Gemma Fischer
Gemma Fischer
January 29, 2024 ·  17 min read

37 Facts About the World That Will Surprise the Most Intelligent People

Nowadays, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection has the world at their fingertips. Literally. Thanks to Google and other sites like it, you can know basically everything in and about our world. But, in reality, there are still countless mysteries in the world that are still unsolved. But that said, countless mind-blowing facts about the world also exist! So, we’ve compiled 41 worldly facts that are sure to make even the most intelligent and knowledgeable person wide-eyed and surprised – and here they are!

Read: 32 Interesting And Unexpected Facts About The Female Body

A strawberry is not a berry, but a banana is a berry

Fresh strawberries in a bowl on wooden table with low key scene.
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The botanical classification of berries can be surprising. While commonly perceived as berries, strawberries do not meet the botanical definition of berries because they develop from a flower with a single ovary. On the other hand, bananas are classified as berries since they originate from a flower with a fleshy pericarp and contain seeds. The distinction between culinary and botanical classifications often leads to interesting revelations, highlighting the nuances of botanical terminology that may differ from everyday language use.

There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand in the world

The comparison between the number of stars in the sky and grains of sand on Earth serves to highlight the vastness of the cosmos. The observable universe contains an estimated 100 billion galaxies, each hosting billions or even trillions of stars. In contrast, Earth has approximately 7.5 x 10^18 grains of sand, a staggering number but significantly less than the countless stars in the universe. This analogy aims to convey the incomprehensible scale of the cosmos and the sheer abundance of stars, encouraging a sense of wonder and humility about our place in the grand expanse of space.

Humans completely replace their outer skin every month

LENS FLARE, MACRO: Human hand with upright body hairs glowing in golden sunlight. Detailed view of a hairy arm with goosebumps. Young person reacts to the cold from a chilly breeze blowing at sunset.
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The statement that humans completely replace their outer skin every month is not entirely accurate. While the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, undergoes continuous renewal, the process does not result in the complete replacement of all skin cells every month. Skin renewal is a dynamic and ongoing process where old, dead skin cells are shed, and new ones are generated to maintain the skin’s integrity and functionality.

Read: 10 Facts About The Cervix Every Woman Should Know

You can use your hand for a quick measurement of angles

Elegant female palm or wrist isolated on white. Variation of closed woman palm and an open palm with fingers to sides
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Spread out your fingers as far as they can. Your little finger represents 0°. The angle between the thumb and the little finger will be 90°, the angles between the little finger and the other fingers are 30°, 45°, and 60°, respectively.

You can also use your hand to remember which months have 31 days.

Calendar year 2024 schedule on yellow background. 2024 calendar planning appointment meeting concept. copy space. top view.
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Make a fist and start counting your knuckles and spaces between your knuckles. The knuckle of your index finger is January (knuckle means 31 days), then the space between your index and middle fingers is February (space means less than 31 days), and so on. Once you reach your little finger knuckle (July) count it again (August) and move in the opposite direction.

Mosquitoes have killed more humans than all wars in history

mosquito on human skin at sunset
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The statement that mosquitoes have killed more humans than all wars in history is an attention-grabbing but inaccurate claim. While mosquitoes are indeed vectors for diseases like malaria, which has historically caused significant mortality, attributing deaths solely to mosquitoes oversimplifies the complex factors influencing mortality rates. Wars involve a multitude of direct and indirect causes, and their impact on human lives is multifaceted. The comparison between mosquito-related deaths and deaths from wars should be approached with caution, recognizing the diverse and interconnected factors that contribute to mortality in both scenarios.

You’re twice as likely to get killed by a vending machine than a shark

Great White Shark Close up Shot
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While shark encounters capture public attention and can be sensationalized, the odds of a deadly shark incident are indeed relatively low. Conversely, accidents involving vending machines, such as tipping or falling, may result in injuries or fatalities, though such incidents are also infrequent. This comparison underscores the fact that our perception of risk is not always aligned with the actual statistical likelihood of certain events, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and evidence-based understanding when evaluating potential dangers.

For every human on earth, there are 1.6 million ants

Red imported fire ant,Action of fire ant
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The statement that for every human on earth, there are 1.6 million ants is an estimation based on the vast population of ants globally. Ants are highly social insects that thrive in diverse ecosystems, and their colonies can be extensive. While it’s challenging to obtain precise numbers, the sheer abundance of ants contributes to the suggested ratio. However, it’s essential to note that these figures can vary widely depending on the ant species, local environments, and ecological conditions. The statement serves to underscore the remarkable numerical dominance of ants in the natural world and their significant impact on various ecosystems.

