13 Facts You Didn’t Pick Up In A Classroom

Don’t get us wrong — the classroom is a great place. It’s where you get a proper education, the kind good-paying employers like to see on a resume. Yes, you can accumulate all kinds of debt on your way to a good career, but it’s hard to get ahead without that degree or diploma at the end of the tunnel.

That said, there’s plenty of life to be had outside the hallowed halls of academia — and plenty of learning, too. It can’t just be an endless march from desk to desk, listening to your teachers and professors drone on about theory.

And just because you didn’t learn something from a professor doesn’t mean it isn’t worth knowing. There’s value in learning for learning’s sake! Go forth armed with knowledge!

1. The Milky Way tastes like raspberries and smells like rum.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Berlin were looking for evidence of amino acids in space, but instead found ethyl formate. So although we’ll likely never know for sure, it’s comforting to think that the center of the galaxy might just resemble a refreshing cocktail.

2. Icelandic lore has a terrifying Christmas tradition: the Yule Cat.

Some versions of the tale have the Yule Cat merely stealing the food and holiday treats of kids who don’t get an article of clothing for Christmas. Either way, it’s an odd tradition that really only punishes the poor. But now you know what you need to have a merry Christmas in Iceland!

3. Couple who smoke marijuana together had fewer incidents of domestic violence.

The study, by a group of researchers at the University of Buffalo, looked at 634 couples starting in 1996. The researchers reached a conclusion many could have predicted: that stoned people just don’t want to fight.

4. There are people getting busy in the corner of the Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The Marauder’s Map tracks people like a magical GPS, but, unlike all the other footprints on the map, we don’t get to know who they belong to.

5. Merida’s hair took three years to animate for the movie Brave.

The scene in which she removes her hood, revealing her full head of curly hair, took two months alone. The animators even developed software specifically so her hair would move naturally with the rest of her. But you can’t argue with the results!

6. This tiny Russian church holds a Guinness World Record.

It holds the record for being the only church in the world on such a tiny island. Built in 2000 by Andrew Rotinov, the Church of Andrew the Apostle has a unique view. Although it’s only accessible by boat, the church still holds services, typically for residents of the nearby village of Vasilevo.

7. Our obsession with glitter comes from the human need for water.

So now you know why you get distracted by shiny objects. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers from Belgium and the US found that shiny things catch our eye for primitive reasons rather than aesthetics — basically, because water is more valuable to us than diamonds.

8. This candle hatches a tiny dinosaur.

The little velociraptor within is made of porcelain, so when the wax of the “egg” melts away, it will remain. It does not appear to come with a tiny porcelain Chris Pratt, however.

9. This is what you call a group of pandas.

Not a “bamboo crew” or an “Oreo roll” or a “lazy bunch of apathetic bears that won’t come out for a picture when you take the kids to the zoo.” Although the term does kind of make sense.

10. Artist David Irvine re-purposes thrift store paintings.

He includes many other figures from pop culture as well, including the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, the Starship Enterprise, and Batman.

11. This Nikola Tesla statue in Silicon Valley broadcasts free Wi-Fi.

The result of a Kickstarter campaign, the statue also holds a time capsule due to be opened in 2043. The inclusion of free Wi-fi is fitting because some credit him with predicting and pioneering widespread wireless technology.

12. The folks at Google are fans, too.

It has to be that exact phrase, though. But the reward is worth it!

13. Photographer Dave Sandford braves some truly nasty waves.

The winds on Lake Erie have been known to shift sandbars around, causing shipwrecks.