r/todayilearned 7h ago

TIL the rarest naturally occuring element on Earth, astatine, is so rare that there is only 28 grams of it on Earth at any given time. It is difficult to study, as most of its isotopes have a half-life of 1 second or less. Its appearance is not known with certainty.

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5k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 13h ago

TIL in 1998, Alex Trebek donated of 74 acres of open land (worth $2m at the time) in Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills for the purpose of conservation and as a wildlife corridor

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79k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 13h ago

TIL that when cowboy actor Slim Pickens enlisted in the US Army during WWII, he told the recruiter that his profession was "rodeo". This was misheard as "radio" and Slim spent the entirety of the war stationed at a midwestern broadcast station.

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20k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 17h ago

TIL that Clint Eastwood hated the cigars that his character smoked in the “Dollars Trilogy”. Because he would have to do multiple takes, he smoked them quite a bit. According to Eli Wallach, Eastwood would sometimes tell the director: “You’d better get it this time, because I’m going to throw up.”

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21k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 3h ago

TIL that to renounce your United States citizenship, you have to pay a whopping fee of $2,350.

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675 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 11h ago

TIL about Jordan Kinyera, a Ugandan man, who was only six years old when his father lost his land in a legal dispute. After studying for 18 years, he has finally won it back 23 years later, after becoming a lawyer.

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2k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 18h ago

TIL actor Edward James Olmos who played William Adama in the show Battlestar Galactica, had a clause in his contract about no aliens. "The first four-eyed monster I see, I'm going to faint on camera, and you're going to write me off the show." The show became a cult classic for its gritty realism.

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8k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 21h ago

TIL that cavemen had relatively straight teeth and that crooked teeth are a modern phenomenon

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59k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 21h ago

TIL Robert-François Damiens, after trying to assassinate the king, was sentenced to be executed by having his skin ripped with pliers, molten lead and sulfur being poured onto his ripped skin, then dismemberment by four horses. At hearing this, Damiens replied: “Well, it's going to be a tough day.”

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17k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 13h ago

TIL that when cartoonist Tom Batiuk lost the ownership of his comic strip John Darling to his syndicate in 1990, he had the main character murdered with no warning. With the protagonist dead, the syndicate had the rights to an unusable property and the strip ended the next day.

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2k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 15h ago

TIL a science teacher from rural Kenya who donates most of his salary to help poorer students was crowned the world’s best teacher in 2019 and awarded a $1,000,000 prize, beating 10,000 nominations from 179 countries

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2k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 22h ago

TIL that for the 2015 Chinese film "Wolf Totem", 35 Mongolian wolves were trained in China for over 4 years by a Scottish trainer, who trained them to sit, snarl, and fight on cue. After filming, the wolves were ultimately relocated to Canada, since they only understood commands in English

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44k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 6h ago

TIL of the Saint Gallen Group, a group of liberal-minded bishops and cardinals that held yearly secret meetings from 1996 to 2004 to discuss church policy, and were rumored to try to block Benedict XVI from being elected as pope.

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421 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 17h ago

TIL that only 4% of mammals on Earth are wild. 36% are humans, and 60% are livestock.

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3k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 16h ago

TIL that in 1994, students in Kaktovik, Alaska created a new system of numerals to reflect the way counting is done in their language: in base 20. The system is relatively easy to learn and even makes basic math easier. It has since been widely adopted in Inupiaq communities.

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2k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 11h ago

TIL of Han van Meegeren, a legendary art forger who sold fake Old Master paintings to the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands, once cheating Hermann Göring out of over a million guilders. He is now celebrated as a Dutch national hero

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605 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 2h ago

TIL Arleigh Burke mistakenly led his ships into a Japanese minefield. Admiral Halsey asked him what he was doing in the minefield. Burke replied "about 31 knots." Hence his nickname '31 Knot Burke'

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105 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 1h ago

TIL that in the 1950s a man said to his lover that no woman could write erotica like the Marquis de Sade. In response, Anne Desclos wrote a novel that was so obscene that the French authorities tried to take the publisher to court, and Desclos kept her name secret for forty years.

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Upvotes

r/todayilearned 12h ago

TIL that as the British were forced to abandon the mortally-wounded HMS Sheffield missile destroyer during the 1982 Falklands war, Sub-lieutenant Carrington-Wood led the crew in singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.

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623 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 7h ago

TIL that Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus Foetidus) is one of the few plants in the world with thermogenic properties. It can generate internal temperatures from 27-63°F through cellular respiration.

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213 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 16h ago

TIL that Homer Simpson’s catchphrase, “D'oh!” had no official spelling for several years, and was instead written as “(ANNOYED GRUNT)” in the scripts.

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1k Upvotes

r/todayilearned 9h ago

TIL that during a flight of the Hindenburg over the UK a parcel was thrown overboard and found in West Yorkshire. It contained flowers, a small silver Cross, and a note requesting they be delivered to a passenger's brother's grave

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286 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 13h ago

TIL that highways in South Korea are go from low to high numbers from South to North. Numbers between 70 and 99 aren't allowed because they are reserved for North Korea should unification happen.

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530 Upvotes

r/todayilearned 1h ago

TIL that King George II of Britain died from his heart bursting from exerting too much pressure while pooping

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Upvotes

r/todayilearned 14h ago

TIL that truffles cause a chemically-induced euphoria reaction similar to that of THC.

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697 Upvotes