France was still executing people by guillotine up until 1977

Horror view of Guillotine. Close-up of a guillotine on a dark foggy background. Execution concept
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France continued using the guillotine as a method of execution until 1977, making it one of the last Western countries to employ this form of capital punishment. The guillotine, a device designed for quick and efficient beheadings, gained notoriety during the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Over the years, public opinion and international pressure increasingly turned against capital punishment, and France eventually abolished the death penalty in 1981. The decision to use the guillotine until 1977 reflects the historical association of the device with the French legal system and the gradual global shift away from the use of the death penalty.

Read: Did You Know the Color of the Carbs You Eat Matters? This Doctor Explains Why

The word ‘set’ has the most number of definitions (464) in the English language

set word in a dictionary. set concept.
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The word ‘set’ holds the record for having the most diverse range of definitions in the English language, with a remarkable total of 464 distinct meanings. This versatility reflects the word’s adaptability and various uses across different contexts, from its common role as a verb indicating placement or fixing, to its functions as a noun, adjective, or part of idiomatic expressions. The extensive array of meanings highlights the richness and complexity of the English language, where certain words can evolve to encompass a wide spectrum of interpretations and applications over time.

In an average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator

Young man holding looking at vintage retro old brown globe world map with equator, Africa continent
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Over the course of an average lifetime, a person is estimated to walk the equivalent of approximately five times around the Earth’s equator. This staggering distance underscores the cumulative impact of daily movements and the significant role walking plays in human activity. Whether it’s commuting, exercising, or simply going about daily routines, the collective distance covered throughout a lifetime becomes an impressive testament to the mobility inherent in the human experience. This fact emphasizes the importance of staying physically active and the inherent connection between individual footsteps and the broader journey of a lifetime.

The jaw is the most commonly used joint in the human body

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While the jaw is indeed one of the most frequently used joints in the human body, the claim that it is the “most commonly used” can be subjective and context-dependent. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jaw to the skull, is essential for various daily activities like talking, chewing, and facial expressions. However, other joints, such as the knee and hip joints, are also heavily utilized for activities like walking and bearing body weight. The importance of a joint can vary based on an individual’s lifestyle and activities. Therefore, while the jaw is certainly crucial for specific functions, the designation of the “most commonly used” joint may differ depending on the criteria used for evaluation.

Starfish are not fish (they’re sea urchins) and killer whales are not whales (they’re dolphins)

Starfish on the summer beach in sea water. Summer background. Summer time.
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The statements about starfish and killer whales are partially accurate. Starfish, despite their common name, are not fish; they belong to the phylum Echinodermata and the class Asteroidea. Sea urchins are a different group within the phylum Echinodermata. On the other hand, killer whales, also known as orcas, are indeed a type of dolphin. While they are the largest members of the dolphin family (Delphinidae), they are not classified as whales. Both statements highlight the importance of using scientific classifications to accurately describe and categorize different species, as common names can sometimes be misleading.

Read: Did you know that eating heavy meals can trigger heart attacks?

Speaking of dolphins, they can actually call each other by name

dolphin portrait detail of eye while looking at you from ocean
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Dolphins are known for their advanced communication skills, and research suggests that they have the ability to call each other by name. Dolphins use a system of vocalizations to communicate with one another, and each dolphin has a unique whistle that serves as its individual signature. Studies have shown that dolphins can recognize and respond to the specific whistles of other dolphins, including those of their close associates or pod members. This ability to refer to individuals by specific vocalizations indicates a high level of cognitive and social complexity in dolphins, contributing to their reputation as intelligent and socially sophisticated marine mammals.

One piece of space junk returns to Earth every day

Space junk ring around the Earth viewed from space
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The claim that one piece of space junk returns to Earth every day is a rough estimation and can vary over time. Space debris, including defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and fragments from collisions, orbits Earth, and some of it eventually re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the rate at which space debris re-enters is not constant, and the size and composition of the debris influence how much survives the re-entry process. Space agencies and organizations worldwide are actively monitoring and tracking space debris to minimize potential risks to operational satellites and space missions. The management of space debris is a complex issue, and international efforts are underway to develop strategies for debris mitigation and space sustainability.

The naked mole rat is immune to cancer and can live with almost no oxygen.

Naked molerat guarding underground tunnel. Heterocephalus glaber
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The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a fascinating and unique mammal known for its extraordinary adaptations. One of its remarkable features is its apparent resistance to cancer. Unlike other mammals, naked mole rats have a high-molecular-weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA) in their tissues, which appears to play a role in preventing the uncontrolled cell growth characteristic of cancer.

Due to gravity, the theoretical maximum height of a tree is 130 meters

The sun brightly shines through the crooked branches of a majestic green tree
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The theoretical maximum height of a tree is not strictly limited by gravity alone, but rather a combination of several factors, including structural and physiological constraints. Gravity certainly plays a role in limiting the height of trees, as they need to transport water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, and taller trees face challenges in maintaining this transport.

