They say you should learn something new everyday, so this list of facts should cover us all for the next 9 days. They may even come in handy in your next pub quiz.
1. When there’s a double rainbow, the second arc’s colours are always inverted.
Rainbows form when light is refracted through raindrops. Since light always splits in the same spectrum, a single rainbow is always the classic ROYGBIV.
A double rainbow happens when the light is refracted through the raindrops twice, flipping the spectrum on the second bounce.
2. It’s not called a piggy bank because it’s shaped like a pig; it’s shaped like a pig because it’s called a piggy bank.
In the Middle Ages, people would keep spare change in pots made of an orange clay called “pygg.” Over time, as English spelling evolved, the word became “pig.” Eventually, in the 19th Century, potters began making them in the shape we all know today.
3. The strongest material in nature is snail teeth.
Spider silk was thought to be the strongest, but when tested, the teeth of our favourite slimy slowpokes were found to be five times stronger. The teeth are found on the snail’s tongue, and are used to grind rocks as they eat.
4. Hippos “sweat” their own pink sunscreen.
Hippos secrete a clear fluid that turns red before hardening into a brown protective layer. It protects them from the sun even underwater, and it also has antibiotic properties.
Hippos continue to be both adorable and terrifying.
5. “My eye grade is 75 on the left, 450 on the right.”
Our vision is all about how light enters our eye and reaches the retina. Corrective lenses use the curves of the glass to redirect the light when our eyes can’t do the job themselves.
Because the light is being redirected, this can result in strange shadows at higher strengths. Like this pirate shadow.
6. Manufacturers knew leaded gas was dangerous before putting it on the market.
But GM was in a hurry to stop engines from knocking and were unwilling to use the best option: ethanol.
Why? Because as a natural product, GM couldn’t patent it, and therefore couldn’t make money off it. So instead, they went with leaded gas, which solved all their problems with the only downside being that is it highly toxic.
7. The guy who invented leaded gas is widely considered one of the most disastrous inventors in history.
Thomas Midgley Jr. was fresh out of university when he joined General Motors in 1911, and was tasked with solving the engine knocking problem.
Later, he invented Freon, which revolutionised home refrigeration, but also contributed massively to the hole in the ozone layer.
8. McDonald’s tried to get kids to eat healthy by inventing bubble gum-flavoured broccoli.
They actually managed the creation part, but when they got to testing it, the kids who tried it were just confused, so the idea was scrapped.
9. 29th May is Put A Pillow On Your Fridge Day
Officially the most random holiday ever!
It goes back to the 1900s, when people would place a piece of cloth torn from something in their bedroom in the larder. This was believed to bring prosperity. Eventually, fridges replaces larders and, for some reason, pillows replaced the cloth.