Do you know what makes a Pub Trivia Night or Trivial Pursuit at home interesting? Well, it’s the excitement of answering questions about the lesser-known facts. If you also enjoy those nights, you have come to the right place.
Here we have featured hand-picked facts from the ‘Today I Learned‘ (TIL) subreddit to help you get some interesting information.
TIL an Austrian man left $2.4 million to the French village that hid him from the Nazis
TIL a woman quit her job to search for her border collie who escaped from a hotel room during a thunderstorm while on vacation in Kalispell, Montana. After 57 days of searching and posting hundreds of flyers around town, she finally found ‘Katie’ who was starving, but otherwise OK.
TIL there is a group of wolves in British Columbia known as “sea wolves” and 90% of their food comes from the sea. They have distinct DNA that sets them apart from interior wolves and they’re entirely dedicated to the sea swimming several miles everyday in search of food.
TIL of Vince Coleman, a train dispatcher who sacrificed his life to save hundreds, warning of a massive boat explosion nearby. The message: “Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye, boys.”
TIL That elephants stay cancer free as they have 20 copies of a key tumor-fighting gene; humans have just one.
TIL In 2012 a British man named Wesley Carrington bought a metal detector and within 20 minutes found gold from the Roman Age worth £100,000.
TIL that in 1982, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was rushed to hospital when a fish bone became stuck in her throat, and she ended up having an operation to remove it. Being a keen fisher, she calmly joked when it was done: “The salmon have got their own back”.
TIL that Apples are not ‘true to seed’, so the seeds from any particular variety apple will not grow to be the same variety as the apple tree they came from. E.g. If you planted seeds of Granny Smith it likely will produce a wide variety of different and unknown apple tree types.
TIL that the details of the Manhattan Project were so secret that many workers had no idea why they did their jobs. A laundrywoman had a dedicated duty to “hold up an instrument and listen for a clicking noise” without knowing why. It was a Geiger counter testing the radiation levels of uniforms.
TIL that in 2006, a couple lost for three nights in the San Jacinto Mountains of CA were rescued because they were able to light a signal fire from matches they found in the abandoned camp of a lost hiker who vanished exactly One year before their incident.
TIL we use 100% of our brain. It is a myth we only use a small portion of our brain, and no scientific evidence supports such a hypothesis as a valid theory.
TIL when Steve Buscemi was 4-years-old he was hit by a bus and managed to survive with a fractured skull. He received a $6,000 settlement from the city that was to be collected from a trust fund when he turned 18. When Buscemi turned 18, he used part of the money to pay for full-time acting classes.
TIL that in his acceptance speech for the 1976 Best Album Grammy, Paul Simon jokingly thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year. Stevie Wonder had won Best Album in the previous two years and would go on to win again in 1977 for Songs in the Key of Life.
TIL that the world record for the most passengers on an aircraft was set during Israel’s evacuation of Jews from Ethiopia in 1991, when a single 747 carried at least 1,088 people, including two babies who were born on the flight.
TIL the Dr. Heimlich fought against the Red Cross for 20 years over the practice of giving “5 back slaps” being a better alternative to the Heimlich Maneuver.
TIL A bank robber in France made a fictitious, coded document which he claimed as evidence during his trial. While the judge was distracted by the document, Albert Spaggiari jumped out of a window, landing safely on a parked car and escaped on a waiting motorcycle. He was never seen again.
TIL that in USA, parents are 12.7% less likely to be happy than childless people.
TIL that Albert I of Belgium is called the “Knight King” because he personally led his army in combat for all of WWI; also his wife, Elizabeth of Bavaria, served as a nurse in front-line field hospitals.
TIL: Cats rival dogs on many tests of social smarts, but very few scientists have the patience to try and study them
TIL President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate cotton caused famine in English mill towns. Suffering Manchester workers nevertheless sent a letter of support to Lincoln and he responded with thanks and a gift of food. A statue of Lincoln in Manchester displays excerpts from both letters.
TIL about “lonely negatives”. These are words with common prefixes or suffixes such as “dis-“, “in-“, “un-“, “-less” but they don’t have positive counterparts such as the words “disgust”, “disappoint”, “reckless” – they don’t have “gust”, “appoint”, or “reckful” as their opposites.
TIL that after the Black Plague, depopulation in Europe caused a shortage of laborers, who then were able to demand higher wages for work. Some estimates state that the typical worker’s wages had increased by 50 percent
TIL the U.S. military has used superstition and pretended to be vampires and ghosts to scare enemies away. They dispersed scary horoscopes in Germany, staged vampire attacks in the Philippines, and in Vietnam blasted ghost tapes which consisted of spooky music and eerie voices. Only vampires worked.
TIL that the North America — and the USA in particular, has the world’s most extreme weather, averaging more than 10,000 severe thunderstorm events per year, with more than 1,000 tornadoes.
TIL there were no tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, peanuts, corn, beans, chocolate, vanilla, or tobacco in the old world until about the year 1500, as they are native to the Americas. This was part of the Columbian Exchange which also included many other plants, animals, fungi and diseases.
TIL in WWII, Germany carried out only one land operation in north America, the installation of a secret weather station in Newfoundland. They scattered American cigarette packets and planted a sign saying “Canadian Meteor Service” in case anyone found it, and the site wasn’t rediscovered until 1977.
TIL Hitler planned to replace Berlin with a megacity, Germania, to showcase Nazi power. The plan was a metropolis of madness, with wide thoroughfares only for military parades, car and foot traffic directed to underground tunnels, and no traffic lights anywhere.