"TIL In the 1936 Olympics two Japanese pole vaulters (Shuhei Nashida & Sueo Oe) tied for second. Declined to compete against each other, Nashida was awarded silver and Oe bronze. On return to Japan they had the medals cut in two & joined together to make two 'friendship medals' out of silver & bronze"
"TIL a homeless man found a 10 000$ check on the street meant for a real estate broker and found a way to return it. So, touched, the broker awarded him a place to live and arranged for a job interview. A year later, he was on the board of directors of one of their foundations."
"TIL During World War II, an American lieutenant, realizing his position was inundated with enemy troops, called in an artillery barrage on himself. Following a US counterattack later that day, the lieutenant's body was found alongside approximately 100 German soldiers. His name was John R. Fox."
"TIL When his owner died in August 1936, Shep the Dog followed the casket to the railroad station and watched it being loaded onto a train heading to the eastern US. For six years until his own death, he would greet every train that arrived each day, expecting his master to return."
"TIL Nordic countries have a "Freedom to Roam", allowing people to enjoy all nature regardless of ownership (within reason)"
"TIL that on October 18, 1963 French scientists launched a rocket into space, containing a cat named Felicette. She orbited close to 100 miles above earth, then descended safely to the ground via a special parachute. Felicette has the high honor of being the only cat launched into space thus far."
"TIL that in 1986 an astronomer trying to trace a 75 cent computer time discrepancy for 10 months eventually found a German hacker selling defense secrets to the KGB"
"TIL Michael Jackson was a virtuoso composer, despite being unable to read music or play instruments well. He wrote the parts to his songs by singing and beatboxing into a tape recorder. “He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything.""
"TIL spiders tune their webs like guitar strings, tightening and loosening strands so they can read the different frequencies caused by intruders and determine where/how big the intruders are, if they are predator or prey, or if they’re just a potential mate flirtatiously strumming their strings."
"TIL Neuroscientists have found evidence to suggest feeling powerful dampens a part of our brain that helps with empathy. Even a small amount of power can have this effect on someone"
"TIL about the Japanese national pillow fighting tournament. The pillow fighters start by pretending to sleep on futons. But when the whistle sounds, they spring to their feet and race to get a pillow. A mix between dodgeball and chess, teams throw pillows at each other while protecting the 'King'."
"TIL when former NFL safety Dave Duerson took his life he left a note that read, “Please see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.” He shot himself in the chest rather than his head so as to preserve his brain. Doctors confirmed that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy."
"Today I learned Dana Carvey underwent heart bypass surgery for a blocked coronary artery, but the surgeon operated on the wrong artery. Eventually he won a lawsuit against the hospital and won 7.5 million dollars, all of which was donated to charity."
"TIL Nic Cage once crashed a Nic Cage film festival, watched 4 of his own films, did a 47-minute Q&A and read a 10-minute short story"
"TIL when sonar was first invented, operators were puzzled by the appearance of a ‘false seafloor’ that changed depth with the time of day and amount of moonlight. It was eventually identified as a previously unknown layer of billions of lanternfish that reflect sonar waves and migrate up and down."
"TIL Charles Barkley was the first black baby born at a segregated, all-white town hospital in Leeds, Alabama and was in the first group of black students at his elementary school."'
"TIL Owls’ ears are placed asymmetrically – at different heights on the sides of their faces – so the sounds reach each ear at different times. This is essential to identifying the exact direction of their prey."
"TIL Poland sent the US a birthday card with 5.5 million signatures to mark the 150th anniversary of the US in 1926."
"TIL that in 1948 the Nobel Committee did not award the Nobel Peace Prize on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate”, implying that Mahatma Gandhi would have received it if it were not for his assassination earlier that year."'
"TIL there is such a thing as Earl Grey tea intoxication, where drinking 4L per day causes extensive muscle cramps and blurred vision. Cutting down to 1-2L makes the symptoms go away."
"TIL that in 1648 an angry mob of Parisians once broke into the royal palace, demanding to see the king. They were led into the bedchamber of Louis XIV, who was pretending to be asleep. Satisfied, the mob quietly departed."
"TIL in the 1900s the Austerlitz family in Omaha, Lutheran German emigrants, moved to New York City in hopes of finding fortune through their children's vaudeville talents. The son wore a top hat and studied tango, waltz, and other ballroom dances. He would become Fred Astaire."
"TIL Hummingbirds are one of the fastest animals on Earth relative to their body size. They can cover more body lengths per second than any other vertebrate and for their size can outpace fighter jets and the space shuttle – all while withstanding g-forces that would make a fighter pilot blackout."
"TIL Baby horses are born with "feathers", AKA faery fingers or golden slippers (real name eponychium). They protect the mother's uterus during gestation and birth canal during parturition from damage from the otherwise sharp and dangerous hoof kicks. They harden and fall off very soon after birth."
