6. Sneezes don’t actually sound like “achoo.” People learn to do it from others in their surroundings, and it differs from region to region. For example, the French say “atchoum” the Japanese say “hakashun” when sneezing, and deaf people do not say anything when sneezing.
For the most part, sneezing is involuntary and beyond our control. It is the way our body removes irritants from the throat and nose. Since sneezes come without warning, we are often powerless to stop it. However, the noise associated with sneezing is onomatopoetic.
For example, English speakers think sneezes sound like “ah-choo,” so they are prone to saying that word while sneezing. Similarly, deaf people sneeze without any kind of sound effects. It was first brought to light in an article, written by Charlie Swinbourne, a partially deaf journalist. He observed that saying words while sneezing is a habit that we develop through the years and it is not something we are born with (1, 2)
7. At $265 million, Grand Theft Auto V had the largest production budget of any video game at that time. But the game turned out to be a massive hit and made $1 billion in its first 72 hours.
GTA 5, the open-world, action-adventure game, made waves when it first came out in 2013. Not only did it redefine the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but it also made history with its whopping production budget. Dubbed as one of the most expensive games in history, GTA 5 had an estimated budget of £170 million or $265 million. Favorably, for Rockstar North, the developers of the game, the huge budget only contributed to the game’s enormous success. Grand Theft Auto V sold over 11.21 million copies and generated a revenue of $815.7 million in the first 24 hours! The game even broke the Guinness World Record for being the fastest-selling entertainment property. (1, 2)
8. A particular species of bamboo can grow at a rapid rate of 0.00002 mph and up to 35 inches every day. That equals to about 1.5 inches per hour. That makes it the fastest growing plant in the world.
Those who do not know, bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass that has over 1,400 different species. The interesting thing about bamboo is that all the plants of the same species flower simultaneously regardless of which part of the world they are located in. Some scientists believe that bamboos are equipped with an evolutionary alarm clock that enables each species to flower together no matter what weather condition it is put under.
Though all species of bamboo grow fast, there is one in particular that has an exceptional growth rate. Though most bamboo plants reach maturity in 90 days, this one grows a whopping 35 inches every day! It is made possible because the plant grows all the necessary cells when it is still a little bud. In animals, cells split when growing. In bamboo, however, cells do not split. They simply stretch out and fill with water as they expand. That is the same reason grass grows so fast requiring you to mow the lawn once a week. (1, 2)
9. The Issus coleoptratus, an insect, has gears that help it jump. These are the only naturally created gears in the animal kingdom.
Experts believe that mechanical gears were first invented by Greek mechanics around 300 BCE. Over the centuries, this concept became a cornerstone of modern technology. Cars, bicycles, and a lot of other types of machinery make use of the gear system. Funny enough, nature had already built its own version of the mechanism in the form of a planthopper called Issus coleoptratus.
Gregory Sutton and Malcolm Burrows of Cambridge University were the first ones to notice gears on the insect that is common in Britain. The duo studied jumping insects such as pygmy mole crickets, leafhoppers, and fleas for ten years before making the discovery. The study found that the insect uses a complex gearing system to lock its hind legs together. That allows both legs to rotate simultaneously which helps the small creature to jump.
When filming the baby Issus coleoptratus, the scientists discovered that its back legs move within 30 microseconds of one another. Without this extreme coordination, the insect could spin-off when jumping. However, how did this tiny insect achieve such a sophisticated mechanism? As early as the 1050s, scientists had discovered slightly bumpy trochanters in young planthoppers. It was always present on the hind legs only.
It was only after Sutton and Burrows conducted the study to find out the actual purpose of the bumps on the insect’s back legs that these “gears” were discovered. The trochanters on these insects squeeze at the same time when they jump. The bumps on their legs roll and engage against one another just as mechanical gears do. That is how the insect can control its jump. (1, 2)
10. Australia’s tectonic plate is moving away so rapidly that GPS coordinates, which were updated last in 1994, no longer match. Authorities now need to change all coordinates by 1.8 meters to be accurate.
Much like every other continent on Earth, Australia is floating on a tectonic plate, and it is moving so fast that map co-ordinates cannot keep up. Geoscientists have revealed that the continent has moved north by a whopping 4.9 feet or 1.5 meters. The significant shift has rendered the major mapping systems inaccurate. To address this issue, the country will officially shift its local latitude and longitude lines. The reason is that contemporary satellite systems rely on static latitude and longitude lines for generating location data. The system did not consider the shift in Earth’s continents. As a result, adjusting the lines will enable better GPS tracking in smartphones and other devices. (1, 2)