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Everything I know today I learned from Chappies. ;)

Actually these were from Reddit. Also check out "Today I learned" on Reddit.

  • The modern cheetah population can be traced back to a single African group of 500 animals that survived the last ice age. Genetically, this means all living cheetahs are as close as identical twins. They are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity because the female needs to be chased by several males before she can ovulate. Akbar the Great, the 16th-century Mogul emperor, kept more than 1,000 cheetahs but managed only one litter. The next cheetah born in captivity wasn't until 1956.
  • To keep alive in the wild, a pigeon needs to keep its eyes open for predators. Having eyes on the side of its head gives it a field of view of 340 degrees and, in order to fly at speed, its brain can process visual information three times faster than a human's. If a pigeon watched a feature film, 24 frames per second would appear to it like a slide presentation. They would need at least 75 frames per second to create the illusion of movement on screen. (This is why pigeons seem to leave it until the very last second to fly out of the way of an oncoming car: it appears much less fast to them.)
  • An experiment with rhesus macaques revealed that they would "pay" to look at pictures of the faces and bottoms of high-ranking females, by forfeiting their usual reward of a glass of cherry juice. With low-ranking females, however, the researchers had to bribe them with an even larger glass of juice before they would pay any attention.
  • Spiders' silk is five times stronger than steel and 30 times more stretchy than nylon. An average spider will spin more than four miles of silk in a lifetime and this can be collected and woven into garments.
  • Money in Seconds:
    1 million dollars = ~12 days
    1 billion dollars = ~32 years
    1 trillion dollars = ~31,689 years
  • "No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy -- be it economically rich (as in contemporary Western Europe or North America) or relatively poor (as in postindependence India, or Botswana, or Zimbabwe). Famines have, however, tended to occur in colonial territories governed by rulers from elsewhere (as in British India or in an Ireland administered by alienated English rulers), or in one-party states (as in the Ukraine in the 1930s, or China during 1958-1961, or Cambodia in the 1970s), or in military dictatorships (as in Ethiopia, or Somalia, or some of the Sahel countries in the near past)." ~ Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics, from "Development as Freedom," cited several times beginning on page 16.
  • Inflammable means flammable.
  • Why do we have Better Night Peripheral vision?:
    This is because we have more cone (color) receptors in the center of our vision; cones need more light to activate than rods do.
    Semi-related vision trivia: It is better to scan an area from right to left; years of reading have taught your eyes to sweep quickly in the opposite direction, and thus you are more likely to miss small details.
  • ?If you eat a bunch of watercress (preferably some every day for a few days) and then go drinking, you will get more drunk, and stay drunk longer, with the same amount of alcohol.?
  • Fish can live for a long time! The Orange Roughy, a popular fish to eat, has an estimated lifespan of 149 years. We have actually almost wiped out the largest fishery of Orange Roughy, due to their slow growth rate. Some large Groupers can live for 60 or 70 years. The longest a clownfish ("Nemo") has lived in capitivity is about 29 years. You know koi? Those fish that the Japanese love so much? The oldest koi recorded was 226 years old.
  • Some invertebrates, like sea anemones, may be functionally immortal. SOME SCIENTISTS BELIEVE that the anemones you see out on a coral reef might be over 100 years old. The average anemone lives for about 6 months in captivity.

    (T-Shirt available from Threadless.)

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