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10 Real Facts that Sound like Bullshit but are Actually True

Facts that Sound Like Bullshit

Real-life is often far stranger than fiction. While fiction is limited by our ability to imagine, reality has infinite possibilities and hence can produce infinitely unexpected situations. We have learned to control so many aspects of our life that when we see accidents, coincidences, or anything unexpected, we find ourselves in denial because they were not what we have imagined. Here are some such facts that sound like bullshit but are actually true.

1. The killer whale is a natural predator of the moose.

Moose and Killer Whale
Image Source: Ryan Hagerty, Minette Layne

The natural habitats of moose are the forests of the Northern Hemisphere with temperate and subarctic climates. At present, they are mostly found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Russia, Fennoscandia, and the Baltic states.

They are the largest species in the deer family, but unlike deer, they also feed on aquatic vegetation such as lilies and pondweed. They are unique in their ability to dive underwater and often reach lake bottoms to feed on plants. Moose have special fatty pads in their nose that help close the nostrils preventing water from entering.

Being a large animal, a fully grown moose has few enemies except Siberian tigers. Packs of grey wolves and brown bears are known to prey on vulnerable moose, especially females with calves. As moose often dive for food, they are also preyed on by killer whales when swimming between islands near North America’s northwest coast. There are also instances of moose being attacked by Greenland sharks. (source)

2. Tumors can have hair, teeth, bone, and even complex organs such as eyes and brain matter. In rare cases, they can also contain structures resembling a fetus. 

Teratoma and Fetus in Fetu
Image Source: wikipedia, Nisreen M Khalifa et al

Named after the Greek words for “monster” and “tumor”, teratomas are tumors that result from abnormal development of germ cells and embryonic stem cells. Both these types of cells are pluripotent, that is, they are a type of stem cell that can develop into several types of tissues including those of intestines, lungs, nervous system, bones, teeth, and the tissues of various organs.

Tumors of these cells often result in the development of abnormal structures having even skin and cysts which may have abundant hair. Rarely, they could also develop into a malformed fetus which may even have a few complete body parts.

Teratomas develop in people of all ages and typically form in the ovaries, testis, or tailbone. They usually are harmless, unless they grow quite large, divert blood flow from vital organs, or result in autoimmune illnesses. Over a quarter of ovarian tumors and almost half of testicular cancers are teratomas. (source)

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3. It takes a week to 10 days to make a jellybean.

Jelly Bean
Image Source: Brandon Dilbeck

During the first phase, the syrup is made by boiling sugar and other ingredients to the right consistency. Flavor and color are then added to the syrup which is then piped to the starch casting area. The casts are made using cornstarch, and the heated syrup is squirted into the tiny molds. Each tray contains several hundred to over a thousand molds. When everything is cooled down, the candy centers are dumped out and the cornstarch is recycled.

The candy centers are then added to stainless steel, hollow sphere which rotates several hundred times per minute. To these rotating spheres, more sugar, flavor, and syrup is added, all of which forms the hard shell around the previously made candy centers. A glaze of confectioner’s sugar is also added to give them their glossy coat. This whole process takes between six to 10 days.(source)

4. Wasps get aggressive towards the end of summer because they get drunk on fermenting fruit hanging from the trees. 

Drunk Wasps
Image Source: JB aus Siegen

Once they are finished with providing for their queen, the worker wasps have nothing left to do before they die than to enjoy themselves. Wasps have a surprisingly diverse taste for food. Though they mainly feed on nectar, they also forage for food.

They are known to feed on decaying flesh, live arthropods, honeydew, the food humans eat, and even prey on honeybees and spiders. They also feed on ripe and fermenting fruits which gets them drunk. This makes them bolder and more prone to attack. (source)

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5. In 1919, a large tank storing 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst during a heat wave flooding the streets of Boston at 35 mph with molasses killing 21 and injuring 150. 

Great Molasses Flood
Image Source: Boston Public Library

The molasses tank belonged to Purity Distilling Company, and the molasses was to be transferred to another plant in Cambridge. The tank was 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 90 feet (27 meters) in diameter containing 2.3 million US gallons (8,700 cubic meters) of molasses. On January 15, 1919, the temperature had risen from 2F to above 40F (-17C to 4C), and around half-past midday, the tank collapsed shooting rivets like bullets.

The molasses wave was 25 feet (8 meters) high and flooded several blocks two to three feet deep. It was strong enough to damage nearby railway girders and momentarily tip a railroad car off its tracks. A truck was also hurled into Boston Harbor.

Buildings were swept off their foundations, and being a very sticky liquid, it was as nearly impossible for those caught in the wave to survive. Rescue efforts were hampered as reaching the victims was made difficult because of the syrup. Several of the dead were so thickly coated that they were hard to spot. (source)

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