88 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know

1. Thirty-five percent of people are born without wisdom teeth.

2. As we continue to evolve, scientists believe that fewer and fewer humans will be born with wisdom teeth ...

3. ... or appendixes ...

4. ... or even little toes!

5. India’s Dahala Khagrabari is the world’s only third-order enclave.

6. It’s a patch of India inside a patch of Bangladesh, which is inside a patch of India—all of which is surrounded by Bangladesh.

7. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V handbook classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder.

8. Catnip isn’t just for housecats—it affects lions and tigers too!

9. In the 1870s, a Belgian village attempted to train a fleet of 37 official mail cats to deliver letters.

10. It didn’t work.

11. The cotton candy machine was invented by a dentist.

12. Twelve percent of sleepers dream in black and white.

13. Zebras’ coats are just black.

14. (Their undercoat has white stripes.)

15. The light emitted by 200,000 galaxies makes our universe a shade of beige.

16. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University christened the color “cosmic latte.”

17. The oldest star is nicknamed Methuselah. It’s 13.8 billion years old.

18. If you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the color you’ll see is called eigengrau.

19. There may be no sound in space, but it does have a distinct smell: a bouquet of diesel fumes, gunpowder, and barbecue.

20. The aroma is mostly produced by dying stars.

21. In Japan, letting a sumo wrestler make your baby cry is considered good luck.

22. Where do baby carrots come from? Ugly carrots.

23. When a California farmer realized he was discarding 400 tons of carrots a day because they were too bent to be sold, he gave his harvest a makeover and shaved them down to snackable nubs.

24. Today, baby carrots are a $1 billion business.

25. Oreos are a knock-off of Hydrox cookies, which came out four years earlier (in 1908).

26. If your dog's feet smell like corn chips, you're not alone. The term "Frito Feet" was coined to describe the scent.

27. The female G-spot was nearly named the Whipple Tickle, after professor Beverly Whipple.

28. In Iceland, it’s hard to come up with a creative name for a newborn. A government committee prevents parents from giving babies names it deems too weird.

29. The committee’s name? Mannanafnanefnd.

30. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are was initially pitched as Where the Wild Horses Are.

31. His editor loved the title, but Sendak couldn’t draw horses.

32. The wild things he ended up drawing are caricatures of his relatives.

33. In the original stage version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s companion isn’t Toto, but a cow named Imogene.

34. It was easier to fit a human into a cow costume than a dog one.

35. Swiss designers are working on a milk carton that changes color as its contents nears expiration.

36. The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy.

37. In Europe, it’s cheese.

38. In Latin America, it’s meat.

39. Sweden’s Left Party has campaigned to make men sit when they pee.

40. (The campaign isn’t going very well.)

41. In 2008, Carl Mosca Dionisio strung together 18,500 latex condoms and used them to bungee jump from a 100-foot tower.

42. In 2001, Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia in part because anti-porn filters blocked access to the school's website.

43. A 2009 study found that when men interact with an attractive woman, they may become “cognitively impaired.”

44. Further studies found that the mere thought of talking to a pretty girl increases a man’s likelihood of saying something really, really stupid.

45. In 2008, the U.K.’s Susie Hewer knitted a scarf while running a marathon.

46. It was five feet, two inches long.

47. New York Times illustrator Christoph Niemann doodled 46 sketches—in color—while running the New York City Marathon.

48. Juggling while jogging is also a marathon phenomenon.

49. It’s called joggling.

50. The electronic game Simon, where players repeat the sequence of lit-up colored panels, debuted at Studio 54.

51. In 2005, executives from Christie’s and Sotheby’s played a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who’d get to sell a $20 million art collection that included works by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Cézanne.

52. Christie’s scissors beat Sotheby’s paper.

53. To celebrate Andy Warhol’s 85th birthday, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh broadcast a streaming video of the artist’s grave.

54. In 1953, during the Eisenhower administration, the White House was wired to play Muzak.

55. But Eisenhower wasn’t even Muzak’s biggest presidential fan. Lyndon Johnson owned an Austin franchise earlier that decade.

