Have you ever realized that so many exciting facts surround us? And most of them can make us think, “What?”
Scroll down, make notes, and surprise your friends on your next trivia night.
French Author Georges Perec Wrote An Entire Novel Without Using The Letter ‘E’
In 1969, French novelist Georges Perec wrote the entirety of La Disparition without using the letter “e.” He decided to do this as an experiment called “constrained writing,” a technique to explore new writing patterns and structures.
The novel was translated to English as A Void, and was again devoid of “e.” It’s the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet, yet Perec wrote 328 pages without using it once.
Ants Take Around 250 Power Naps A Day
A recent study found that some ant species take incredibly short power naps at staggered times – approximately 250 per day. Their naps last about 60 seconds, which adds up to around 4 hours and 48 minutes of daily shut-eye. This means there are always ants awake, while others are snoozing.
The study also found that 80% of an ant workforce is awake and active at any one time.
If You Smell Fish And No One’s Cooking, It’s Likely An Electrical Fire
If you begin to smell a fishy odor and you’re not cooking fish, it could be a sign that your house has an electrical fire. The stink comes from heat-resistant chemicals and insulation that smolder when items like wires, circuit breakers, and outlets get too hot.
Once these electrical components begin to overheat, the fishy smell is released, meaning an electrical fire could be imminent!
One Of The Oldest Tablets From Mesopotamia Is A Customer Complaint
The world’s first-ever documented customer complaint dates all the way to ancient Mesopotamia. The complaint was filed around 3,800 years ago from the city of Ur, which is now Tell el-Muqayyar in modern Iraq, and was written on a clay tablet. It’s traced to a man named Nanni, who sent it to a businessman named Ea-nasir when Nanni was dissatisfied with his copper purchase.
The complaint is in the Akkadian language in cuneiform script, one of the oldest forms of writing. Translated by Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim, the end of the tablet reads as follows:
…Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.
The Bird Population Of North America Has Plummeted By 3 Billion In The Last 50 Years
Since 1970, researchers have been collecting a variety of information on 529 bird species. Over the last 50 years, they have found that North America’s bird population has decreased by around 3 billion birds.
To conduct this research, data was collected from long-running surveys from volunteer bird spotters. The information was then combined with decades’ worth of data on migrating bird flocks detected by 143 weather radar installations.
The results concluded that more than 90% of the loss comes from around 12 bird families that include sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, finches, meadowlarks, dark-eyed juncos, horned larks, and red-winged blackbirds.
Maine Has More Shoreline Than California
Although California is a much larger state than Maine, Maine actually has more beachfront mileage than its West Coast friend. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that California has 840 miles of shoreline, while Maine has around 228. However, another kind of shoreline can also be counted – tidal coastline.
Tidal coastline accounts for all the nooks and crannies that appear on the edges of the coastline, a much more precise figure. When including Maine’s tidal shoreline, the state has 3,478 miles, compared with California’s 3,427.
Cows Moo With Regional Accents
After dairy farmers began to notice their cows had moos that varied from one another, depending on which herd the cows were in, specialists began to examine the different bovines.
John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London, said this phenomenon could be a result of “peer pressure.” According to Wells,
This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country. This could also be true of cows. In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group.
Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller, a linguistics lecturer at the University of the West of England in Bristol, added on to Wells’s statement:
When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the West Country cow moo.
The Treadmill Was Actually A Torture Device In Jails
In 1818, Sir William Cubitt invented the “everlasting staircase” to bring reform to convicts in the Victorian Era. The machine consisted of 24-spoked paddlewheels that could hold up to 40 people at a time; it forced the convicts to continuously climb, and could be used for hours daily.
The main goal was to punish those in prison, but the “stairwheel,” as it was also called, ended up severely injuring those who used it. It was abolished in 1898, but modern-day treadmills are still used willingly around the world by those with workout regimens.
The Singer Of ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’ Died After An 11-Hour Police Standoff
Jermaine Fuller, the lead singer of the Buckwheat Boyz, was found deceased in 2002, after an 11-hour police standoff. Fuller barricaded himself in an apartment during the confrontation, and his brother-in-law, rapper Snoop Dogg, made a taped message to persuade Fuller to surrender.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Snoop tried to bring about a peaceful resolution: “Do what they say. We’ve got lawyers to take care of this. We’ll take care of it.”
Unfortunately, his pleas were unsuccessful, and Fuller was found dead in the barricaded apartment, allegedly of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Disney Is The Second-Largest Buyer Of Explosives In The US
The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world and the second-largest buyer of explosives in the US.
With nightly fireworks and other light shows around the various theme parks, Disney buys almost as many explosives as the US Department of Defense, spending more than $50 million a year on its entertaining pyrotechnics. The only organization that spends more is the US government.
The Second-Largest Air Force In The World Is The U.S. Navy
With more than 3,700 aircraft, the US Navy is the second-largest air force in the world – only behind the US Air Force itself. The US Navy has 323,000 active-duty servicepeople and 109,000 personnel, so it is also the largest navy in terms of manpower.
Additionally, it has 10 aircraft carriers, nine amphibious assault ships, 22 cruisers, 62 destroyers, 17 frigates, and 72 submarines.