The world is a really weird place. There are things that people will vouch for but defy logic. Like the Mayan calendar and the so-called “2012 End-of-the-Earth theory”. Didn’t we survive the paranoia around it? Alas, myths are indeed just myths and not facts. But then there are things that make you question your sanity and surprisingly turn out to be real facts. In this article, we have brought together a list of ten unbelievable facts that no one will believe if you tell them.
1. When a person is struck by lightning, they may sometimes end up with fern-like marks on the body called “lightning flowers”.
A close look at lightning in the sky shows that it occurs in a branch-like pattern. This pattern is called “Lichtenberg figures”. They can occur within solid, liquids and gasses during electrical breakdown. They usually appear on the surface of high voltage components and equipment. The same pattern can appear on the body of a person struck by lightning. These reddish, fern-like patterns are sometimes called “lightning flowers”.
When a person is struck by lightning, the lightning current passes through his/her body and flashes over the skin. Due to this, the capillaries under the skin get ruptured and form reddish lightning flowers on the skin of the victim. This pattern can persist on the skin for hours and even days.(source)
2. The basis of modern WiFi and Bluetooth was invented in 1941 by a Hollywood actress, Hedy Lamarr.
Hedy Lamarr was an Australian-born, American film actress. She starred in a number of movies including the controversial film Ecstasy. Along with a beautiful face and sultry persona, Lamarr had an inventor’s brain. Her inventions during the Second World War later brought revolutions in the field of mobile communication.
During World War II, Lamarr and her business partner George Antheil drafted designs for a frequency hopping, spread-spectrum technology. They patented it on 11 August 1942 and gave it to U.S. Navy. But at that time the technology was difficult to implement. So, it languished in the files for decades. Later, this technology was implemented and it became an important part of today’s GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth technology.(1,2)
3. In 1783, a volcano called Laki erupted resulting in the death of over six million people which is around 0.75% of the entire world’s population.
Lakagigar, commonly known as Laki, is a volcanic fissure located in the south of Iceland. It erupted on 8 June 1783. The amazing part of this eruption is that the Laki mountain itself didn’t erupt. Instead, fissures opened up on each side of the mountain and basaltic lava started spewing out from all sides. The Laki eruption lasted eight months during which about fourteen cubic kilometers of lava erupted. Haze from the eruption was reported from Iceland to Syria.
The lava from the eruption ended up covering an estimated 2,500 square kilometers of land. It also released eighty million tons of sulfuric acid aerosol into the earth’s atmosphere. The wind carried the volcanic ash and acid far and wide, poisoning the land and sea. In Iceland alone, twenty to twenty-five percent of the population died due to famine. Famines and extreme weather occurred all over the world wiping out 0.75% of the entire population.(1,2)
4. People all over the world are only 0.1% different from each other. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, are only about 1.2% different from us.
In 1871, Charles Darwin predicted that the human lineage branched off from other animals in Africa. He drew this conclusion on the basis of the similarities between humans and African great apes. Years later it turned out to be true when DNA evidence confirmed his prediction. The genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees is about 1.2%. The closest cousin of chimpanzee, the bonobo, also differs from humans to the same degree. Between gorillas and our DNA, there is only 1.6% difference.
5. In the 19th century, Chicago was raised over four feet with screw jacks in order to install the first sewer system in the US.
The Chicago area lies along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. During 19th century, the elevation of the city was not much higher than the shoreline. So, there was little or no naturally occurring drainage on the city surface. It caused unpleasant living conditions and numerous epidemics. This forced the city’s engineers and eldermen to plan a drainage system. According to the plan most buildings were raised with hydraulic jacks and then the drains were laid and covered.
The first masonary building was raised in 1858 at the the north-east corner of Radolph Street and Dearborn Street. It was lifted on two hundred jackscrews. Some of the buildings were also moved from one place to another. The work continued till the 1860s.(source)