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    22 Mind-Blowing Facts I Literally Just Learned That Completely Altered My Worldview

    How many Legos can you stack before the bottom brick gets crushed? A whole lot!

    1. This is Timothy Evans. In 1949, Beryl Evans, Timothy's wife, and their 1-year-old daughter Geraldine were found murdered. Timothy was the primary suspect, and in 1950 he was found guilty of the crime and hanged...

    Timothy Evans with a look of shock and terror on his face

    ...and this is John Christie, the Evans' neighbor. Christie was a chief witness for the prosecution in the trial, and his testimony led to the conviction and execution of Timothy Evans. It wasn't until three years after Evans' death that it was discovered that John Christie was actually a serial killer, and among his eight known victims were Beryl and Geraldine Evans. This tragic case would become a major factor in Great Britain's decision to abolish the death penalty. In the US, the death penalty is still used in 27 states, and a 2014 study concluded that 1 in 25 people on death row is innocent.

    John Christie posing for a photo

    2. These are believed to be the oldest surviving pair of pants in existence — well, tied for the oldest with another pair that was found alongside them. They were discovered in western China on the mummies of two shamans:

    3. There's a town in Southern California that elected a dog as its mayor. His name is Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II:

    4. Nathan Reeves and his wife, Suzie Quintal, spent this past Christmas on Norfolk Island in Australia when, in an unlucky turn of events, Nathan lost his wedding ring while going for a swim. They reported the ring lost on some local Facebook pages, but there was little else they could do. Five months later, the ring actually turned up in the unlikeliest of places. A snorkeler and writer named Susan Prior spotted — and managed to photograph — a hapless mullet fish with Nathan's ring wrapped around its body:

    A mullet fish with a gold ring wrapped around its body

    5. Susan spotted the fish with the gold ring in May, but in February she spotted other mullet fish wearing plastic rings (the ones that accompany twist-off caps on plastic bottles) like the one pictured below. In her blog she explains, "Mullet snuffle through the sand looking for food, making it so easy for a ring or hair tie to flip over their noses and get stuck." She hopes that this unlucky fish will inspire people to take greater care not to litter and to be more cautious with their belongings — oh, and regarding those pesky plastic rings, she recommends cutting them! It could save a mullet's life.

    A mullet fish with a plastic ring wrapped around its body

    6. This recent photo of Mars sent from the Perseverance rover is breathtaking, incredible, and even a little bit terrifying. The hill in the distance is called "Santa Cruz":

    7. Polaris, aka the North Star, isn't actually the brightest observable star in our night sky. In fact, it just barely cracks the top 50. It is, however, *4,000 times* brighter than our Sun, which just goes to show how insignificantly tiny our solar system is in the whole scope of the universe. Polaris is approximately 434 light-years from Earth, which means the light we're seeing when we look at it was generated around the same time that Shakespeare was writing his earliest known play, The Taming of the Shrew. For comparison, it only takes 8.3 minutes for the light that our Sun generates to reach Earth.

    Polaris shining brightly in the night sky

    8. Yasuke was the first foreign-born samurai in the history of Japan who fought side-by-side with Oda Nobunaga, one of feudal Japan's most feared and ruthless warlords. Very little is known about Yasuke's origins — though it's become part of his mythology that he arrived in Kyoto a slave, some historians have come to doubt that fact. What is known is that he was likely born somewhere in Africa, spoke fluent Japanese, was an extremely capable warrior, and was very, very tall — he was said to be 6'2'', much taller than the average man at that time. Despite only appearing in a three-year span of recorded history, from 1579 to 1582, Yasuke has captured people's imaginations and has gone on to become an almost mythic figure:

    9. The HMS_ Terror_ was part of a doomed expedition — ominously known as "Franklin's lost expedition" — to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage over 170 years ago. Both of the expedition's ships (the Terror and the HMS Erebus), along with the entire 129-member crew, vanished. It wasn't until recently that the ships were rediscovered, and in 2019 the wreckage of the Terror was explored and found to be in "pristine" condition. They even found plates and bottles arranged on shelves. The ship is so well preserved, in fact, that researchers hope to find documents that might shed light on exactly what happened almost two centuries ago in the most inhospitable place on Earth:

