Who among us doesn’t want to be a brilliant conversationalist? Whether you’re chatting with co-workers, friends, or someone you’re trying to impress on a Zoom call, there are few feelings as satisfying as artfully sharing truly surprising anecdotes. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 arcane facts you can drop on just about anyone that will make them wonder if you’re actually a genius.
1 | Dolphins call each other by names
You’ve probably heard that dolphins are pretty smart, but this is especially impressive: according to National Geographic, dolphins actually call each other using a unique whistle to distinguish between different members of their pack.
2 | A chef’s hat has exactly 100 folds
Bon Appétit magazine shared this tidbit with us. The tall chef’s hat (officially known as the “cap”) is traditionally made with 100 pleats, meaning 100 ways to cook an egg.
3 | The use of “OMG” can be traced back to 1917
According to The Atlantic, one of the earliest uses – perhaps the earliest use – of “OMG” appeared in a letter to a then Member of Parliament. In 1917, Admiral, John Arbuthnot Fisher of the British Navy wrote to Winston Churchill about rumors, of new titles that would soon be awarded. “I heard that there is a new order of chivalry in the Tapi,” he wrote. “OMG (Oh! My God!) – Scree the Admiralty!” OMG, indeed.
4 | Some cats are actually allergic to humans
While this is rare—because people bathe more often than the average animal and don’t shed as much fur or skin—according to Popular Science, some animals can still be allergic to humans. (More often, however, this is due to the perfume or cologne we use, or the soap we use.)
5 | Most of your brain is made up of fat
You can literally call someone fat, but it’s still unkind: According to Psychology Today, 60 percent of the human brain is made up of fat.
6 | Oranges are not natural fruits
Oranges may be iconic fruits, but they don’t occur naturally The Telegraph notes. In fact, oranges are a hybrid of tangerines and pomelo, also known as “Chinese grapefruit”, and were originally green, not orange. Oranges are a subtropical fruit, but now that they exist in more temperate climates, they are losing their chlorophyll-induced green color and taking on a more familiar color as the weather warms up.
7 | High heels were originally worn by men
In the 10th century, men in Europe adopted the now fashionable choice of heels to make riding horses easier: adding heels to boots made it easier to hold stirrups. As Slate explains, “The Persian cavalry wore inch-high heels, and the trend spread to Europe. Because they showed that the owner owned and maintained the horses, high heels became associated with the upper class.”
8 | Stop signs used to be yellow
In 1922, the American Association of Public Highway Employees met to define a standard design for stop signs, and that’s where they chose yellow. What to expect? Yes, according to Business Insider, the stop signs were yellow because they thought it would draw the attention of drivers. They also thought about the color red, but at that time there was no dye that would not fade with time. By 1954, however, sign makers had access to fade-resistant porcelain enamel and were finally able to start making stop signs in the red we know today.
9 | New York was briefly called the “New Orange”
Yes, before it was Big Apple, it was New Orange. According to History, when the Dutch captured New York from the English in 1673, they renamed it New Orange in honor of William III of Orange. The following year, the British regained control and ditched the Orange.
10 | The bowler hat was invented as a safety measure
The familiar bowler hat may look fashionable, but it started out as a purely practical item – a riding helmet designed to protect riders from branches and other obstacles, according to The Telegraph. It was designed by London hatters Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name.
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