81 Things That Blew Our Minds in 2023


  1. Mars has seasons, and in the winter, it snows.
  2. Bats are arguably the healthiest mammals on Earth.
  3. Mammal milk changes depending on the time of day, a baby’s age and sex, the mom’s diet, and more.
  4. The genetic mutation behind “Asian glow” might help protect people against certain pathogens—including tuberculosis.
  5. The overwhelming majority of sweaters available on the mass market are made at least partly of plastic.
  6. In 2003, a NASA Investigation Board blamed the disintegration of the space shuttle Columbia in part on PowerPoint.
  7. As much as 36 percent of the world’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are sequestered, at least temporarily, in fungi.
  8. Mice and rats can’t vomit.
  9. In the 1930s, the Army considered distributing daily rations of yerba mate to soldiers.   
  10. You have two noses, and you can control them separately via your armpits.
  11.  It’s possible to lactate without ever having been pregnant.
  12.  But if you are pregnant, your feet might grow roughly half a shoe size and   lengthen by about 0.4 inches.
  13.  Gender-neutral baby names are more popular in conservative states than in liberal ones.
  14. By 2051, North America may run out of three-digit area codes.
  15. Today’s average NBA athlete is 4 to 7 percent better than the average player from more than 10 years ago.
  16. Hawaii’s feral chickens are out of control.
  17. When you look at a tattoo, you’re seeing ink shining in the “belly” of an immune cell that has gobbled up the ink and failed to digest it.
  18. The technology behind the first rice cookers, sold in 1955, is still widely used today—because it’s perfect.
  19. Meanwhile, the corrugated pizza box used by basically every pizzeria has not changed since its invention in 1966, and it does a bad job of maintaining a take-out pizza.
  20. A database of nearly 200,000 pirated books is powering many generative-AI models.
  21. Americans are suffering from cockroach amnesia.
  22. The hippopotamuses released from Pablo Escobar’s personal zoo in Colombia are engineering the local ecosystem.

   23.Compostable plastic bags buried in soil for three years can still hold a full load of groceries.

  24.Allergy season really is getting worse.

  25.Last month, for two consecutive days, the Earth reached global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels for the first time.

 26.There are Lord of the Rings–style hobbit-house Airbnbs, an Airbnb in the shape of a spaceship, and an Airbnb inside a freestanding harbor crane.

 27.Cat owners in Cyprus are giving leftover COVID drugs to their pets, but not for COVID.

28.The same molecule that makes cat urine smell like cat urine is, in lower concentrations, commonly used in air fresheners and household cleaners.

29.The Sphere, in Las Vegas, can transform its 366-foot-tall exterior into a gargantuan emoji that astronauts can reportedly see from space.

30.Within eight seconds of flushing, a toilet bowl can shoot a plume of aerosols nearly five feet into the air—and straight into your face.

31.Until the 1800s, merchants, lawyers, and aristocrats each wrote in their own distinctive script.

32.The English words flow, mother, fire, and ash come from Ice Age peoples.

33.By hacking a Tesla’s rear heated seats, German researchers inadvertently accessed private user data.

34.Many eye creams are functionally identical to facial moisturizers but are far more expensive.

35.A Dutch man and his family have a perplexing brain condition called “color agnosia”: They can see colors, but they cannot name them.

36.Hurricane Otis confounded extreme-weather warning systems by gaining more than 100 miles per hour of wind speed in 24 hours.

37.Foxes have committed mass murder against flamingos at least three times during the past 30 years.

38.Despite nearly half a century of trying, we don’t have any medication that effectively treats anorexia.

39.There are no established clinical guidelines for diagnosing and treating adult ADHD.

40.Elephant seals sleep only two hours a day, for many months at a time, via a series of super-short naps, taken as they dive deep beneath the ocean’s surface.

41.UPS handles so many packages every year that its workers put their hands on roughly 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

42.One of Saturn’s moons likely has a habitable ocean.

43.AI avatars led a church service in Germany this summer.

44.There’s a lifeguard shortage in America. It’s been going on for a century.

45.A pill may be easier to swallow if you turn your head as it goes down.

46.During the original run of Seinfeld, the show’s costumers had a hard time sourcing the clothing for Kramer’s wardrobe because his quirky style had become so popular with the general public that they were buying up all of the vintage clothing that made up his look.

47.AI models can analyze the brain scans of somebody listening to a story and then reproduce the gist of every sentence.

48.A new idea to curb emissions takes inspiration from the Cold War: a fossil-fuel-nonproliferation treaty.

49.During a 2018 war game in which the president had been cut off from his nuclear forces, many participants—including former heads of state, foreign ministers, and senior NATO officers—recommended leaving the decision of whether to enter a nuclear exchange to an AI.

50.Decades of research suggest that hypnosis might be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, at least in the short term.

51.Rest is not necessarily the best treatment for a concussion.

52.People have been living on the Galápagos Islands since the early 1800s.

53.Bird chicks aren’t innately able to recognize their mother’s calls—they learn to do so while in their eggs and can be manipulated to respond to another species’ voice.

54.People are likely spending billions of dollars tipping creators on TikTok Live.

55.Before Tesla and Meta, Palo Alto’s biggest tech giant was a farm that bred racehorses.

56.Reports of pediatric melatonin overdoses have increased by 530 percent over the past decade.

57.iPhone cameras can perform trillions of operations to optimize a single photo.

58.Modern flip phones stink because they’re just made of recycled scraps from the smartphone-manufacturing process.

59.If you think all phones are passé, you can buy a pair of screen eyes from Apple for $3,499.

60.Some people loop playlists in their sleep to help them game the Spotify algorithm and get more impressive Spotify Wrapped results.

61.An index ranking the transparency of flagship AI models from 10 major companies gave every single one a resounding F.

62.Lemon-lime isn’t a flavor so much as a sensibility that defines soft drinks.

63.The Italian government provides gluten-free-food vouchers for people with celiac disease.

64.Some people taking Ozempic to lose weight are also effortlessly quitting smoking, drinking, and online shopping.

65.Scantron tests, a defining feature of American education, are dying.

66.Fifteen percent of daily Google searches have never been searched before, according to the company.

67.American cars hit more than 1 million large animals and as many as 340 million birds every year.

68.Animals at watering holes in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park were twice as likely to flee when they heard a human voice as when they heard lions.

69.Hundreds of craters on the moon never receive direct sunlight.

70.The total surface area of the Antarctic’s sea ice in July was more than four standard deviations smaller than the average for that time of year, shattering records.

71.Oxygen might actually be bad for multicellular evolution.

72.Last year, the Sunset Limited train from New Orleans to Los Angeles was on time for just 19 percent of trips, making it the tardiest train in the country.

73.About a third of pregnancies in women 40 and older are unplanned.

74.MSG stays on the tongue long after food is swallowed, resulting in a lingering savory sensation.

75.Podiatrists have seen a spike in plantar-fasciitis cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, partly because so many people who work from home shuffle around barefoot on hard floors.

76.OpenAI’s chief scientist commissioned a wooden effigy intended to represent an AI that does not meet a human’s objectives. He set it on fire at a leadership meeting this year, according to two people familiar with the event.

77.A luxury trip to Antarctica can cost upwards of $65,000.

78.Many football fans punch, shoot, run over, or otherwise destroy their TV when things don’t go well for their team.

79.Checked-bag fees may feel like they’ve been a scourge since the birth of aviation, but they were only introduced in 2008.

80.Dolphins have their own version of baby talk.

81. Drum roll... last but not least 81 is: Gravity-wise, the Earth doesn’t resemble a blue marble so much as a potato:


via the Atlantic





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