The world we live in is a pretty strange place and comprised of numerous weird coincidences. These weird coincidences are totally unexpected and never fail to amaze us. With this in mind, we have built a list of ten useless facts ranging from snails, pencils, and everything else. Though considered by some to be useless, you can impress your friends by entertaining them with these weird facts.
1. The lint and debris such as shreds of tissue and paper that collects in the bottom of our pockets is called “gnurr.”
Lint is the fluffy little stuff that accumulates in the filters of a clothes dryer and also in the bottom of our pockets. They are visible accumulations of textile fibers and other materials that are found on clothing. These fluffy pieces of rubbish have an official name – “gnurr.”
Gnurr is comprised of debris including bits of fabric as well as small shreds of paper and tissue that are often found in pockets. They are caused when clothes such as cotton, linen, and wool are run through a washing machine one or more times. This continuous wear and tear cause the pocket lining and its contents to compact and shred. (source)
2. The King of Hearts in playing cards is the only king without a mustache but weirdly possess a sword.
The deck of playing cards is filled with enigmas and full of mysteries. Have you ever noticed a very strange card in the deck of playing cards? The King of Hearts is one of the most iconic cards in the deck since it features a man with no mustache and an awkwardly placed sword.
Standard English playing cards were derived from mid-16th-century French models. Due to increasing popularity and mass production, many of the cards were printed using wooden blocks. There is a presumption that original designs were distorted due to unskilled block makers. These deficiencies might have resulted in many symbols losing their meaning over the centuries. Thus, the King of Hearts might not only have lost his mustache, but the ax he was originally holding became a sword.
Furthermore, symbols such as diamonds, clubs, and spades are associated with the corruption of wealth, war, and death. In contrast, the heart symbol is considered to be pure, welcoming, and undisguised, hence the clean-shaven King of Hearts. (1, 2)
3. Flamingos get their bright pink color from the carotenoid pigments in the foods that they eat like algae and shrimp.
Flamingos are famous for their bright pink feathers, long legs, and tall S-shaped necks. The phrase “you are what you eat” is very true for flamingos. The bright pink color comes from beta carotene, a red-orange pigment found in abundance in algae, larvae, and brine shrimp. When flamingos feast on these organisms, the enzymes in their digestive system break down the carotenoids into pigments. These pigments are absorbed by the bird’s liver and deposited in its feathers and skin.
The birds are famous for ingesting very large amounts of carotenoids and so get their trademark color. Another interesting thing to know about different species of flamingos are their color depends upon their location and food. This explains why some flamingos take up darker or brighter shades of pink with orange tints while others are pure white. (1, 2)
4. Quarters have 112 ridges on their edge, while dimes only have 111. They were designed that way to prevent criminals from filing shavings and to prevent counterfeiting.
Have you ever wondered why quarters and dimes have ridges? The United States Mint was established in 1792 by the Coinage Act. The act also specified that $10, $5 and $2.50 coins to be made according to their face value in gold, while dollars were made in silver. However, this decision ran into trouble when criminals started making a profit by filing shavings from the sides of the gold and silver coins.
By the 18th century, the U.S. Mint started adding ridges to the coins’ edges. The process called “reeding” was introduced by Sir Isaac Newton. This made it impossible for the coins to be shaved down. To curb counterfeiting, the design was made much more complex by adding 112 ridges to a quarter and 111 ridges to a dime. (source)
5. The plica semilunaris is a remnant of the nictitating membrane in humans. This membrane is known as the “third eyelid” in reptiles and birds and is drawn across the eye for protection.
The plica semilunaris is the vestigial remnant of the nictitating membrane also called the “third eyelid.” This nictitating membrane is drawn across the eye for protection and is usually observed in animals such as birds, reptiles, and fish. The presence of this so-called “third eyelid” is rare in mammals but is found in marsupials in the form of vestigial muscles. A species of primate known as Calabar angwantibo has a fully functional nictitating membrane.
