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15 Facts About the World That Will Rewrite Your Picture of It

photo of outer space

We are constantly learning something new about our world and we really rejoice when we find facts that worth sharing.

There are 10 quintillion insects living on the planet right now (there are 19 zeros in this number)

About 80% of all living things on the planet are insects. Scientists have calculated that at any given time, approximately 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 insects are crawling, climbing, and flying on Earth.

Those, who have watched black and white television are seeing black and white dreams more often

grayscale photography of TV hutch

Scientists wondered what determines whether or not we dream of color. The study showed that those people who, before the advent of color monitors, watched a black and white picture on a screen, more often have monochrome dreams.

The longest name on the world map consists of 85 letters

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. This is the name of a not too large hill in New Zealand. The name of the hill is the longest officially recognized place name.

And the translation of this word is something like this: “Top of the hill, where Tamatea, a man with big knees who rolled down, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the eater of the earth, played his flute for his beloved.”

Pregnancy tests have been around since ancient Egypt. And they worked

five camel sitting on ground

Even 3,500 years ago women wanted to know if they were pregnant. According to the text on papyrus, which dates from 1400 BC. e., pregnancy tests existed in ancient Egypt. Women used wheat and barley grains for them. It was necessary to urinate on them, and if at least one type of grain germinated, it meant that soon the woman would probably become a mother.

If the barley germinated faster, then the Egyptian woman was expecting a boy, if wheat, then a girl. There was even a study in 1963, which showed that this pregnancy test is accurate in 70% of cases, but the method of determining the sex did not show the same impressive results. Scientists speculate that this old test worked well because the increased estrogen levels in the woman’s urine may have promoted seed growth.

Caterpillars turn into “soup” before becoming butterflies

Even in childhood, we were told that a caterpillar makes a cocoon and turns into a beautiful butterfly. But few people were told what actually happened inside the cocoon. If we move away from biological detail, then, roughly speaking, the caterpillar in the cocoon digests itself and turns into a mess, in which the wings, eyes, antennae, and other organs of the butterfly are later formed.

There is an airplane whose wingspan is larger than a football field.

2018-01-28 StratolaunchAircraft 26071200028 6bbee9a16b o (crop).jpg

The giant Stratolaunch is the largest aircraft in the world with a wingspan of 385 feet. It is about 118 meters, which is longer than a football field. The aircraft has 2 fuselages, 6 engines, and a speed of only about 300 km/h. Airplanes more familiar to us develop a speed of about 900 km/h.

Space smells like diesel and barbecue

Space has a smell and smells like a mixture of hot metal, diesel smoke and barbecue. It is the smell of chemical compounds from dying stars. According to Louis Allamandola, founder and director of the Astrophysics and Astrochemistry Laboratory at NASA’s Ames Research Center, odorous molecules spread throughout the universe and remain there forever.

Whispering is bad for the voice

grayscale photo of woman doing silent hand sign

When your throat hurts, you may think that whispering is a great solution so as not to overstrain your already sore throat. But this is not the case. A 2006 study using special equipment examined the ligaments of patients who counted from 1 to 10 in a normal voice and whisper. The researchers found that 69% of the subjects strained their vocal cords more when they whispered.

The smell of freshly cut grass is an SOS signal

The smell of freshly cut grass is pleasant for many people. It can be associated with summer in the countryside, a walk outside the city. It turns out that this smell is a chemical compound released by plants when they are in trouble. They give off a similar smell when attacked by caterpillars or other predatory insects. Plus, another study suggests that such a scent also brings beneficial insects to the rescue.

Ravens can imitate speech

black crow on brown rock under cloudy sky at daytime

Parrots have a reputation as the most talkative birds in the animal kingdom, but crows can take this title for themselves at any time. In captivity, animals can be taught to imitate human speech, such as saying hello or coughing just like a human.

Stones can be solar panels

It turns out that solar panels exist in nature. In 2019, Anhuai Lu of Peking University discovered electric currents on the surface of some desert rocks that have a thin coating of iron and manganese. Research has shown that there is a relationship between light and energy: the less light, the less current. One of the ways this discovery can be applied is to improve existing solar cells.

Christopher Columbus was convinced he saw mermaids

silhouette photo of woman sitting on rock during golden hour

Christopher Columbus, on his travels in 1493, caught a glimpse of three “mermaids” from the bow of his ship, writing in his diary: “…I clearly saw three mermaids that rose from the sea; but they are not as beautiful as they are said to be, because their faces had some masculine features.” Most likely, he just noticed the manatees in the water.

Burger King’s sweet and sour sauce is made from ketchup and pineapple.

The popular and beloved sweet and sour sauce has dozens of cooking variations. But often this sauce is made simply from ketchup and pineapple.

All people on earth will fit into an apple if we remove the voids in our atoms

red apple fruit

Everything around us is made of atoms, just like ourselves. Interestingly, over 99.9% of each atom is empty space around the electrons. Therefore, if you remove all empty space from atoms, then all people on the planet can easily fit into one apple.

The Great Wall of China was built from mortar with added rice porrige

To make the Great Wall of China strong, the builders added their food to the mortar. Sticky rice mortar is the key to wall durability. About 600 years ago, builders prepared a solution from boiled rice and slaked lime. Building blocks were fastened to them. At the same time, the workers poured the same rice into the solution and into their plate for lunch.