The mouth of a blue whale can hold its own body weight in water

Blue whale in Mirissa srilanka
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The statement that the mouth of a blue whale can hold its own body weight in water is a bit misleading. Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth, and their mouths are enormous, but they don’t “hold” water in the way the phrase might imply. Blue whales are baleen whales, and instead of teeth, they have baleen plates in their mouths, which are used for filter-feeding.

An average adult contains 7 quintillion joules of potential energy (or, 30 hydrogen bombs)

explosion of atomic bomb on background of sky
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Potential energy is a measure of an object’s capacity to do work due to its position or state. In the context of the human body, potential energy is stored in various forms, such as chemical energy in food. However, comparing this energy to the explosive power of hydrogen bombs may not be directly applicable or meaningful.

Read: 9 Walking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

The technology in one Gameboy exceeds all the computing power used to put a man on the moon

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - DECEMBER 30, 2013: Photo of an original Nintendo handheld video game device Game boy (1989) with Tetris game playing.Showing obvious signs of longtime use.
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The original Game Boy, released in 1989, had a processor speed of around 4.2 MHz and limited computing capabilities compared to modern devices. In contrast, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) used in the Apollo missions to the moon, particularly Apollo 11 in 1969, operated at about 1.024 MHz.

99% of the Earth’s gold is located in its crust

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Gold is a relatively heavy element, and during the Earth’s formation, it tended to migrate towards the planet’s core. However, gold is also known to be less reactive than some other elements, and as a result, it often remained in the Earth’s crust rather than sinking entirely into the core.

Honey is the only food that does not spoil

honey dripping isolated on white background
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Honey’s natural composition, including its low water content and acidic pH, creates an inhospitable environment for microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. This inhibits the growth of spoilage-causing agents and contributes to honey’s remarkable preservation properties. However, honey can crystallize over time, becoming thick and grainy. While this is a natural process and does not indicate spoilage, some people might consider crystallized honey less desirable. To return honey to its liquid state, gentle heating can be applied without causing harm.

The Hawaiian alphabet only has thirteen letters

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The Hawaiian alphabet, which is also known as the Hawaiian script, originally consisted of only thirteen letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W, and ‘okina (a glottal stop represented by the symbol ʻ). The ‘okina is a consonant sound used in the Hawaiian language to mark a slight pause between vowels, similar to the sound in English “uh-oh.” In modern usage, the Hawaiian alphabet is typically considered to have 13 letters, including the ‘okina. This unique letter gives the Hawaiian language its distinctive phonetic characteristics and is important for proper pronunciation.

Read: 9 Surprising Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

The lighter was invented earlier than the match

Rock Band Performing a Slow Song at a Concert in a Night Club. Front Row Crowd is Holding Lighters. Silhouettes of Fans Raise Hands in Front of Bright Colorful Strobing Lights on Stage.
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The first lighter, known as the “Pewter Table Lighter,” was invented in 1823 by a German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. This early lighter used a chemical reaction to produce a flame. On the other hand, the modern friction match, as we know it today, was invented by English chemist John Walker in 1827, about four years later than the invention of the lighter. Therefore, the lighter predates the modern match by a few years in terms of invention.

The strongest muscle in the human body (proportional to its size) is the tongue

Macro of a little girl's mouth curling her tongue into a U shape, a genetic trait inherited from her parents.
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The tongue is often considered the strongest muscle in the human body relative to its size. While it may not be the most powerful muscle in absolute terms (since larger muscles can produce more force), the tongue’s strength in proportion to its size is remarkable.

Whips make a cracking sound because the tip actually moves faster than the speed of sound, creating a small sonic boom

Whip
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The cracking sound produced by a whip is indeed associated with the tip of the whip moving faster than the speed of sound, resulting in a small sonic boom. When a whip is properly cracked, it creates a loop in the air, and the tip of the whip moves with enough speed to break the sound barrier.

Read: 8 Ways To Get Rid Of Phlegm And Mucus In Chest And Throat

To tell a real diamond from a fake one, breathe on it. Fake ones will fog up while real ones will stay clear

brilliant cut diamond held by tweezers
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The method of breathing on a diamond to distinguish a real one from a fake one is not a reliable test and is generally not recommended. The idea is that a real diamond, having high thermal conductivity, will disperse heat quickly and remain clear, while a fake diamond may fog up due to lower thermal conductivity. However, various factors can affect this test, and it is not foolproof. Some synthetic diamonds or diamond simulants can exhibit similar thermal conductivity to natural diamonds, making them less susceptible to fogging. Additionally, other materials, like cubic zirconia or glass, may also disperse heat relatively quickly, potentially leading to a false interpretation.

