13 Useless Facts Everyone Should Know


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Useless facts serve a far greater purpose than what we give them credit for. They sit in the backs of our brains, quietly occupying rent-free space, yet ready to present themselves if a conversation falls flat or a trivia outing happens. We’re not saying that these facts are going to be relevant to your daily life, but we’re also not saying that you don’t need these in your back pocket — just because.

Image Credit: Kandarp Gupta/istockphoto.

1. Mushrooms Were Pretty Much Trees Millions of Years Ago

This sounds like something right out of an imaginative kid’s fairytale novel, but it’s true: Millions of years ago, trees were but a few feet tall. Instead, mushrooms called Prototaxites dominated the ancient air space, towering upwards of 24 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Image Credit: Mushrooms by jmv (CC BY).

2. Cows Get in Their Feelings About Their Best Pals

If you already thought that cows were endearingly goofy, cute animals, then this useless factoid will send you. A 2011 study determined that whenever cows were penned alone, their stress levels were significantly elevated as opposed to when they were with their friends.

Image Credit: Black Hills Stock Show.

3. The Elevator Was Late to the Party

Yes, it turns out that the elevator shaft was actually invented before the elevator. Specifically, it took four whole years for the elevator to materialize after the elevator shaft shaft was invented. The actual construction for Peter Cooper’s Cooper Union Foundation building in New York started in 1853, and an elevator shaft was included as part of the design; Cooper was sure that a passenger elevator would be invented shortly thereafter. Thank goodness Cooper was right.

Image Credit: kadmy/istockphoto.

4. Peacocks Sleep in Trees

You really don’t need to know any more than that. It’s kind of a mic drop fun fact. Just picturing a peacock grabbing some shuteye up in a tree is pretty funny.

Image Credit: Kandarp Gupta/istockphoto.

5. Animals Can Be Very Superstitious

It’s called fixed action patterns, and it’s fascinating. Let’s say a bird’s egg gets moved out of place. The bird will then proceed to enact an exhaustive ritual to get the misplaced egg back into its proper place. The kicker is that once the bird has started the ritual, it will see the ritual through, regardless of whether or not the egg is removed.

Image Credit: BirdImages/istockphoto.

6. Uranus Used To Go by “George”

The jury’s out on which name would’ve been a better fit for the planet we know as Uranus. When Uranus was first discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1781, King George III of England was so elated that he appointed Herschel to be the official court astronomer. Herschel proceeded to reciprocate the favor by naming his discovery, “Georgium Sidus.” This is Latin for “the Star/Planet of George” — or, in short, “George.” That name stuck around in the record books until 1850, when German astronomer Johann Bode recommended a name-swap with “Uranus.” What a grave mistake. Poor George.

Image Credit: Andrey Armyagov/shutterstock.

7. There’s a Genuine “Elf Whisperer” Job

If you’re feeling like your life is lacking color, gusto, and energy, you might be in luck. That is, if the position of “Elf Whisperer” is ever vacated: The coveted role is currently held by Ragnhildur “Ragga” Jónsdóttir. The position requires her to keep a watchful eye over Iceland’s Elf Park, and to speak on behalf of the country’s alleged numerous elves. Studies have actually shown that up to a third of Icelanders believe that elves exist, so the job is clearly essential. Jónsdóttir has gone so far as to carry out inspections of highway sites, as well as the location of an aluminum factor, to ensure that the construction wouldn’t perturb any invisible elves.

Image Credit: John Speargod/shutterstock.

8. Penguins Have No Problem Drinking Seawater

Penguins are ahead of the game, man. The fascinating creatures have glands located under their eyes, which are responsible for the extraction and secretion of excess salt. These glands are so powerful that they allow penguins to drink seawater as their primary source of water. Pretty dang cool.

Image Credit: ozflash/istockphoto.

9. The Biggest One-Hit Wonder Award Goes to …

The data doesn’t lie: Apparently Norman Greenbaum holds the title (on Spotify) for being the biggest one-hit wonder with “Spirit in the Sky.” The absolute banger of a song had 283,552,742 listens on Spotify as of April 2021. Greenbaum’s second most played song, “Marcy,” only had 332,424 listens. Not terrible by any means at all, but a considerable drop-off.

Image Credit: Avid Photographer. Travel the world to capture moments and beautiful photos. Sony Alpha User/istockphoto.

10. A Happy Rabbit’s Joyous Jump Is Called a “Binky”

If the “binky” doesn’t put a smile on your face, at this point I’m not sure what will. The easiest way to determine if a rabbit is in a state of euphoria is if they’re jumping around while moving their heads in different directions. It’s a shock that there’s not a TikTok dance for this whole thing yet. Can’t you see it catching on? Should we hit the town and go binkying tonight, or no?

Image Credit: Eric S./Yelp.

11. LEGO Is the World’s Largest Manufacturer of Tires

And no, we’re not talking about monstrously sized LEGO tires (although, let’s make that happen as soon as possible). In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records declared LEGO as the largest manufacturer of tires, making hundreds of millions of tires for its construction toy kits. Bridgestone and Michelin follow close behind.

Image Credit: ivanastar/istockphoto.

12. Humans Are Born To Be Practically Fearless

Let that resonate for a second. As it turns out, when we’re but little babies, we’re actually generally fearless. The only things that give us fear as babies is the thought of falling and then loud noises. The rest is learned. 

Image Credit: Sisoje/istockphoto.

13. Before Color TV Was Invented, 75% of People Claimed They Dreamed in Black and White

Wow, so TV really is running the gamut on our brains. A mere 12% of people in a 2008 study said that they dreamed in black and white. Even more surprising? People aged 25 or younger said that they practically never dreamed in black and white. Conversely, those aged 55 or older that watched black-and-white TV as children had colorless dreams about 25% of the time.

Image Credit: skynesher/istockphoto.

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