Bright Guy

Cool facts on just about everything

H. s. sapiens

  1. A study has found that applying ice-packs to fatty areas helps the person lose that weight!  Applying the compress for 30 minutes converts the fat from "white" fat to a type of "brown" fat the researchers have dubbed "beige".  Brown fat is what the body uses to generate body heat.  Ironically, people who are more obese have a harder time converting their white fat because of an elevated inflammatory state (also reduced by the ice).
  2. A study compared singing to spoken-word when calming crying children. Using a foreign language; babies aged 7 to 10 months listening to music were calmed for nine minutes versus spoken word which only calmed them for four.  They theorise that this could be due to the emotional tone that's often captured in music compared to the spoken word.
  3. Sherpas are an ethnic group living in the Himalayan region of Nepal.  Their incredible endurance at this elevation has been studied and it's been discovered that the mitochondria in their cells are uniquely superior at producing energy compared to lowlanders.  It was initially hypothesised that they had more red blood cells to deliver more oxygen.  This isn't the case.  They instead have higher levels of NO2 which dilate blood cells and they burn more sugar and less fat, which requires less oxygen.
  4. There are more life forms living on your skin than there are people on the planet!
  5. People born blind never develop schizophrenia but are very often autistic.
  6. A study from the University of Southampton has revealed the first hints of "life after death"!  2060 patients who experienced cardiac arrest were reviewed.  Of the 330 who were resuscitated, 140 stated they had awareness!  2% could recount in detail the sounds and people present in the room while they were "dead".  1/5 experienced "peacefulness", 1/3 felt time speed up or slowed down, and 13% felt they had heightened awareness and were completely out of their bodies.  The brain ceases function about 20-30 seconds after the heart stops, however, there was clearly recall 3 minutes into cardiac arrest.
  7. The human vermiform appendix, long been considered a vestigial organ, has a purpose!  The research suggests it provides storage of "good" bacteria following a bout of dysentery or cholera.  Following a washing out of these useful bacteria which normally aid in digestion, the bacteria in the appendix can re-establish the population in the colon.
  8. Research suggests people have "gaydar".  Participants were presented with grey-scaled images of people with hair cropped out, no visible tattoos, piercings or other stereotypical presentations.  Women were accurate 65% of the time in their predictions while men were only correct 57% of the time.

  9. A study has concluded that the wrinkles that appear on "pruney fingers" after being submerged in water provide better handling of wet objects.  Thought to be osmosis, the process is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  There is currently no evidence to demonstrate whether the wrinkling of feet and toes provides better grip on wet surfaces.

  10. Research suggests 20% of people experience math anxiety.  Using MRI imaging, it was found that the part of the brain that experiences pain becomes activated in anticipation of doing math.  This disappears once the math starts.

  11. It was originally proposed that men would disappear because of the degradation of the Y chromosome.  It only has 78 genes (the X has 800).  During embryological development, there is a sharing of genetic material between the chromosomes (excluding the 23rd XY (male) set).  This means mutations and deletions are preserved and passed to the next generation.  Recent comparative studies with rhesus macaques and chimpanzees found that there has been little change in this Y chromosome; about one chromosome lost in 25 million years.
  12. Research found that the blond hair among dark-skinned native peoples of the Solomon Islands is a homegrown genetic variant with the gene responsible for hair colour.  This mutation is only found on the islands.
  13. Humans are 4x more efficient on two legs compared to Great Apes on four.
  14. Every square inch of human skin consists of 20 ft of blood vessels (oxygen can only diffuse about 7 cell layers).  For every pound of fat, that comes out to about 400 km of vessels.  Total, there are 40 billion capillaries and, if laid end-to-end, they would wrap around the Earth 4 times!
  15. Your muscles are responsible for 85% of your body's heat production.
  16. The stapedius is the smallest skeletal muscle in the human body at 1 mm in length.  It stabilises the stapes in the inner ear when experiencing loud noises.

  17. Patients with a natural view out their hospital window spend less time in the hospital and request fewer analgesics for pain.

  18. Pheromones in woman's tears lower sexual interest in males.
  19. Under normal circumstances, a scar never returns to more than 80% the strength of normal skin.
  20. The human femur can withstand up to 15x normal body-weight!
  21. Thanks to the Potassium isotope occurring every 1:80,000 atoms, eating 500 bananas is equivalent to one chest x-ray.
  22. Your finger is so sensitive that if it was the size of the earth it could differentiate between houses and cars!