56. The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” because the agency thought the lyrics were dirty.

57. After three months, the FBI abandoned the investigation because it couldn’t make out the words.

58. In the 1940s, the British government launched a series of PSAs on the proper way to use a handkerchief.

59. Kleenex was originally marketed not as a disposable hankie, but as a cold-cream remover.

60. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t drift apart.

61. Male caimans dance to impress potential mates.

62. In 1998, a Georgia student was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt to "Coke in Education Day."

63. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he died in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

64. German chocolate cake isn’t German. It’s named for Sam German, an American baker.

65. The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.

66. Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

67. “Hello” wasn’t a common greeting until the invention of the telephone. Thomas Edison convinced the printers of the first phone books to make it the sanctioned greeting.

68. Alexander Graham Bell disagreed. He pushed for “Ahoy!”

69. In 1997, Kleberg County, Texas, designated “Heaven-o” its official new phone greeting.

70. All the characters on The Simpsons have four-fingered hands with one exception: God.

71. The best man’s original purpose was to serve as an accomplice in case the bride needed to be kidnapped from disapproving parents.

72. Meanwhile, the bridesmaid tradition started because people believed that dressing everyone up in the same clothing would confuse evil spirits.

73. Ever practical, Puritan brides-to-be accepted engagement thimbles from their fiancés.

74. When the wedding day arrived, they’d simply cut the bottom off and wear it as a ring.

75. In 1998, the U.S. Army tried developing a telepathic ray gun “where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except that it could only be heard within a person’s head.”

76. The world’s shortest scheduled flight lasts 47 seconds. It covers just over a mile on Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

77. Richard Silver invented the Electric Slide in 1976. It consisted of 22 steps.

78. When he learned that wedding revelers were bungling his masterpiece by doing only 18 of the steps, he threatened amateur dancers with lawsuits.

79. (Silver never actually sued anyone.)

80. In 2006, an Australian man tried to sell New Zealand on eBay. The price rose to $3,000 before eBay shut it down.

81. In 1967, the Nigerian Civil War ground to a halt for two days because both sides wanted to watch Pelé play in an exhibition soccer match.

82. Some cats are allergic to humans.

83. The first sales pitch for the Nerf ball was “Nerf: You can’t hurt babies or old people!”

84. In 2006, a Wisconsin man legally changed his name to Andy Griffith, hoping it would help him get elected as county sheriff.

85. Instead, he was sued by Andy Griffith.

86. PETA once asked the Pet Shop Boys to consider changing their name to Rescue Shelter Boys.

87. Winston Churchill's mother was born in Brooklyn.

88. Homosexuality was still classified as an illness in Sweden in 1979. Swedes protested by calling in sick to work, claiming they felt gay.

7 Ways Victorian Fashion Could Kill You

An 1862 engraving showing a skeleton gentleman at a ball asking a skeleton lady to dance, meant to represent the effect of arsenic dyes and pigments in clothing and accessories.
An 1862 engraving showing a skeleton gentleman at a ball asking a skeleton lady to dance, meant to represent the effect of arsenic dyes and pigments in clothing and accessories.

While getting dressed in the morning can seem like a hassle (pajamas are so much more comfortable), few of us worry about our clothes leading to our death. That wasn’t the case during the Victorian era, when fashionable fabrics and accessories sometimes came at great price for both makers and wearers. In Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present, Alison Matthews David, a professor in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto, outlines the many toxic, flammable, and otherwise highly hazardous components of high style during the 19th century. Here are a few of the worst offenders.

1. Poisonous Dyes

A drawing of Victorian fashions likely made with arsenic dyes
A drawing of Victorian fashions likely made with arsenic dyes
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

Before the 1780s, green was a tricky color to create on clothes, and dressmakers depended on a combination of yellow and blue dyes to produce the hue. But in the late 1770s a Swedish/German chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele invented a new green pigment by mixing potassium and white arsenic on a solution of copper vitriol. The pigment was dubbed Scheele’s Green, and later Paris Green, among other names, and it became a huge sensation, used to color walls, paintings, and fabrics as well as candles, candies, food wrappers, and even children’s toys. Not surprisingly, it also caused sores, scabs, and damaged tissue, as well as nausea, colic, diarrhea, and constant headaches.

