Below you will find facts, maybe useful in your writing, definitely fun—IMHO. As the title says, this is just the facts. If something catches your eye, you can find more about it online. (Most of these are on multiple websites, so list is just for your convenience.)
Showers really do spark creativity
Five of the ten deadliest poisonous snakes are native to Australia
Many dogs have served US military campaigns, even earning medals, awards, and combat ranking.
- Sergeant Stubby served in the 102nd Infantry Division in World War I, the only dog to be promoted through the ranks by serving in combat. He was awarded several medals alongside his handler.
- Rags was a stray terrier mutt picked up by an AWOL soldier who used him to bluff his way back into the 1st Infantry Division commander’s good graces. He delivered messages in the trenches, warned of incoming shells, and replaced field telephone wires. After being injured in a gas attack, Rags and his handler were both honorably discharged and sent home. Rage is buried with full military honors.
- Smoky the Battle Dog was found abandoned in a foxhole during WWI and earned eight battle stars in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, despite weighing only four pounds. In addition to running radio cables, alerting soldiers of incoming shells and gas, and delivering messages, Smoky is unofficially recognized as the first military therapy animal.
- Chips was part of the Dogs for Defense program initiated in World War II. He was awarded the Silver Star for Valor and the Purple Heart for being injured in battle. (Those medals were later taken back by higher-ups who claimed Chips was “equipment” rather than a soldier, despite the fact that Chips took out several German pillboxes and disabled all the enemy soldiers within entirely by himself. He is buried with his medals, but don’t tell the generals.)
- Nemo A534 was wounded in combat during the Vietnam War but still guarded his handler long enough for the man to radio for help and receive a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Nemo was one of the first dogs given an honorable discharge from Vietnam and sent home to retirement.
- Lucca lost her leg while clearing IEDs in Iraq on her second tour of duty. She was awarded the Dickin Medal by the PDSA and a (unofficial) Purple Heart by one of the hundreds of service members whose lives she had saved.
The longest wedding veil was the length of 63.5 football fields (6,962.6 m or 22,843 ft 2.11 in)
Superman didn’t fly until 1943 — before that, he could jump 1/8 mile high
Space smells like seared steak or welding fumes
The official state drink for Ohio is tomato juice
The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn
Bees sometimes sting other bees (when bees from another colony or species tries to enter the hive without bringing pollen)
Hmong, Silbo Gomero, Yupik Inuit, Amazigh, Wam Akhah, and Kuskoy are only a few of the more than seventy communities who communicate by whistling
Whistles travel about ten times farther than spoken words, up to five miles
There are about ten thousand trillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) ants on earth
The letter E occurs in 11% of all English words
in 1998, twelve hundred human bones were found in the basement of the London house where Benjamin Franklin lived, dating from the time when Franklin was staying there. Whether the constantly curious and observant Benjamin Franklin knew what was in his basement… the world may never know.
The healthiest place to live is Shangri-La Valley in Panama
The first iPhone was made by Cisco
Romanian police officers often take ballet lessons to improve spatial and body awareness
King Pepi II, Egyptian pharaoh, had a slave coated in honey to draw insects away from himself
A barreleye is a a large deep-ocean fish with a completely transparent head
Approximately 10-30% (depending on the source) of people have a fabella bone in their knee
Technically, Pringles aren’t potato chips
Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard (John Frederick Parker) left his post at Ford’s Theatre to go for a drink — he told family members that Lincoln had dismissed him with the valet
Dolphins have been trained to be used in wars: Russia, Ukraine, Iran, and the US have all had Military Marine Mammal divisions at some point
Playing the accordion was once a requirement for teachers in North Korea
Several patent medicines once contained morphine
Donald Weder holds more patents than Thomas Edison
There are approximately 2,000 moving parts in a modern pedal harp
Pouring cold water makes a slightly higher-pitched sound than pouring hot water
Pro baseball once had women players, mostly to keep stadiums full during WWII
One California Highway Patrol officer (Kevin Briggs, “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge”) has talked-down over 200 potential suicides
In 16th and 17th century Europe, cannibalism was fairly common—for medical purposes!
Onesimus, an African slave in Boston, was the first person to introduce inoculations to the American colonies in 1706
Koalas have fingerprints
Riding a roller coaster could help you pass a kidney stone (renal calculi passage if you want to be fancy)
Most dogs can learn to recognize about 165 words
Dinosaurs lived on every continent
Bee hummingbirds are so small they are sometimes mistaken for insects (only 0.056 – 0.071 oz)
Sea lions can dance to a beat (though I can’t say much for their taste in music)
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster goes back nearly 1500 years, first spotted in 565 AD
Two-three teaspoons of raw nutmeg can induce hallucinations, convulsions, pain, nausea, and paranoia that can last for several days, and rarely, death
For 100 years, maps (including Google Earth) have shown Sandy Island off the north-west coast of Australia, though cartographers have been demonstrating that it does not actually exist since at least 1974
A Lone Star tick bite can make you allergic to red meat by transferring a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into your blood
It is illegal to allow a dog to fight a pig in an enclosed space in Florida, but perfectly legal to use dogs to hunt wild pigs
Greenland sharks can live for 300-400 years
If a pickle doesn’t bounce, it cannot be called a pickle, according to Connecticut law
The English Monarchy owns at least two private properties, one in the Moors of Shropshire and one in London near the Royal Courts of Justice, addresses unknown
Note to writers: plot lines and/or esoteric knowledge for characters, use as you will!