Unless you just happen to be on the verge of death, you should try to learn new things as often as possible. I suppose you could do so even if you are about to die, but that would be sort of pointless.
Most people enjoy learning. Children tend to hate school because they are forced to go there; also there are a lot of boring teachers out there. Many teachers are great, but there are also a ton of boring ones. It is all about the way the material is presented.
There are a lot of cool facts out there that you probably don’t know, but you’ll be happy when you learn them. At the very least, they’re something to talk about over dinner.
Here are ten examples of compelling facts that you probably didn’t know that will make you feel just a little bit smarter.
1. The Rock From Space
This is a pretty well-known rock that came from space. It ended up landing in China—in a city called Fukang, and it was found in 2000. The Fukang meteorite, as it is called, is probably well over 4 billion years old. No matter how old you currently are, that has to make you feel pretty young.
I can’t imagine being 4 billion years old. I am guessing that a year would feel like a second; it really is true that, as you get older, time seems to speed up.
In case you’re wondering, scientists believe that the Earth is roughly as old as this meteorite. I have often wondered what it would be like to go back in time; if I had the ability, though, I’d probably only go back about 500 years. I would make it a point to bring antibiotics and bottled water with me. I would also bring toilet paper.
I can’t imagine what things were like billions of years ago on Earth. There is no way of knowing for sure. Wouldn’t it be weird if there was actually a super advanced society at the time that just didn’t manage to thrive on the new planet?
2. The New Spacesuits
These new and improved spacesuits were designed by NASA for the inevitable trip to Mars. The old suits really weren’t appropriate for that particular environment. They kept people alive on the moon, but Mars is a whole different beast.
A lot of people think that humans will be able to inhabit Mars one day. Obviously, things will need to be done. Structures will need to be built. The climate of the planet is somewhat similar to that of Earth, but you couldn’t just be dropped off there and thrive. You would die immediately. The conditions there aren’t exactly conducive to human life.
There are also a lot of dust storms, which would be very irritating.
3. The Reporter’s Notebook
This is a notebook belonging to a NBA reporter. A true fan of sports may be able to figure out what all of this means, but I certainly can’t. This is some sort of form of shorthand that I will never understand.
I have actually been a news reporter. It isn’t an easy job. I never covered sports, but I covered politics and that sort of stuff. You know what the hardest part about the job is? You have to be able to write really quickly while you’re also listening and forming more questions in your head. You don’t want to misquote anyone, but everyone talks so quickly these days. I generally type pretty well, if I do say so myself, but it is almost impossible to keep up with what people are saying.
I am not going to speak poorly of any politician, but I hated interviewing them. They were all just so self-absorbed. I could tell they thought they were better than me—which is fair, because most people are; they didn’t even bother to try to hide it, though. I also knew half of them were full of crap, and they got really ticked off at me when I tried to call them on that. They would lie and contradict themselves all of the time. They probably expected me to notice, but they were also apparently surprised that I cared.
4. The Iron Ring
This is an example of an iron ring that goes to people who graduate from engineering programs in Canada. They are supposed to wear it on their pinky finger. When the ring inevitably ends up hitting the surface of whatever they just happen to be working on, it is supposed to remind them that they are required to design stuff that is both practical and safe.
That’s pretty nice, I think. I don’t really like rings myself, which is one of about 37 reasons I never married and never will. I like the concept of a wedding ring, though, and it serves a practical purpose. You look at your hand and remember that you took a vow to not cheat on your spouse with the person you just really seem to be connecting with at the coffee shop.
Is it really true that there are women who are more attracted to guys who wear wedding rings? It has been joked about on more than one television show, but I actually knew a guy who carried around his old wedding ring in his wallet. He was divorced.
When he saw a woman he wanted to get to know better, he would slip it on and claim to be a widower. It seemed to work for him, which is weird. When you are looking for a romantic partner, aren’t you trying to find someone with very little baggage? I don’t know if I could date a woman with a dead husband. That seems like a recipe for a lot of very depressing conversations, and my life is depressing enough.
5. The Church and the Lightning
This is the remnants of a church in England that was actually struck by lightning. The strike happened in 1762. The church is known as All Saints Church. It is in Billockby. I can’t believe part of it is still around more than 250 years after the strike. That is pretty impressive. People really knew how to build things back then.
I have to think that lightning striking a church is a bad sign. I’m not particularly superstitious, mind, but I would never go to a service there.
I may have written about this before. I actually know of a nun who was struck by lightning. In fact, she was struck by lightning twice. One of those times was literally the day before she took her nun vows. I heard this story well over a decade ago, so the details are fuzzy; if I remember correctly, she was in a stream for some reason when she was hit by the lightning.
She taught me history in high school. I am pretty sure that the lightning strikes fried her brain. She would always assign homework, but no one ever did it. One of my classmates, who I believe became a lawyer, realized that you could write literally anything on a piece of paper and show it to her—and the nun would be convinced that you had properly completed the assignment.
I was taught by another nun in high school. I may have written about her before, too. She was the worst. Nuns should not be teachers. I don’t know what they should be doing with their time, but they shouldn’t be teaching.
6. The Tree That Is On Fire
This is a tree that is burning from the inside out. The picture was taken in Napa, California. There was a wildfire. They happen.
I am not one of those people who worry too much about trees feeling pain, but I do feel bad for this tree. Being burned from the inside out seems like the cruelest, most awful way to go. You know there’s no way this tree survived.
It is a cool-looking picture, though. It looks like something out of a fantasy video game.
A good chunk of wildfires are caused by human activity; for example, discarded cigarettes can cause them. If you are going to smoke, make sure you put your smoke out properly before you leave the area.
7. The Ancient Teeth
These are teeth from Ancient Egypt. This does not look like a fun procedure. Chances are, though, these teeth were reattached after the person died.
The Ancient Egyptians believed you needed to be buried with your stuff—you would need it in the afterlife. I don’t know exactly why they believed that, but it was definitely a thing back then. People in this day and age have weird ideas about what the afterlife will be like, so I can’t really judge the Egyptians for their beliefs.
I still like the goofy idea of getting to hang out on a cloud while angels play you music on a harp; it sounds like a peaceful way to spend eternity. That said, however, I seriously doubt that’s how it is all going to play out for me—or for anyone.
8. The Noodles In Antarctica
So these are noodles in Antarctica. It gets really cold there—as this picture proves.
I find it hard to believe that over 1,000 people choose to reside in Antarctica. Sometimes, there are several thousands of people on the continent. I recognize that they are scientists doing research, but it still seems insane to me. I couldn’t even imagine moving to Alaska. I hear it is beautiful there during the summer months, but I just can’t stand the cold. Freezing seems like one of the worst ways to die.
If you go ahead and research the symptoms of hypothermia and you live in a cold place, there is a good chance you will consider moving to a warmer climate.
9. The Bird That Looks Like Moss
It should be pretty obvious which is a bird and which happens to be a clump of moss. Still, at first glance, you might assume both are clumps of moss. This bird in question is a golden plover. After it hatches, it hides itself from predators by looking like this.
I really do like birds a lot. I always thought it would be fun to have a cockatoo. They are pretty birds, and they are known to be smart. They get on well with humans. The problem is that they can live for over 60 years. I don’t want to adopt a pet that will definitely outlive me.