Although fashionable women wore arsenic-dyed fabrics—even Queen Victoria was depicted in one—its health effects were worst among the textile and other workers who created the clothes and often labored in warm, arsenic-impregnated rooms day after day. (Some scholars have even theorized that Napoleon might have been poisoned by the arsenic-laced wallpaper hung in his St. Helena home.)

Arsenical dyes were also a popular addition to artificial flowers and leaves, which meant they were frequently pinned to clothes or fastened on heads. In the 1860s, a report commissioned by the Ladies’ Sanitary Association found that the average headdress contained enough arsenic to poison 20 people. The British Medical Journal wrote of the green-clad Victorian woman: “She actually carries in her skirts poison enough to slay the whole of the admirers she may meet with in half a dozen ball-rooms.” Despite repeated warnings in the press, and from doctors and scientists, the Victorians seemed in love with emerald green arsenic dyes; ironically, they acted like a reminder of the nature then swiftly being lost to industrialization, David says.

2. Pestilential Fabrics

Soldiers of the Victorian era (and earlier) were plagued by lice and other body parasites that carried deadly diseases such as typhus and trench fever. But soldiers weren’t the only victims of disease carried via fabric—even the wealthy sometimes wore clothing that was made or cleaned by the sick in sweatshops or tenements, and which spread disease as a result. According to David, the daughter of Victorian Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel died after her riding habit, given to her by her father as a gift, was finished in the house of a poor seamstress who had used it to cover her sick husband as he lay shivering with typhus-induced chills. Peel’s daughter contracted typhus after wearing the garment, and died on the eve of her wedding.

Women also worried about their skirts sweeping through the muck and excrement of city streets, where bacteria was rife, and some wore special skirt-fasteners to keep them up from the gunk. The poor, who often wore secondhand clothes, suffered from smallpox and other diseases spread by fabric that was recycled without being properly washed.

3. Flowing Skirts

Giant, ruffled, crinoline-supported skirts may have been fine for ladies of leisure, but they weren’t a great combination with industrial machinery. According to David, one mill in Lancashire posted a sign in 1860 forbidding the “present ugly fashion of HOOPS, or CRINOLINE, as it is called” as being “quite unfitted for the work of our Factories.” The warning was a wise one: In at least one printing office, a girl was caught by her crinoline and dragged under the mechanical printing press. The girl was reportedly “very slim” and escaped unharmed, but the foreman banned the skirts anyway. Long, large, or draped skirts were also an unfortunate combination with carriages and animals.

4. Flammable Fabrics

A woman with her crinoline on fire
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

The flowing white cotton so popular in the late 18th and 19th centuries had dangers to both maker and wearer: It was produced with often-brutal slave labor on plantations, and it was also more flammable than the heavy silks and wool favored by the wealthy in the previous centuries. One type of cotton lace was particularly problematic: In 1809 John Heathcoat patented a machine that made the first machine-woven silk and cotton pillow “lace” or bobbinet, now better known as tulle, which could catch fire in an instant. The tulle was frequently layered, to add volume and compensate for its sheerness, and stiffened with highly combustible starch. Ballerinas were particularly at risk: British ballerina Clara Webster died in 1844 when her dress caught fire at London’s Drury Lane theatre after her skirt came too close to sunken lights onstage.

But performers weren’t the only ones in peril: Even the average woman wearing the then-popular voluminous crinolines was at risk of setting herself ablaze. And the “flannelette” (plain cotton brushed to create a nap and resemble wool flannel) so popular for nightshirts and undergarments was particularly combustible if hit with a stray spark or the flame of a household candle. So many children burned in household accidents that one company came out with a specially treated flannelette called Non-Flam, advertised as being “strong’y recommended by Coroners.”

5. Arsenic-Ridden Taxidermy

Dead birds were a popular addition to ladies’ hats in the 19th century. According to David, “fashions in millinery killed millions of small songbirds and introduced dangers that may still make some historic women’s hats harmful to humans today.”

But it wasn’t the birds that were the problem—it was the arsenic used on them. Taxidermists of the day used arsenic-laced soaps and other products to preserve birds and other creatures. In some cases, entire birds—one or several—were mounted on hats. Some Victorian fashion commentators decried the practice, though not because of the arsenic involved. One Mrs. Haweis, a writer on dress and beauty, began an 1887 diatribe against “smashed birds” with the sentence: “A corpse is never a really pleasant ornament.”

