r/todayilearned banner
r/todayilearned profile image

Today I Learned (TIL)


You learn something new every day; what did you learn today? Submit interesting and specific facts about something that you just found out here.


todayilearned fans


online users
Created on 28 Dec 2008
Posted by u/Emergency_Culture_35
TIL a homeless man found a 10 000$ check on the street meant for a real estate broker and found a way to return it. So, touched, the broker awarded him a place to live and arranged for a job interview. A year later, he was on the board of directors of one of their foundations.
895 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/korro90
TIL Nordic countries have a "Freedom to Roam", allowing people to enjoy all nature regardless of ownership (within reason)
1110 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/redditcardkey
TIL that Military Chocolate was made to taste terrible on purpose, as to have the soldiers actually save it for emergencies instead of eating it prematurely.
624 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/John-Piece
TIL that Nazi Germany made a New Testament Bible where they removed the genealogies of Jesus that showed his Davidic descent, removed Jewish names and places, but left any mention of Jews that showed them in a bad light, in an attempt to Aryanize Jesus.
2846 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/TrillionsAreComing
TIL The reason why we view neanderthals as hunched over and degenerate is that the first skeleton to be found was arthritic.
146 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/clayt6
TIL 50 years ago, Ham the chimp was launched into space, where he experienced up to 14.7g during a six-minute freefall. He survived his ocean splashdown (although he nearly drown before rescue crews arrived) and lived 20 more years at a zoo in Washington D.C.
59 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/MarineKingPrime_
TIL Marco Polo became Kublai Khan's diplomat at 21 years old. One of his journeys included 2-year voyage from China to the Persian Gulf where of 600 men, only 18 survived. Altogether, throughout his life he traveled almost 15,000 miles or 24,000 km.
115 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/scrumbly
TIL of all the gold medals won by US swimmers in the history of the Olympics, nearly 10% were won by Michael Phelps. (23/246)
1064 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/upzylon
TIL in Scandinavia the Kiruna to Narvik electrified railway carries iron ore down a steeply graded route. On the way down the trains generate large amounts of electricity by regenerative braking, which is sufficient to power the empty trains back up the track and pump excess energy into the grid.
210 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Antscannabis
TIL: That seagrass can convert 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests.
77 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/inde_
TIL that Herbalife successfully sued to retract a peer-reviewed paper that showed Herbalife was dangerous
38 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Insertco1ntoplay
TIL Giraffes only need 5 to 30 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period! They often achieve that in quick naps that may last only a minute or two at a time
30 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/TheAwesomePenguin106
TIL that hiccups are an inheritance from our amphibians ancestors: it used to help in the respiration process, allowing water to pass through our ancestors' gills. Now they serve no purposes.
66 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/asisin3
TIL when kerosene disrupted whale oil for lamps, two companies—Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie—discovered how to harden whale oil into margarine. They bought up all the whale oil, met with success and are a $150B corporation today, better known as Unilever!
31 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/WhileFalseRepeat
TIL in 1984 and after shooting the video for "Eyes Without A Face", Billy Idol discovered his contact lenses had fused to his eyeballs. The fog machines, harsh lighting, and fire used during three days of filming was partially attributed to his needing to have his corneas scraped and lenses removed.
56 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/TakeMeToTheBakery
TIL Winston Churchill's mom was an "American dollar princess" from Brooklyn who had a snake tattoo on her wrist!
81 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Brutal_Deluxe_
TIL from 1917 to 1918 British Intelligence paid an Italian journalist the modern equivalent of £6,000 (US$ 8,290) per week to keep up the pro-war campaigning. The cash got him a start in politics, and was also allegedly lavished on his many mistresses. The journalist was 34-year-old Benito Mussolini
58 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/1945BestYear
TIL of the German general Ferdinand Schörner, who at the end of World War II abandoned his army group to fly to Austria and personally surrender to the Americans, all to avoid capture by the Soviets. The Americans handed him to the Soviets.
34 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/meanbawb
TIL that in 2006, the Ig Nobel Prize for Biology was awarded to scientists who proved that the odour emanated by Limburger cheese attracted "Anopheles gambiae" mosquitos, mistaking it for the smell of human feet - effectively making Limburger a protection against Malaria.
45 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Meninaeidethea
TIL when sonar was first invented, operators were puzzled by the appearance of a ‘false seafloor’ that changed depth with the time of day and amount of moonlight. It was eventually identified as a previously unknown layer of billions of lanternfish that reflect sonar waves and migrate up and down.
482 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/yaddlezap
TIL Around 1300 people died in a crowd stampede during the 1896 coronation of Nicholas II when it was heard that a limited number of coronation gifts were being distributed.
22 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Mavsmobile
TIL that zoo visitors ‘rarely discussed topics such as conservation or wild habitats’ and that ‘very few visitors demonstrated any substantial learning about animals or conservation’ during their visit.
67 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/ahotdogday
TIL since 1999 a rare fungus that can fatally spread to the brain has been growing inside people and animals at much higher rates on the coast of BC, Canada
21 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Salsal_Azar
TIL that the Iberian ribbed newt is able to pierce its own skin and push out its ribs to stab its predators. The ribs also carry poisonous toxins from its body, making them a highly effective stinging mechanism. The newt's pierced skin is able to heal quickly from this.
44 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/ABCsdrawkcab
TIL in the 1920’s bowler hats were introduced to Bolivian women by railway workers, who convinced them it was the top fashion trend of upper class ladies.
7 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/ltrnmbrundrscr
