50 More Awesome Facts (About Everything)

istock
istock

We can’t put down National Geographic Kids’ new book 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) 2. Here are 50 more of our favorite awesome facts from its pages.

1. Black bears sometimes hibernate in the tops of trees.

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2. The first organized baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S.A., in 1849.

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3. Tokelau, a group of remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, receives 100 percent of its electricity from solar energy.

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4. All cats were considered sacred in ancient Egypt. If you killed a cat, you could be sentenced to death.

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5. Some of the first flags on pirate ships were red, not black.

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6. The most common gift on Father's Day is a necktie.

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7. More board games are sold in Germany than anywhere else on Earth.

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8. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the U.S. capital for the shortest period of time—1 day: September 27, 1777.

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9. Some kangaroos that lived 12,000 years ago were the size of rhinoceroses.

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10. Nightshades are often thought of as very poisonous plants, but tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes are all part of the nightshade family.

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11. Human babies cannot taste salt until they are 4 months old.

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12. You can buy jam infused with sand from the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.

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13. Male pandas do a handstand while peeing to mark trees.

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14. There are close to 400 lakes under the ice in Antarctica, including one with an area nearly as big as North America's Lake Ontario.

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15. Giant crystals as long as a school bus can be found 1,000 feet (305 m) underground in Mexico's Cave of Crystals.

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16. There's a device that uses sound waves to put out fire.

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17. If Earth were the size of a grain of sand, the sun would be the size of an orange.

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18. Golf balls were once made out of solid wood.

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19. Frogs and salamanders can breathe through their skin.

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20. The Dead Sea is not entirely dead. Halophile microbes thrive in the salty waters.

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21. According to a 2012 survey, the second most favorite topping in the United States is a fungus: mushrooms!

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22. Flying the U.S. flag upside down signals extreme distress.

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23. The first horses were the size of Siamese cats. They were the smallest horses that ever lived.

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24. Only about 100 people speak Latin fluently.

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25. The word "brassiere" comes from the military word meaning "arm guard" in old French.

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26. A single cornflake shaped like the U.S. state of Illinois sold at an online auction for $1,350.

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27. Uranus only has 2 seasons- summer and winter. Each lasts 42 Earth years.

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28. The heart is so strong it can squirt blood up to 30 feet (9 m).

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29. It's an Italian tradition to wear red underwear for good luck on New Year's Eve. People in Latin America wear yellow to bring happiness and prosperity.

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30. Two billion people on Earth eat insects as part of their regular diet.

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31. Green eyes, found in only 2 percent of the population, are more common in females than males, and among celebrities than the general public.

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32. An 11-year-old girl from England is credited with naming Pluto in 1930.

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33. Blood makes a loop around your body more than 1,000 times a day.

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34. Slowworms look and move like snakes, but they're actually legless lizards.

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35. Barbers were also surgeons in the Middle Ages. Some say the poles outside their shops were colored red for blood, blue for veins, and white for bandages.

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36. In Ancient Greece, it was believed that a person could be transformed into a werewolf by eating human flesh.

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37. People who fear Friday the 13th suffer from friggatriskaidekephobia.

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38. Worms eat their weight in food every day.

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39. Researchers think the entire face of the Great Sphinx of Giza was once painted red.

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40. In 1963, a cat named Felix became the first feline in space.

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41. Pirates had bedtimes too! On Captain Bart Roberts' ship, "lights out" was 8 p.m.

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42. The corpse flower, named after its unfortunate smell, can take up to six years to bloom—thankfully!

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43. An elephant's skin can be an inch (2.5 cm) thick in places.

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44. All Scandinavian countries have a cross on their flags.

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45. Camels originated in North America, but became extinct on the continent 10,000 years ago.

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46. Venus spins backwards on its axis.

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47. It takes less than 1 minute for blood to travel all around your body.

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48. A man in the United Kingdom holds the world record for putting on the most pairs of underpants in 1 hour: 144!

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49. It would take a snail nearly 4,575 years to circle Earth.

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50. Your brain generates enough electricity to power a lightbulb!

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For more incredible facts like these, pick up 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) 2, in bookstores now or available online here.

All images courtesy of iStock.

22 Facts About the Solar System

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

So you want to know everything there is to know about the solar system? The first and most important question you might want to get out of the way is: what, exactly, isthe solar system? As Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy tells us, "It's a group of celestial bodies located within the Milky Way galaxy."

At the center of these bodies is the Sun, which is orbited by eight planets; more than 150 moons; and millions of meteoroids, comets, asteroids, and a handful of dwarf planets (sorry, Pluto). But it's the Sun—a.k.a. that shining, 4.5 billion-year-old star in the middle of it all—that accounts for 99 percent of the solar system's total mass. (Think about that the next time you're shading your eyes from its glare.)

In this all-new edition of The List Show, Erin is sharing nearly two dozen fascinating facts about our solar system, including the reasoning behind Pluto's demotion (blame it on Eris, the first known dwarf planet). For more out-of-this-world facts, you can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

The 20 Best TV Shows on Netflix, According to Subscribers

JoJo Whilden, Netflix
JoJo Whilden, Netflix

With thousands of titles to choose from, in the time it can take a Netflix subscriber to choose what to watch next, they could be two episodes deep into a new TV series binge-watch. But as Variety reports, a recent survey conducted by HarrisX and commissioned by MoffettNathanson is helping to reduce the amount of browsing you'll need to do by going straight to the source and asking more than 11,000 Netflix subscribers to cite their favorite shows that are currently streaming on the platform. And the results were somewhat surprising.

  1. Orange is the New Black
  1. Stranger Things
  1. Movies (Catch-all category)
  1. Ozark
  1. Grace and Frankie
  1. Black Mirror
  1. Lucifer
  1. The Crown
  1. The Office
  1. Friends
  1. Dead to Me
  1. Supernatural
  1. Daredevil
  1. The Ranch
  1. House of Cards
  1. Santa Clara Diet
  1. Jessica Jones
  1. 13 Reasons Why
  1. Fuller House
  1. Breaking Bad

As Variety notes, the fact that 15 of the 20 top favorites are Netflix originals rather than licensed shows means that the company will likely continue investing in original content. This might help them out when both Friends and The Office leave the streaming service in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

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