One of the most beautiful things about life is that we never stop learning – it seems like almost every day we learn something new that we can later share with our friends and loved ones. And just in case you feel like learning more but don’t have the time to go to the library, the Today I Learned subreddit has got you covered.
The 25 million users of this subreddit regularly share all sorts of interesting facts your teachers never taught you back in school, and they’re absolutely fascinating.
TIL: Microsoft tried a 4-day workweek in Japan as part of a “Work Life Choice Challenge” by shutting down offices every Friday. Productivity, measured by sales per employee, increased by almost 40% compared to the same period the previous year.
TIL: In a village in India, an Indian robin had made a nest and laid her eggs on the village’s switchboard. The village decided to go without street lights for over a month for the safety of the bird and to allow her eggs to hatch. After 45 days, the bird and its hatchlings safely flew away.
TIL of the Schiphol fly, which is a fly engraved on urinals at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The psychology is that men will want to “wash” the fly off the urinal so they focus more when urinating, apparently lowering cleaning bills in public bathrooms.
TIL people who speak Icelandic can still understand the old Icelandic Sagas because of how little the language has changed over the past 1000 years.
TIL that baby owls sleep down on their stomach because their heads are too heavy. They do that until they are large enough to sleep upright.
TIL Joseph Strauss, the engineer of the golden Gate Bridge, mandated that a net be installed under the bridge for safety while being built. This was revolutionary at the time. The net caught 19 men who fell, saving all of them from a certain death.
TIL during the Vietnam war, many American soldiers stationed in Japan went AWOL and fled to Sweden. Swedish PM Palme was vehemently against the war and promised that he would grant asylum to deserters.
TIL: In order to get improvements in their job security amidst the emergence of a rival bus line, bus drivers in Okayama, Japan decided to go on strike in a unique way in 2018. While on strike, they supported the community by continuing to drive their routes, but simply not charging customers.
TIL fish eggs can survive and hatch after passing through a duck, providing one explanation of how seemingly pristine, isolated bodies of water can become stocked with fish
TIL that a baby elephant struck by a motorbike while crossing a road in Thailand survived after an off-duty rescue worker performed CPR on it. The man had worked in rescue for 26 years and performed dozens of CPR attempts on humans, but the elephant was the first victim he had ever managed to revive
TIL – In order to bolster its waning popularity as a travel hub, Japan’s Kishigawa Train Line appointed a cat named Tama as its new station master in 2007, leading to a huge spike in popularity as a tourist destination. In 2010 a second cat was hired to “assist” Tama with her duties.
TIL A Stolen teddy bear with dying mother’s voice has been returned after actor Ryan Reynolds, celebrities offered a $15,000 reward
TIL that the juggling done by David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth was actually performed by juggler Michael Moschen, who had to do all the tricks blind while standing behind Bowie. He won a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” for his techniques a few years later in 1990.
TIL in Cuba, picking up hitchhikers is mandatory for government vehicles, if passenger space is available.
TIL that Ken Eto, the first American-Asian leader in the mafia, was shot 3 times in the head at close range. After the hitmen ran, he climbed out of the car, walked a few blocks over to the nearest pharmacy and politely asked for medical attention. He lived to 84.
TIL in the 5th century BC, diabetes was first identified by a surgeon named Sushruta who pointed out that the urine of diabetics was sweet enough to attract ants and sticky to the touch. He noted that diabetes affected rich castes and was related to the excessive consumption of rice and sweets
TIL seahorse couples greet each other every morning with a dance, which sometimes involves changing colour. It is a way of reinforcing their bond and synchronising their reproductive cycles.
TIL Harriet Tubman suffered a violent head injury as a child causing her to frequently slip into into sleep like states. These would produce vivid dreamlike hallucinations that Tubman interpreted as messages from god, to devote her life to freeing southern slaves through the Underground Railroad.
TIL: Faced with a severe pilot shortage during WWII, the USA started a program called WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to train women to be pilots. 1100 women volunteered to fly military aircraft. They were finally granted military status in the 1970s and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.
TIL a 75-year Harvard study found close relationships are the key to a person’s success. Having someone to lean on keeps brain function high and reduces emotional, and physical, pain. People who feel lonely are more likely to experience health declines earlier in life.
TIL a goat that was sold to be slaughtered for an Indian restaurant in Alaska escaped from the owners and a goat chase ensued around town. The goat became famously known by the name Curry and people would post photos anytime they spotted him. He was eventually caught and became a mascot.
TIL while making Moana, Disney producers visited the South Pacific and assembled an “Oceanic Story Trust” comprised of local cultural experts to advise on accuracy of details. Maui was originally bald but he was redrawn with a full head of hair as hair symbolized mana (power) in Polynesian culture.
TIL that Meerkats are the most murderous animals on earth. 20% of all meerkats die at the hands of another meerkat.
TIL that the famous Japanese painting of a giant wave is actually from a series of 36 paintings of Mt. Fuji from different views
TIL There is an Austrailan fungus called “The Stonemaker Fungus” that only shows up right after a forest fire. They live underground in a stone-like mycelium and pop up through the ashes 2-10 days after the fire, sometimes as infrequent as every 100 years.
TIL A casino’s database was hacked through a smart fish tank thermometer
TIL Jim Henson originally wanted the Muppets to be for adults and didn’t see his characters as a vehicle for children’s education and family entertainment. Indeed, he first envisioned something closer to South Park rather than Sesame Street and in the 1950s they did dark comedy in commercials.
TIL country singer Loretta Lynn had more songs banned from radio than every other male country artist combined in the 20th century.
TIL In 2014 a three-year-old was rescued after 11 days in the Siberian wilderness thanks to her puppy, which she held onto for warmth. She was found less than 100 feet from her search party.
TIL The lack of an Oxford comma in the wording of a state law laying out what activities qualify a worker for overtime pay, more than 120 drivers for the Oakhurst Dairy became eligible for a multi-million settlement for unpaid overtime.