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FASCINATING FACTS: 12 COMPLETELY RANDOM FACTS TO MAKE YOU SMART

We have all been to parties and gatherings where we are surrounded by a bunch of smart people and absolutely have no clue what to say or how to begin a conversation. On top of that, if you lack social etiquette and live on the introverted side of the scale, you might find it even more difficult. Sharing a random fact can sometimes be an ice breaker and lead to a healthy chat. So, to help you out, we have come up with a list of 12 random facts that will make you seem like the smartest person in the room.

1. The revolving door was invented because the inventor did not like the social norm of men holding doors for women.

On 7 August 1888, Theophilus Van Kannel patented the “Storm Door Structure” which today we know as the revolving door. And in the year 1889, the first revolving door was installed in a restaurant on Times Square. Although the reason why he invented the door might not sound nice, he did have enough scientific evidence to back his design.

The design of the door was based upon H. Bockhacker’s German patent for “Tur ohne Luftzug” or the “Door Without Drafts of Air” which was introduced in 1881. Van Kannel’s revolving door helped in regulating building temperatures by reducing the amount of air exchange when the door was used. They also minimized the amount of street noise and pollution that would enter through them. Apart from that, revolving doors also helped in saving energy costs by 30%.(source)

2. The skin of all human beings is covered in stripes and patterns known as “Blaschko’s lines.” These patterns run all through our bodies and are only visible under UV light.

Blaschko’s lines were discovered by a German dermatologist named Alfred Blaschko in the early 1900s. He observed a strange pattern being followed by the rashes and moles on his patient’s bodies. It was as if they were tracing a similar path.  The lines, however, did not correspond to any body system.

What they represent is the growth pattern of embryonic cells. The patterns are S-shaped over the chest and sides, V-shaped on the back, and wavy-shaped on the head. There are also several skin conditions and diseases that follow Blaschko’s lines like many pigmentary disorders, CHILD syndrome, XLPDR syndrome, Lichen striatus, Lupus Erythematosus, etc. (source)

3. The deepest post box in the world lies 10 meters underwater and is located in Susami Bay, Japan.

Susami is a small fishing town in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan and is known for having the world’s deepest post box. The post box was placed as a part of a fair in April 1999 to promote the region. As the town did not have any special tourist attraction, 70-year-old Toshihiko Matsumoto, the then postmaster, suggested they place a post box underwater. An old post box was altered accordingly and placed 10 meters underwater off the Bay of Susami.

The post box is officially recognized. It is mostly used by divers and collects up to 1,500 pieces of mail annually. Since the installation of the post box in 1999, around 32,000 mail items have been posted in the box. As the seawater can be corrosive, two boxes are used in rotation every six months. (source)

4. Adermatoglyphia is a rare genetic disorder in which a person is born with no fingerprints. The condition is so rare that it is known to occur in only four extended families on earth.


It was in 2007 when Peter Itin was contacted by a Swiss woman who was having trouble traveling to the USA as she did not have any fingerprints. When Itin looked into the matter, he found out that eight members of her family were born with a similar condition. In 2011, dermatologist Peter Itin and Eli Spercher along with a team of other dermatologists successfully located the gene responsible for Adermatoglyphia.

Adermatoglyphia does not have any effect on an individual’s health. They are just born with flat finger pads.

Further narrowing down the research which included 16 members of the woman’s family (seven of which did not suffer from Adermatoglyphia), it was discovered that the individuals with the condition showed a mutation in the region of DNA responsible for the coding of a protein called SMARCAD1. The mutated gene interfered with the process of the production of this protein. (12)

5. In most cases, the advertisements the time on the watch or a clock is 10:10 so the brand logo is clearly visible and positioned nicely.

If you haven’t noticed it already, you must check this one out. The reason for such placement is the aesthetic presentation which allows symmetry and the brand logo to be placed perfectly. The time 10:10 keeps the hands from overlapping and also creates a symmetrical “V” shape. Initially, the time displayed was 8:20, but because it seemed like a “frowning face,” the position was then flipped to make it look happier.

There are a couple of urban legends regarding 10:10 which attribute it to the death of JFK or Abraham Lincoln, or to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a matter of fact, however, they are just myths and hold no truth whatsoever. (source)

6. A “Lichtenberg figure” is a fractal tattoo you get if you’re struck by lightning.

Lichtenberg figures are the branched patterns made due to electric discharge on the surface of an insulating material. They were discovered by a German physicist named Georg Christoph Lichtenberg in 1777. He built a large electrophorus to produce a high voltage of static electricity.  He then discharged the high voltage on to the surface of an insulator and observed the patterns that were formed. These patterns were very similar to the branches of a tree.

