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10 Random Fun Facts to Kill Your Boredom – Part 5

6. The first electric car was invented during the late 19th century, and it went 65 mph. 

German Electric Car
Image Source: German Federal Archive

With the invention of practically viable, rechargeable, lead-acid batteries by French physicist Gaston Plante in 1859, the building of electric cars became a reality. At the 1867 World Exposition in Paris, an Austrian inventor, Franz Kravogl, exhibited an early, electric-powered two-wheeler, though it could not be driven reliably. Another French scientist, Camille Alphonse Faure, made significant improvements to the design of batteries by 1881.

In 1884, English inventor Thomas Parker who was well-known for electrifying London Underground built the first electric car using special, high-capacity, rechargeable batteries of his own design. France, the United Kingdom, and Germany were the first nations to design more electric-powered vehicles. Electric trains also became popular at coal mines as they would not further deplete the already spare oxygen. On April 29, 1899, race car driver Camille Jenatzy broke the previous record speed of 62 mph (100 kmph) by reaching 65.79 mph (105.88 kmph) on the Belgian, rocket-shaped La Jamais Contente. (source)

7. It takes two years to grow a pineapple. 

Pineapple Plant and Fruit
Image Source: David Monniaux

Pineapple plants are propagated from the plantlets called suckers that grow between leaves, or from slips or plantlets that grow at the base of the fruit, or from the top part of a mature fruit. Each method takes slightly different amounts of time and yields different results. Commercial growers often use the suckers that grow after the first fruit is produced. It takes about 12 to 20 months for the plant to start flowering and another six months more for the fruit to mature. Tops take around 24 months to produce fruit and are often used by domestic gardeners who cut them from store-bought fruit.(1, 2)

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8. Plants can “hear” flowing water. Their roots seek buried pipes and even grow towards artificially produced water sounds. 

Plants and Sound of Flowing Water
Image Source: CathG

One of the discoveries during the 20th century was that plants have life too and react to external stimuli such as light, heat, temperature, and touch. Researchers have recently discovered that plants also react to another stimulus: sound. Experiments conducted at the lab of Italian plant physiologist professor Stefano Mancuso who is also the co-founder of Society for Plant Signaling and Behavior found that plant roots sought buried pipes through which water was flowing even though the exterior of the pipes was dry. This suggested that plants could somehow “hear” the water flowing.

The theory was further tested by playing the sound of running water and the result was the roots grew towards the source of the sound. The reaction was not limited to the sounds of water. When chemical ecologist at the University of Missouri Heidi Appel played a recording of a caterpillar eating a leaf to a plant, it started producing defensive chemicals proving that plants can indeed hear sounds. (1, 2)

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9. When humans first started farming, blue eye color hadn’t yet evolved. 

Chander Canterbury's Blue Eyes
Image Source: Kristine Canterbury

Agriculture developed independently in at least 11 different regions of the world. Collecting and consuming wild grains began 105,000 years ago. Between 8,200 and 13,500 years ago, China started domesticating rice, soy, mung, and azuki beans. Around 11,500 years ago, the cultivation of eight crops known as the Neolithic founder crops which consist of emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley, peas, chickpeas, lentils, bitter vetch, and flax seeds started. On the other hand, though the DNA for light skin, hair, and eyes was found in human remains dating back to tens of thousands of years ago, the earliest remains of blue-eyed Homo Sapiens only date back to 7,700 years ago. (1, 2)

10. There is a species of jellyfish known as lion’s mane jellyfish which can reach over 30 meters in length. The longest specimen to date was 37 meters, longer than a blue whale.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish, with a Lifesize Shark for Comparision
Image Source: Derek Keats, Tim Evanson

The lion’s mane jellyfish is found mostly in the cold waters of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans in the English Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea, and western Scandinavian waters. They are the largest known species of jellyfish. Their hood or bell grows anywhere between 50 centimeters (20 inches) to over two meters (6 feet 7 inches) in diameter. The bell has eight lobes and each lobe has between 70 to 150 tentacles. In the center near its mouth are over 1,200 tentacles equipped with stinging cells. The tentacles of larger specimens trail out as long as 30 meters (100 feet) or more. The longest known specimen had tentacles that were 37 meters (120 feet) long with a bell diameter of 2.3 meters (7 feet 6 inches) and was found washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870. (source)

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