The 3 most sold products in human history include the iPhone, Harry Potter books, and the Rubik’s Cube

Rubik's play
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The most sold products in human history typically include everyday items like smartphones, books, and toys, but the specific rankings can vary.

A cockroach can live a few weeks without its head, before eventually dying of hunger

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Cockroaches have an open circulatory system, meaning they breathe through tiny openings called spiracles on their body segments rather than through a centralized respiratory system like humans. Additionally, they don’t breathe through their mouths, which is why they can survive for a period without their heads.

Besides the 5 senses, you also have proprioception, awareness of the position of your body parts.

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Proprioception is often referred to as the “sixth sense” and refers to the ability to perceive the position and movement of one’s body parts. It involves the integration of sensory information from receptors in the muscles, joints, and tendons to provide a sense of the body’s spatial orientation.

Read: Survey: Only 1% Of People Know The Tell-Tale Signs Of Some Of The Deadliest Cancers

The Spanish word ‘esposas’ means both ‘handcuffs’ and ‘wives’

Shiny metal handcuffs on the mirror table.
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This linguistic phenomenon, where a single word has multiple meanings, is known as a polysemy. In this case, the word “esposas” illustrates an example of polysemy, where the meanings are related in a metaphorical or symbolic sense, connecting the concepts of binding or union in both contexts. It’s not uncommon for languages to have words with multiple meanings, often reflecting cultural or historical associations.

When you gain or lose weight, your fat cells don’t disappear — they simply change in size

Yellow fat, like obesity cells, under the microscope, is a chemical process of atoms and molecules. Close-up.
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hen you gain or lose weight, your fat cells (adipocytes) don’t typically disappear; instead, they undergo changes in size. Each fat cell can expand or shrink depending on the amount of fat it stores. During weight gain, fat cells accumulate more triglycerides and expand, and during weight loss, they release stored fat, causing them to shrink.

99% of the microbes that live inside humans are unknown to science

Lab technician researching with petri plate for analysis in the laboratory microscope. Microbiologist working and examining mold and fungal cultures in petri dishes in the microbiology laboratory
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The claim that 99% of the microbes that live inside humans are unknown to science might be an exaggeration, but it reflects the complexity and diversity of the human microbiome. The human microbiome comprises trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, living in and on the human body. While researchers have made significant strides in understanding the microbiome, a substantial portion of these microorganisms remains uncultured or uncharacterized.

Paper cuts are more painful than regular cuts because such a wound almost never bleeds

The sensation of pain from a paper cut is often perceived as more intense or sharper than that from a regular cut, and the lack of significant bleeding is one contributing factor. Paper cuts are typically shallow, causing damage to the top layers of the skin without major blood vessels being affected. Because of this, there is minimal bleeding, and the nerve endings near the skin’s surface are more exposed, contributing to the heightened sensation of pain.

Read: 11 Diseases That May Start With Your Gut Bacteria

If you wanted to burn 1 calorie by clicking on a mouse, you would need to click a mouse button around 10 million times

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In general, the energy expended by clicking a mouse button is minimal. The act of clicking involves a relatively small muscle movement and does not consume a significant amount of energy. The estimation of burning 1 calorie by clicking a mouse button 10 million times might be an exaggeration. The number of calories burned through physical activities is typically influenced by factors such as body weight, muscle efficiency, and the nature of the movement. Simple movements like clicking a mouse button are not designed to be significant calorie-burning activities. To burn calories effectively, engaging in more vigorous physical activities is recommended.

If you make ice cubes with tap water, they will be white; if you use boiled water, they will be transparent

Crystal clear ice cubes as background, top view
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The transparency of ice cubes is primarily influenced by the presence of dissolved gases and impurities in the water. When water freezes, it forms ice, and the process of freezing tends to push impurities and gases out of the ice crystals, leading to clearer ice. Boiling water before freezing may help reduce the presence of dissolved gases and impurities, potentially resulting in clearer ice cubes. The idea is that boiling removes some of the dissolved gases, which could otherwise create cloudy or white ice.

It takes such little electricity to charge your phone that if you calculated the yearly cost of it, it would be less than $1

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Charging a modern smartphone typically consumes a small amount of electricity. The power consumption for charging is usually measured in watts, and it’s relatively low. Even if you charge your phone every day, the yearly cost is likely to be a fraction of a dollar.

Remember…

Earth at he night. Abstract wallpaper. City lights on planet. Civilization. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
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As much as we think we know about this world, there’s still a beautiful mystery to it! These surprising facts just help prove that there’s so much more to explore. If you enjoyed and even gleaned something new from these amazing facts, you will love this one: 100-year-old life hacks that are surprisingly useful today. They’re ingenious!

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