You are reading: 11 Things You Probably Did Not Know Before Today

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1. A bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 100,000 slices of bread.

Considering that each bolt of lightning contains more than 5 billion Joules of energy, then the average 1,000-watt, two-slice toaster could be powered for 84,000 minutes with just one strike. That’s just enough time to toast about 100,000 slices of bread.

2. You can hear a blue whale’s heartbeat from two miles away.

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The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 150 tons and measuring up to 90 feet long. Naturally, an animal this massive would have an equally huge heart.

Roughly the size of a small car, the blue whale’s heart weighs about 1,300 pounds. To move blood through its colossal body and arteries, its heart beats so powerfully that you can hear it from two miles away.

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You just might miss it, though, as its heart only beats eight to 10 times per minute.

3. Roosters have built-in earplugs.

Considering a rooster’s call can reach 140 decibels or louder, one then begins to wonder how the rooster itself keeps from going deaf when that noise is coming right out of its beak. It turns out, the farm fowl have built-in earplugs.

Researchers have found that when a rooster opens its beak to crow, its external auditory canals close off, preventing sound from coming in and serving as earplugs.

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4. The Netherlands is so safe that it has to import criminals to fill its jails.

The Netherlands has enjoyed a steady drop in crime since 2004, which has made her become so safe that it’s closes down one jail after another with 23 prisons shutting their doors since 2014.

To help mitigate the job losses that this has created, the country has taken to importing prisoners from other countries, bringing 242 inmates from Norway in 2015.

5. Octopuses lay 56,000 eggs at a time

The mother spends six months so devoted to protecting the eggs that she doesn’t eat. The babies are the size of a grain of rice when they’re born.

7. The current American flag was designed by a high school student

It started as a school project for Bob Heft’s junior-year history class, and it only earned a B- in 1958. His design had 50 stars even though Alaska and Hawaii weren’t states yet.

Heft figured the two would earn statehood soon and showed the government his design. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower called to say his design was approved, Heft’s teacher changed his grade to an A.

8. Only a quarter of the Sahara Desert is Sandy

Most of it is covered in gravel, though it also contains mountains and oases. It is not the world’s largest desert as well. Antarctica is.

9. You can’t breathe and swallow simultaneously

This is because the food and fluids we swallow and the air we breathe in both travel down the same part of our throat,” according to registered psychiatric nurse James Steinmetz.

10. The size of your social circle is related to the size of your brain

A scientist at Oxford discovered that the size of a person’s “orbitomedial prefrontal cortex” (the part of a brain that identifies other people’s moods and personalities) can predict the size of that person’s social circle.

The average prefrontal cortex averages out to around 147.8 friends in a social network.

11. High heels were first designed for men

Though closely identified as a female fashion staple today, high heels were first designed for men. At the end of the 16th century, Persian-inspired style was all the rage in Europe, according to the J. Paul Getty Museum, and heels were seen as being virile and masculine and a great way to boost your height a few inches.

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