistics. Even though he didn't know anything about writing fiction, he got an illustrator to create graphic novel strips for his story which contained the equivalent of 60 research papers
37,017 1,085 TIL to cure constipation on their expedition, Lewis & Clark were given packs of "thunderclappers": laxatives made of 60% mercury. Archaeologists can track the route of the expedition by following mercury deposits.
5,701 245 TIL a man bought a golden egg for $13,000 at a sale. It turned out it was an incredibly rare Fabergé egg, once owned by the Emperor of Russia, that had been missing since 1902. It is worth $33,300,000.
6,498 540 TIL the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 as part of the Cold War
11,202 293 TIL that Charles Darwin wrote a list of pros and cons of marriage. Pros included "constant companion and a friend in old age... better than a dog anyhow". Cons included "less money for books". When he visited his future wife he forgot to propose because he was too busy telling her about evolution
11,930 1,250 TIL Perpetual Stews were common in the middle ages. The pot was never or rarely emptied, and whatever food was found was placed inside and cooked
21,249 1,155 TIL about Gulf War Illness: Over 1/3 of the veterans that served in the Gulf War experience the same horrendous symptoms, all caused by chemicals the US chose to expose them to. 7,424 of 7,845 claims of GW veterans were denied between 1994 and 1996 - and it's still hard for them to get a diagnosis.

Top posts from /r/todayilearned

Karma Comments Title
113,587 2,528 TIL In 1959, police were called to a segregated library in S. Carolina when a 9yr-old Black boy refused to leave. He later got a PhD in Physics from MIT, and died in 1986, one of the astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger. The library that refused to lend him books is now named after him.
submitted 1 month ago
111,705 2,548 TIL Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't allowed to dub his own role in Terminator in German, as his accent is considered very rural by German/Austrian standards and it would be too ridiculous to have a death machine from the future come back in time and sound like a hillbilly.
submitted 3 weeks, 1 day ago
105,414 3,803 TIL when Rockstar first released Grand Theft Auto, they actually paid reviewers to negatively review the game in order to keep it controversial, and therefore popular. They targeted right wing news papers to ensure moral outrage and drive the game to success.
submitted 2 weeks, 5 days ago
92,117 2,580 TIL the crew of 'Return of the Jedi' mocked the character design of Admiral Ackbar, deeming it too ugly. Director Richard Marquand refused to alter it, saying, "I think it's good to tell kids that good people aren't necessarily good looking people and that bad people aren't necessarily ugly people."
submitted 2 months, 2 weeks ago
91,599 1,803 TIL there is a Montana Law that if a student rides a horse to school, the principal has to feed, water, and tend the horse. Six seniors who were aware of this law rode their horses on the last day of school. Their principal did his duty and took care of their horses.
submitted 2 months, 3 weeks ago
85,950 1,171 TIL President Diouf began an anti-AIDS program in Senegal, before the virus was able to take off. He used media and schools to promote safe-sex messages and required prostitutes to be registered. While AIDS was decimating much of Africa, the infection rate for Senegal stayed below 2 percent
submitted 1 month ago
85,671 2,505 TIL when Weird Al Yankovic asked Kurt Cobain to parody 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' that Kurt asked him if it would be about food, and Al said it would be about how no one could understand his lyrics. Kurt found that extremely funny, and said absolutely.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
81,573 3,058 TIL that Charlie Chaplin made the Hitler mocking film, "The Great Dictator", in 1940 using his own money because none of the Hollywood studios were comfortable irking the Germans as they had financial relations with them. The film is said to be one of the greatest works of Charlie Chaplin.
submitted 2 months, 1 week ago
81,120 3,520 TIL in 1959 a white man from Texas disguised himself as a black man and traveled for six weeks on greyhound buses. After publishing his experiences with racism he was forced to move to Mexico for several years due to death threats.
submitted 1 month, 3 weeks ago
79,991 3,862 TIL In 2004 actor Paul Walker secretly purchased a $10,000 engagement ring for a U.S. military veteran. Paul was at a jewelry store & overheard a couple talking about a ring they loved but that was too expensive. Paul quietly put the ring on his tab and walked out of the door.
submitted 1 week, 3 days ago
79,809 1,378 TIL Of Billy Ray Harris, a beggar who was accidentally given a $4,000 engagement ring by a passing woman when she dropped it into his cup. He never sold it. Two days later the woman came back for her ring and he gave it to her. In thanks, she set up a fund that raised over $185,000 for him
submitted 1 week, 2 days ago
78,669 1,614 TIL when Gene Wilder was offered the role of Willy Wonka, he accepted on one condition: he'd enter with a limp, lose his cane and continue to limp, and then when he's found out, perform a somersault for the crowd, "Because from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth."