  23. It takes the average person 7 minutes to fall asleep.

  24. The human body contains enough:
    1. Iron for a 3-inch nail;
    2. Sulphur to kill all fleas on a dog
    3. Carbon to make 900 pencils
    4. Potassium to fire a toy cannon
    5. Fat to make 7 bars of soap
    6. Phosphorus to make 2200 match heads and
    7. Water to fill a ten-gallon tank!
  25. 1/200 people have two extra cervical ribs above the first "normal" ribs.
  26. On average people who are right-handed live nine years longer than left-handed individuals.
  27. 90% of the cells in your body are bacteria!
  28. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a congenital bone disorder that leads to easily fracturing bones. There are different subtypes, one of which, due to impaired collagen formation, allows the small veins of the sclera to be visible.  This makes them appear blue!
  29. Tea stains teeth because it contains tannins which bind to the salivary layer on the teeth.  However adding milk allows the rennin to bind to the milk protein instead.
  30. A meta-analysis has demonstrated that higher resting heartbeats were independently associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in the general population.  The "normal" adult heart rate is 60 - 100.  This is proof of an observation made for many years where athletes and those who are physically active have lower resting heartbeats.
  31. As we age our brains get 15% lighter.  Alzheimer's disease increases this process.  Sufferers of this condition have difficulty seeing white.
  32. Cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis.  Pushing them beyond their normal range creates a small vacuum (and sound) but does not cause any damage.
  33. There' s a higher density of sensory receptors on your cornea than anywhere else in the body.  Eyes have a continuous tremor of 30-80 cycles/second that "refresh" the image keeping it within the fovea.
  34. During fight or flight, the sympathetic nervous system activates leading to smooth muscle contraction, including the rectum.  This means that it is physiologically impossible to "scare the crap out of someone".
  35. A study found that the number of friends someone has on Facebook changed the amount of grey matter in the amygdala, the right superior temporal sulcus, the left middle temporal gyrus and the right entorhinal cortex.  While the amygdala was also linked to the number of real-world friends, the other regions were specific to "virtual" friends.
  36. If you farted for 6 years and 9 months, you would produce enough methane to equate the energy of an atomic bomb!
  37. The slowest growing nail on the hand is the thumb and the fastest is the middle finger.

  38. The average human heart beat is 70/min; that's 100,000/day or 2,600,000,000/lifetime.  Normally the heart can pump ~5 L/min (up to ~45 L/min for Olympic Athletes).  That's 155,000,000 L of blood in a lifetime, about 150,000 tonnes of total mass!
  39. The ashes of a cremated adult human weigh about 9 lbs.  The amount of energy required to cremate a body would power a North American home for 2 weeks!
  40. Animals exude pheromones to attract the opposite sex.  It's been found that humans continue to secrete pheromones, but our brains no longer respond to these messages.  Evolutionarily we lost this ability at about the same time we could see the colour red (think red lipstick, red cheeks etc).

  41. The 'absolute threshold' is the smallest amount of energy that can reliably be detected by a human.
    • Vision - see a candle flame from 45 km away, on a dark, clear night
    • Hearing - hear the tick of a watch from 20 ft away in total quiet
    • Smell - 1 drop of perfume in a 6 bedroom apartment
    • Touch - the wing of a bee on your cheek dropped from 1 cm
    • Taste - 1 tsp. of sugar in 7.5 L of water
  42. A taste bud lasts 10 days before it is replaced.
  43. 40-60% of people will yawn after seeing someone yawn.  It's a subconscious reflex believed to identify when it's "time to rest" as determined by extensive observation of great apes.
  44. It takes 2 mins running at a speed of 8km/h or swimming 45 m/min to burn the energy contained in 1 sugar cube (16 calories)!  A can of Coke-Cola has 160 calories.  One pound of human fat contains about 3,500,000 calories.
  45. If your brain was untangled it would cover an ironing board.
  46. Humans and pigs are the only 2 animals who sunburn.
  47. There are more bacteria in the average human mouth than there are people on Earth.
  48. Heavy alcohol consumption leads to dizziness because the ethanol diffuses into the inner ear making the fluid more viscous.
  49. The strongest muscle for its size is the tongue.
  50. There are more people alive today than there have ever been during our entire history combined.
  51. Next to humans, beavers have the greatest impact on their immediate environment.  Video footage of the largest dam is on the terrestrial biology page.
  52. About 17% of human, chimpanzees and gorillas are left-handed.
  53. Men who take steroids with oestrogen can cause them to lactate (produce milk).
  54. Rhinotillexomania is the technical term for nose picking.
  55. Each nostril of the human nose has a smell receptor the size of a nickel.  The right receptor typically smells sweeter than the left.  Nostrils also typically take 3-4 hour turns.
  56. Humans have 46 chromosomes while peanuts have 40 and radiolarian (a marine protist) has 1600!
  57. The human brain uses 20% of the body's blood and enough energy to power a 40-watt lightbulb for 24 hours.  Your brain also contains about 500 ml of water and weighs about 3 lbs.
  58. Humans and dolphins are the only animals known to have sex for pleasure.
  59. On average, China consumes 130,000,000 tonnes of rice per year.
  60. Teeth are the only tissue incapable of healing.
  61. If the entire population of the world were to stand shoulder to shoulder, they would occupy the surface area of Jamaica.
  62. The average North American eats 28 pigs in their lifetime.
  63. Your skin is your largest organ and weighs about 3.2 kg.  It produces a fresh layer every 28 days (making up the majority of the dust in your house).
  64. Redheads are more sensitive to pain because the gene that codes for red hair causes changes in the central nervous system.  It's been found that they typically require 15% more anaesthetic to receive the same pain control.
  65. Humans and chimps are more closely related than horses and zebras.
  66. In one year the average North American family uses 18,000 gallons of water!
  67. When a newborn cries, they don't secrete tears because their tear-ducks aren't yet functional.
  68. Catching a cold has nothing to do with the "cold".  People tend to stay inside resulting in a greater chance of viral transmission.
  69. Osteoblasts are the cells that create your bone while osteoclasts destroy them.  You'd think "blast" would be a 'destroying' word.
  70. The liquid inside of coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.  Research conducted during WWII found it's sterile, isotonic, readily absorbed by the body and doesn't damage red blood cells.
  71. Nose-breathing moisturises, warms and filters the air before it reaches your lungs.  This is important as the average city inhabitant inhales about 10,000 microorganisms ever day!
  72. 1 cubic mm of brain tissue has about 1 billion connections.  The same number of stars in the Milky Way!
  73. If the DNA in your body's 60 trillion cells was stretched end to end, it would reach the sun and back 365 times!
  74. The tallest man was Robert Wadlow who grew to 8 feet 11 inches.  He died at 22 from an infected blister on his foot.
  75. The human body has limits, surpassing them can be fatal!
    1. Core temp. >42 C
    2. In 4 C water, > 30 mins.
    3. >10 mins. at 150 C
    4. >15,000 ft in altitude (for most)
    5. >2 mins below 60 ft (deepest dive, 282 ft)
    6. >40% of your blood volume
    7. >45 days after not eating (30% body weight)
    8. >7 days without hydration

