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Today I Learned the 17 Most Interesting Facts in the World

Stashed in: Facts, Reddit!, Best PandaWhale Posts, Wealth!, Awesome, Koalas!, @alyankovic, Moon!, Benjamin Franklin, Interesting Facts, Freakonomics, i don't know where to put it, but i like it, Prince, @zefrank, Today I Learned, Today I Learned

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We definitely need more TIL stashing!


Some of the most interesting facts are brought to light in the subreddit called Today I Learned (TIL). In TIL, users post links to articles or websites that taught them a surprising, specific fact that day. They then write their own title for the post, identifying the salient interesting fact that’s buried in the text. 

For example: a Priceonomics article about the prop money used in movies, called The Business of Fake Money, was posted to TIL with following title:

TIL The fake prop money used in Rush Hour 2 was too accurate. After extras tried to spend what was left lying around after the climax was filmed, the Secret Service raided and seized $100 million in fake bills from the prop maker and accused them of counterfeiting.

As we were reading the articles that got submitted to this subreddit, we noticed something: the same articles kept getting submitted over and over and over. This lead us to believe that these articles were especially interesting, if people were continually surprised by them. 

Not only that, but sometimes someone would submit the Wikipedia page of, say, Albert Einstein and nothing would happen. Other times, it would skyrocket to the front page of Reddit. The difference was the title that the Reddit user used to identity the interesting tidbit was better in the second case.

So our data crawling team built a simple algorithm that would crawl through the Today I Learned subreddit and count how many times a given article was submitted. Then, of all the times it was submitted, the crawler would choose the title that garnered the most upvotes (and therefore identified the most interesting fact in an already exceptionally interesting article).

Wow, they are way more disciplined than me!

I just go to the subreddit and find something I like:

We have no algorithms here. We curate what we like, Geege!

More and more PandaWhale is part of the algorithm.

Of what you look for or what you see?

Of what shows up at the top or near the top of my search results.

Wow! That's amazing. 

Btw I had not read this till now.

11. TIL that due to their small brains koalas are unable to perform complex, unfamiliar tasks such as eat leaves off of flat surfaces.


Reddit comments:

remember ze frank?  :)

Ha! Thank you for the reminder.

this one is awesome:

13. TIL that after needing 13 liters of blood for a surgery at the age of 13, a man named James Harrison pledged to donate blood once he turned 18. It was discovered that his blood contained a rare antigen which cured Rhesus disease. He has donated blood a record 1,000 times and saved 2,000,000 lives. 

Wow, I missed that one the first time.

Can you imagine saving 2 million lives?!

seems meant to be. lucky that his magic blood was discovered when he was still so young!

can you imagine knowing that you save 2,000 lives every time you donate blood?

That sounds like a cool story idea: The Boy with the Magic Blood.

and this one is hilarious!

15. TIL Weird Al Yankovic has asked permission from Prince to parody his songs on numerous occasions, and has always been refused. When the two were assigned to sit in the same row at an awards show, he got a telegram from Prince's lawyers demanding he not make eye contact

To avoid potential lawsuits, you may want to avoid looking at this picture. Source: Wikipedia | Reddit

I can't even look at the picture?! Dammit, Prince!

Perhaps meeting and talking is a way people hate each other less.

17. TIL that Daryl Davis, a black musician, is credited with dismantling the entire KKK network in Maryland. He did this by befriending many members, even going so far as to serve as a pallbearer at a Klansman's funeral.


yeah, this is an awesome story.

I think the answer to many problems is "Just talk to them."

This one might be my favorite.

4. TIL that when Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, he willed the cities of Boston and Philadelphia $4,400 each, but with the stipulation that the money could not be spent for 200 years. By 1990 Boston's trust was worth over $5 million.

Reddit comments:

you don't get on the hundred dollar bill without understanding compounding!

Thanks, Reddit!

"The Way to Wealth" by Franklin

Wow, that is excellent!

Also this one.

10. TIL when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he carried with him a piece from the Wright brothers' first airplane.

Reddit comments:

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