Bright Side

14 Jaw-Dropping Facts We Wish They’d Taught Us in School


Have you ever seen a flame in zero gravity? Do you know what Pablo Escobar’s personal hitman does today? Why do butterflies drink turtles’ tears? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’ll definitely want to read this article!

Bright Side has collected some unusual facts that can astonish even experienced cynics.

14. In zero gravity, a candle’s flame appears round and blue.

On Earth, hot air always rises and cold air sinks. The flame has an elongated shape and a red color thanks to products of combustion.

In zero gravity, the flame would be round and blue. Such fire would burn at a temperature of about 1,830 °F. But when combustible substances exhaust, there’s a so-called cold burning at the temperature of 390 °F. Such flames are almost invisible but they still can scorch.

13. The most powerful and ruthless pirate in history was a woman named Ching Shih.

She was born in 1775 in the Guangdong province and was a sex worker in the 1800s. She then married Cheng I, a pirate’s captain, and he granted her 50% of his fleet.

Thanks to her strict discipline and military tactics, the number of her ships grew really fast. Soon she controlled 80,000 men and 1,800 ships. Once, Ching defeated a big imperial fleet and was called “The Pirate Queen”.

12. The Dutch East India Company was the most expensive company in history.

If it existed today, its capital would be 8 times bigger than Apple’s capital. According to some calculations, the company would be worth $7.9 trillion at its peak.

11. In Finland, when you get a Ph.D. diploma, you get a top hat and a sword.

Such attributes are an essential part of this country’s tradition. The color of the hat depends on the faculty. Doctors of philosophy have black hats, doctors of theology have purple hats, those in law get dark red, and so on.

10. Pablo Escobar’s personal hitman is a vlogger today.

His name is John Jairo Velásque and he is well-known on his YouTube channel as Popeye. He talks about his past and says that he tried to change his life. Some of his videos have millions of views.

9. Thioacetal is the stinkiest substance in the world.

In 1889 scientists from Freiburg decided to get some thioacetal. People of that time said, “An offensive smell which spread rapidly over a great area of the town caused fainting and vomiting.” The government had to evacuate the whole town.

Another incident took place in 1967 in Oxford. A group of scientists worked on an experiment with thioacetal. A stopper came off of a bottle containing residue of the thioacetal and even though it was replaced at once, it resulted in an immediate complaint of nausea and sickness from colleagues working in a building 200 yards away.

8. If you lift a box turtle and don’t release it back in the exact same place, it will probably die trying to find its way home.

Box turtles get stressed when moved into new surroundings. Wild turtles that were domesticated by people have a really short lifespan. If a turtle gets released back into the wild, it’ll wander aimlessly trying to find its old home until it dies.

7. In Disneyland, there are roller coasters for kidney stones.

After receiving reports of patients passing kidney stones after riding roller coasters, Dr. David Wartinger decided to conduct an experiment. He took a ride on a roller coaster 20 times with a 3D kidney model to collect data. The success varied from 16% to 100%. The size and the location of the stones didn’t matter.

6. There are blue bananas in the world.

Burmese blue bananas are rare and beautiful fruits that grow in China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. People don’t eat them but they’re an essential food for elephants.

5. In Australia, there are large wedge-tailed eagles with a wingspan of up to 9 ft, 4 in.

These birds are quite aggressive and they usually attack helicopters and small aircrafts trying to defend their territory where their nests are located.

4. In 1931, a scientist decided to conduct an experiment and raise a monkey as a human.

This scientist took a baby monkey and started to raise it together with his 10-month-old son. It managed to pass all intellectual tests better than the boy but failed to learn to speak.

The scientist had to stop the experiment since his son started to imitate the chimpanzee’s behavior. Instead of learning a language, he made monkey noises when he wanted to eat or drink.

3. Tim Friede let 160 venomous snakes bite him.

For 16 years, he let different venomous snakes bite him. As a result, he became resistant to any kind of poison. He even survived the bite of a Black Mamba.

2. Sperm whales have accents and regional dialects.

Scientists from the Dalhousie University worked with sperm whale sounds that they had collected for 18 years. It turned out that whales that lived far from each other had different dialects. They communicated using similar patterns of clicks that differed in rhythm and tempo.

In other words, sperm whales can understand only sperm whales within their same culture. They can’t understand other “foreign” whales.

1. Butterflies drink turtles’ tears.

Entomologist Phil Torres explains the unusual relationship between turtles and butterflies. According to his studies, in tropical regions, some animals don’t get enough minerals, especially salt since all their water is fresh. That’s why butterflies (and bees sometimes) drink turtles’ tears. But we still don’t know why poor turtles cry...

Bonus: How a key opens a lock

Do you want to add anything to this list? Share your knowledge with us in the comments.

Preview photo credit shark wasangka / @twitter