Bright Side

11 Facts That Can Turn Our Knowledge About the World Upside Down


The total number of scientists around the world is about 8 million. Even if each of them has been working on something for 10 years, it means that every day they make hundreds of new discoveries. Medicine, animal behavior, technology - theories that we know are being proved, denied, or corrected.

Bright Side gathered several facts that break many theories as we know them.

1. The most dangerous country in the world is Vatican City.

This surprising paradox occurred due to the way scores are calculated: the number of civil crimes and criminal offenses that happen during a year should be divided by the city population. The number of in Vatican City is far lower than in São Paulo, Lagos, and even the Bronx.

For example, in 2006, the population of Vatican City numbered 492 inhabitants, while the number of crimes registered in its territory was 827 cases. As a result, a statistical crime rate turned out to be the highest in the world - 1.68 cases per citizen.

2. Sloths can hold their breath for 40 minutes to swim underwater.

These mammals, known for their quiet way of life, don't mind going for a swim. Even if a sloth walks 2 meters per minute on the ground, its speed can be 5 times faster in the water! Due to their slow metabolic rate, they can stay without air for a record-breaking period of time.

3. The human tongue doesn't have special zones susceptible to different tastes.

We've all heard that you can sense sweet flavors with the tip of the tongue and that sour taste buds are situated on the back of the tongue. However, the taste map of the tongue was claimed to be a myth. Different taste buds are actually spread all over the tongue. The illusion of zoning is created by the prevalence of some similar taste buds on certain parts of the tongue.

4. Dogs aren't color-blind. They can see blue and yellow.

Contrary to popular belief, dogs don't see the world in black and white. The old myth about the 2-color vision was debunked by Russian scientists. The experiment, based on the recognition of full and empty food bowls of different colors, showed that our pets are as good as we are in recognizing the colors blue and yellow. However, they can't see the difference between green and red.

5. There are at least 3 Santa Clauses in the world.

They are all cities in the US that are situated in the states of Georgia, Arizona, and Indiana. The one in Indiana has been selling maps with special places for Christmas celebrations for many years. Here tourists can meet Santa Claus, the main symbol of the holiday.

Santa Claus, Georgia, is a small town that boasts only a park, church, and 8 streets bearing holiday names like Rudolf St. or December St. The third Santa Claus, from the state of Arizona, is a ghost-town that only has several buildings situated along a road.

6. Sheep have fights after their shearing because they don't recognize each other.

Every flock of sheep has its own hierarchy, and the ranking depends on the gender and age of a sheep. The leaders get better places by the feeder or when they rest and can control other sheep's behavior. The routine doesn't change until the shearing which, afterwards, incites a mini revolution, as described in this blog. Along with their identifying features, appearance, and smell sheep lose their status and have to fight to find out who's worthy of being at the top.

7. The apple didn't actually fall on Newton's head.

Isaac Newton simply witnessed the fall of a fruit which prompted the creation of Newton's law of universal gravitation. The apples' fall made the English physicist think about why they all have the same trajectory. William Stukeley, the scientist's biographer, mentioned this in his book Memoirs of Isaac Newton's Life. This book is where the legend came from about an apple falling on Newton's head.

8. Changing your desktop wallpaper can lower stress levels.

You need to change your surroundings if stress has you cornered. This rule can also be applied to your laptop or iPad wallpaper. A new background picture can lower your level of stress and boost your productivity. Pictures of nature are considered to be the most effective, while urban streetscapes and geometrical patterns are the least effective.

9. Gorillas can purr just like cats.

Not only can our pets purr, but also the following animals: gorillas, lemurs, guinea pigs, bears, foxes, hyenas, rabbits, and squirrels. Gorillas can even purr while they eat.

10. In total darkness, human sight can recognize a burning candle at a distance of 27 miles.

We are unable to appreciate fully the power of our own sight because even on flat ground we're limited by the skyline. The maximum distance at which the experiment isn't influenced by the shape of the Earth is only about 3.1 miles. In fact, a human can see much farther: if the planet were flat, in total darkness we would be able to see a flame at a distance of 27 miles.

11. One ton of mobile phones contains more gold than one ton of gold ore.

According to ecologists, the processing of one ton of ore results in 1–2 grams of gold. You can get the same amount of precious metal, if you process all gold-bearing parts of 41 mobile phones. One ton of gadgets contains almost 300 grams of gold. However, the price of the devices is too high to for this gold-mining process to be cost-effective.

Of course, there are many more facts that can turn our knowledge about the world upside down. If you know any facts that Bright Side doesn't, share them with us in the comments.

Preview photo credit The Young Pope/HBO
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