The world is a really weird place. There are things that people will vouch for but defy logic. Like the Mayan calendar and the so-called “2012 End-of-the-Earth theory”. Didn’t we survive the paranoia around it? Alas, myths are indeed just myths and not facts. But then there are things that make you question your sanity and surprisingly turn out to be real facts. In this article, we have brought together a list of ten unbelievable facts that no one will believe if you tell them.
1. When a person is struck by lightning, they may sometimes end up with fern-like marks on the body called “lightning flowers”.
A close look at lightning in the sky shows that it occurs in a branch-like pattern. This pattern is called “Lichtenberg figures”. They can occur within solid, liquids and gasses during electrical breakdown. They usually appear on the surface of high voltage components and equipment. The same pattern can appear on the body of a person struck by lightning. These reddish, fern-like patterns are sometimes called “lightning flowers”.
When a person is struck by lightning, the lightning current passes through his/her body and flashes over the skin. Due to this, the capillaries under the skin get ruptured and form reddish lightning flowers on the skin of the victim. This pattern can persist on the skin for hours and even days.(source)
2. The basis of modern WiFi and Bluetooth was invented in 1941 by a Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr.
Hedy Lamarr was an Australian-born, American film actress. She starred in a number of movies including the controversial film Ecstasy. Along with a beautiful face and sultry persona, Lamarr had an inventor’s brain. Her inventions during the Second World War later brought revolutions in the field of mobile communication.
During World War II, Lamarr and her business partner George Antheil drafted designs for a frequency hopping, spread-spectrum technology. They patented it on 11 August 1942 and gave it to U.S. Navy. But at that time the technology was difficult to implement. So, it languished in the files for decades. Later, this technology was implemented and it became an important part of today’s GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth technology.(1,2)
3. In 1783, a volcano called Laki erupted resulting in the death of over six million people which is around 0.75% of the entire world’s population.
Lakagigar, commonly known as Laki, is a volcanic fissure located in the south of Iceland. It erupted on 8 June 1783. The amazing part of this eruption is that the Laki mountain itself didn’t erupt. Instead, fissures opened up on each side of the mountain and basaltic lava started spewing out from all sides. The Laki eruption lasted eight months during which about fourteen cubic kilometers of lava erupted. Haze from the eruption was reported from Iceland to Syria.
The lava from the eruption ended up covering an estimated 2,500 square kilometers of land. It also released eighty million tons of sulfuric acid aerosol into the earth’s atmosphere. The wind carried the volcanic ash and acid far and wide, poisoning the land and sea. In Iceland alone, twenty to twenty-five percent of the population died due to famine. Famines and extreme weather occurred all over the world wiping out 0.75% of the entire population.(1,2)
4. People all over the world are only 0.1% different from each other. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, are only about 1.2% different from us.
In 1871, Charles Darwin predicted that the human lineage branched off from other animals in Africa. He drew this conclusion on the basis of the similarities between humans and African great apes. Years later it turned out to be true when DNA evidence confirmed his prediction. The genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees is about 1.2%. The closest cousin of chimpanzee, the bonobo, also differs from humans to the same degree. Between gorillas and our DNA, there is only 1.6% difference.
5. In the 19th century, Chicago was raised over four feet with screw jacks in order to install the first sewer system in the US.
The Chicago area lies along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. During the 19th century, the elevation of the city was not much higher than the shoreline. So, there was little or no naturally occurring drainage on the city surface. It caused unpleasant living conditions and numerous epidemics. This forced the city’s engineers and aldermen to plan a drainage system. According to the plan most buildings were raised with hydraulic jacks and then the drains were laid and covered.
The first masonary building was raised in 1858 at the north-east corner of Radolph Street and Dearborn Street. It was lifted on two hundred jackscrews. Some of the buildings were also moved from one place to another. The work continued till the 1860s.(source)
6. Apple’s iPhone Touch ID can differentiate between the fingerprint of a living and deceased person and even recognize the fingerprint from a severed finger.
Using your fingerprint to unlock your phone is a feature available on most phones. But what makes an iPhone different is that it can recognize the finger of a dead person. iPhone has a capacitive sensor which is activated by the electrical charge running through our skin. It is a known fact that there is a small amount of charge flowing in every living human being. The capacitive technology utilizes this feature for fingerprint detection. Also, this way it can also detect a severed finger. So, no one can open an iPhone by severing off its owner’s finger.(source)
7. A building in London called the “Walkie-Talkie” can melt cars and change weather patterns due to its concave design.
The “Walkie-Talkie” is a commercial skyscraper in London. Its original name is 20 Fenchurch Street. It is nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” due to its concave shape. Recently, the unique shaped building is in news for creating lots of problems. For up to two hours every day when the sun shines on the building, it acts as a concave mirror. Hence, it focuses a beam of light which is six times brighter than sunlight onto the pavement. The temperature at certain spots on the pavement reaches nearly 250°F. This intense heat has often melted cars parked there.
The Walkie-Talkie has also been held responsible for creating a wind tunnel. Due to the wind tunnel, the shop signs are being knocked down and pedestrians are being toppled. Also, local businesses in that area have complained that the building’s thirty-four stories are causing an influx of extreme winds.(1,2)
8. F1 drivers can lose about three kilograms of weight after just one race due to prolonged exposure to high G-forces and extreme heat in the cockpit.
Driving a car burns very few calories and can make the driver gain weight with time. But driving a Formula One car in a race can make a person lose weight. It is a physically strenuous activity due to high “G-forces”. G-forces are the force of acceleration acting on the driver. The lateral G-force can make the driver feel as though there is an extra twenty-five kilogram on his neck.
A healthy heart rate of a young man is about sixty beats per minute. But during a race, an F1 driver’s heart rate can rise to between 170 -190 beats per minute. Also, sitting in the extreme heat of the cockpit requires incredible endurance. Due to all these factors, an F1 driver can sweat off three kilograms of their body weight in each race.(source)
9. There’s a festival in Japan called ‘Kanamara Matsuri’ or ‘festival of the steel phallus’ to celebrate the phallus and everything pe*is-like.
In Japan, there is a legend that a demon who once fell in love with a young woman. The jealous, sharp-toothed demon hid inside this woman’s vagina. He bit off the peni*es of two young men on their wedding nights. When the woman sought help from a blacksmith, he created an iron phallus which broke the demon’s teeth. In honor of the steel phallus each year Japan has the festival “Kanamara Matsuri”.
The festival started in 1969. It is said that the shrine offers divine protection for prosperity in business and harmony in the life of married couples. It is also popular among prostitutes who pray for protection from sexually transmitted infections.(source)
10. There is a marsupial, Antechinus, that has marathon sex sessions until it goes blind and drops dead.
Antechinus is a rat-like marsupial found mainly in Australia. The male of this species has a special characteristic-suicidal reproduction. Antechinus males have a lifespan of one year and mates for only one breeding season. During this period, they do little else and mate with as many females as possible. This proves to be fatal for the little marsupial and they die at the end of the breeding season.
Male antechinus mates only in the last two weeks of its life. Each sex session can last up to fourteen hours. It has sex so often that it loses all its fur, becomes infected, bleeds internally and eventually dies. Almost the entire male population dies at the end of the mating season.(1,2)
Also see: 18 True Facts That Sound Completely Fake