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5 Interesting Facts I Bet You Didn't Know

Some fun facts covering multiple areas from biology and physics to history and politics. I bet you didn't know any of them!

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1. If you're able to smell 'asparagus pee' it means you are a supertaster.


That strong smell your urine takes on after eating asparagus is caused by a breakdown of ammonia by kinases, a type of digestive enzyme. However, you can only smell the compound produced if you have a certain link between the olfactory bulb and the parietal lobe in the brain. A study by the University of Manchester showed that people with this synaptic link also have better taste, as there is a strong link between smell and taste.

2. The seeds from a Kiwi can be made into Heroin


Heroin is typically made from morphine extracted from poppy seeds, in the form of opium, or ‘poppy tears’. Opium has been used since prehistoric times and became an important export from China in the mid 19th century, even resulting in two Opium Wars. While we hear all about China, The Middle East and Western uses of opium, few people know that there was also a huge trade of opium between Australia and China during this period. However, this opium was not made from poppy seeds but kiwi seeds. This was a less popular way to make opium as more seeds are required, but the colonies of Australia had less wealth and this was the only option available to them.

3. Christmas trees are shaped in a triangle to represent the Holy Trinity


The three points on the Christmas tree represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the isosceles shape to allow the Son, Jesus Christ, to be at the highest point, as Christmas celebrates his birth. Prior to Christianity, evergreen trees were often worshiped, but always in their natural form. During the Protestant revolution, started by Martin Luther in the 16th Century, this tradition was started and gradually was adopted by all Christian denominations.

4. Microwaves work by the movement of energy


It is common knowledge that microwaves work using microwave radiation, an energy similar to visible light but with a lower frequency and longer wavelength. These properties allow the wave to pass through the food in a way that visible light cannot, and the kinetic energy from the oscillations of the wave is transferred into heat (remember GCSE Physics; energy cannot be destroyed, only converted).

5. Women almost got the vote in 1874


William Gladstone became the Liberal party leader and Prime Minister in 1868. His political doctrine, which later became known as Gladstonian Liberalism, emphasised equality, free trade and loosened economic restraints. In 1874 he called a snap election, hoping to strengthen his position and bring through a bill allowing women to vote, but he lost this election to the Conservative party, and Benjamin Disraeli became PM.

How Many Did You Know?

None I would guess, as none of them are true. Sorry if you thought you had some great new pub quiz knowledge, but the point of this article is to demonstrate to you how easy it is to believe convincing sounding nonsense on the Internet. Sadly, these days we have to take everything we read with some scepticism, and cross check information with other sources; if you Google the facts I have made up you will find no results.

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