    10. Tanitoluwa Adewumi started playing chess only three years ago while he was living in a homeless shelter in Manhattan. He and his family had just escaped religious persecution in Nigeria and arrived in the United States as refugees. Now, at the age of 10, he just earned the title of Chess Master* — less than 1% of rated players ever earn the title of Master. His next goal? To become the youngest Grandmaster ever, which he'll need to accomplish before he's 12 years and 7 months old if he's to best the current record holder:

    *To become a Chess Master you need to reach a rating of 2,200. Your rating is a reflection of your strength as a player, and it rises and falls based on your performance against other rated players. To become a Grandmaster, you need to have had a rating of at least 2,500 – but there's other criteria that need to be met to reach that level.

    11. This is Lyuba, and she's one of the best preserved woolly mammoths ever discovered. Amazingly, researchers managed to determine the cause of death (and it's kind of heartbreaking). Over 40,000 years ago, Lyuba — only a month old — fell in some water, inhaled mud, and choked to death, as evidenced by the mud that was found in her trachea:

    12. Just in case you're wondering, a Lego brick can withstand a weight of 950 pounds (432 kilograms), which means you could stack 375,000 Lego bricks before the bottom brick would break. That Lego tower would be over two miles (3.5 kilometers) high.

    Three stacks of Lego blocks

    13. These are giant groundsels — specifically, Dendrosenecio kilimanjari — and they're a prehistoric plant that can only be found on Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro:

    14. The HMAS Armidale was a Royal Australian Navy warship that battled in the Pacific theater during World War II. In November of 1942, after surviving a series of close calls, the Armidale was finally sunk by Japanese fighter planes. Of all the corvettes (the Armidale's warship class) lost during the second World War, the Armidale suffered the greatest loss of life with 100 total casualties. The photo below, which depicts a group of men clinging to a raft after surviving the initial attack, is the last time they were ever seen alive or dead:

    15. Despite being 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda galaxy would still appear to be six times larger than the moon in our night sky if it were bright enough:

    16. Researchers recently discovered a giant species of saber-toothed cat that likely lived between 5 and 9 million years ago. They're now believed to be one of the biggest cats to ever roam the Earth — so big, in fact, that they may have hunted rhinos.

    A sabre-toothed cat skull

    17. High up in the Italian Alps, ice is beginning to melt as a result of global warming, uncovering all sorts of remnants and relics from the first World War. They're finding weapons, gear, diaries, and postcards, and even the bodies of soldiers. More soldiers are believed to have died from the unforgiving mountain environment — from falls, freezing to death, sickness, and avalanches — than from actual combat:

    18. While animals with mutations and birth defects are a relatively common sight, what makes this three-eyed calf so unique is how normally developed the extra eye appears to be. The veterinarian who made the discovery, Malan Hughes, told the Daily Post, "From the outside the extra eye looks fine. It has eyelids and eyelashes, and it is moist too, as if some kind of lubricant is being secreted" — though it's unknown if the eye is functional:

    19. Add pyrosomes to the list of bizarre, difficult-to-define things you can find in the ocean. These sometimes enormous masses are not individual animals; they're many thousands of animals — called zooids — that join together to create super-organisms, or colonies, known as pyrosomes. They move around the ocean as one and occasionally break off and create smaller colonies that eventually grow large themselves:

    20. This is no ordinary flooded mine. This is an opal mine, and it's become a popular attraction in the heart of Slovakia, as the gemstones that were once harvested there are still in abundance:

    21. Despite being a carnivorous plant, Venus flytraps are surprisingly good at not turning their pollinators into meals. According to a study from a few years ago, researchers found that only 32% of the unlucky insects found in the traps had pollen on them, and that the top 10 most common Venus flytrap pollinators were never consumed by the plant at all. Part of the reason for this? They have very tall flowers:

    And last but not least, a gross frog fact:

    22. This is the hairy frog, also known as the horror frog and the wolverine frog, but that's not really hair. Those are strands of skin that it grows during mating season — and that's not even the most unsettling thing about these little guys. No, what sets the hairy frog apart is its ability to break bones in the tips of its own toes, which pierces through the skin, giving it sharp claws with which to defend itself:

    Want to see what I learned last week? Click here to find out. And click HERE to see what I learned in April.