Did you know that Penguins have knees? Or about the tomato tree in Disney World’s Epcot Center that produced 32,194 tomatoes in a single harvest? Well, it is always good to know more. And since 2020 has been a rather long and boring year, below we have compiled a list of 10 interesting facts to pulverize your boredom.
1. During World War II, when the Nazis took over France, the French government had the elevators on the Eiffel tower destroyed so if Hitler wanted to plant a flag on top of the tower, he’d have to take stairs to the top.
Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 as a centerpiece for the 1889 World’s Fair. It took two years to build this magnificent structure which played an important role in history. Following the German invasion of Poland, France declared war on Germany in 1939. However, it took only six weeks beginning May 10, 1940, for Germany to defeat France.
Germany took over Paris, but the French Resistance fighters, on the arrival of the Germans, decided to destroy the cables of the elevator so it would be impossible for Hitler and the Nazis to climb the 324-meter-tall tower with ease. (source)
2. The last person to die during the construction of the Hoover dam was the son of the first person who died building it.
Hoover Dam is a 726.4-foot-tall concrete arch-gravity dam built in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. The construction of the dam began in 1931, and it took five years to complete the dam. Over 21,000 workers were employed to construct it. And about 112 men lost their lives building it.
On December 20th, 1922, John Gregory Tierney became the first person to die while surveying the site for the construction of the dam. The survey team was caught in a flash flood and John Gregory Tierney drowned.
What’s strange is that exactly 13 years later on the same day, his son Patrick Tierney, fell to his death from one of the Arizona side intake towers. (source)
3. Redheads require more anesthesia drugs to remain unconscious during surgery.
Red hair color is the rarest hair color of all. Less than 2% of the human population has red hair. It is caused due to a genetic mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor or the MC1R protein. Oddly enough, the same mutation is responsible for the brain function that triggers a pain response.
According to a study conducted on this topic, a group of 20 women with red and dark hair were studied together. Each was given a commonly used anesthetic and their physical response was closely examined.
4. Northern Pseudoscorpions can hold their breath for 17 days.
What’s more frightening than a mere sight of a scorpion is the fact that these creatures can literally hold their breath for days. Scorpions, like other arachnids, do that with the help of “book lungs,” a type of respiratory organ that contains layers of air pockets and tissues filled with hemolymph.
Pseudoscorpions are a type of arachnids, closely related to spiders and scorpions.
A species of pseudoscorpions known as the northern pseudoscorpions have a distinct ability that allows them to hold their breath for 17days.
It is not certain how they are able to do this, but according to researcher Christopher Buddle of McGill University Canada, this species is able to metabolically shut down underwater” which allows them to survive a long time.
Having evolved to withstand flooding and cold weather, these arachnids can also avoid freezing in temperatures as low as -7 ºC. This is done by a process called “super-cooling” in which the organism lowers its freezing point. (source)
5. The nine-banded armadillo is a species of armadillo that almost always gives birth to four identical offspring.
The armadillo derives its name from the Spanish word “armadillo” which means “little armored one”. There are about 20 different species of armadillos. Nine-banded armadillos are commonly found in the southeastern parts of the United States and are also the only species found in the country.
Despite its name, the species can have seven to 11 bands on their armor. A rather fascinating fact about the nine-banded armadillo is that they almost give birth to identical quadruplets. This happens through a process known as “polyembryony” in which the fertilized egg divides itself into four. (1, 2)
6. On January 15th, 1919, a wave of molasses rushed through the streets of Boston at 35 mph killing 12 people. According to locals, they could smell the molasses on a hot summer day even after decades from the incident.
The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, occurred at the Purity Distilling Company on January 15th, 1919. Molasses was used in the production of ethanol through the process of fermentation. The company stored fresh molasses in a commercial tank which was 15 meters tall, 27 meters in diameter, and about 8.7 million liters in volume.
A day prior to the incident, a fresh load of molasses had been transferred to the tank. To reduce its viscosity for transfer, the load molasses was warmed. This resulted in thermal expansion of cold molasses, possibly due to which the tank burst open at approximately 12:30 p.m.
The explosion was loud and created 8-meter-tall waves of molasses. The waves were so strong they wrecked nearby buildings and structures. Twenty-one people lost their lives in the accident, and 150 others were injured. (source)