submitted 2 weeks, 4 days ago
78,309 1,624 TIL That all of McDonalds’ delivery trucks in the UK, have been running on used cooking oil from their restaurants since 2007.
submitted 2 weeks, 3 days ago
77,127 1,634 TIL prohibition agent Izzy Einstein bragged that he could find liquor in any city in under 30 minutes. In Chicago it took him 21 min. In Atlanta 17, and Pittsburgh just 11. But New Orleans set the record: 35 seconds. Einstein asked his taxi driver where to get a drink, and the driver handed him one.
submitted 1 month, 3 weeks ago
76,905 2,055 TIL when Charlie Sheen came out as HIV positive, it led to a 95 percent increase in over the counter HIV home testing kits and 2.75 million searches on the topic, dubbed "The Charlie Sheen Effect." Some said that Sheen did more for awareness of HIV than most UN events.
submitted 1 month, 3 weeks ago
75,788 1,608 TIL that Nike had conditions before giving rookie Michael Jordan a record contract: Either be rookie of the year, or average 20 ppg, or be an all star, or sell $4 mill worth shoes in a year. Jordan was rookie of the year, scored 28.2 ppg, named all star, and Nike sold $100 mill of shoes in 1984-85.
submitted 3 weeks, 4 days ago
74,594 3,230 TIL the iconic Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was created by only 9 people.... and 8 of them had never once worked on a video game before!
submitted 4 days, 9 hours ago
73,537 1,913 TIL that 80% of toilets in Hong Kong are flushed with seawater in order to conserve the city's scarce freshwater resources
submitted 2 months, 1 week ago
72,535 1,935 TIL the bishop of Orlando is also bishop of the moon, due to a canon law that says "any newly discovered territory would fall under the bishopric from whence the discovering expedition departed." His is therefore the largest Catholic diocese, at over 14,000,000 square miles.
submitted 3 weeks, 1 day ago
72,276 2,105 TIL Charles Manson was once a Scientologist and completed 150 hours of auditing but left the organization soon after, calling it "too crazy"
submitted 3 weeks, 1 day ago
71,774 1,209 TIL George Lucas approved of Mel Brooks’ Star Wars parody Spaceballs and signed off on a fair use agreement. The only condition was that no Spaceballs merchandise would be made to compete with Star Wars merchandise. This is why there’s never been any Spaceballs figures, cereal, or flamethrower.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
71,675 990 TIL that Charles Dickens’ novels were hugely popular even among the illiterate poor. They would pool their money to hire a reader, and then gather together to listen to the stories.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
71,355 5,558 TIL In 2014, black taxi cab drivers brought parts of London to a standstill, protesting against Uber. This led to an 850% increase in downloads of Uber.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
71,333 3,156 TIL the current chess grandmaster, Magnus Carlsen, intentionally plays non-book "inaccuracies" during opening (moves he knows aren't the best) to force the game into a non-book position ASAP so his opponents will have to think for themselves instead of going by memorised opening theory
submitted 2 months, 1 week ago
70,814 1,747 TIL: During the time of the Great Depression, a banker convinced struggling families in Quincy, Florida to buy Coca-Cola shares which traded at $19. Later, the town became the single richest town per capita in the US with at least 67 millionaires.
submitted 2 months, 2 weeks ago
70,617 1,813 TIL just before Live Aid, Freddie Mercury was told by his doctor not to do the show because of some vocal trouble. He of course, ignored it, and went on to deliver a 20 minutes show that, according to a BBC poll, is the greatest live performance of all time.
submitted 2 weeks, 3 days ago
69,633 1,257 TIL that in 2005 graffiti artist David Choe was offered $60K to paint multiple murals at Facebook headquarters. He chose to take his compensation in stock which was eventually worth more than $200 million
submitted 2 weeks, 6 days ago
69,598 1,776 TIL in 2013, Australian blogger Belle Gibson claimed to have beaten brain cancer using 'natural remedies' — selling a cookbook to cancer patients with all her 'secrets'. It was later revealed she never even had cancer, and was fined $410,000 by the Australian government for her deceptive practices.
submitted 6 days, 1 hour ago
69,536 2,098 TIL Switzerland is the only country in the world which could fit 114% of its population into bunkers in case of an emergency
submitted 2 weeks, 5 days ago
69,356 3,512 TIL Serial killer Ed Kemper befriended the very police officers investigating his murders, and would socialize with them at a bar called the “Jury Room”. They called him “Big Ed” and never suspected him. When he initially confessed, they thought he was pulling a prank.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
68,873 2,099 TIL - The inventor of the USB had originally intended for it to be flippable, however that idea was scrapped due to the extra cost. Despite USB becoming the standard, he still regrets that decision. "In hindsight, we blew it," he said.
