We’re often told that studying about the world keeps us motivated, feeds our curiosity, and generally makes our lives more exciting. One truly great thing about having the internet in our hands at all times is that we can quickly find fun and intriguing tidbits of information about virtually anything. Yet, we humans need constant reminders to sharpen our minds by learning something new as often as we can.
Luckily, the Today I Learned forum is a Reddit powerhouse that has more than 26.9M people on a mission to exercise our brain cells. Members of this community continue to share the knowledge they recently found out themselves every single day.
So, to celebrate their efforts, we’ve collected some of the most fascinating facts floating around the subreddit for you to enjoy. Continue scrolling, upvote the ones that were new to you, and let us know what you think about them in the comments! And after you’re done taking notes, check out our previous posts about interesting trivia right here, here, and here.
TIL British actress Emilia Clarke has survived two brain aneurysms and has since founded SameYou, a charity working to develop better recovery treatment for survivors of brain injury and stroke
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TIL hospital patients recover quicker when they are able to see a park/vegetation from their window
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TIL that in Churchill, Canada, locals keep their car doors unlocked in order to provide other residents a quick escape, should they encounter a polar bear
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TIL that you can buy a room on a cruise ship and live on it. You pay a yearly fee and all amenities are provided like normal cruise ships.
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TIL Robert Propst, inventor of modern day Cubicles in 1968, called them “monolithic insanity” before he died in 2000.
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TIL Jonah Hill was only paid $60,000 to appear in The Wolf of Wall Street, with the studio using his desire to work with Martin Scorsese as leverage to pay him the lowest fee possible. Whereas Leonard DiCaprio, who also produced the film, was paid $10m.
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TIL one of the cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W., asked for whiskey on his death bed, but was denied and died 36 years sober.
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TIL Humans will walk in circles when lost unless there is some sort of external reference point.
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Til theres a place off the coast of Australia where octopus, who are mostly solitary creatures, have made a small “city” of sorts.
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TIL that Acacia trees can communicate with each other. When they sense injuries in their leaves, they release ethylene gas in the air to signal nearby Acacias, which pump tannins in their leaves. Tannins make the leaves bitter and are also poisonous - it can kill even big herbivores, like deers.
Image credits: DesignersUniverse
TIL in the mid 1890s, Mary Whiton Caulkins completed all requirements towards a PhD in Psychology, but Harvard University refused to award her that degree because she was a woman.
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TIL After conservative activist Mary Whitehouse successfully campainged to stop Alice Cooper's 'School's Out' being shown on the BBC music show 'Top of the Pops', Cooper sent her a bunch of flowers, since he believed the publicity helped the song to reach number one.
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TIL scientist Claire Patterson spent over 20 years trying to convince the public that lead was poison.
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TIL that in the 1800s, US dairy producers would regularly mix their milk with water, chalk, embalming fluid and cow brains to enhance appearance and flavor. Hundreds of children died from the mixture of formaldehyde, dirt, and bacteria in their milk
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TIL Dolly Parton sleeps in make-up (and washes it off in the morning) just in case she has to go out in the middle of the night if a natural disaster strikes
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TIL about the speed camera lottery in Stockholm, Sweden. Driving at or under the speed limit would make you eligible to win the lottery where the prize funds come from the fines paid by speeders. In the trial the average speed was reduced from 20mph to 15,6mph (22% reduction)
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TIL People built a statue of “Kabang” a hero dog that got her face disfigured after saving two girls from a speeding motorcycle. She died last year, almost a decade after her heroic action
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TIL that Dory from "Finding Nemo" is deemed one of the most neuropsychologically accurate movie portrayals of an amnesic syndrome and the considerable memory difficulties faced daily by people with it
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TIL In 2019 a man robbed a bank, threw the money out onto the street, and shouted "Merry Christmas!" He then went to a Starbucks where he waited to be arrested.
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TIL Kurt Cobain didn't particularly like his song Smells Like Teen Spirit saying "It's almost an embarrassment to play." And "I can barely, especially on a bad night, get through 'Teen Spirit.' I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away."
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TIL the oldest evidence of humans in the Americas was found less than four months ago, and was several thousands of years older than previously thought
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TIL there was a trend of headless photography in 19th century Britain ("Victorian Headless Portraits"). The models usually had their heads in a platter, or were holding them in their hands. This was made by taking multiple photos and combining the negatives - kinda like the early days' Photoshop.
TIL someone translated Dracula into Icelandic and it took over 100 years for anyone to point out he just made a fanfic-rewrite of what he wanted the story to be.
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TIL fire poles in fire houses were originally installed to allow for faster descent than the houses' narrow spiral staircases, which were themselves installed because horses kept climbing to the second floors and getting stuck.
