The world is a weird and wonderful place filled with interesting, unique and ‘strange but true’ facts that will make your friends and family say “wow! How did you know that?”.
Read on to discover 7 fantastic facts that we bet you’ve never heard before.
You're more likely to get a computer virus from visiting a religious website than a porn website
You read that right. According to an Internet Security Threat Report by American software company Symantec, religious and other ideological websites contain significantly more security threats than adult and pornographic sites.
The report found that religious sites contained an average of 115 threats, while pornagraphic sites had just 25. Who’d have thought it!
The explanation? Porn sites already make a lot of money and want to keep bringing people back to their site time and time again. Viruses and malware just aren’t great for repeat business. It’s strange, but true!
The Eiffel Tower grows every summer
What?! How can a metal structure possibly ‘grow’? Well, it’s down to science. The 131-year-old tower is made of iron, which naturally expands when temperatures rise. This unique natural phenomenon (called thermal expansion) causes the Eiffel Tower to ‘grow’ up to 15 centimeters every summer.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t just keep growing forever. When winter comes around and the temperatures drop, the metal structure shrinks back down again. Phew!
Only about 25% of the Sahara Desert is sandy
When you picture the Sahara Desert, you probably picture impressive, towering sand dunes with a line of camels wandering in the distance. However, a strange but true fact is that the Sahara isn’t actually as sandy as you might think.
In reality, only a quarter of the vast 9.2 million square kilometre desert is covered in sand. The rest is made up of barren, rocky terrain, dry valleys, salt flats, lakes and rivers.
Suddenly, the desert doesn’t sound quite as exciting. I’ll take the sand and the camels please!
The first pregnancy test is over 3000 years old
No, women weren’t weeing on little plastic sticks back in Ancient Egypt. However, they did have their own, very similar way to determine if they were pregnant.
In what are believed to be the first ever pregnancy tests, women urinated on bags of barley or wheat seeds. If the seeds sprouted quickly, they were pregnant.
Even more interesting is the fact that those ancient tests were actually surprisingly accurate, being able to correctly identify between 70 and 85% of pregnancies. In fact, modern pregnancy tests work in a very similar way.
Thanks, ancient Egyptian women!
2m tall penguins used to roam the Earth
You won’t believe this strange but true fact! Researchers from the La Plata Museum in Argentina have discovered fossils of a huge penguin species that lived 37 million years ago.
The ‘colossus penguin’ would have stood at 2m tall and weighed as much as 115kg. These giant penguins could stay underwater for up to 40 minutes, allowing them to hunt fish more effectively.
I don’t know about you, but massive, human-sized penguins sound like the stuff of nightmares.
Your nostrils only work one at a time
Go on, try it! You can only breathe in and out of one nostril at a time. Why? Because they (very kindly) share the workload, switching things up to give eachother breaks in the so called ‘nasal cycle’.
Every few hours, your autonomic nervous system (which also regulates your heart rate and digestion) changes which nostril does the hard work. It’s for this reason that when you get a blocked, stuffy nose, it’s also only in one nostril at a time.
This strange but true fact will certainly get you sniffing.
Ketchup used to be sold as a medicine
There’s nothing quite like a plate of greasy chips smothered in a shameful amount of ketchup. But would you say it’s actually medicinal? Perhaps not.
However, back in the 1830s, that’s exactly how ketchup was sold. In 1834, after years of the American people being weirdly sceptical and suspicious of tomatoes, Ohio physician Dr. John Cook Bennett declared it to be a miracle cure for ailments like diarrhoea, indigestion and jaundice.
Soon after, he began creating his own tomato ketchup recipe, which was concentrated into ‘tomato pills’.
If you didn’t already know, these miraculous ketchup claims were untrue, and the scam eventually ended in the 1850s after imitators took things too far and people started to realise there was nothing medicinal about tomato ketchup.
That didn’t stop it becoming one of the world’s favourite condiments though!
Now go forth and share your new found wisdom. But first, let us know, which of these strange but true facts shocked you the most?
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