Let’s face it; the world is weird in every way fathomable. It’s even weird in ways we weren’t aware of. Things always come up that surprise us, and we say to ourselves, “wow, it can’t get crazier than this,” but it always does. Here are some surprising facts you may not yet know; if you do, they’re still pretty amazing!
1. A really surprising fact – Baby formula was first made over 150 years ago
The term ‘Wet Nursing” is very likely something you’ve never heard before. It translates to nurses who would fill in when mothers could not nurse their children. Wet nursing began as early as 2000 BCE and was common in Europe and America at the time. Brunettes were also the nurse of choice as their milk was thought to be more nutritious.
The first substitutes for human milk were sourced from cows, goats, donkeys, and horses. Infants were fed these warmed, sometimes diluted meals with a spoon before bottles with rubber teats were invented. Doctors, over time, noticed a high mortality rate in babies fed these alternative kinds of milk, and those that survived were not thriving.
In the 1870s, Nestle made their first infant food which was sold in the US. Other companies soon followed and formulated their own formulas. These formulas adapted and changed over time as research improved, and pasteurization was eventually introduced, along with evaporation which made the milk more digestible and safe.
In the early 1900s, manufacturers looked towards making formulas that were closer to the real thing – mother’s milk. They experimented with oils and additives and eventually added soy and iron to the mix too. An all-time low was recorded in 1960 when mothers started looking to formula instead of breastfeeding as these products were thought to be more nutritious and balanced. Companies even handed out free formula to mothers in hospitals.
2. Henry Ford was awarded Their Highest Civilian Honor by Nazis
On Henry Ford’s 75th birthday in 1938, he received a rather dubious honor. His ‘gift’ was the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle, the highest honor Nazi Germany could give to any foreigner. He was the first American to receive the award, and it was said that Hitler greatly admired him. He even tried to do with the VW Beetle what Ford did with the Model T. To be fair, he was anti-war and never actually went to Germany to receive the honor.
3. Barnyard animals graced Hot Air Balloons before we did, what a surprising fact!
It was in 1783 that the first hot air balloon took to the skies in France. This was six years before French citizens decided to revolt against royalty. King Louis XVI, his wife, Marie Antoinette, and 130,000 French citizens watched as the balloon soared. A sheep, a duck, and a rooster were the passengers aboard the vessel, which lasted 8 minutes in the air, thereafter landing safely in the woodland nearby.
4. Kittens of the same litter can have different fathers
Cants are known as ‘Induced Ovulators’ – a term used to describe copulation triggering the release of multiple eggs from the ovaries into the uterus, ready for fertilization. The eggs remain in utero for up to 24 hours, so if cats mate multiple times in the period with different males or toms, they can technically be fertilized by many different donors. This is called Superecundation.
5. The Netherlands Commemorates All Fallen World War II Soldiers Annually With 2 Minutes Of Silence
It seems the Dutch remember our fallen. Every year at 8 p.m. on May 4 – National Remembrance Day – the Netherlands observes 2 minutes of silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives as soldiers since World War II. The National Monument on the Dam Square in Amsterdam is the chosen location for this commemorative service.
Read: We Asked People To Send Facts That Made Them Uncomfortable And Now They Won’t Stop
6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Ordered A Hidden Anti-Gay Investigation In The Navy
While Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to advance professionally, developed what he called a purification program. His aim? To clear the Newport Navy of LGBTQ+ individuals – or inverts, as non-heterosexual people were called back then. He was refused this opportunity by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, but went ahead anyway.
Undercover operatives were tasked with exposing these individuals and were encouraged to do so by any means possible. The men found to be violating his orders were stripped of their rank and convicted, while his pawns were left protected. This has gone down in history as the Newport Sex Scandal of 1919.
