These Odd Facts Will Change How You Think About Giraffes, Static, And The Sun

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at 2015.11.25
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The world is a strange place, but you”ve read enough ViralNova articles to know that. Yet even some things that you take for granted have bizarre backgrounds that you might not have known about.

Some of these 15 “out-there” facts will challenge how you think of time and space. Some are just flat-out weird. Regardless, they”re things you should know to impress (or weird out) your friends.

1. While the Pyramids at Giza were being built, there were still woolly mammoths roaming around.

While the Pyramids at Giza were being built, there were still woolly mammoths roaming around.

Granted, the mammoths that were around 4,000 years ago, during the Pyramids” construction, were a small, isolated population in Northern Siberia. The mammoth had already died out elsewhere in the world.

2. Speaking of Egypt, Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landing than to the construction of the Pyramids.

Speaking of Egypt, Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landing than to the construction of the Pyramids.

We tend to lump “ancient Egypt” into one period, but it actually spanned thousands of years. Cleopatra was the last ruler before Egypt was absorbed into the Roman Empire about 2,000 years ago. The pyramids were built about 2,500 years before that.

3. The Spanish national anthem, the “Marcha Real,” has no lyrics.

The Spanish national anthem, the

Spain is one of only four countries whose anthems have no official lyrics. The others are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and San Marino.

4. Honey doesn”t spoil.

Honey doesn

It can ferment, though, by absorbing moisture from the air, which gives us mead. If it”s sealed properly, however, honey can keep for thousands of years. It”s been used as a preservative for this reason even for human bodies.

5. A small percentage of static on TV and radio is radiation left over from the Big Bang.

A small percentage of static on TV and radio is radiation left over from the Big Bang.

Called “cosmic background radiation,” this is the remaining echo of the Big Bang, which happened about 14 billion years ago.

6. Wombats poo squares.

Wombats poo squares.

The wombat”s waste comes out in this weird square shape. No one”s sure how, but it”s useful for marking territory, as it doesn”t roll away.

7. Dead people can get goosebumps.

Dead people can get goosebumps.

Goosebumps happen when muscles under the skin contract. When rigor mortis sets in (between 12 and 48 hours after death), all the muscles in a body stiffen, which can result in goosebumps.

8. Maryland”s state sport (for individuals) is jousting.

Maryland

Their official team sport is lacrosse. Jousting tournaments have been held in the state since the colonial period, and the Maryland State Jousting Championship has been held annually since 1950.

9. Your nostrils switch off.

Your nostrils switch off.

When you breathe through your nose, one nostril will take in more air than the other. They”ll also switch sides about every 15 minutes.

10. If you collected all the gold that”s ever been mined in the world, you could melt it down into a 67-foot cube.

If you collected all the gold that

It”s estimated that there”s still as much as 52,000 tons of gold underground, and even more in the core of the Earth. We”re likely not getting to the latter any time soon.

11. There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe.

There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe.

Called the Shannon Number, it”s estimated that there are about 10 to the 123rd power chess combinations, compared to 4 X 10 to the 81st power estimated atoms. Also, these chess pieces are from the 11th century, and they look as stumped as you do about this fact.

12. Writing was developed separately by many different cultures.

Writing was developed separately by many different cultures.

These include the Sumerians, Egyptians, Maya, Chinese, Polynesians, and various European cultures. Each culture came up with their own system for words, ideas, and sounds, all depicted visually. The earliest independent examples of writing come from the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.

13. Giraffe dating involves pee.

Giraffe dating involves pee.

A male giraffe will repeatedly headbutt a female in the bladder until she pees. He then tastes the urine to see if she”s ovulating. We”ve all probably had worse dates.

14. It can take as long as 40,000 years for a photon to get from the sun”s core to its surface.

It can take as long as 40,000 years for a photon to get from the sun

It takes only 8 minutes for it to get from the sun”s surface to the Earth.

15. The kakapo is endangered because it smells so good.

The kakapo is endangered because it smells so good.

This flightless bird from New Zealand is critically endangered due to the introduction of predators by Polynesians and Europeans. Their pleasantly musty odor attracts these predators, and has resulted in their only being around 126 left in the world. Conservation efforts are currently underway.

Now you know about fragrant birds and 14-billion-year-old static. Has your world gotten a little richer? We hope so.

For more facts that will open up new worlds of thinking to you, read these articles:

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