We often fail to notice the things around us that are tiny, the ones that don’t catch our attention easily, or the ones that need things to be traced all the way back to the source. Each of these so-called “useless facts” often times have special significances. A little effort made on their analysis could justify the real reason behind their presence. In this article, we have researched 24 “useless facts” that cover a wide range of domains that run the gamut from humans to animals to everyday things to science and statistics.
1. The solid tip of a shoelace is called an “aglet” and the hole in the shoes in which the laces are threaded is known as an “eyelet”.
An aglet, a small sheath, often made of plastic or metal, is used on each end of a shoelace. The word “aglet” comes from the Old French, “aguillette”, which is the diminutive of “aguille”, meaning needle. The original word for “needle” in Latin is “acus” which is the root of the word “aglet”.
An aglet keeps the fibers of the lace firm and prevents it from unraveling. Its narrow profile makes it easier to hold and easier to feed through the eyelets. An eyelet is a ring inserted into a hole through the shoe tarps. The word “eyelet” comes from the Old French, “oillet”, which is diminutive of oil, meaning eye. The original word for “oillet” is “oculus” which means eye in Latin.(source)
2.The color that you see in total darkness is called “Eigengrau”, which is dark gray and not black.
Eigengrau, dark light, or brain gray, is the uniform dark gray background that many people report seeing in the absence of light. Eigengrau is a German word which means “intrinsic gray”. The first usage of the word dates back to the nineteenth century.
The dark gray color seen by the eyes in perfect darkness is as a result of signals from the optic nerves. The intrinsic source of noise in the retina produces random events indistinguishable from those triggered by real photons. Eigengrau is perceived as lighter than a black object in normal lighting conditions because the contrast is more important to the visual system than absolute brightness. For example, the night sky looks darker than eigengrau because of the contrast provided by the stars.(source)
3. Adolf Hitler had a “micro penis” as well as just one testicle
Two historians, Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie, have claimed that Hitler is believed to have suffered from a condition known as “hypospadias”, a congenital defect of the penis which left him with a tiny, deformed penis. They have uncovered the Nazi leader’s medical records which confirm his deformity. An excerpt from their book Hitler’s Last Day: Minute by Minute promulgates the fact.
Hitler himself is believed to have had two forms of congenital abnormalities: an undescended testicle and a rare condition called penile hypospadias in which the urethra opens on the underside of the penis.
The urban legend that he really did only have one testicle was confirmed when Hitler’s long lost medical records were found. The medical notes made during a prison check-up in 1923 say that the Nazi leader suffered from “right-side cryptorchidism”, an undescended right testicle. Hitler was mocked for decades by Britain’s schoolchildren who sung a 1939 rhyme, “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball”.(source)
4. 43% of all people born prior to 1800 died before the age of five.
In 1800’s (image below: red line), countries such as Yemen, India, Iran, South Korea and others had a child mortality rate higher than 50%. In the following 150 years (image below: orange line), some countries substantially reduced their child mortality rate whereas 30% of the world’s population had a child mortality under 10%. Other countries were still the victims of poor health. More than half of the world (57%) had child mortality rates that were still higher than 20%. The world was clearly divided into developed and developing countries.
In 1960 child mortality was still 18.5%. Almost every 5th child born in that year died in childhood. Over the last few decades, child mortality has plummeted. According to the 2013 data records, global health has improved drastically, particularly in those countries that had the worst health in the 1950’s. They experienced the most dramatic improvements. China, for example, reduced its child mortality from 28.4% to now 1.3%. The global average child mortality rate fell to 3.4%, a tenfold lower rate than two centuries ago.(source)
5. It is physically impossible for a pig to look up to the sky.
Pigs can’t look up into the sky because the anatomy of their neck muscles won’t let them look completely upwards. They can see the sky only by lying down, but not in the standing position. The only other way left to see the sky is to look in the mud for the reflection.(source)
6.The King of Hearts, often called as “Suicide King”, is the only king without a mustache.
The King of Hearts in a deck of playing cards is the only king without a mustache, but not because of any superior personal hygiene. He originally had one. The original design of the card was lost during many rounds of reproduction, as a result of centuries of bad copying by English card makers. A similar blunder caused his ax to become a sword. The King of Hearts is also sometimes called the “Suicide King” because he appears to be sticking his sword into his head.(source)