Facts are wonderful – like knowledge in a nutshell – and we all have those favorite tidbits that are sharable, like a good snack.
We bust them out whenever and wherever we can, because they’re nearly always a winner.
These people are sharing their favorite facts like those – the ones that continue to amaze them no matter how many times they’ve heard them.
1. Numbers always confuse me.
The sheer scale of numbers. The difference between a million and a billion and a trillion is literally impossible to grasp without translating it into something we can more easily understand, like time.
1 million seconds is roughly 11 and a half days. That’s a lot of seconds.
1 billion seconds is almost 32 YEARS. Imagine the time difference between 11 days and 32 years! Most of you probably aren’t even 32 years old, imagine counting every single second since your birth without pause and still not being at 1 billion.
1 trillion seconds is 31,709 years. Almost 32 thousand years. Imagine the entire existence if human civilization, and that’s only a tenth of a trillion seconds. 10k years ago humans were still rutting around in caves using crude stone tools, and that’s STILL ONLY A THIRD OF THE WAY. Not even halfway through to a single trillion.
Take the time to really breathe in and digest the scale of these numbers, and think about this; if every second was worth a dollar, Jeff Bezos’ net worth (~196.4 B) amounts to 6,230 years. The average US income is ~31,200, which amounts to about 8.6 hours per year. Assuming an average retirement age of 66, and starting work at 16, that’s 50 years of employment. That rounds out to roughly 430 value hours, or ~18 days.
If you could purchase time at a fixed rate of $1USD per second, Jeff Bezos is worth 6,230 years, while the average American earns 18 days in their lifetime.
2. It really is hard to imagine.
Read the book and true story of “The Lost City of the Monkey God” about huge cities from long ago, found in the Honduran interior. Researchers/explorers were blown away at the size and extent of these cities and their complete disappearance w/o a trace.
Realizing civilizations disappear all the time, I looked up how many times its happened in recorded history: 32 times! Our civilized world truly lives on a “knifes edge” and the simplest and strangest things can bring it down.
3. Going to read more about this, now.
Not really “amazes”, more like “scares”. The existence of the “uncanny valley” effect means that at some point in our evolutionary history, there was a need for humans to be able to recognize something that looked human but wasn’t.
4. That’s faster than it looks.
That satellites move fast enough with relation to the earth that they experience relativistic time dilation and their clock have to be continually adjusted.
Another effect of this is that astronauts on the ISS are actually very slightly traveling into the future.
5. Generation X has entered the chat.
That eventually the entire universe may collapse and end everything. Probably billions of years away. I’ll be long gone. It’s a double edged sword because you realize at that point nothing you’ve ever done will matter. Every mistake you’ve ever made will no longer matter.
It also leads to existential crisis when realize not even your accomplishments matter. You don’t matter, anything you’ve done doesn’t matter, nothing matters.
6. It makes you feel so small.
The light we see from some stars is actually from the past.
7. Sometimes the world seems better now.
Type 1 Diabetic here.
I should have died a painful and awful death as a kid but I’ve been able to live what will hopefully be a long and productive life through the discovery and manufacturing of insulin.
That fact just completely stuns and humbles me every so often.
8. It’s so big out there.
The nearest star is 4.37 light years away.
If we had a spaceship that could travel as fast as any man made object ever had — the Parker Solar Probe went 153,454 miles per hour — it would take 19,098 years to reach it.
Unless we discover near or faster than light speed travel, then we’re never going to another star.
AND if we do invent light speed travel, it would be a one way trip because time dilation would mean while it took you 4 years to travel to Alpha Centauri, 10s of thousands of years would have passed on Earth, and likely our civilization as we know it would have ceased to exist.
9. Ruminate on THAT for a minute.
The human brain named itself.
10. I can’t wrap my mind around it.
That there are stars out there that completely outclass our Sun in sheer size.
To the point of our Sun being a pinprick when lined up next to them.
11. This one always makes me say the word out loud.
Every c in pacific ocean is pronounced differently.
12. You honestly can’t think about it too hard.
That space just happened somehow. S*%t I’m feeling existential now
13. Humanity is so astounding.
Even if the number of stars and galaxies is immense, to me it pales in comparison with the amount of lives that were spent on this planet.
The amount of experiences, emotions, fears, hopes, pain and what else that every single human being has been through is mind blowing.
14. And just…eat things?
Black holes are not stationary points in space. They move through space, just like out sun does, and some of the observed ones move at a speed of 5 million miles an hour.
15. We can do anything.
The Golden Record. It just kinda fills me with hope that a record of humanity has been shot into space. That’s us.
Yup it is just awesome to think about, that even if humanity is completely extinct, there will still be 2 golden discs, flying through interstellar space, with the last records of our civilization. Even if our species is extinct we will have traces of our existence until the end of the universe.
16. Look at them go.
Every single one of my direct ancestors was a success. They all survived childhood, reached sexual maturity, reproduced, and raised their own offspring to sexual maturity, mostly in much more difficult and dangerous times than I have to face.
I come from a long and unbroken line of successful adults. So do you.
17. We’re still just a baby.
I’ve been alive for 1/4 of all US history.
18. That could be scary.
In space you can weld certain metals simply by putting them close together.
The reason is that there is no oxygen to create a layer of oxidation on the surfaces of the metals.
Because of this, when put close together, the atoms “forget” which metal object they belong to and merge with the similar atoms next to them. Thus welding them together.