7. There Are More Ways To Arrange A Deck Of Cards Than There Are Atoms On The Earth – one massively surprising fact!
This surprising fact will get you. It sounds impossible, but it is very true! Each deck contains 52 cards. The variety of ways it can be arranged is called 52 factorial or “52!” This, in effect, means 52 x 51 x 50 x …. x 1. So, the number of ways you can arrange a card deck is an integer with 68 digits. In comparison, the number of atoms on earth is estimated to be a number with 51 digits. This means that every single shuffle you hold could be a unique one.
8. The only passenger on the Titanic that was Japanese was made to feel shame for surviving the sinking of the ship
An employee of the Japanese Transportation Ministry, Masabumi Hosono, was traveling to Russia and England to study railway operations. He boarded the “ship of dreams” at Southampton. When the ship sank to its icy grave, an officer announced that there was space for two more passengers, and he happened to be in the right place at the right time.
He was first hailed for surviving the tragedy and was welcomed back warmly, becoming a celebrity in his neighborhood. Masabumi was later denounced as a stowaway and lost his job in the process. He was eventually hired back, but his career had already waned at that stage. The shame followed him to his death in 1939 and still hangs over his remaining family.
9. Marsupials will sacrifice their offspring to survive being chased by a predator
Altruism is common in the animal kingdom, but this surprising fact may get you. Animals have often sacrificed themselves for the safety of a herd. We see this often in elderly or sick animals. Marsupials, however, seem to be a bit more self-centered. If chased by predators, wallabies and kangaroos have been known to dump their joeys out of their pouches to distract predators. Pretty ruthless, right?
Read: 31 Rare Facts to Surprise Even the Most Knowledgeable
10. The Distance Between London And Moscow Is Shorter Than Between Sydney And Perth
One would initially think that Moscow and London lie halfway across the world from one another, being on separate continents. The distance between London and Moscow is 1,795.6 miles. By flight, that equates to approximately 3 hours and 50 minutes. That’s surprisingly short. , visually they seem so much further apart.
Sydney and Perth aren’t close together, but did you know the distance between the two is a whopping 2,444.5 miles?! The same flight would take 5 hours to complete making them significantly further apart than one would ever have thought! Are our eyes just playing tricks on us?
11. Dubai imports sand – yes this is one massively surprising fact!
Rolling hills of beiges, reds, and oranges layered for as far as the eye can see, Dubai is sandy. A go-to for tourists and an absolute mogul in construction, you would imagine things to go rather smoothly. Well, that’s the problem – their sand is too smooth. This means that they import sand, which has caused some issues in some impoverished countries. The rise of illegal sand mining due to Dubai alone has led to $456 million worth of sand, gravel, and stone being appropriated from other countries.
12. Two Powerful Nuclear Bombs Accidentally Fell On North Carolina in the 1960s
North Carolina barely avoided tragedy in 1961. On January 24th, A B-52 carrying two powerful Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up mid-flight. Two bombs fell and landed just miles from Goldsboro. If they detonated, there would be no North Carolina as we know it today. In comparison, these bombs were 200-300 times more powerful than the ones that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
13. A Whole Room made of Amber Disappeared During WW2
The Amber Room was part of the Catherine Palace in Russia in the early 1900s. It was constructed in the 1700s for the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Prussia, but was eventually installed at the Berlin City Palace. The walls were made from panels of amber. The Germans took everything apart and hid its remains in the invasion in 1941, never to be seen again.
14. Charles Darwin was a soppy teen when it came to decision making
One of the greatest men of all time, Charles Darwin, was surprisingly weird. When deciding whether to marry, he drew up a list of pros and cons and even kept a diary. “I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything.’ graced his memoirs. He was also known to have an appetite for exotic animals such as owls, ostrich, and puma. However, the best fact was that he built a slide for his children to use to avoid the stairs.
Keep Reading: People Ask For Help Identifying Weird Objects. The Answers Are Surprising (And A Little Scary)
- “Facts We Can’t Believe No One Told Us Before Now.” Ranker. Rima Pundir. May 25, 2022
- “Amber Room.” Wikipedia.
- “30 Crazy Fun Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.” Beano. January 5, 2023