20 incredible facts that people recently tweeted
This Twitter thread may provide all the education a person needs.
- A simple question on Twitter resulted in an avalanche of mind-blowing answers.
- What else are we supposed to do with all of these stray bits of information?
- Sciency, helpful, and ridiculous — we've got 'em all.
On January 27, educator, organizer, and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham tweeted a simple question: "What's the most random fact you know?" It turns out people know a lot of random things — the replies have been stunningly informative, amazing, and ridiculous. Here are 20 of the best facts shared:
1. A tarantula's best friend
The Colombian tarantula keeps tiny frogs as pets to protect their spider eggies from pests aka the froggies are lil spider pups— Ashley (@aNippz) January 28, 2020
So many thoughts. Interspecies slavery? Frog mills?
2. The snap
When you snap the sound comes from your finger hitting your palm— Jacqueline (@DacolinDudley) January 28, 2020
This might make you feel better if you're one of the many people incapable of doing the African Finger Snap once explained and demonstrated by Lupita Nyong'o.
Mind = blown. Did her folks do this on purpose?
4. Blood stains
If you get a drop of blood on clothing, you can remove it spitting on it. Only works if it’s your blood and your spit, though, because the enzymes need to match. Just a little bit of Professional Seamstress trivia.— Megan #wwdd? Odett (formerly Kidical Mass DC) (@Megan2Wheels) January 28, 2020
This is both amazing and cool. Custom-coded saliva just for your own personal use.
5. Not to worry
The stickers on fruit are made to be edible, just in case.— Tammy Howe (@thowe555) January 28, 2020
Are we the only ones who worry about this? Also, if you don't remove the label before washing the fruit, good luck getting it off.
6. In the event of alligator
If you are attacked by a gator and your arm is in its jaws, push, don't pull. If you can push the flap open at the back of its throat, water rushes in and it starts to drown and will open jaws, hopefully releasing you.— Anika Noni Rose (@AnikaNoniRose) January 28, 2020
7. Listen carefully
When you hum a song, the sounds comes out of your nose— Jared Palmer (@jaredpalmer) January 28, 2020
Hmmm, mmm, mmm. Whaddya know!
8. The nipple rule
most mammals have twice as many nipples as their species' average litter size (e.g. humans mostly have 1 kid at a time, but 2 nipples), this is colloquially referred to as the 'half nipple rule'— Anarcho-Bobcat (@AnarchoBob) January 28, 2020
except opossums, which for some reason have an odd number of nipples
Today is not the day nature stops being weird.
9. Your final sensation in space
If you were ever ejected into space, the last thing you’d feel before losing consciousness is the saliva on your tongue beginning to boil— Jay Kristoff (@misterkristoff) January 29, 2020
(The boiling point of liquids is lower when air pressure is lower. In vacuum, your body heat is enough to boil the spit in your mouth)
Grim, but fascinating. Let's not do this.
10. Dotting your “i”
The dot above an i is called a tittle.— ηєωт, GIFmeister General (@newtnewtriot) January 28, 2020
Because of course.
11. Not who you think they are
Roly poly bugs/pillbugs aren’t insects, they’re crustaceans, more specifically isopods, the only ones likely to be anywhere near your average North American backyard. They have giant sea-floor cousins that can grow up to a foot and a half long but look basically the same.— Megan Romer (@meganromer) January 28, 2020
12. Vegans beware
Artificial raspberry and strawberry flavoring comes from the anal glands of a beaver.— Stephanie ”I Need ❄️” Nelson (@stephanienels) January 28, 2020
While this is true, the resulting flavoring is so expensive to produce that it rarely gets used in foods. Check the label for castoreum. While you're there, keep an eye out for carmine, which is commonly used as a red coloring for food. It's made from crushed beetles.
13. Stand back or run away
Male dolphins can ejaculate as far as 10' and with such force it can kill a human if that human was foolish enough to attempt zoophilic relations with dolphin.— dr. kittens not kids (@kittensnotkids) January 28, 2020
Marine researchers must be very dedicated.
14. Or maybe just swim as fast as you can
Maybe keep your horses away from the ocean.
15. The fine grain of time
No matter how fast our brain can process information, it can never be fast enough to experience the actual present moment. Everything we experience is in the past.— bioethics402 (@jacob_dahlke) January 28, 2020
Of course "now" is a difficult concept to really comprehend. The moment you notice it, it's gone, as the tweet suggests.
This brings to mind quantum entanglement. Maybe particles don't really exist in multiple states at a time, but our ability to capture "now" is just so coarse it seems that way. Our idea of simultaneity may actually be a series of fine-grained moments rounded off into a single "now" that's large enough for us to perceive. Thus, we perceive multiple particle states as simultaneous but they're really not. Just saying.
16. Million billion
A million seconds is 12 days— Dr. M (@MaaloufMD) January 28, 2020
A billion seconds is 31 years
You've wondered, right? A perfect fact for the next conversation lull you need to fill.
