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
27,334 644 TIL in 346BC, Alexander the Great, at the age of 10, after taming a large anxious horse he was allowed to buy it. He named the horse "Bucephalas", and he rode the horse until the Battle or Hydapes in 326BC when it died at the age of 30. Alexander later named a city after his steed.
76,496 2,602 TIL that the Sony PlayStation was never meant to be a product. It was intended to be a new console that would play exclusively Nintendo games on CDs. Instead Nintendo backed out of the deal at the last minute. Sony went ahead and launched what would become the most successful console of all time.
28,906 1,012 TIL because of the vastness of the deep ocean, when a male and female anglerfish mate their bodies fuse into one. The male's now useless body parts like eyes and fins wither away. He spends the rest of his life attached to her like a parasite, taking food and providing her with babies.
51,781 1,166 TIL The bezel on a dive watch only turns counterclockwise so that if the bezel is bumped accidentally during a dive it will only move in one direction, subtracting time from the dive and prompting the diver to surface early rather than staying under for too long.
13,386 524 TIL that white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are all the same mushroom but at different stages of growth.
59,605 2,846 TIL of ablaut reduplication, an unwritten English rule that makes "tick-tock" sound normal, but not "tock-tick". When repeating words, the first vowel is always an I, then A or O. "Chit chat" not "chat chit"; "ping pong" not "pong ping", etc. It's unclear why this rule exists, but it's never broken
7,291 419 TIL Greenland only has one Muslim resident and he is a Lebanese man who runs a restaurant in Nuuk.
19,417 899 TIL bathing was common in the Middle Ages and people understood the importance of being clean.
35,827 1,559 TIL Bobby Fischer who is considered to be the greatest chess player of all time spent the last 16 years of his life in exile after the United States put a warrant out for his arrest for violating sanctions by participating in a chess tournament held in Yugoslavia which was under a trade embargo.
50,036 1,367 TIL the State of Washington once forced Comcast to refund nearly 50,000 customers for charging them a $5/month "service protection plan" that actually did nothing.
62,903 2,137 TIL Titanic crew member William Murdoch who was portrayed as shooting a passenger and then commiting suicide in the movie, was in fact last seen trying to fill as many life boats as possible and heroically went down with the ship.
22,438 1,132 TIL that the majority of Americans teenagers are still virgins by the time they hit eighteen, and the number using birth control has increased over time.

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 4 months, 4 weeks ago
113,016 3,492 TIL that a 13-year-old opened a hot dog stand in front of his home in Minnesota, causing a complaint to the health department. Instead of shutting him down, the inspectors helped him bring his stand up to code and paid the $87 fee for his permit out of their own pockets.
submitted 3 months, 2 weeks 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 4 months, 2 weeks 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 4 months, 2 weeks ago
103,487 5,809 TIL: This year, the official Yu Gi Oh tournament hosted by Konami instituted a hygiene clause to rulebook. This allows judges to penalize players with dirty clothing or terrible odor by giving them a loss. Super Smash Bros tournament have also started implementing similar rules.
submitted 1 week, 5 days ago
97,644 1,700 TIL that Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather books who’d also adapted them to film, had no idea what he was doing as he’d never written a screenplay before. After winning two Oscars, he decided to buy a book on screenwriting to learn how. In the first chapter, it said “Study Godfather I”.
submitted 3 months, 3 weeks ago
95,701 2,609 TIL about Marion Stokes, a Philadelphia woman who began taping whatever was on television in 1979 and didn't stop until her death in 2012.. The 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes she made are the most complete collection preserving this era of TV. They are being digitized by the Internet Archive.
submitted 3 months, 2 weeks ago
95,361 1,983 TIL In 1970, psychologist Timothy Leary was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On arrival, he was given a psychological evaluation (that he had designed himself) and answered the questions in a way that made him seem like a low risk. He was assigned to a lower-security prison from which he escaped.
submitted 1 month, 3 weeks 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 6 months, 1 week 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 6 months, 3 weeks ago
91,120 5,021 TIL TVs emit a tone during ad breaks that are inaudible to humans but that smartphones are listening for; now corporate entities can link the tv & phone as belonging to the same person. It means govt entities can play a tone thru the TV & ping all the phones in the room, identifying the whole group.
submitted 2 months, 2 weeks ago
90,461 1,151 TIL in 1970, a gay man discovered a loophole in Minnesota law that said gay marriage wasn't explicitly illegal, as long as officials allowed it. He then changed his name legally from 'Jack' to 'Pat Lyn' and fooled officials into thinking he was a woman — successfully getting a gay marriage license.
submitted 3 months, 3 weeks ago
90,217 2,390 TIL a Japanese bomber pilot dropped four bombs on a small Oregon coastal town. The damp atmosphere meant the thermite bombs failed to explode. Years later the citizens of that town invited the pilot to their town. He accepted, and gave them a samurai sword as apology. It's still on display.
