100 Mind-Blowing Facts
Scotland has more than 400 words for “snow.”
What better way to cope with the cold than by learning all 421 Scottish words for “snow.” This was discovered when academics at the University of Glasgow underwent a project to compile a Scots thesaurus, called the Historical Thesaurus of Scots. Some words include: “snaw” (snow), “sneesl” (to begin to rain or snow), and “skelf” (a large snowflake).
Adolf Hitler plotted to kill Winston Churchill with exploding chocolate.
The Nazis might be known for heinous war crimes, but assassination by chocolate is one evil plot that they were able to keep relatively under wraps. In the 1940s, Adolf Hitler’s bomb-makers coated explosive devices with a thin layer of dark chocolate, then packaged it in black and gold paper in order to make it look fancy, according to Smithsonian. German secret agents were to place this “chocolate” in Winston Churchill’s War Cabinet dining room where he often ate his meals. However, the plan was foiled by British spies. Death by chocolate averted!
Spending just a few months in Antarctica can shrink your brain.
If you ever take a trip to Antarctica, be sure to do as much socializing as you possibly can, and come up with stimulating ways to keep yourself busy. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in Dec. 2019 explained that “brain imaging in eight polar expeditioners before and after 14 months of isolation showed that the volume of the hippocampal dentate gyrus was lower than that in controls.” IFL Science notes that “researchers believe the changes in the brain they observed are the result of … environmental monotony and prolonged isolation.”
Text messages sent by eagles bankrupted a scientific study.
A team from the Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network thought they had a great idea when they attached SMS text-based tracking devices to 13 steppe eagles. The hope was that the birds would send back valuable information about their behavior. Unfortunately, one bird flew all the way to Iran, “where roaming rates are sky-high,” according to Smithsonian. To get an idea of the kind of money involved, the eagle sent hundreds of text messages at once, and each one cost about 77 cents. Scientist Elena Shnayder told The New York Times, “He disappeared for five months, and all of a sudden here he is, with a very, very heavy phone bill.” The bill was so costly that it ended up bankrupting the study.
Clams have feet.
While it might look like clams have a big tongue that sometimes protrudes from their shell to poke around the ocean floor, what you’re actually seeing is a foot. The appendage, relatively long in comparison to the overall size of the creature, is used to dig in the sand.
If you folded a piece of paper 42 times, it would be thick enough to reach the moon.
Yep, you read that correctly. According to Gizmodo, all it takes to verify this is some simple math. If you fold a piece of paper in half, it doubles in thickness. And if you fold it in half again, it doubles in thickness again. With that type of exponential growth, it would take just 23 folds for a .1-millimeter piece of paper to be one kilometer thick, and 30 folds for it to be thick enough to reach outer space (100,000 kilometers). Unfortunately, the world record for the number of folds is 12.
There is a world record for the largest collection of miniature books.
India’s Sathar Adhoor has a book collection that is surprisingly huge, especially considering that it’s made up of teeny tiny versions of literature. Adhoor is the owner of the world’s largest collection of miniature books, which includes 3,137 unique miniature books. (Officially, a “miniature book” can be no larger than three inches in height, width, or thickness.)
The word “oxymoron” is an oxymoron itself.
According to Merriam-Webster, an oxymoron is “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words.” They use “cruel kindness” to illustrate their point. But the dictionary also could have used the word “oxymoron” as an example—since it turns out the word is an oxymoron itself. “Oxymoron” is derived from the Greek words “oxys,” meaning “sharp,” and “moronos,” meaning “dull” or “stupid.”
Image courtesy Global News CA