  76. Your body burns more calories sleeping than watching TV.
  77. A single chocolate chip provides sufficient energy for an adult to walk 150 feet. 35 would allow you to walk a mile; 875,000 would be enough for an around-the-world trek!
  78. Compared to all other animals, human children require the longest rearing period.
  79. Women have 10 times more touch receptors than men.
  80. Research has revealed psychopaths may have impaired smell ability.  It's believed to be a dysfunction in the orbitofrontal cortex.  It's thought this could be used to identify psychopaths who are notoriously manipulative.
  81. When something goes into your nose it begins to get coated in calcium.  This causes a hard crusty ball "booger" to be removed from the nose.  The largest ever removed from a human nose was the size of a chicken egg!
  82. If the Chinese population walked past you in single file, the line would never end because its birthrate would outpace the walking.
  83. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or "Broken Heart Syndrome" is a condition that results from an emotionally traumatic situation.  Someone's heart can physiologically change with a decrease in the left ventricle's pumping efficiency leading to sudden heart failure.  The name was given because the ventricle looked like traditional Japanese octopus traps.

  84. By the time you're 70, according to Pace Productivity, you would have spent 23 years sleeping, 19 years working, 9 relaxing, 7 years in travel, 6 years eating, 3 years being sick, 2 years on the phone and 2 years in personal grooming!

  85. The average bed is home to over 6 billion dust mites!
  86. The average American spends 10 minutes on the toilette every day, this means if they live until their 70 they would have spent 177 days on the toilette!
  87. Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes and human beings all have 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae.
  88. On average, infants crawl 200 meters per day!
  89. Eyelashes last about 6 weeks until it is replaced.
  90. Dwarfism is a dominant trait in humans.  That means that if both your parents had the dwarf gene and the normal gene (heterozygous), 75% of all their offspring could be dwarf.
  91. Humans consume about 3 billions pounds of chocolate ever year!
  92. It's actually true!  Cold weather can cause colds!  Scientists found a slight chill (33 C instead of the body's normal 37 C) increase the speed at which rhinoviruses (which cause colds) multiply by 100x!  Additionally, viral detection of animals at these temperatures is not as good, further impairing the body's ability to protect itself.
  93. Our population is growing by about 100 million people every year.

  94. The body creates and kills 17 million red blood cells every second!
  95. The largest cell in the body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm!  The egg has all the materials for development while the male sperm only carries genetic information.
  96. From puberty, men produce about 1000 sperm every heartbeat.

  97. Neanderthals had brains that were 10% larger ours!  Thanks to interbreeding modern European and Asian human populations have between 1 and 4% neanderthal DNA.  Research has noted that this DNA includes risks for skin disorders, blood clots, immune system dysfunction and psychiatric problems.
  98. By definition, Vitamin D is a hormone, not a vitamin because it's produced within the body.
  99. A single sperm has about 37.5 MB of DNA information.  This means a normal ejaculation has 1,587 GB (1.5 TB) of information!
  100. AIDS has been traced back to a single bush hunter working in central Africa in 1921.  The virus was likely transferred while manipulating chimpanzee meat, spread through vaccination programs by improperly sterilising equipment and then brought to Haiti by a teacher in the 1960s who donated blood plasma.  Sex tourism likely led to the final transfer to gay men in California.

  101. Lungs have 300 million alveoli!  The tissue is about 0.2 microns thick and, if stretched out, would cover a tennis court.
  102. Left brain or right brain dominant has nothing to do with being left or right handed but where the language centre is located.  90-95% of right-handed individuals and 70% of left-handed individuals are found to be left brain dominant.

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