"TIL many people in ancient Rome who were among the educated elite were aware that lead was poisonous and some of these people even tried to make others aware of this."
"TIL When the doctor Alois Alzheimer wanted to share in a meeting his findings of the Alzheimer patology, the attendees where uninteresed and skipped the questions because they were hurried to go to the next talk that was about "compulsive masturbation"."
"TIL that when the allied forces were at the edge of the city, Hitler ordered the destruction of Paris. The Nazi commander of Paris couldn’t bring himself to execute the order and surrendered the city a few days later."
"TIL that In 1979, two families escaped East Germany in a homemade hot air balloon. They flew for 28 minutes at −8 °C with no shelter as the gondola was just a clothesline railing. They landed just 10km from the border. The escape was planned out over 1 and 1/2 years and took 3 attempts."
"TIL: The United States Department of Defense runs Linux. "In fact, the US Army is the single largest installed base for RedHat Linux and the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet runs on Linux""
"TIL that P.T. Barnum's famous elephant Jumbo got his name from the Swahili word for chief. It was the elephant who caused the word "jumbo" to mean something large - not the other way around."
"TIL that 10s of farmers die each year from Grain entrapment, which is when a person is partially or fully submerged in grain, and cannot get out without assistance. In 2019, 67 incidents of grain entrapment took place, of which 39 were fatal."
"TIL that there is more water in the vapor and clouds above the Amazon rainforest than there is in the Amazon river"
"TIL that in 2016 a research ship was named The RRS Sir David Attenborough. An internet poll to suggest the name of the ship showed the actual winner was the name "Boaty McBoatface," but the Science Minister wanted a "more suitable name" and chose a different name from the poll's choices."
"TIL that guitarist Eddie Van Halen was half Indonesian, and that his family immigrated to the United States because of how badly his mixed-race parents were treated in the Netherlands."
"TIL in Scandinavia the Kiruna to Narvik electrified railway carries iron ore down a steeply graded route. On the way down the trains generate large amounts of electricity by regenerative braking, which is sufficient to power the empty trains back up the track and pump excess energy into the grid."
"TIL of all the gold medals won by US swimmers in the history of the Olympics, nearly 10% were won by Michael Phelps. (23/246)"
"TIL in 1990 Marilyn vos Savant wrote about the "Monty Hall problem" in her column in Parade magazine, correctly answering the statistical brainteaser. Thousands wrote to her to insist she was wrong, including many people with PhDs. Mythbusters even confirmed she was right in a 2011 episode."
"TIL that In 1889 a lion escaped from a travelling show in Birmingham and ran into the sewers. When an angry mob formed, Frank Bostock, the owner secretly snuck another lion out the back. He then returned with the lion clearly visible and was hailed a hero. The escaped lion was still in the sewers!"
"TIL that unlike terrestrial mammals, whales do not have a connected mouth and respiratory system. They do not and cannot breathe through their mouths."
"TIL Elizabeth Swaney, a relatively amateur skier, was able to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics halfpipe by accumulating points at qualifying events leading up to the Olympics by doing flawless yet completely simple routines, outscoring opponents who often would crash in their more-ambitious runs"
"TIL for centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland sheltered Jews persecuted and expelled from various European countries. About three-quarters of the world's Jews lived in Poland by the middle of the 16th century."
"TIL The population of Rio de Janeiro was so unsatisfied with its politicians during the election of 1988, that a well-known local monkey from a zoo received over 400,000 votes."
"TIL about “formaldehyde hunger” a well-known phenomenon in anatomy labs where med students get hungry while dissecting cadavers, allegedly due to formaldehyde being an appetite stimulant."
"TIL Charles Dickens' father was imprisoned when he was boy for unpaid debts. At the age of 12, Dickens' was forced to leave school and work 10-hour long days at a warehouse for 6 shillings per day."
"TIL that during the 1870s, 16 Black Members held seats in Congress—14 in the House, two in the Senate, and each one a Republican from the South with Hiram Revels of Mississippi having been appointed the first Black Senator in February 1870"
"TIL The famously large President Taft followed a weight loss program. Taft was in contact with Dr. Yorke-Davies for over twenty years and kept a daily record of his weight, food intake, and physical activity. Taft managed to go from 340 to 244 pounds and walked 3 miles to the Capitol every day."'
"TIL The only copies of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Beowulf" are unique manuscripts that came from the same private library -- both were nearly destroyed in a fire in 1731."
"Til the Ford Model T, of which Henry Ford famously said "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." was not painted black because it was cheaper, more the fact black paint dried quicker, speeding up the manufacturing process."
"TIL the opening crawl to Star Wars begins with a storybook-esque narration ("A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....") because George Lucas first imagined his films as stories being told by an ancient race of immortals. The immortals were written out for early films, but this vestige remained."
"TIL the oldest woman to climb El Capitan is the mother of Alex Honnold (of Free Solo fame) who did it at the age of 66. Her first time in a climbing gym was when she was 57."