Gold Isn’t Rare Like We Thought
While choosing the best metal to use for goods exchanging, our ancestors considered many different types. Gold seemed to be a good choice since it’s resistant to corrosion, and you can melt it over a flame, which makes it easy to stamp it as a coin or work with it in any other way.
Gold is not that rare but is not easy to find and extract in larger amounts with pre-industrial technology. Geologists believe most of the Gold on our planet came from space with meteorite storms more than two billion years ago. It’s one of the densest metals on our planet, and humans have mined around 180,000 tonnes of it by now.
If you want to tell if the diamond you’re holding is real or fake, breathe out on it. The genuine diamond will remain transparent, while the fake one will get foggy.
There are more ways that you can shuffle a single deck of 52 cards than there are atoms on our planet. Hippos spend around 16 hours a day in lakes and rivers to protect their bodies from the hot sun. They’re pretty good swimmers, but most of the time, when it seems like they’re swimming, they’re just walking or standing on the lake floor.
The Sahara desert used to be green because of constant changes in Earth’s orbital rotations. Around 11 to 5 thousand years ago, Sahara transformed after the end of the last ice age. Sandy dunes slowly became greener because of vegetation growing there. Caverns turned into lakes. Around 3.5 million square miles of the northern part of Africa was green, which attracted such animals as elephants, hippos, antelopes, and others.
The definition of a desert includes low precipitation, which means very, very rare rainfall or even snowfall. Back in 1979, Sahara got covered with snow for the first time when there was a half-hourlong snowstorm. A long time ago, before trees were here, our planet was covered with giant white mushrooms. They covered most of the surface and were 3-feet 3 ft [(0.9 m)] wide and 24-feet tall 24 ft [(7.3 m)].
A bolt of lightning can reach more than 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit 50,000 °F [(27760 °C)]. That’s 5 times hotter than the surface of the Sun. One pineapple plant flowers only once and gives just a single pineapple — and it can take 3 years for this fruit to grow and ripen. In the 18th century, import fees for pineapple were so high that having one at home was a symbol of wealth. People would buy one and display it, without eating it and enjoying its taste.
We could fit the entire population of our planet in Texas without making it too crowded since there would be 330 square feet [330 sq ft (30 sq m)] per person. The area of Texas is almost 270,000 square miles [270,000 sq mi (700,000 sq km)].
If you accidentally forget you have a honey jar aside and someone finds it a couple of centuries later, they will still be able to eat it because honey is one of those foods that can be preserved for a really long time. Honey is rich in sugar and contains little water, so bacteria can’t grow there. It also contains hydrogen peroxide that prevents the growth of microbes.
Scientists even found 3,000-year-old and still perfectly edible honey while excavating Egyptian pyramids. Some other things that can last almost forever are white rice, vinegar, soy sauce, and dried pulses. A bookworm is not just an expression for a person who’s really into reading books, but an actual insect that eats microscopic mold and makes holes in poorly kept books.
Stoats, also known as the short-tailed weasel, have specific tactics to catch rabbits; they jump, spin, and twist around — which is like they have some kind of dance performance to get their attention. Rabbits start enjoying the show while a stoat is getting closer. Bubble wrap was initially meant to be wallpaper. The creators wanted to invent plastic wallpaper with some kind of paper backing. Another kind of bubble rap, is performing hip-hop while covered in lots of suds... I made that up.
The Eiffel Tower needs to get repainted every seven years, which takes a lot of paint — the total amount weighs the same as ten elephants. It also grows up to 6 inches in the summer because the iron it’s made of expands due to the heat. The arches you see at the base of the Eiffel Tower are there for aesthetics.
The original design included the four big pylons at the base to support the entire structure. People who were building it thought it didn’t look that stable, and they worried visitors would be afraid to go in. They decided to add the arches around the base to make it look safer. Also, there’s a secret apartment at the top of the Tower Gustave Eiffel, the designer, intended for himself.
Jupiter has a mass over 300 times larger than the mass of our planet. It also has 69 moons, with a couple of them up to 37 miles in diameter, but most of them are barely 1 mile wide.
If you’d take all the planets in our solar system and got them together, they could fit between the Earth and the Moon. The average distance is almost 240,000 mi [(386,000 km)] miles, and the overall diameter of all planets standing next to each other is slightly above 233,000 mi [(375,000 km)] miles.
The Pacific Ocean is bigger than all land masses on our planet together. Some sharks live inside active underwater volcanoes. Scientists discovered so-called “sharkanos”, but couldn’t get too many details by sending divers to investigate since, duh, it’s too dangerous.
Speaking of sharks, they’ve been on the Earth for around 400 million years — which is approximately 50 million years more than trees. If you’re somewhere in the wilderness and hear a tiger’s roar, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to mean the animal is very close to you, since their roar can be heard even two miles away. But they are very fast tho...
It’s relatively safe to stand on 3 in [(8 cm)] 3-inch thick ice covering a water body because this width is supposed to support one person. 4 in [(10 cm)] inches of ice is enough to be safe for a group of people — and 36 inches can take 110 tons of weight.
Avocados never ripen while on the tree, so farmers tend to use those trees as some kind of storage to keep avocados fresh until they pick them and sell them.
Starfish are pretty exciting creatures with no blood or brain. However, they do have a nervous system and are sensitive to some things such as light or touch, but don’t have a centralized brain as we do. They pump seawater throughout their body, which is some kind of blood replacement. Water brings essential nutrients which help its organs to function.
Starfish have eyes at the tip of their arms. They’re not good at seeing details as ours, but starfish can recognize different light shades, which helps them navigate their surroundings and hide from bigger predators or hunt for food.
The shortest commercial flight in the world is in Scotland, between two islands — Westray and Papa Westray. The distance is only 1.7 [mi (3 km)] miles, and the flight takes only 90 seconds. Getting through security takes longer.
One of the world’s most famous painters of all time, Vincent van Gogh, sold only one painting during his lifetime. Now, his paintings decorate literally everything — from shower curtains and coffee mugs to the most prestigious museums. The biggest snowflake ever was a 15 [in (40 cm)]-inch giant, the size of a frisbee.
A platypus can give you one of the most unpleasant stings a human might experience because these animals have poison glands in their hind legs. They use a hollow spur on their heels to release the venom.
Cats have more toes on their front paws. Like plenty of four-legged mammals, cats have five toes on the front, but they only have four toes on their back paws. Scientists believe that might help them be faster.
If you could get into your car and drive up to the sky at the average speed of 60 mph, it would take you only one hour to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and get to outer space. You’d have to be prepared well if you decide to keep going up to the Moon since it’s 250,000 miles away. That would take you as long as driving around our planet 10 times — maybe less than six months. Bring a big lunch with you.