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TIL that actor Richard Harris only accepted to play Albus Dumbledore because his granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again if he didn't.
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TIL, the library at University of Coimbra in central Portugal hosts a colony of bats. Every night, the windows of the library are left open and the bats come in to feed on insects, thereby protecting the centuries-old historic documents. Every morning, librarians clean the bats' excrement.
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TIL when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, they had about 15 seconds of fuel left.
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TIL during the Han dynasty, unmarried women and their families had to pay a special tax for their singleness. On the other hand, women with babies didn't have to pay taxes for three years and their husbands didn't have to pay taxes for one year.
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TIL that a 2,000 year old Roman cosmetic cream was discovered intact. The owner’s fingerprints where they last touched the cream can still be seen
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TIL there are now more Spanish-speakers in the United States than there are in Spain.
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TIL- apples are not indigenous to North America, nor most of Europe. They originated in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea. The capital of Kazakhstan, Alma Ata, means “full of apples.” By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe
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TIL In 1992, Nirvana brought an all-girl band to Buenos Aires to open for them, and the crowd was "throwing money and everything out of their pockets, mud and rocks, just pelting them." So, Nirvana, in protest, played lesser known songs and teased hit songs without actually playing them.
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TIL about "Rabbit starvation." It's a malnutrition caused by eating too mucg protein and not enough fat. It has historically been caused by eating rabbit meat exclusively, which is too lean
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TIL that PhD students display twice as many symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as depression than other people.
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TIL that the Judean Date Palm was extinct until scientists germinated 2,000 year old seeds to bring the tree back into existence. The seeds were discovered in an ancient jar in Israel, dated between 155 BC to 64 AD.
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TIL Fish & Chips was an aid in winning WWII. Sir Winston Churchill saw the comfort food as a 'good companion' and was a dish that didn't get rationed to keep morale up. On the frontlines, troops calling "fish" and allies calling "chips" was an effective way to tell whether you were friend or foe.
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TIL when Christopher Columbus and his crew were stranded on Jamaica for 6 long months, fearing the indigenous people would turn on him, he successfully predicted a lunar eclipse and successfully used it to frighten them into thinking it was God’s wrath.
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TIL that you should never cut a cat's whiskers as they are very sensitive and cats use them to feel around. Cutting whiskers cash cause cats to become disoriented and scared, and might cause it to get stuck easily
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TIL Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons was originally intended to be Homer in disguise, which explains why they look so similar.
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TIL that Aspirin and Heroin were both invented in a two-week period by the same man: Felix Hoffmann, a German chemist who worked for Bayer (and under Adolf Von Baeyer) in the late 1880’s.
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TIL in 1989 a Soviet pilot ejected from a Mig-23 fighter jet over Poland after experiencing technical problems. The jet continued to fly on autopilot for 600 miles before running out of fuel and crashing into a house in Belgium, killing its occupant.
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TIL: An Alaskan husky in the Iditarod will burn about 9,666 calories each day; a rate of caloric burn 3.5 times that of a human Tour de France cyclist. The aerobic capacity of a typical Iditarod dog is three times that of a human Olympic marathon runner.
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TIL that due to their high fat and low water content, pistachios can self-heat and spontaneously combust if stored inproperly
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TIL Lonnie Johnson, the man who created the “Super Soaker” (the world’s best selling toy) was awarded $72.9M in a Hasbro Settlement for unpaid royalties.
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TIL The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld was based on Al Yeganeh, the real-life owner of Soup Kitchen International in Manhattan. After the episode aired, members of the cast and crew went to the restaurant for lunch. Yeganeh yelled at them and stated that the publicity had ruined his reputation.
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TIL Bruce Willis turned down the role of Sam in the movie Ghost. He said he didn't understand how the movie would work with the main character being dead for the majority of the movie, and the role went to Patrick Swayze. Nine years later Willis would star in The Sixth Sense.
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TIL about Jerry and Marge Selbee, who were able to win millions from the Michigan and Massachusetts lotteries, due to determining a certain type of game having a positive expected value, when played correctly.
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TIL the average house in Japan depreciates to almost ¥0 after 25 years.
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TIL in 1944, 40 years after the Wright Brothers completed their historic flight, Orville Wright took his last ever flight on a Lockheed Constellation. He commented that the wingspan of the Constellation was longer than the distance of his first flight.
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TIL that when Dune (1984) was originally released in theaters, some locations gave out “cheat sheets” for people confused with the terminology of the Dune universe.
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TIL that Groundhog Day was introduced to America by German settlers who originally used a hedgehog to predict the weather, switching to the groundhog as they were easier to come across in the Keystone State.