In humans, the plica semilunaris occurs as a small fold of bulbar conjunctiva located on the medial canthus of the eye. It functions during eye movement and helps maintain tear drainage via the lacrimal lake. It also helps with greater rotation of the globe, and without it, the movement of the eyeball will be greatly restricted. (source)
6. Snails have nearly 14,000 microscopic teeth that are insanely hard and a very flexible jaw.
Yes, you heard it right! An average garden snail has over 14,000 teeth. These microscopic teeth are very tiny and are arranged in rows on their tongue. The snail’s tongue is known as a “radula.” It is comprised of a flexible jaw consisting of 120 rows of 100 teeth each. It is also interesting to note that the number of teeth varies for different species of snails.
These slimy predators have evolved over the years and are considered to be herbivorous, carnivorous, omnivorous, and detritivorous. To ensure their survival, these tiny teeth help the snail to survive by feasting on worms, vegetation, decaying waste, fungus, algae, and other snails. (1, 2)
7. The shortest war in history was fought between the Zanzibar Sultanate and the British Empire in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered to the British troops within 38 minutes.
The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict between the British Empire and the Zanzibar Sultanate. The world’s shortest war was fought on 27 August 1896 and lasted a mere 38 minutes. In 1896, France, Great Britain, and Germany established colonies in Africa to exploit its natural resources. Because of its British influence, Zanzibar was declared as the protectorate of the British Empire. Hamad bin Thuwaini was appointed as the “puppet” sultan to oversee the affairs.
The sultan ruled until his death in 1896, and after his demise, the throne was seized by his cousin Khalid bin Barghash. The new sultan wanted to reap profits by encouraging slavery whereas the British Empire wanted to abolish it. The government issued a warning to Khalid to surrender his throne within a stipulated time.
However, Khalid ignored the warning while the British troops surrounded the royal palace with armed guards and naval ships. After he refused to vacate the palace, the troops destroyed the palace while his troops fled. The war came to an end within 38 minutes, and the sultan was exiled. (1, 2)
8. Fear of cheese is known as “turophobia.” People suffering from this phobia are repulsed by the appearance, smell, and taste of cheese.
“Turophobia” is the fear of cheese due to its gooey appearance. People who suffer from turophobia probably associate cheese with a traumatic childhood experience. They are repulsed by the smell, taste, and gooey appearance. A 20-year-old woman named Katie Weston suffers from turophobia.
She has revealed that she fears parmesan cheese the most and considers it to be the worst type of cheese when compared to others due to its pungent smell. Her fear of cheese was so bad that when she worked as a waitress, other staff members had to step in to prepare cheese boards. She would end up washing her hands excessively to get rid of the smell. (1, 2)
9. When you yawn and stretch at the same time, you are “pandiculating.” It usually occurs upon waking up.
Have you ever tried yawning and stretching at the same time? If yes, you must have been “pandiculating.” Pandiculation is defined as the act of yawning and stretching at the same time. It usually occurs upon waking up. Pandiculation is a neuromuscular function and is very crucial for maintaining our health.
The nervous system wakes up our body’s sensorimotor system and promotes healthy muscle movement. It also sends biofeedback to our nervous system by updating the level of contraction in our muscles. This mechanism helps to dissipate chronic muscular tension in our body by maintaining healthy posture and movement. (1, 2)
10. The crimped metal part on a pencil that holds the eraser is called a “ferrule.”
A “ferrule” is a metal sleeve which is crimped to hold the eraser in place on pencils. The metal sleeve also connects the metal to the pencil’s barrel. The ferrule was invented by Hymen Lipman on 30 March 1858. He also received the first patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil.
In 1862, he sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000. After buying the patent rights, Reckendorfer sued the famous pencil manufacturer, Faber, for patent infringement. However, in 1875, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Reckendorfer by declaring the patent invalid. (1, 2)