There’s nothing better than a group of friends who enjoys a robust trivia night, is there?
The friendly competition, maybe a drink and some snacks, and of course, being the one who knows the most random facts at the end of the night – perfection!
If that sounds like an ideal outcome for you, you’re going to want to take notes on our list below, because you won’t find 50 more amazing facts anywhere you look!
50. There’s a storm rating scale known as the “Waffle House Index.”
Waffle House has a reputation for staying open in extreme weather – so much so that FEMA informally uses the Waffle House Index” to gauge how severe a storm is expected to be.
Like, maybe if Waffle House isn’t closing it’s not all that serious?
49. Why Mr. Rogers always said aloud that he was feeding his fish.
Fred Rogers had a reputation for being kind and inclusive, so when a young, vision-impaired viewer wrote to him with a concern that she couldn’t see the fish to make sure they were ok.
He immediately changed the way he went about his routine.
He always mentioned aloud that he was feeding the fish so that little girl – and anyone else who couldn’t see his visual cues – could be sure his pets were properly cared for.
48. Nerf’s first sales pitch might have been their best.
Nerf revolvers and darts have had many slogans over the years, at least a few of which weren’t bad and managed to do their job of sticking in people’s heads.
“It’s Nerf or never,” and “Nothing but Nerf” come to mind – but if you ask me, their initial thought was probably the one they should have stuck with for the duration,
You just can’t outdo “Nerf: You can’t hurt babies or old people!” in my mind.
47. There is a “League of Extraordinary Communities.”
The funny thing is, it’s a coalition of a bunch of towns that aren’t extraordinary at all – Boring, Oregon, Dull, Scotland, and Bland Shire, Australia.
The sound like super fun places to visit, don’t you think?
46. The manchineel tree is actually deadly.
The manchineel tree is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates, usually in brackish, swamp-type water. They’re in Florida, the Caribbean, and all throughout the coastal areas of Central and South America.
You might want to take a good look so you can avoid touching any part of it at all – known as the “Tree of D**th,” touching any part of the tree can leave chemical burns on your skin.
If you decide to take a bite of the fruit you could get seriously injured from the toxins, and burning its bark can cause blindness.
Let’s hope all of the other trees don’t catch on and start eliminating the humans ala The Happening anytime soon.
45. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt were gal pals.
They were also bada$s bi*ches, which you probably know, but if you want receipts, we’ve got them.
They once sneaked out of a White House event together, commandeered an airplane, and took it on a joyride to Baltimore.
I mean, they could have gone somewhere cooler, but I’m still going to write the lesbian fanfic.
44. A portion of Route 66 plays “America the Beautiful.”
A short section of Route 66 – a stretch that traverses part of New Mexico – will play you a rendition of “America the Beautiful” via its rumble strips.
There’s a catch, though: it only works if you’re adhering to the 45 mph speed limit.
43. There’s a word for when you’ve dreamed something before.
We all know about the phrase déjà vu, right? It’s the strange feeling that you’ve experienced an event or a conversation or a brief moment in time before?
Did you know there’s a phrase for when you’ve previously experienced an event or a conversation or a brief moment in time before in a dream, though?
There is, and it’s déjà rêvé. Go ahead and use it in a sentence!
42. Russian cosmonauts always pack heat.
I mean, maybe this tidbit doesn’t surprise you, but it’s a little shocking they admit to it.
It’s not just in case they encounter space aliens that need a little Earth discipline, though – it’s in case they land in Siberia on their return and need to teach manners to a bear.
Always be prepared!
41. Moonshiners leave hoofprints in the woods instead of footprints.
During Prohibition in the States, no one was allowed to brew or sell booze while the government was banning its sale and use across the board. There have always been those willing to break the law for the greater good, though.
Bootleggers brewing booze in the woods would cover their shoes with cow hooves in order to make it look like a hoofed animal had been in the woods, not a human. Nothing to see here!
Modern day moonshiners continue the tradition of wearing “cow shoes” in order to avoid being caught by the fuzz.
40. Space has a smell.
You might think that nothing could have a scent in a vast, cold vacuum, but if you’ve ever turned on your own vacuum and gotten an unpleasant whiff, you should know that’s not true.
Astronauts report that space actually has a very distinct smell of diesel fumes, g*npowder, and barbecue, which NASA scientists believe is created by dying stars.
Sad and poetic, just like space!
39. The 100 folds in a chef’s hat mean something.
A chef’s hat, in case you didn’t know, is called a “toque,” and nothing about it is an accident – each of the 100 folds represents one of a hundred ways to cook an egg.
I don’t know about you, but I’m off to Google. And to buy some eggs.
38. The Seven Dwarfs had alternative names.
Call me old fashioned, or a purist, but Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful are, well. Awful.
And also more than a little offensive, honestly.
37. Lots of suds gets lost in a beard.
Each year in the United Kingdom, more than 93,000 liters of malty beverage are lost in men’s bushy beards.
That’s a dang shame, y’all.
36. Sharks bite fewer people than people do every year.
Just in New York, human beings bite 10x more other human beings than sharks bite worldwide.