submitted 2 months, 2 weeks ago
68,859 776 TIL that Louis Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for most of his life, up until the day he died, to commemorate a Jewish family that had taken him in and cared for him as a child.
submitted 3 weeks ago
67,492 2,670 TIL when the "Red Baron" was shot down and killed in combat, his enemies buried him with full military honors and a wreath that said: "To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe"
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
67,308 725 TIL at age 11 Hugh Jackman decided against dance lessons because his older brother told him "dancing is for sissy's." Years later his brother apologized and encouraged him to follow his passion. Hugh signed up for lessons the following day and went on to win a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
66,293 2,468 TIL when France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, Citroen was forced to produce vehicles for the Nazis. They chose to move the fill line on their oil dipsticks lower, causing the trucks to seize under stress from low oil.
submitted 3 weeks, 3 days ago
66,112 1,648 TIL human procrastination is considered a complex psychological behavior because of the wide variety of reasons people do it. Although often attributed to "laziness", research shows it is more likely to be caused by anxiety, depression, a fear of failure, or a reliance on abstract goals.
submitted 1 month, 3 weeks ago
65,804 2,182 TIL of professional "fired men" that were used as department store scapegoats who were fired several times a day to please costumers who were disgruntled about some error
submitted 2 months ago
65,686 1,479 TIL After an internet vote for a new middle name, Macaulay Culkin legally changed his name to Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin.
submitted 1 week, 3 days ago
64,641 1,263 TIL That a German shepherd named Talero stayed next to the body of his owner for 23 days, after he had died in a snow storm. He prevented animals from attacking the body, and tried to keep his owner warm by sleeping by his side.
submitted 4 weeks ago
64,297 1,359 TIL That Giant Tarantulas will keep frogs as pets, keeping them safe from potential predators. In return these frogs will eat tiny insects that could otherwise harm Tarantula eggs before they hatch.
submitted 2 months, 3 weeks ago
64,235 1,929 TIL when Cristiano Ronaldo was asked to donate his cleats to a 10-month-old kid who had a brain disorder, he instead gave $83k to fully pay for the surgery the child would have.
submitted 1 month, 2 weeks ago
63,856 2,364 TIL a neuroscientist determined the most "feel-good" songs of all time... and #1 was "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
submitted 1 week ago
63,703 2,060 TIL When Ringo Starr temporarily left the Beatles in 1968 because he felt side-lined, his fellow Beatles sent him a telegram telling him that he was the best drummer in the world and that they loved him. He returned, and found his drumkit covered in flowers, spelling out "Welcome Back, Ringo.".
submitted 2 days, 15 hours ago
63,472 5,359 TIL of Republican Congress member Thaddeus Steven who wanted to exile former slave owners and redistribute their land among slaves and farmers
submitted 3 weeks, 6 days ago
63,235 1,683 TIL about Robert Landsberg, a photographer who upon realisation that he is going to die in the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980 lied down on top of his equipment to preserve the photographs he had taken of the event.
submitted 2 weeks, 2 days ago
63,092 5,035 TIL despite millennials often being seen as a ‘promiscuous’ generation, they have less sexual partners than previous generations and having less overall sex than their own parents.
submitted 1 week, 6 days ago
62,933 1,316 TIL In the film Osmosis Jones, Bill Murray's character mentions a "National Chicken Wing Festival" in Buffalo, New York. While the festival did not exist during the filming of the movie, this mention caused organizers to create an annual festival in Buffalo which has been active now for 16 years.
submitted 1 month, 1 week ago
62,889 1,486 TIL- Bees don't buzz during an eclipse - Using tiny microphones suspended among flowers, researchers recorded the buzzing of bees during the 2017 North American eclipse. The bees were active and noisy right up to the last moments before totality. As totality hit, the bees all went silent in unison.
submitted 1 week, 6 days ago
62,551 1,791 Til that in 1992, a man named Stefan Mandel won a $27,036,142 jackpot, 6 second prizes, 132 third prizes, and 135 minor prizes in ONE lottery, by buying EVERY SINGLE COMBINATION possible - Over 5.5 million tickets. All 44 US states with lotteries have since changed their laws to prevent this.
submitted 2 months, 3 weeks ago
62,404 1,214 TIL that for 14 years nobody on Sesame Street would believe Big Bird when he would try to tell them about Mr. Snuffleupagus. After an increase in child abuse cases, producers decided to make him "real" so children could see that adults will believe them when they have something important to say.
submitted 1 month, 2 weeks ago