10 Real Facts that Sound like Bullshit but are Actually True
6 The pistol shrimp clasps its claws so fast that it creates a bubble that reaches 5,000 K (4,7000 C), almost the surface temperature of the sun. The bubble’s implosion causes a shockwave “shot” that stuns its prey.
The pistol shrimp is one of the loudest creatures in the ocean world, the others being beluga whales and sperm whales. When the pistol shrimp’s claw snaps, the pressure generated is enough to stun or even kill small fish.
Though it does have two claws, only one of the claws works as the snapping claw which snaps so fast that the water evaporates creating a vapor or cavitation bubble. At a distance of four centimeters, the snap generates an acoustic pressure of 80 kilopascals.
The cavitation bubble has a velocity of an amazing 100 kilometers per hour and the sound reaches 218 decibels. As it collapses, the cavitation bubble produces sonoluminescence, that is it emits short bursts of light and reaches a temperature of 5,000 K (4,7000 C). For comparison, the sun’s surface temperature is about 5,800 K (5,5000 C). (source)
7 The platypus has no nipples. The female instead “sweats” milk for its babies.
Platypus, also known as the “duck-billed platypus,” belong to one of the three types of mammals known as monotremes, that is mammals that lay eggs rather than giving birth to a baby. It wasn’t until 1884 that the naturalists could confirm that the female platypus laid eggs.
Each female lays around one to three leathery-shelled eggs, and the hatchlings are initially blind and hairless. Being a mammal, the platypus has mammary glands but no nipples. Instead, the milk is released through the skin pores and gets collected in the grooves in her abdomen from where the babies lap it up.
Another interesting fact about platypuses is that they have a sense known as electroreception. Instead of sensing other animals using their eyes or ears, they sense them by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions. Monotremes are the only mammals with electroreception, and platypuses are the most sensitive. (source)
8 In the 1960s, the CIA spent $20 million on creating spy cats by implanting microphones in the cats and dropping them off in the Kremlin and near Soviet embassies.
The project named Acoustic Kitty was launched by the CIA’s Directorate of Science & Technology. The implantation surgery took an hour during which the veterinarian implanted a microphone in the cat’s ear canal. The microphone is connected via a wire to a small radio transmitter located at the base of its skull.
The first Acoustic Kitty was released in a park near the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC to innocuously record and transmit a conversation between two men. It is alleged that the spy cat died almost immediately after being hit by a taxi.
According to CIA’s former director Robert Wallace, the cat didn’t die. The equipment was taken out, the cat was re-sewn up, and went on to live a long life. But, the project had to be abandoned because, to the CIA’s consternation, the cats were difficult to train and got easily distracted by food when hungry. (source)
9 The fax machine was patented in 1843.
Scottish inventor and engineer Alexander Bain, known for his invention of the electric clock, worked on developing the early versions of the fax machine between 1843 and 1946. Bain created an apparatus that contained a clock and two pendulums and an electronic probe that scanned metal pins arranged on a cylinder made of insulating material for scanning and transmission.
The received message was then reproduced on an electrochemically sensitive paper. He patented the mechanism on May 27, 1843.
In 1848, an English physicist named Frederick Bakewell patented a superior “image telegraph.” However, both Bain’s and Bakewell’s mechanisms were not practically viable as they produced a poor quality image, and the transmitter and the receiver were never truly synchronized.
In 1961, Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli invented the first practical telefax machine called the Pantelegraph. He also introduced the first commercial telefax service 11 years before the invention of practical, workable telephones. (source)
10 There were 50% fewer people in the world when John F. Kennedy was the president of the United States.
According to the United Nations estimates, the world’s population between 1960 and 1965 was over three billion. The world population reached seven billion on October 31, 2011, and as of December 2017 is 7.6 billion. It took more than 70,000 years for the population to rise from less than 0.015 million in 70,000 BCE to one billion in early 1800s CE.
In around 100 years, the population doubled and grew to 2.5 billion in the 1950s. In just 50 years, the population was 6.1 billion and is estimated to reach 8 billion by 2025. (source)