This is just more proof that you should be more afraid of humans than sharks. This girl already was, though.
35. The Queen could fix your car (probably).
Yes, that Queen – the Queen of England (etc).
Queen Elizabeth II is a trained mechanic, and worked on aircraft during WWII.
She remains the only female royal to have served in the British Armed Forces.
34. Actor Charles Bronson received an inheritance from a fan.
Listen, y’all. If you have money to leave when you die, and don’t have any family or friends who you think deserve the funds, don’t leave it to someone who already has more than enough of their own.
Charles Bronson wasn’t hurting for cash, but that didn’t stop a fan from Louisville, KY, from leaving him around $300k in 1997.
They’d never even met.
33. Volvo could have held the patent on a seatbelt.
Volvo came up with the patent for the revolutionary three-point seat belt in 1962, but instead of monetizing it, chose to give it away for free.
They believed the greater good of saving lives was worth more than money.
And you know. A little free publicity never hurt anyone.
32. Carly Simon is a famous Simon indeed.
Carly Simon is, of course, a famous singer – but it turns out she also comes from wealthy stock.
Her father, Richard L. Simon, is the “Simon” in Simon and Schuster publishers. He co-founded the company.
31. Parrots aren’t the only birds that can carry on a conversation.
As if it weren’t enough that one bird could speak human, it turns out that ravens – who are so smart they should scare the heck out of you – can also be taught to talk in captivity.
Better than parrots, they say, and definitely better than my 2yo.
30. Ben & Jerry learned how to make ice cream through the mail.
It’s an indisputable fact that Ben & Jerry make the best ice cream money can buy (don’t @ me), but their amazing flavors are even more incredible when you learn how they got into the business in the first place.
They SPLIT a correspondence course on how to make ice cream from Penn State.
It cost a total of $5.
29. Bela Lugosi really identified with his role as Dracula.
Bela Lugosi starred as Dracula in 1931, and the role (and film) became instantly iconic.
So much so that Lugosi himself literally never let it go – he was buried in the full costume, cape and all.
28. The plural of Prius is Prii.
There is a certain (growing) subset of people who love a good Prius, and who definitely needed to know what a bunch of them were called (presumably in anticipation of taking over the world).
After an official online vote in 2011, Toyota announced the winner – it’s a row of Prii, folks.
27. It should be impossible to get lost in Central Park.
Central Park is a huge and varied swath of nature smack in the middle of the island of Manhattan, and if you’re not a native, it can seen impossible to navigate without an online map or help from a friend.
Luckily, the designers thought of that – just look to the lampposts.
Each one contains a set of four numbers that can help you get out if you’re lost.
The first two indicate the nearest street, and the last two let you know whether you’re closer to the east or west side of the park (even for east, odd for west).
I feel better about wandering now!
26. You shouldn’t actually “shake it like a Polaroid picture.”
It might surprise you to know that you can’t necessarily take advice from singers like OutKast, but Polaroid definitely cautions you against shaking an actual picture.
Their official statement on the matter read that “shaking or waving can actually damage the image.”
25. There is one remaining Blockbuster Video in existence.
I know, I didn’t believe it either, but Bend, Oregon is kind of known for being set in a time warp.
You can visit the only Blockbuster store in the world that’s still operational there – for now, anyway.
24. Only one person has ever earned a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
In 1903, Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in conjunction with her husband, Pierre, for their work with spontaneous radiation.
In 1911, she was awarded a solo Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her work in radioactivity.
23. If you give blood in Sweden, you’ll know if and when it is used.
Everyone likes to know that their gift is getting good use, right?
The Swedes figure that extends to the gift of donated blood, so they send you a thank you text message when your blood is used to help or save someone else.
22. The Starry Night is Van Gogh’s view from his asylum window.
Vincent Van Gogh created some of the most recognizable art in the world, but he also famously struggled with mental illness for the majority of his life.
In 1888 he cut off his left ear in attempt to silence the voices in his head, gifting it to a female acquaintance.
Following that incident he ended up spending a little more than a year in Saint-Paul-De-Mausole, an asylum in France.
While there, he painted like mad, churning out masterpieces that include The Starry Night, arguably his most well-known work.
21. Rap battles are nothing new.
Between the 5th and 16th centuries in England and Scotland, verbal throw downs called “flyting” were popular.
In them, people exchanged witty and insulting verses (like a rap battle!), so you know.
I don’t think Hamilton was as much of a stretch as some people seem to think.
20. Army ants will follow each into a “d**th spiral”.
No one would accuse ants of being rocket scientists, but they do have a sense of order and commitment that’s hard to doubt.
That goes double for army ants, who can misinterpret scent trails left by other ants and end up marching in circles.
Sometimes, as more and more ants follow the wrong leader, the end up in spirals from which there is no escape.
No escape the ants can see, anyway.
19. In Australia, the trees receive love letters.
The purpose behind Melbourne assigning email addresses to some of its trees was so that residents could have an accurate reference when reporting issues.
People do report issues, but more of them send letters professing their love for the trees.
18. A solar eclipse once brought about (temporary) peace.
There was a solar eclipse in 585 BCE, and of course no one knew it was coming.