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TIL a study found significant increase in green biomass over 40% of the planet from 1982 to 2015, while a significant decrease in vegetation was seen in only 4% of the surface
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TIL about the Great Flood of 1862 which affected California. It killed a quarter of California's cattle, destroyed a quarter of the state's taxable real estate, created an inland sea, and bankrupted the state.
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TIL That the White Tailed Deer, generally considered to be herbivorous, have been caught on camera slurping baby birds out of their nests like candy and munching on human bones.
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TIL in 1890 as part of a program to bring all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to North America, 60 starlings were released in New York's Central Park. There are now over 200 million European starlings across the US, causing billions in crop damage and deadly hazards at airports
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TIL 22% of Beverly Hills population is of Iranian descent
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TIL The salary of the President of the United States has only been increased 5 times since 1789. It was $25,000 in 1789, and was increased to $50,000 in 1873, $75,000 in 1909, $100,000 in 1943, $200,000 in 1969, and $400,000 in 2001.
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TIL that a modern highway now runs through the site of the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans held back a massive Persian army for three days. A statue of the Spartan leader, Leonidas, stands just a few feet from the road.
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TIL of the killer whales of Eden, Australia. In the 1800s they would cooperate with human whalers to hunt larger whales. Both parties would share the carcass.
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TIL that crocodiles have been observed to balance twigs on their heads to lure nest-building birds, thus proving them to be much more sophisticated than previously believed and joining a small group of predators who use bait to catch prey
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TIL we thought dolphins couldn't breathe through their mouths until 2016, when a dolphin with a damaged blowhole learned to mouth breathe
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TIL In 2017, scientists began a global search to find a mate for Jeremy, a rare left-coiled snail. Since his shell coiled in the opposite direction of most snails, his organs couldn't align with others. Two contenders were found, but they mated with each other instead of Jeremy.
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TIL Burt Reynolds took revenge from National Enquirer who wrote c**p about him for years by dumping a helicopter full of horse s**t on their Florida HQ
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TIL there are no more than 12 Kmart stores remaining in the US. At its peak in 1994 there were 2323 stores in the US and 2486 globally. Until 1990, when it was surpassed by Walmart, it was the second largest retailer in the US after Sears.
Image credits: RevivedMisanthropy
TIL : Kanye West's mother, Donda, has a law named after her known as 'Donda West law' that requires patients to have a physical examination before cosmetic surgery. Donda West unfortunately passed away from heart problems one day after her surgery.
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TIL laws restricting Chinese people to merchant visas made many Chinese restaurants in the U.S. These visas were only for fancy shops and the person had to run it for a year. Some groups used all their cash to open a nice restaurant and then switch who ran it each year so that they'd all get visas.
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TIL a Japanese man has been sending identical handwritten letters weekly to a hotel in the Netherlands for the last 40 years.
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TIL Henry VIII traveled with a locksmith and changed the locks on his rooms when he visited other estates
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TIL 75–80% of Olive Oil sold in the US is adulterated, including major brands. Organized crime's profit margin on adulterated olive oil is 3x that of cocaine. Olive oil fraud has gone on for 4 000 years.
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TIL about Kate Warne, America's first female detective, who in 1861, in the guise of a "rich southern lady visiting Baltimore," infiltrated a secessionist social gathering and revealed a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln before he took office.
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TIL that the filmmakers of The Jungle Book (1967) originally considered Louis Armstrong for the voice of King Louie, but were worried that choosing a black actor to voice an ape would cause controversy.
Image credits: Movie_Advance_101
TIL that since 1953, every King of Saudi Arabia has been a son of the first king, Abdulaziz. His oldest son was born in 1900 and the youngest in 1952. He has roughly 1,000 grandchildren.
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TIL in 2004 there were more British free range and organic eggs being sold than could ever possibly be laid in UK farms. After delivery drivers began suspecting that the "industrial eggs" they delivered were being relabeled, investigators found that Keith Owen had sold 100m mislabeled eggs
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TIL The first McDonald's Drive Thru was installed in a restaurant based in Sierra Vista, Arizona, located near the Fort Huachuca military installation. Because military members were forbade from wearing their military uniforms outside of their cars.
Image credits: Movie_Advance_101
TIL your arm doesn't fall asleep at night because of blood flow or circulation getting cut off. The feeling is actually caused by pinched nerves.
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TIL A boneless ham is a ham from which the bone has been removed, after which the ham is tightly pressed into an oval-shaped package. Salt will break down some of the proteins in meat muscle, allowing them to reconnect and link with each other. That's why a boneless ham still appears solid.