17. Nuts in nature
Cashews grow on the bottom of a cashew apple. The apple is too perishable to export, so we only ever see the nuts. pic.twitter.com/ScAXAKNk6g— Drew Barth (@drewbarth) January 28, 2020
Also, we only see the nuts because some of the discarded parts of the plant are toxic.
18. Orange carrots
Oh, another:— Lynne Up North 🕷️ (@AndOrNorLyn) January 28, 2020
Carrots are orange because of a political statement.
Originally carrots came in multiple colors, including white, yellow, and purple, but orange ones were selectively bred by the Dutch as support for William of Orange, who led the the struggle for Dutch independence.
Censored vegetables, for goodness' sake.
19. Angular numbers?
The numbers we use today are based on drawings done by Phoenician merchants. Many of them were illiterate, so they added angles to a straight line and counted them instead. This picture explains it nicely: pic.twitter.com/iM51BGMGrq— Damski (@TuftyBall) January 29, 2020
Some researchers are skeptical about this origin story, especially when it comes to the symbol for zero.
20. How long you’ll remember all this
Within one hour, people will forget an average of 50 percent of info presented; 24 hours, an average of 70 percent of new info;and within a week, an average of 90 percent of it.— 2019Families2Investigate MLK/X/JFK Deaths (@jjconceptsinc) January 28, 2020
What was the first fact on this list?
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Numerous U.S. Presidents invoked the Insurrection Act to to quell race and labor riots.
- U.S. Presidents have invoked the Insurrection Act on numerous occasions.
- The controversial law gives the President some power to bring in troops to police the American people.
- The Act has been used mainly to restore order following race and labor riots.
It looks like a busy hurricane season ahead. Probably.
- Before the hurricane season even started in 2020, Arthur and Bertha had already blown through, and Cristobal may be brewing right now.
- Weather forecasters see signs of a rough season ahead, with just a couple of reasons why maybe not.
- Where's an El Niño when you need one?
Welcome to Hurricane Season 2020. 2020, of course, scoffs at this calendric event much as it has everything else that's normal — meteorologists have already used up the year's A and B storm names before we even got here. And while early storms don't necessarily mean a bruising season ahead, forecasters expect an active season this year. Maybe storms will blow away the murder hornets and 13-year locusts we had planned.
NOAA expects a busy season
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, there's a 60 percent chance that we're embarking upon a season with more storms than normal. There does, however, remain a 30 percent it'll be normal. Better than usual? Unlikely: Just a 10 percent chance.
Where a normal hurricane season has an average of 12 named storms, 6 of which become hurricanes and 3 of which are major hurricanes, the Climate Prediction Center reckons we're on track for 13 to 29 storms, 6 to 10 of which will become hurricanes, and 3 to 6 of these will be category 3, 4, or 5, packing winds of 111 mph or higher.
What has forecasters concerned are two factors in particular.
This year's El Niño ("Little Boy") looks to be more of a La Niña ("Little Girl"). The two conditions are part of what's called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, which describes temperature fluctuations between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific. With an El Niño, waters in the Pacific are unusually warm, whereas a La Niña means unusually cool waters. NOAA says that an El Niño can suppress hurricane formation in the Atlantic, and this year that mitigating effect is unlikely to be present.
Second, current conditions in the Atlantic and Caribbean suggest a fertile hurricane environment:
- The ocean there is warmer than usual.
- There's reduced vertical wind shear.
- Atlantic tropical trade winds are weak.
- There have been strong West African monsoons this year.
Here's NOAA's video laying out their forecast:
ArsTechnica spoke to hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach, who agrees generally with NOAA, saying, "All in all, signs are certainly pointing towards an active season." Still, he notes a couple of signals that contradict that worrying outlook.
First off, Klotzbach notes that the surest sign of a rough hurricane season is when its earliest storms form in the deep tropics south of 25°N and east of the Lesser Antilles. "When you get storm formations here prior to June 1, it's typically a harbinger of an extremely active season." Fortunately, this year's hurricanes Arthur and Bertha, as well as the maybe-imminent Cristobal, formed outside this region. So there's that.
Second, Klotzbach notes that the correlation between early storm activity and a season's number of storms and intensities, is actually slightly negative. So while statistical connections aren't strongly predictive, there's at least some reason to think these early storms may augur an easy season ahead.
Image source: NOAA
Batten down the hatches early
If 2020's taught us anything, it's how to juggle multiple crises at once, and layering an active hurricane season on top of SARS-CoV-2 — not to mention everything else — poses a special challenge. Warns Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross, "As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season." If, as many medical experts expect, we're forced back into quarantine by additional coronavirus waves, the oceanic waves slamming against our shores will best be met by storm preparations put in place in a less last-minute fashion than usual.
Ross adds, "Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe."
Let's hope this, at least, can be counted on in this crazy year.
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