People were so surprised when the sky suddenly darkened during a battle between the Lydians and the Medes (in modern Turkey) that the fighters, who had been battling for going on six years, decided it was a sign.
They stopped the battle, but I don’t know how long it was before sh%t started back up again.
17. Some people leave their estate to their dogs.
An estimate 1 million dogs just in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their owner’s wills.
One man in the UK left $13m to his cat, so I guess they still win.
16. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas dropped out of high school.
Kids, you should totally stay in school!
That said, the man who founded Wendy’s dropped out – but he did earn his GED (in 1993).
His GED class, likely on a lark, voted him Most Likely to Succeed.
15. The Julian Calendar caused a snafu at the 1908 Olympics.
The world had transitioned to the Gregorian calendar by 1908, but Russia was holding out.
Their stubborn use of the Julian calendar meant they were 12 days late to the Olympics that year, and likely cost their athletes a few chances at medals.
14. At least two signers of the Declaration of Independence passed on July 4.
In an odd twist of fate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson moved off this moral plain exactly 50 years after they put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence.
They were also Presidents #2 and #3, respectively.
It was July 4, 1826.
13. In Japan, people ask Sumo wrestlers to make their babies cry.
While most of Western opinion has turned toward not letting babies cry when it can be helped, the 400-year-old Nakizumo Festival in Japan believes the exact opposite.
At the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, sumo wrestlers hold babies aloft as they wail, so that they will be closer to heaven as their tears ensure good health for years to come.
Parents across Japan consider having a sumo wrestler make your baby cry a good omen for their future.
12. Dogs can understand up to 250 words.
Dogs are about as intelligent as the average two-year-old child, and are able to understand around 250 words and gestures made in “human.”
How hard they try to communicate that understanding depends on the breed, but rest assured, your pup knows what you’re saying and what you want, even if they want to act like they don’t.
11. The yellow peanut M&M has a famous voice.
If the yellow peanut M&M sounds familiar to you, that’s because J.K. Simmons has given it its voice since the 1990s.
Btw… if you don’t remember who J.K. Simmons is… he played J. Jonah Jameson in the 2000s Spider-Man movies, and also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for his role Whiplash.
10. If you’re planning a long bath, add plenty of bubbles.
I love a long, steaming bath – the hotter the better at the end of a long, tough week.
If you do, too, take note: putting bubbles into your bath keeps the water warmer longer.
The soap essentially forms a barrier between your nice, hot water and the cooler air in your house, preventing the heat from escaping too quickly.
9. Sesame Street’s The Count comes by his love of numbers honestly.
Traditional vampire folklore says that vamps have arithmomania, which is a compulsion to count.
Which is just to say, Count von Count would definitely have gotten staked in his shallow grave back in the day.
8. People in Pompeii could have ordered takeout.
Recent evidence found at the buried archeological site of Pompeii suggests the ancient city had our equivalent of take-our restaurants.
At least, until they were all covered in ash.
7. Portland got its name in a coin flip.
Some people just can’t make decisions, so a coin flip is the fastest and least disputed way to go.
That said, when making important choices like the name of a city, most people tend to take a bit more care.
Not those naming Portland, Oregon though – which could have been Boston, Oregon, if that quarter had landed on the other side.
6. Fried chicken isn’t Southern (or American).
Scottish immigrants brought fried chicken across the sea, which just doesn’t fit with our image of the delicious dinner treat today, do you think?
That said, my own Scots-Irish grandma could make a mean fried chicken!
5. Winnie the Pooh is named after a real bear.
During WWI, a Canadian solider tamed a black bear, bringing her back to London after the conflict.
He named her Winnipeg (Winnie for short) and Winnie remained an adored part of the London Zoological Gardens for decades afterward.
One of her most ardent fans was a boy named Christopher Robin, the son of author A.A. Milne.
He would, of course, go on to write a book about his son’s adventures with his teddy bear, named after the beloved Winnie.
4. There were 48 years between the patent for the tin can and the patent for the can opener.
It was 1810 when Peter Durand patented the tin can, which had to be pried open with chisels and hammers until 1858, when Ezra Warner patented the dedicated can opener.
3. Sleep literally cleans your brain.
Every article on being a healthier person includes the demand for good and restful sleep, but did you know your brain is literally being cleaned while your snooze?
While you dream, cerebrospinal fluid flushes through the brain, washing away harmful proteins and toxins that build up during the way.
This is one reason most people tend to be clearer in the head and be more motivated first thing in the morning.
2. Politicians were never very good at predicting the future.
A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted that, by the year 2000, Americans would go to work only 20 hours a week and enjoy 7 weeks of vacation every year.
If only, right? *sobs*
1. Neil Armstrong almost didn’t make it to the moon.
Neil Armstrong has a lot of admirable qualities, but timeliness may not be one of them – he submitted his astronaut application a week past the deadline.
NASA may never have seen it at all had a friend at the hiring office not slipped his form in with all of the others that were submitted on time.
I’m putting all of these in my back pocket, y’all.
What’s your favorite random fact? If it’s not on this list, share it in the comments!