11 Amazing Facts to Slip Into Conversation to Seem Smarter

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Pack these eleven amazing facts in your coat pocket and you’ll be just fine.

1. HUMANS DO NOT HAVE FIVE SENSES.

We’ve got way more than that. There’s our sense of time, our sense of balance, and our ability to detect acceleration and body temperature. There’s also nocioception, which is our ability to sense pain, and proprioception, which tells us where and how our bodies are positioned.

2. FOOD NAMES CAN BE MISLEADING.

Chili peppers, bananas, and eggplants are all berries; strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not. Peanuts aren’t nuts; they’re legumes. Corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and cucumbers are fruit.

3. FUNNY AS IT MAY SOUND, OCTOPUSES IS A REAL WORD.

The grammatically correct plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi. The word octopus comes from the Greek for “eight footed,” and as such should be pluralized like a Greek word, by adding an -es. Octopodes is also acceptable, albeit a little stiff.

4. SCIENCE FICTION WAS INVENTED BY A TEENAGE GIRL.

The year was 1816, the girl was Mary Shelley, and the book was Frankenstein.

5. NO ONE HAS WALKED ON THE MOON IN OVER 40 YEARS, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND ASTRONAUT FOOTPRINTS ON ITS SURFACE.

Because there is no wind or rain on the moon, astronaut footprints on the moon’s surface may be there for as long as the moon exists.

6. IT WAS ALWAYS AFTER 5:00 FOR OUR FOREBEARS.

Colonial Americans of every age drank ale, hard cider, or whiskey with almost every meal, including breakfast. They did this not because they were party animals, but because they knew that drinking fresh water caused disease. Alcoholic beverages were a much safer option.

7. PANDAS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE VEGETARIANS.

Pandas have to eat a lot of bamboo because their stomachs can’t really digest it. Recent research suggests that’s because they actually evolved to be meat-eaters. Pandas’ inability to properly digest plants may put them at increased risk of extinction.

8. YOUR BLOOD TRAVELS THOUSANDS OF MILES TO REACH ALL THE PARTS OF YOUR BODY.

There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels (veins, arteries, and capillaries) inside your body. If those blood vessels were a road, it would wrap around the planet twice.

9. QUEEN ELIZABETH I INVENTED THE GINGERBREAD MAN.

The queen had a reputation for taunting visitors to her court, and, as historians tell it, she once commanded her kitchen staff to bake up little ginger cookie versions of her suitors. The hapless gingerbread men were decorated with gold leaf and presented to the queen, who unceremoniously (and gleefully, one might imagine) bit off their heads.

10. PLANTS CAN WARN EACH OTHER ABOUT APPROACHING THREATS.

Some send signals through a network of roots; others emit airborne chemical distress signals that tell their neighbors to brace themselves for trouble.

11. WE’RE ALL GLOWING, ALL THE TIME.

Almost every living thing gives off light, although most of it is too weak for our eyes to perceive.

These amazing facts may make you feel smarter, but you’re still no match for the pint-sized geniuses on Child Genius: Battle of the Brightest. Tune in to the premiere of Child Genius: Battle of the Brightest on Thursday, January 7th at 8/7c on Lifetime to watch them go head to head.

January 3, 2016 - 12:00am
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