Whether people are setting up Trivial Pursuit at home or attending a pub trivia night, the basic premise remains the same: they’re enjoying the thrill of providing correct answers to questions about lesser-known facts. “You get a rush or a neuro-reward signal or a dopamine burst from winning,” John Kounios, Ph.D., professor of psychology and
Whether people are setting up Trivial Pursuit at home or attending a pub trivia night, the basic premise remains the same: they’re enjoying the thrill of providing correct answers to questions about lesser-known facts.
“You get a rush or a neuro-reward signal or a dopamine burst from winning,” John Kounios, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the doctoral program in applied cognitive and brain sciences at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, told Healthline. “I think whenever you’re challenged with a trivia question and you happen to know it, you get a rush. It’s sort of like gambling.”
Only it doesn’t really have any downsides.
To prepare you for these battles (or at least to make your Friday more interesting), Bored Panda snuck inside the ‘Today I Learned‘ (TIL) subreddit and hand-picked some of the most interesting tidbits of information that people have shared there.
Oh, and if you want more, fire up our earlier TIL lists here, here, and here.
#1TIL an Austrian man left $2.4 million to the French village that hid him from the Nazis
#2TIL a woman quit her job to search for her border collie who escaped from a hotel room during a thunderstorm while on vacation in Kalispell, Montana. After 57 days of searching and posting hundreds of flyers around town, she finally found ‘Katie’ who was starving, but otherwise OK.
#3TIL there is a group of wolves in British Columbia known as “sea wolves” and 90% of their food comes from the sea. They have distinct DNA that sets them apart from interior wolves and they’re entirely dedicated to the sea swimming several miles everyday in search of food.
#4TIL of Vince Coleman, a train dispatcher who sacrificed his life to save hundreds, warning of a massive boat explosion nearby. The message: “Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbour making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye, boys.”
#7TIL that in 1982, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was rushed to hospital when a fish bone became stuck in her throat, and she ended up having an operation to remove it. Being a keen fisher, she calmly joked when it was done: “The salmon have got their own back”.
#8TIL that Apples are not ‘true to seed’, so the seeds from any particular variety apple will not grow to be the same variety as the apple tree they came from. E.g. If you planted seeds of Granny Smith it likely will produce a wide variety of different and unknown apple tree types.
#9TIL that the details of the Manhattan Project were so secret that many workers had no idea why they did their jobs. A laundrywoman had a dedicated duty to “hold up an instrument and listen for a clicking noise” without knowing why. It was a Geiger counter testing the radiation levels of uniforms.
#11TIL when Steve Buscemi was 4-years-old he was hit by a bus and managed to survive with a fractured skull. He received a $6,000 settlement from the city that was to be collected from a trust fund when he turned 18. When Buscemi turned 18, he used part of the money to pay for full-time acting classes.
#12TIL that in 2006, a couple lost for three nights in the San Jacinto Mountains of CA were rescued because they were able to light a signal fire from matches they found in the abandoned camp of a lost hiker who vanished exactly One year before their incident.
#14TIL that in his acceptance speech for the 1976 Best Album Grammy, Paul Simon jokingly thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year. Stevie Wonder had won Best Album in the previous two years and would go on to win again in 1977 for Songs in the Key of Life.
#15TIL that the world record for the most passengers on an aircraft was set during Israel’s evacuation of Jews from Ethiopia in 1991, when a single 747 carried at least 1,088 people, including two babies who were born on the flight.
#16TIL that Albert I of Belgium is called the “Knight King” because he personally led his army in combat for all of WWI; also his wife, Elizabeth of Bavaria, served as a nurse in front-line field hospitals.
#17TIL A bank robber in France made a fictitious, coded document which he claimed as evidence during his trial. While the judge was distracted by the document, Albert Spaggiari jumped out of a window, landing safely on a parked car and escaped on a waiting motorcycle. He was never seen again.
#18TIL President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate cotton caused famine in English mill towns. Suffering Manchester workers nevertheless sent a letter of support to Lincoln and he responded with thanks and a gift of food. A statue of Lincoln in Manchester displays excerpts from both letters.
#20TIL about “lonely negatives”. These are words with common prefixes or suffixes such as “dis-“, “in-“, “un-“, “-less” but they don’t have positive counterparts such as the words “disgust”, “disappoint”, “reckless” – they don’t have “gust”, “appoint”, or “reckful” as their opposites.
#22TIL that after the Black Plague, depopulation in Europe caused a shortage of laborers, who then were able to demand higher wages for work. Some estimates state that the typical worker’s wages had increased by 50 percent
#23TIL Otis Redding’s widow, Zelma Redding, wrote a letter to Michael Bolton saying his cover of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” was her favorite. She remarked that it brought tears to her eyes as it reminded her so much of her husband. Bolton had the letter framed and it hangs on his office wall.#24TIL According to the convention of Geneva an ejected pilot in the air is not a combatant and therefore attacking him is a war crime.#25TIL the last French soldier to die in WW1 was killed 15 minutes before the ceasefire. He was delivering a message to his unit that soup would be served for lunch.#26TIL the U.S. military has used superstition and pretended to be vampires and ghosts to scare enemies away. They dispersed scary horoscopes in Germany, staged vampire attacks in the Philippines, and in Vietnam blasted ghost tapes which consisted of spooky music and eerie voices. Only vampires worked.
#28TIL there were no tomatoes, potatoes, blueberries, peanuts, corn, beans, chocolate, vanilla, or tobacco in the old world until about the year 1500, as they are native to the Americas. This was part of the Columbian Exchange which also included many other plants, animals, fungi and diseases.
#29TIL in WWII, Germany carried out only one land operation in north America, the installation of a secret weather station in Newfoundland. They scattered American cigarette packets and planted a sign saying “Canadian Meteor Service” in case anyone found it, and the site wasn’t rediscovered until 1977.
#30TIL Hitler planned to replace Berlin with a megacity, Germania, to showcase Nazi power. The plan was a metropolis of madness, with wide thoroughfares only for military parades, car and foot traffic directed to underground tunnels, and no traffic lights anywhere.
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