“Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile”
– Abu Bakr –
This week’s summary is special not only because it’s actually on time, but also since it’s the first summary of September. To celebrate this nonsense, here are seven useless facts you might or might not already know about. Despite possibly broadening your knowledge, there’s absolutely no proper way in which you can put these facts to use. Except maybe for the odd pub quiz question, but even so: I’ve been harbouring these facts in my head for years and they’ve never been needed. Well, except for number four.
Horses and rats cannot vomit
I bet you didn’t know this! But it is physically impossible for rats (and some other rodents) and horses to vomit. I’m not sure what they do instead if they’ve eaten something bad (I imagine it’s a lot worse than throwing up), but still I find myself longing to be a rat just for this fact (or a horse, I’m not too picky).
Although a crocodile can crush its jaws together with a massive force, it’s weak in opening its mouth
Take this: a scary but fascinating reptile has the power to jam its jaws shut with such force it can bite straight through bone, but its muscles to open its mouth are so tiny and weak you would only need one hand to keep the croc’s jaws together. Funny, eh. Useful? I doubt it.
Your sense of smell is about three times as strong as your sense of taste
I know I watch too much television and I know my brains have the tendency to lock down useless information. But if I didn’t work this way, how else would I put a post like this together? Exactly.
There is not much to say about this fact, apart from: take that, everyone who always laughs at me when I sniff my food before I eat it! By smelling your food you actually have a better way of telling you’ll like it or not. I’m not crazy, I’m only brilliant!
China has only one time zone, based on the sun dawn in Beijing
When I was on a trip to China someone there told me the whole country only uses one national time. It’s not like the USA or Canada, where it’s possible to find time differences within the country, because an emperor (or was it the president?) decided they wanted one nation and would only accept one time zone, which is officially based on when the sun dawns in Beijing.
This makes it possible for different parts of the large country to see 7 am hit the clock, with Beijing being in broad daylight already and parts further to the east still lying in darkness.
Funny side-note: this was once a pub quiz questions, and even though I had been to China and knew the answer, it still took some time convincing my team mates I was right.
Sharks cannot stand the sound of an empty plastic bottle being squeezed
If you find this interesting, I would like you to ask yourself the following question: when exactly did you plan on encountering a shark in open waters? Let alone try this out? Just saying.
I’m not sure where I picked this one up, but I suspect it was from another nature documentary, possible even an item during Shark Week. Whatever it was, my brains remember marine biologists found out sharks have an immensely good sense of hearing and the annoying sound produced by squeezing an empty plastic bottle would sound like an explosion to their ears and drive them away (not sure about the explosion, but it sounds great and it’s just to point out that sharks have impeccable hearing). If that wouldn’t work (and you’d still be alive), try pouncing their nose or rubbing the lower part of their noses, you know, the white part right above their scary teeth. If you punch their nose they apparently swim away and if you successfully manage to dodge their teeth and rub the lower part of their sniffing organs, you can send them into some sort of shark-high state and leave them all goo-goo for a few seconds.
Sharks are super interesting, so here are some additional useless facts: they always attack twice: once to check out the bait if they don’t recognise it (to see if it’s edible), and the second time to devour the bait (if it’s edible). Sharks have to attack from below, which is why the seals near Robben Island (Africa) take a dive before the last swim to the shore, because those waters are infested with sharks and if the seals swim over the bottom of the sea they cannot be attacked. And finally: a shark doesn’t only have a great sense of hearing, it could also smell out a single drop of blood in an Olympic swimming pool.
And just because they fascinate me:
Your taste changes every seven years
Your taste, by which I mean your taste for food, changes constantly, leaving it completely renewed every seven years. So don’t worry if you hate broccoli now, you might eat nothing else in a few years (yea right, that’s never going to happen! I hate broccoli with a passion)!
I’m not really sure, but I remember once reading your bones renew themselves constantly too, in fact all the cells in your body do, giving you a new skeleton in several years time, too. You are in an ongoing renewal process!
Which reminds to me eat that chocolate while I still can – who knows, my seven years could be up tomorrow and I might hate it then!
(I know it doesn’t work that way, don’t worry. I was only trying to be funny there :p)
Penguins waddle to save energy
There seems to be an abundance in useless animal facts, but who can argue when penguins are so cute?
I always thought they waddle because most of them live in cold habitats with lots of slippery ice and snow, but it turns out they walk funny to save energy. Especially in icy places they need all the energy they’ve got to get through the day, and the easiest way for them to “cut back” on energy loss is by not running around but waddle instead.
Which just makes them cuter, I say :)
And there you have it: seven utterly useless, completely pointless facts. And there so many, many more to collect.
Let’s finish this useless post with a useless Earworm Of The Week. Of course, lemurs don’t dance like this! The usually just form a cha-cha line!
What’s the most meaningless fact you’ve ever learned?