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Apr 17, 2017

7 Random Facts You've Probably Never Heard Before

Ancient Romans had to pay taxes on urine.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Conversations are hard. Each week, two-time Jeopardy! winner and awkward silence warrior Terri Pous makes small talk a little easier by giving you random things to blurt out when you don’t know what else to say. Catch up on last week's here.

1. The colors of the twist ties on bread aren't random — they tell you what day the loaf was baked on.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

They're not just for fun! Apparently, a blue tag means the loaf was baked on a Monday, green means Tuesday, red indicates a Thursday bake, white signifies a Friday loaf, and yellow is for Saturday. It's not necessarily a hard and fast rule — some bread bakers use their own system — but for the most part, now you have an easy way of knowing how fresh your bread is! And if you ever forget what color means what, they're in alphabetical order.

2. Pan, a moon of Saturn, is walnut-shaped because it absorbs some of Saturn's rings.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Look at the little UFO-shaped planet! Pan's distinctive equatorial ridge isn't because it really wants to look like a ravioli; instead, it's because the moon accumulates some of Saturn's runoff ring particles as it orbits. Scientists first theorized that Pan had its unusual shape in 2007, but it wasn't confirmed until it was photographed for the first time in March 2017.

3. Ancient Romans paid a tax on pee.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Seems like an easy — though disgusting — way to get easy tax money, no? Emperor Vespasian passed this gross law in the 1st century CE on people who purchased urine. Why would they even want to do that, you may ask? Because urine was an essential ingredient in tanning and laundry at the time. (Yeah, doing laundry has always sucked.)

4. Paul Revere didn't finish his midnight ride, but Sybil Ludington, a 16-year-old girl, did — she rode for 40 miles alerting people of a British attack in 1777.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

For all the attention Paul Revere gets for his midnight ride in the Revolutionary War, it's incredible how little praise Ludington gets for doing literally the exact same thing. Ludington was just 16 when British troops attacked a Connecticut town near her house in 1777. Her dad, a colonel, asked her to ride through the night to gather all his soldiers as he prepared for battle. On her 40-mile ride through the dark woods (way longer than Revere's ride, JUST SAYING), she also let townspeople know about the impending battle. Thanks to her bravery, almost all of her father's soldiers were together and ready to fight by dawn.

5. Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup was a 19th-century medicine for crying and teething babies...that had alcohol, cannabis, morphine, and chloroform in it.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

In the 1840s, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow discovered that making infants stop crying was as easy as plying them with a boatload of drugs. Her son-in-law Jeremiah Curtis and fellow druggist Benjamin A. Perkins partnered up to manufacture the remedy for market, and it was a hit. The opiates in it knocked out the little kiddos and eased their diarrhea, as the drugs are known to cause constipation. The American Medical Association eventually denounced Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup in 1911, but it was still sold as late as 1930.

6. Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt in 1962, but gave away the patent for free to save lives.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Seatbelts used to be just a single strap across the lap, like the kind you find on buses or in middle seats. (That is, when people used them at all, as they weren't standard in cars until 1958.) For drivers, though, they didn't do enough to prevent fatal accidents. Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin perfected the now-commonplace three-point seatbelt in 1959 after a spate of accidents in Sweden. In order to make the invention widespread, Volvo waived its patent rights, a move that has saved an estimated one million lives.

7. When a rabbit gets happy and jumps around for joy, it's called a binky.

Getty Images / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

If you want to know if a rabbit is happy or not, look out for the binky. Rabbits run, jump, twist their head, and body in different directions, and just generally look freaking cute when they binky. Not all rabbits do it, even when they're as happy as can be, but when they do, consider yourself lucky for witnessing it.

  1. So, guys, which one of these factoids was the most interesting?

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So, guys, which one of these factoids was the most interesting?
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    The bread one
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    That weird moon
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    The pee tax
  4.  
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    Paul Revere is a fraud
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    The baby drugs
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    The seatbelt patent
  7.  
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    BUNNIES!!!!!!!!!

See you next week! 👋🐰👋

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