submitted 2 months, 3 weeks ago
89,392 2,596 TIL that after visiting a prison in Norway that treated prisoners humanely, a warden from North Dakota went back and reformed her prison based on Norway's model. It later saw sharp decline in violence against inmates and threats against staff
submitted 3 months, 2 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 5 months ago
85,737 607 TIL Mr. T had T-cell lymphoma. He said, “Can you imagine that? Cancer with my name on it—personalized cancer.” Fortunately he was able to beat it and is cancer free.
submitted 1 month, 2 weeks 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 5 months ago
82,797 1,543 TIL that Sir Christopher Lee(who played Saruman in "The Lord of the Rings") read the trilogy every year from the year it was published to his death in 2015. He was also the only member of the cast and crew ever to have met J.R.R Tolkien himself.
submitted 1 week, 2 days 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 6 months, 1 week ago
81,281 1,357 TIL A boy dying of an incurable illness wanted to meet Luke Skywalker (in character). His mental state devolved to the point where he did not realise Luke was fictional. Mark Hamill agreed to dress up in character and meet the boy. He spent hours answering questions.
submitted 3 months, 2 weeks 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 5 months, 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 4 months, 1 week 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 4 months ago
79,357 1,483 TIL that Glenn K. Tripp, a D.B Cooper copycat, hijacked a plane for a $600k ransom. He had his drink spiked with Valium by a flight attendant, and after a 10 hour standoff, lowered his ransom to 3 cheeseburgers and a head start on a getaway.
submitted 1 month ago
79,127 1,935 TIL that Schizophrenia's hallucinations are shaped by culture. Americans with schizophrenia tend to have more paranoid and harsher voices/hallucinations. In India and Africa people with schizophrenia tend to have more playful and positive voices
submitted 3 months, 1 week ago
79,053 1,497 TIL about Congressman Charlie Wilson's revenge. When he was 13, his neighbor, Charles Hazard poisoned his dog by mixing glass into its food. Years later, when Hazard was running for office, Wilson drove 96 people to the polls, telling them how Hazard had killed his dog. Hazard lost by sixteen votes.
submitted 1 week, 3 days ago
79,035 2,609 TIL a woman in France accidentally received a phone bill of €11,721,000,000,000,000 (million billion). This was 5000x the GDP of France at the time. It took several days of wrangling before the phone company finally admitted it was a mistake and she owed just €117.21. They let her off.
submitted 2 months 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 4 months, 2 weeks ago
78,324 1,987 TIL the potato was popularized in France largely by one man who placed guards around his potato field and instructed them to "accept any and all bribes from civilians".
submitted 3 months, 1 week 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 4 months, 2 weeks ago
77,965 3,505 TIL the food court at Costco makes so much money selling pizza to hungry shoppers, it's ranked as the 14th largest pizza chain in the US - even beating out California Pizza Kitchen, among others
submitted 1 week, 6 days ago
77,757 1,254 TIL about "paired kidney exchange", which allows you to donate your kidney that wasn't a match for your intended recipient (spouse, child, etc.) to a stranger but in turn receive a kidney that is a match for your loved one. Instead of two people going without a transplant, both get a transplant.
submitted 2 months, 4 weeks 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 5 months, 2 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 5 months, 2 weeks ago
76,496 2,602 TIL that the Sony PlayStation was never meant to be a product. It was intended to be a new console that would play exclusively Nintendo games on CDs. Instead Nintendo backed out of the deal at the last minute. Sony went ahead and launched what would become the most successful console of all time.
submitted 10 hours, 20 minutes ago
76,343 1,667 TIL of The Rolex Murder. On July 28, 1996, a man’s body washed up on a trawler in the UK seas. There was no identification on the body except a 25-year-old Rolex Oyster on his wrist. As Rolex maintains such meticulous service records, they were able to ID the victim and ultimately the murderer.
submitted 2 months, 2 weeks ago
76,025 1,153 TIL that Teller (the silent half of Penn and Teller) began doing magic in complete silence when performing at fraternity houses as he found it reduced heckling and beer thrown at him during his act.
submitted 3 months, 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 4 months, 3 weeks ago
74,666 2,125 TIL that a guy called Dale Schroeder used his life savings to send 33 students to college. he grew up poor in Iowa, never married, had no children, and worked as a carpenter at the same company for 67 years and only owned 2 jeans.
submitted 4 weeks 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 months 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 6 months, 1 week ago
73,269 3,378 TIL The US Military still uses 8 inch floppy disks on outdated IBM computers to run the nuclear missile systems. It's because they are incredibly hard to hack. The computers are essentially air-gapped and the old IBM computers are reliable. They could run for another 40 years with spare parts.
submitted 3 months, 2 weeks ago
72,700 1,367 TIL about Keith Cutler, a judge summoned to be a juror on a case he was presiding over. When he applied to be excused from jury service he was initially declined, and was told to write to the resident judge, to which he replied: "I am the resident judge."
submitted 1 month, 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 4 months, 2 weeks 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 4 months, 2 weeks 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 5 months, 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 5 months, 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 5 months 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 6 months 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 6 months, 1 week ago