TIL that male peacock spiders, whose abdomens have colorful flaps like a peacock's tail feathers, engage in a sexual ritual where they raise their colorful flaps and their legs and dance to attract female spiders, but if the females don't want to mate they will attack, kill and feed on the males.
24 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Miamime
TIL that one of the attempts to find El Dorado, the mythical city of gold, involved draining a lake using a bucket chain of laborers. Over three months, the lake level fell 3 meters and only recovered about $100K worth of gold.
35 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/pickycheestickeater
TIL After John Quincy Adams term as president ended, he was the only president in history to serve on the U.S. House of Representatives, which he did for 17 years. His presidential election was also the only election in history to not have a candidate win by majority (Andrew Jackson was closest).
24 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/pickycheestickeater
TIL of Soviet gymnast, Larisa Latynina, the 9x Olympic Gold medalist and 2nd all time most successful Olympian, only behind Michael Phelps. She holds 18 total medals (the record for 48 years), and is credited in helping establish the Soviet Gymnastics dominance from the 1950's until its collapse.
6 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/BuridansAscot
TIL that the founder of fast-food chain Hardee's, Wilber Hardee, only owned the business for two years. He lost his controlling shares of the company in a poker game.
9 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Praha3
TIL that the dedication page at the front of published books was originally used as a way for an author to beg a high-influence person for money.
3 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/ButtholeBookay
TIL that following Bruce Lee's death in 1973, a series of "Brucesploitation" movies got released starring look-alike actors to capitalize on the late star's fame. The actors had names such as Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Brute Lee, and Bruce Lie.
34 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/WhatsAMisanthrope
TIL: A third of the population of the Marshall Islands, site of massive US nuclear testing and soon to be swallowed by rising sea levels, has left for the US.
23 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Aggressive_Blaze
TIL that Yosuke, the lost African Grey Parrot was returned to his owner after repeating his owner's name and address back in 2008.
8 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/jamescookenotthatone
TIL President de Gaulle fled from France to Germany during the May 68 civil unrest. For six hours no one knew where de Gaulle was and Prime Minister Pompidou was left to run the government while officials burned documents, withdrew cash, acquired fake IDs, and planned their own escapes.
4 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/HydrolicKrane
TIL A certain type of volcanic eruption is named Plinian because historian Pliny the Elder died from asphyxiation of volcanic gases during he eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD while trying to rescue people on the shore of the Bay of Naples
4 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/CaptainJAmazing
TIL of the Cat’s Meat Man, who walked around in the Victorian era selling scrap meat for cats out of a cart he pushed down the street.
88 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Psychological_Dot221
TIL the 1995 animated series based on the Jim Carrey movie "Dumber and Dumber "was the last Hanna Berbera cartoon to air on broadcast TV. It lasted one season and 13 episodes on ABC.
4 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/6double
TIL Romans worshipped a divine penis known as Fascinus whose image was used to protect against envy
35 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/vaish7848
TIL, during Vietnam War, the Douglas A-1 Skyraider was the only propeller-driven aircraft to shoot down a jet-powered aircraft, when U.S. Navy pilots flying A-1s shot down jet powered North Vietnamese MiG-17s twice during the war (June 20, 1965 & October 9, 1966).
20 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/fdguarino
TIL The largest diamond ever found in the United States is the 40.23 (uncut)/12.42 (cut) Uncle Sam. It was found in 1924 at Prairie Creek pipe mine in Murfreesboro, Arkansas which later became the site of the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
9 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/greatmanyarrows
TIL Douglas MacArthur seriously considered obtaining the Republican nomination for President thrice, but was hindered in 1944 by his obligation to return to the Philippines, in 1948 by his inability to campaign while stationed in Japan, and in 1952 by his grudges against the Truman administration.
53 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/drak0bsidian
TIL the male argonaut, an octopus, uses an arm, the hectocotylus, to transfer sperm to the female. After insertion, the arm detaches in the female. When first discovered, the arm was thought to be a parasitic worm. Female argonauts were discovered in ancient times; males only in the 19th century.
4 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/hotelNoiseComplaint
TIL that in 79 AD at the time time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, there were at least 80 thermopolia — the equivalent of modern day fast food restaurants - in Pompeii, a city of around only 10-15,000 people.
17 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/janmayeno
TIL that an infamous Mexican dictator introduced chewing gum to the United States while in exile in New York City in the 1850s. He made no money off of the product, originally intended as a rubber substitute; it was later purchased and made into gum by American scientist Thomas Adams.
9 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/Chipskipoutski
TIL that that small extra pocket in the front of jeans was originally intended to carry a pocket watch.
15 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/CelibateSamyaza
TIL: The United States Department of Defense runs Linux. "In fact, the US Army is the single largest installed base for RedHat Linux and the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet runs on Linux"
1535 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/noctus_exterreri
TIL of the Heart Attack Grill restaurant in Las Vegas, which serves high fat/sugar food. Customers wear hospital gowns, waitresses are dressed as nurses, and customers over 350lb in weight eat for free. There is in fact a history of people dying there from cardiac arrest.
849 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/doubleeye1
TIL That snakes smell in 3D, by flicking their tongues out they pick up chemicals from the environment, since they don’t have neither taste nor smell receptors, they deposit the molecules into the roof of the mouth into jacobson’s organ, which gives them a sense of direction.
8 Comments Share Save
Posted by u/ser_antonii
TIL that when the allied forces were at the edge of the city, Hitler ordered the destruction of Paris. The Nazi commander of Paris couldn’t bring himself to execute the order and surrendered the city a few days later.
825 Comments Share Save