6. Mercury

No upper-class man of the Victorian era was complete without his hat, but many of those hats were made with mercury. As David explains, “Although its noxious effects were known, it was the cheapest and most efficient way to turn stiff, low-grade fur from rabbits and hares into malleable felt.” Mercury gave animal fur its smooth, glossy, matted texture, but that velvety look came at a high cost—mercury is an extremely dangerous substance.

Mercury can rapidly enter the body through the skin or the air, and causes a range of horrible health effects. Hatters were known to suffer from convulsions, abdominal cramps, trembling, paralysis, reproductive problems, and more. (A chemistry professor studying toxic exposure at Dartmouth College, Karen Wetterhahn, died in 1996 after spilling just a few drops of a supertoxic type of mercury on her glove.) To make matters worse, hatters who drank while they worked (not an uncommon practice) only hastened mercury’s effects by hampering the liver’s ability to eliminate it. While scholars still debate whether Lewis Carroll’s “mad hatter” was meant to show the effects of mercury poisoning, his trembling limbs and wacky speech seem to fit the bill.

7. Lead

A Victorian facial cream containing lead
A Victorian facial cream containing lead
Bloomsbury Visual Arts

Pallor was definitely in during the Victorian era, and a face spackled with lead white paint was long favored by fashionable women. Lead had been a popular ingredient in cosmetics for centuries, David writes, because it “made colors even and opaque and created a desirable ‘whiteness’ that bespoke both freedom from hard outdoor labor and racial purity.” One of the most popular lead-laced cosmetic products was called Laird’s Bloom of Youth; in 1869, one of the founders of the American Medical Association treated three young women who had been using the product and temporarily lost full use of their hands and wrists as a result. (The doctor described the condition as “lead palsy,” although today we call it wrist drop or radial nerve palsy, which can be caused by lead poisoning.) One of the women’s hands was said to be “wasted to a skeleton.”

This article was republished in 2019.

The 25 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs for New Graduates

iStock/kali9
iStock/kali9

When they finish their final exams, college seniors can look forward to job hunting. Roughly 1.9 million students in the U.S. will receive their bachelor's degrees this school year, and while some new graduates may be happy to take the first job they're offered, others will be looking for something that pays well—even at the entry level. According to Glassdoor, recent grads qualified for the 25 jobs below will have the best luck.

To compile this list of the highest-paying entry-level jobs in the U.S., the job search website identified employment opportunities with the highest median bases salaries reported by users 25 or younger. Positions in the tech industry dominate the list. Aspiring data scientists can expect to make $95,000 a year at their first job out of college, while software engineers have a median annual base salary of $90,000. Other entry-level tech jobs like UX designer, Java developer, and systems engineer all start at salaries of $70,000 or more.

Banking and business positions, including investment banking analysta ($85,000), actuarial analysts ($66,250), and business analysts ($63,000), appear on the list as well. The only listed position that doesn't fall under the tech, finance, or business categories is for physical therapists, who report a median starting salary of $63,918.

You can check out the full list of the 25 highest-paying entry-level jobs below.

  1. Data Scientist // $95,000
  2. Software Engineer // $90,000
  3. Product Manager // $89,000
  4. Investment Banking Analyst // $85,000
  5. Product Designer // $85,000
  6. UX Designer // $73,000
  7. Implementation Consultant // $72,000
  8. Java Developer // $72,000
  9. Systems Engineer // $70,000
  10. Software Developer // $68,600
  11. Process Engineer // $68,258
  12. Front End Developer // $67,500
  13. Product Engineer // $66,750
  14. Actuarial Analyst // $66,250
  15. Electrical Engineer // $66,000
  16. Mechanical Engineer // $65,000
  17. Design Engineer // $65,000
  18. Applications Developer // $65,000
  19. Test Engineer // $65,000
  20. Programmer Analyst // $65,000
  21. Quality Engineer // $64,750
  22. Physical Therapist // $63,918
  23. Field Engineer // $63,750
  24. Project Engineer // $63,000
  25. Business Analyst // $63,000

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