19. I do not like it at all.
I find it crazy that Rabbits have the ability to scream.
20. Amazing is one word for it.
I find it amazing that frogs can’t vomit and instead they eject their stomach out of their mouth and empty it with their hands.
What baffles me most about things like this is it’s impossible for me to not humanize the whole thing.
Like for the frog that’s as normal as anything. But I can’t not think about how much it would hurt as a human to pull your stomach out your throat and then squeegee sick off with your hands.
21. How much they’ve seen…
It’s relatively well known that the oldest land animal is a tortoise hatched in 1833. But there’s some sharks we haven’t accurately dated that go back to at least the 1700s, if not older. The fascinating fact to me isn’t how old they are, but how much of mankind’s development they’d have witnessed. They were swimming against our still wooden, wind powered ships as the euros set out to discover/conquer the world. As technology advanced, they’d have seen as those ships began to chemically power themselves, become strange steel structures that could almost match their own speeds.
Their perspective would be like if we saw some bugs crawling in the desert and were like hmm ok then came back like a year later and they’d suddenly learned to fly. It doesn’t gave any bearing on our behavior or society but we’d all still be like “yo you hear about those bugs that evolved flight in a year?”.
Those sharks must have similar communications about the weird surface swimmer animals they occasionally go past.
22. It’s a rabbit hole, for sure.
The fact that we’re conscious.
I mean, if we’re just matter following laws of physics, why are we conscious? If we’re just evolving survival machines making brute decisions like a computer,, why does anything need to be aware of it?
Where does the consciousness actually take place? I mean, I know that consciousness is thought to arise in the brain due to neural activity, but I don’t feel like I’m in a brain and I don’t experience neural activity. What is the neural activity projected onto, so to speak, and who is really observing it?
23. We’re all different.
Some people do not have an inner voice in their mind and cannot visualize anything in their mind.
When I was younger, I used to be able to imagine a chalkboard and do long division/multiplication the “old school” way.
I didn’t know until later in life that most people can’t do that. The Dunning-Kruger effect has two sides to it…
24. Brains are super weird.
If you study neuroscience you’ll see that we are sorta emotion and ego software running on top of a computer like layer. We make decisions and have feelings and then make s**t up to justify it after the fact.
It’s an emergent phenomenon similar to how a bunch of glowing pixels can look like a cat.
25. It’s happened within a generation.
How much technology has advanced in the last 20-30 years, the way the world receives/sends information. I remember seeing my first computer in 1979, my family bought a Commodore 64 in 1987, all we did was use it for video games, everything was so primitive. I remember our first cell phone around 2000–no pictures, etc., just sending/receiving calls & you couldn’t always count on the reception. Now they can do anything and everything. Our first VCR was in 1984, such a treat! Loved going to Blockbuster to get the latest videos on a Friday or Saturday night.
No need any more for phone books, floppy discs, road maps, pay phones, telephone operators, carbon paper, typewriters (and typewriter erasers), encyclopedias, slide projectors, film strips, card catalogs in libraries, Walkmans, 1-900 phone numbers, writing letters (I still do it), film developing, pagers, console TVs. I grew up w/these things–my grandkids don’t even know what these things are.
My 86-year-old father is still mystified by any electronic gadget, we regret talking him out of his landline when mom passed away & just relying on a Jitterbug cellphone, which he still has trouble figuring out. He misses the old days (which weren’t that long ago!)
26. That’s disconcerting.
Prehistoric penguins were taller than average height men today.
That a slice of brown bread can’t be eaten in less than 50 seconds (anyone wants to accept this challenge?)
Every point in space appears to be the center.
No matter where you are it appears that the universe is expanding away from you in all directions at the same rate.
28. That’s perspective.
The 2% margin of error the Chinese government allows for their census is larger Australia’s population.
Thats 25 million people. Scotlands population is 5 million.
China’s margin of error is 5 Scotlands. Wow.
29. So many cogs in the machine.
It blows my mind how much collective work is put into every single thing around us.
Pick up a book. The author was not the only one responsible for it being in your hand, so was the owner of the publishing company, the factory worker making sure it was printing correctly and many others.
Look at a building. From the mind of the architect that designed it, the contractor in charge of building it, the construction worker who put his sweat and hard work into those walls.
An apple you might have for a snack goes through many people like the farmer, to the distributer, to the grocer that stocked it on the shelf.
Pretty much everything around us had so many people working on it, many that you don’t even consider. That’s pretty amazing to me.
30. The universe is vast.
What stars actually are.
They are objects like our sun, possibly with planets around them. Those planets could even have life. Who knows, something might be staring back at me having similar thoughts.
Even trying to grasp how large and violent the sun actually is when picturing it in the sky is already hard to compute. Let alone realizing that there are millions of them up there. Some of them might have even exploded already, but we wont see that for years simply due to the distance between us and them.
I can go on and on about this stuff.
31. We’re not as smart as we used to be.
During Age of Discovery people managed to travel across the globe only with compass and stars.
Right now it is an achievement to find a store without GPS.
People back then were really awesome.
32. Makes you appreciate what card counters can do.
The amount of unique combinations a deck of cards can have.
33. A handy trick.
Any fraction can be reversed.
Take 16% of 50. Switch it to 50% of 16 it’s much easier to do the last.
I hope that some or all of these were new to you!
What’s your favorite fact? Drop it on us in the comments!