There are some facts that just blow your mind, while there are others that are so awesome that they seem fake. They seem like they are just fake and are obvious exaggerations. But sometimes, even if they look exaggerated, these facts are actually true. We bring to you 12 such facts that seem exaggerated but are actually true!
1. 1/5 of all mammal species are bats.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) organized a five-year Global Mammal Assessment in 2008 for their IUCN Red List. They counted 5,488 species of mammals. Out of the 5,488 species, 1,240 are bats. This means that bats account for ~20%, or 1/5th, of the total number of mammal species that exist on the planet!(1,2)
2. Netflix came even before Google was born.
We all love bingeing on Netflix over the weekend. But have you ever stopped to think that the Netflix online portal that you love so much is actually older than Google? Well yes, it is. Netflix made its debut almost a year before Google was born.
Netflix was founded on August 29, 1997. It was not an online video-on-demand when it was incorporated. Back then, it was the time of DVDs, so Netflix used to send rental DVDs to people’s homes via mail – yes, real snail-mail! People would watch the movie and send back the DVD to get a new one. The classic red envelopes of Netflix are still etched in people’s minds. It was only in 2007 that Netflix expanded its business to online streaming and we got the Netflix that we are accustomed to today.
3. Lake Baikal has 22–23% of all the freshwater in the world.
When you think about all the water in the world, you would be amazed to know that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Out of all the water now, ~97% of it is saline and lies in the oceans, seas, and as saline groundwater. Only ~3% of all the water is actually fresh water.
Now, out of this 3% of freshwater, around 1.75 – 2% lies frozen in the form of glaciers or snow and 0.5-0.75% lies as fresh groundwater and moisture present in the soil. It is less than 0.01% of the freshwater that lies as surface water in rivers, lakes, or swamps.
Now the mind-blowing fact is that of the small amount of freshwater (relative to total water present on Earth) that is present in glacier, snow, rivers, lakes, swamps, and other places, 22-23% is present at a single location which is the Lake Baikal.(source)
4. The maximum we can dig into the Earth’s surface is only 0.5% of its radius.
The radius of the Earth is about 6,500 km. The crust is on an average around 35 km. Below the crust are layers and layers of hard rock at high temperatures which would make drilling impossible. This means that the maximum we can drill into the Earth’s surface is 35 km which is apparently only 0.5% of the Earth’s radius.
The Kola Superdeep Borehole is the deepest borehole in the world, and even then it was only about to reach 12,262 meters (12.262 km). They started drilling in 1970, and it is still the deepest, artificial hole in the world in terms of true depth.(source)
5. The American Pygmy Shrew eats three times its weight every day, or else it will die.
There are many small insects and animals that eat a lot every day. Many worms and insects eat as much as their weight every day. But the American Pygmy Shrew has taken this one step further. This small shrew is the second-smallest mammal in the world with its body just averaging 5 cm long. But, it has an unbelievable appetite.
This little animal eats three times its body weight on a daily basis. This requires them to capture prey every 15 to 30 minutes, and that too at all times during the day as well as night. They die if they go for one hour without food.
As they are in constant search for food, they never get to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. Their diet is fully protein-based and consists of insects, worms, and insect larvae.(source)
6. Kopperl, Texas witnessed the highest temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit on June 15, 1960, and that too was strangely at midnight.
Kopperl is a small place located in Texas in the United States. On June 15, 1960, when the clock struck 12 at night, a strange heat engulfed the area. There was a sudden heat burst and a thunderstorm fell upon the community. Hot winds swept down on the people at speeds of 75 mph. The temperature increased swiftly reaching 140 °F (60 °C) which is 20 degrees above the official previous highest temperature recorded for the state of Texas. It even exceeded the highest official temperature recorded on Earth until then.
The storm, that came to be known as “Satan’s Storm,” is now part of the local folklore.(source)
7. The number of possible combinations of a set of four Rubik’s cubes is almost same as the estimated number of atoms in the entire universe.
