10 interesting facts that you probably haven’t heard

16 March 2018

10 interesting facts that you probably haven’t heard

Image credit: Wolfgang Rieger

The world is a pretty incredible place. With so many people and so much to see, it is no surprise that there are some pretty fascinating things to learn about our little planet. From people doing incredible things to strange anomalies, our planet is filled with incredible information. In this article I’ll be sharing 10 of some of the most fascinating and interesting facts I have come across.

10.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, the longest word in the English language is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”

The word originates from the 1930s, and is said to have been invented in imitation of very long medical terms. The word is used to refer to a type of lung disease that is believed to be caused from inhaling very fine ash and dust particles.

9. The world’s most common birth month is September

Your birthday is usually seen as the one day where all the focus is on you. Unfortunately, if your birthday is in September, then you are more likely to be sharing your special day with many, many others. Research has found that September continues to appear as the most common month for births, with researchers at Harvard University finding 16 September to be the most common date for births between 1973 and 1999, while newer research from 1994 to 2014 finding 9 September to be the most common date.

8. Australia exports camels to Saudi Arabia

Surely it’s the other way around? It may seem odd, but Saudi Arabia consumes so much camel meat that their camel population simply isn’t large enough to support the demand. Camels were imported to Australia during the 19th century and, according to the BBC, there were more than half a million feral camels roaming Australia in 2002.

7. March used to be the first month of the year

September, October, November and December all imply that they used to be the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months of the year, and at one point they were! In the original Roman calendar July and August used to be called Quintilis and Sextilis respectively, and March was the first month of year. In about 700 BC the Romans added two months before March, which are known today as January and February. During the Middle Ages some European countries used 25 March — Lady Day — as the start of their year too!

6. There is evidence of take-out restaurants existing in ancient times

Scientists have uncovered the remains of what appear to be take-out restaurants in ancient sites such as Pompeii. Often considered a product of the modern era, it is quite fascinating to think that the practice of ordering ready-to-eat food has been around since ancient times. Believed to have been referred to as a “thermopolium” (which translates to “a place where hot food is sold”), these restaurants consisted of a small room with stone counters, where jars containing dried foods could be sold.

5. Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Summer Olympic games

Hosted in Berlin, the 1936 Olympics saw a Germany led by Adolf Hitler take the reigns as hosts of the massive event. In order to “outdo” the previous games, Hitler had constructed a brand new track and field stadium, as well as six gymnasiums. Interestingly, these games would be the first to be televised and broadcast worldwide. Coverage of the sporting event pioneered many film techniques still used to film modern sports events today.

4. Nazi Germany had planned to build the world’s largest stadium had they won the Second World War

Somewhat related to the last fact, the largest ever planned arena would have been titled the “Volkshalle” (“People’s Hall”). The stadium was planned to seat 180,000 people — enough to seat 5% of modern day Berlin’s population. The venue would have been so large that German architects predicted the moisture collected inside the building from everyone’s breath would have caused rain.

3.  The Wreck of the Titan is a fictional story that eerily foreshadowed the sinking of the Titanic 14 years before it happened

Morgan Robertson’s 1898 novella The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility tells the story of a fictional boat named the “Titan”, which collides with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sinks during April, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland — as did the Titanic 14 years later. Other similarities include the insufficient number of lifeboats, the length and speed of the ship, and similar number of passengers. Robertson denied any clairvoyance, stating that the similarities were the result of his knowledge of modern shipbuilding and the maritime industry trends.

2.  There is a bright pink lake in Western Australia

Located in the Recherche Archipelago off the south coast of Western Australia, Lake Hillier has a distinctive pink colour due to the presence of the organism Dunaliella salina, which produces a red dye and thrives in the high-salt environment. The nearby Pink Lake (also known as Spencer Lake) had a similarly distinct pink hue, but reduced salinity levels have meant it no longer exhibits the colour.

1. There is a town in Alaska where almost everyone lives in a single building

The town of Whittier, Alaska has a population of just 214 people, and almost all of them live in a single 14-storey building named Begich Towers. Formerly an army barracks, the building houses everything the residents could possibly need, including a laundrette, a health clinic, and a supermarket. As the weather can get quite brutal in Alaska, the building ensures that the residents can live comfortably, even during the harsher weather.