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TIL about Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black woman in the 1800s who amassed a fortune by eavesdropping on investors while working as a domestic
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TIL that Robert Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper only to see his invention show up in Ford and Chrysler cars without giving him any credit or money whatsoever, after years of lawsuits he settled with ford for 10.2 million and won a judgment against Chrysler for $30 million
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TIL there's an 18% average mortality rate for catch and release fishing with the rate varying significantly between species
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TIL that in 2002 Pamela Anderson contracted Hepatitis C by sharing tattoo needles with Tommy Lee and was told she would only have 10 years left to live. She was cured of the disease in 2015.
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TIL JFK asked his mother not to contact heads of state without asking first after she asked Nikita Khrushchev to send her his autograph
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TIL that the sun has only completed 20 orbits (galactic years) around our galaxy since its birth.
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TIL A juvenile narwhal lost in the St. Lawrence River got adopted by a group of beluga and has stayed with them since at least 2016
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TIL that Cher is often credited as the first artist to use auto-tune in a song with her 1998 hit "Believe"
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TIL that bananas naturally produce anti-matter. Roughly every 75 minutes one positron is produced by the trace amounts of Potassium-40 that is naturally occurring in bananas.
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TIL that in 2013 The Food Safety Authority of Ireland tested cheap frozen beefburgers and ready meals from supermarket and It found horse DNA in over one-third of the beefburger samples, and pig in 85% of them.
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TIL McDonald’s ended its 40yr relationship with Heinz when a Burger King executive was named the ketchup maker’s CEO.
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TIL of Rebecca Twigg. After winning two Olympic medals in cycling, six world championships, and appearing in Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, and numerous commercials, Twigg abruptly dropped out of the sport, had trouble holding down a desk job, and has been living on the street for years.
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TIL that the Empire State Building was constructed in less than 15 months for $24.7 million, 57% of its original budget.
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TIL that Protestant Reformation leader, Martin Luther, was an anti-Semite who denounced and urged the persecution of Jews
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TIL dolphins sleep with one eye open. Because they have to periodically go up for air and also be aware of predators, they are able to rest only half of their brain at a time and stay always somewhat conscious.
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TIL when the United States officially transitioned from analog to digital television on June 12, 2009, "1.75 million Americans were still not ready" resulting in 317,450 calls to the FCC on June 13. Coupons from the Dept. of Commerce were given out, to be exchanged for DTV Converter Boxes.
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TIL Daniel Day-Lewis listened to Eminem's 'The Way I Am' every morning at 5AM to prepare for his role 'Gangs of New York' in 2002. He's also a big fan of Snoop Dogg.
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TIL: that its a common practice in China, to not tell an old person about their cancer diagnosis, where it is believed that telling them can make their condition deteriorate quicker.
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TIL In ancient Rome, masters discouraged slaves from running away by putting a tattoo reading "Stop me! I am a runaway!" on their foreheads.At a temple of the Greek god of healing, thousands of tablets from escaped slaves asking the god to make the tattoos on their forehead disappear have been found
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TIL the ‘EGOT’ - an acronym used to designate people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony - was coined in 1984 by newly-famous Miami Vice actor Philip Michael Thomas, who stated a desire to achieve EGOT status within 5 years. He has never been nominated for any of the EGOT awards.
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TIL in 2010 Charles Manson was caught with a flip phone in prison where he made calls and texts to people California, New Jersey, Florida and Canada.
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TIL it took Taco Bell food engineers two years and 40 different recipes to create the Doritos Loco taco. It became so popular that it led to Taco Bell adding 15,000 jobs, propelling the company to outgrow Pizza Hut, KFC and even McDonald’s.
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TIL in 1940, a 14 year old Fidel Castro wrote a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking "If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green American, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them."
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TIL that Argos is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. This Greek settlement has been inhabited for at least 7000 years, and has been under Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Venetian and Ottoman rule. Significant ancient monuments remain there today.
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TIL: even though humans have been getting taller for the past several thousand years, we're still not as tall as we used to be pre-civilization
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TIL that in May 25, 2003, two men boarded an empty Boeing 727 at an airport in Angola and flew off into the sunset. The FBI and CIA conducted a massive search, but neither the men nor the plane was ever seen or heard from again. it is one of the largest aircraft ever to disappear.
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TIL legendary NFL player Jim Thorpe is buried in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Thorpe had no connection to the town, nor had he ever visited. His third wife sold his body to the town rather than having him buried in his native Oklahoma.
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TIL that, in its 1975 annual opinion poll, Playboy Magazine readers voted Karen Carpenter as Best Rock Drummer of the year, outvoting John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
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