The Rubik’s Cube is a wonderful thing. From its invention in 1974 by Ernő Rubik, the sculpture and architecture professor from Hungary, it is still widely popular across the world and never stops to amaze people. Now, there are numerous possible ways in which the cube can be arranged. Let’s consider the classic 3×3×3 Rubik’s cube and get into some mathematics.
The 3×3×3 cube has eight corners and 12 edges which means that it can be arranged in 8! different ways which total up to 40,320 possibilities. Now, while the seven corners can be arranged independently, the eighth corner arrangement will depend on the previous seven corners. This gives 37 which amounts to 2,187. The cube has 12 edges and hence 12!/2 ways of arranging them which amounts to 239,500,800 ways. Mind it, it’s not 12! because the edges must always be in an even permutation according to the corners. Eleven of the edges can be arranged independently while the 12th edge depends on the previous edges giving additional 211 ways. Hence, the total possibilities of arranging a Rubik’s Cube are:
8! × 37 × (12!/2) × 211 = 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 = 4.3 × 1019
Now, if we consider four such Rubik’s Cubes, then the total possibilities are:
(4.3 × 1019)4 = 3.5 × 1078
Now, the total number of atoms in the universe has been estimated to be something between 1078 and 1082. This means that the total possible arrangements of four Rubik’s Cubes are almost same as the number of atoms in the universe! Bingo!(1,2)
8. It took almost the same time for men to go from bronze weapons to steel weapons as it did to go from steel weapons to nuclear weapons.
The Bronze Age began around 3500 BCE with the Iron Age starting around 1000 BCE. It took almost 2,500 years for mankind to move from bronze to iron. This was because the limitations in furnace design that people had to face at that time. Moreover, the maximum temperature required to melt iron as well as the availability of good quality iron added to the limiting factors.
Even when men started making weapons out of iron around the 12th century BCE, bronze weapons were still superior. Most of the iron used for weapons during that time were just low-density, sponge-like iron material. But later iron weapons gained more popularity as the production of bronze, tin was required. But tin was very difficult to find. Moreover, as time passed, the furnace designs were improved and steel began to be used for weapons.
9. If you walk from North Korea to Norway, you will cross only one country on your way.
The distance from North Korea to Norway is roughly 7,513 km. If you start walking from North Korea to Norway, you might think that you will get to enjoy at least three or four countries along the way. But in reality, there lies just one country between North Korea and Norway – Russia.
Russia is one big country. Russia has an area of 17.1 million km² and is the largest country in the world. The second largest is Canada with an area of 9.985 million km², but still just about half of that of Russia.(source)
10. We all have traveled further into the future than Marty did in the Back to the Future movie series.
Remember the Back to the Future movie where a guy Marty and his crazy, but incredibly smart, scientist friend, travel to the past and the future with a time machine built from a modified DeLorean? Well, at the end of the movie, Marty travels to the future, 2015, to resolve some issues with his future kids.
So, Marty just got as far as 2015. We, on the other hand, have stepped into the glorious year of 2018 and are three years ahead of Marty in his quest for the future! Hooray!(source)
11. If there is a planet with life 65 million light years away from Earth, and if they looked at Earth through a very large telescope, they would still see dinosaurs running around!
Light has a speed and it takes time to travel. The further away the place is, the longer it would take for the light to travel and reach there. For example, if you are reading this, it would take about two nanoseconds for the light from your computer screen to reach you. In case of the sun, it’s eight minutes.
So theoretically, the light that left the Earth around 65 million years ago is now somewhere that is around 65 million light years away from our planet. The light may have reached some planet that is 65 million lightyears away from Earth. Now since dinosaurs were still alive until about 65 million years ago, someone watching us now from that planet would see dinosaurs running around. If they keep watching, they might also see how the era of dinosaurs ended suddenly!
But this is just theory. This would be only possible if the alien had a very large telescope, and such a telescope is practically impossible.(source)
12. If you are 50 years old or more, the world population has more than doubled during your lifetime.
If you are 50 years old, then you must have been born in 1967. The population of the world in 1968 was 3,479,053,821. The most recent population data available currently is for the year 2017 in which the world population was 7,550,262,101. This number is more than double of what the population was in 1967! Therefore, during your lifetime, the population has grown by twice!(source)