When a person is hit by lightning, fern-like patterns emerge on their skin. While these scars are not permanent, a slight variation in the appearance can be observed with some people having deeper scars than others. (source)

7. The expiration date on water bottles is not for the water but for the plastic bottle it is packed in.

While water does not go bad with time, the packaging does come with an expiration date. Our water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is safe for packaging, but it definitely expires with time. If you consume water after the expiration date that is mentioned on the bottle, you may find the taste or smell to be unpleasant. That is because toxins from the bottle start leaching into the water.

The reason why there is an expiration date in the first place is because of a 1987 New Jersey law that required every food product to display an expiration date of two years. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not have any such limitation on the shelf life of bottled water. New Jersey has since changed its law, but displaying the expiration date on the water bottle still continues to be an industry norm. (source)

8. There is a lake in Australia that is pink in color. The pink hue of Lake Hillier is due to high salinity and a species of algae living in the water.

Lake Hillier is a 250-meter-wide lake located in the Goldfields-Esperance in Western Australia. The pink lake is a famous attraction for many tourists and researchers from around the world. After analyzing samples of the lake water, researchers have found that the main reason for the strange pink color is algae known as Dunaliella salinaD. salina produces pigment compounds called carotenoids which help it to absorb sunlight giving the algae a reddish-pink color. Scientists also found out a type of bacteria called Salinibacter ruber which is red in color also contributes to the pinkish hue of Lake Hillier. (source)

9. Almonds are a part of the peach family.

This one might come as a surprise to many as almonds are widely classified as nuts. But almonds, in fact, are a part of the Prunus family which includes apple, peach, cherry, plum, apricot, and nectarines. Almonds originated in Central Asia and China and have since been grown in various parts of the world. Almonds are found in the kernel of the almond fruit. Most of the fruits from the Prunus family have poisonous seeds containing cyanide, unlike almonds which are safe and edible.

The evolution of almond seeds is quite strange. Fruits like apples or peaches have poisonous seeds as they have evolved to keep the animals from eating them thus allowing the seeds to sprout. In the case of almonds, we are familiar with the wild almond which is indeed poisonous. But the “sweet” almonds we eat evolved differently and were protected and cultivated by the early farmers. (source)

10. Snails’ teeth are the strongest biological material on Earth. They can withstand pressure high enough to turn carbon into diamond.

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth in the UK discovered that snails’ teeth are made out of the strongest natural material on Earth. These microscopic teeth are located on their tongue and are called “radula.” The study was done on a species of limpets known as Patella vulgata. The results of the study showed that their teeth were, in fact, stronger than spiders silk and Kevlar. Until the discovery, spider’s silk was considered to be the strongest natural material. The difference in strength between the two is about five times.

The teeth are formed from a mixture of goethite nanofibres and chitin. The length of every tooth is about 1 mm, and they are a hundred times thinner than a human hair. (source)

11. A “gentleman’s notch” is the notch in the heels of men’s dress shoes. The reason for the slight cut is to prevent your heel from getting caught on your pant’s cuffs.

The practice of making a cut on the corner of the shoe’s heel began from the Victorian Era. Men would simply bend to tie their shoelaces which would make creases all over their trousers, so they decided to put on the shoes first and then put on their trousers. This again would damage or tear the pants if the sharp corner of the heel got caught in the cuffs. So eventually, they came up with an idea to make a small cut on the heel of the shoe to solve the problem. As these cuts were only found on the shoes of well-groomed gentlemen, it was named as a “gentleman’s notch.” (source)

12. Our tooth enamel is made out of one of the strongest natural materials on Earth which makes it stronger than steel and iron. The tooth enamel is very durable and can survive for thousands of years.

Tooth enamel is composed of hydroxyapatite which is crystalline calcium phosphate. On the Mohs scale which is a scale used to determine the hardness of the mineral, tooth enamel is rated 5 on the scale of 10. Comparatively, iron and steel are rated below tooth enamel with a 4 and 4.5 rating respectively. Tooth enamel (apatite) is so strong that it can sustain heat up to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. In one of the studies conducted, it was found that the enamel of the human wisdom tooth is as strong as sharks’ teeth. (12)

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