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Facts to Boost Your Knowledge

 Maintaining a healthy dose of curiosity about the world will sharpen your mind, making you happier, strengthening your relationships and improving your productivity. So, if you want to arm yourself with all sorts of fascinating facts and trivia take a look at these 20 incredible facts below: 
 
1. Polar Bears Run Faster Than Professional Football Players
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The fastest NFL player in 2018 was a running back who ran just over 22mph. Yet despite their size, polar bears can run at 25mph, jump over six feet in the air, and are nearly undetectable by infrared cameras due to their transparent fur. But, don't let this skill scare you. Unless provoked, and unlike other bears, polar bears are not territorial or confrontational. 

2. Espresso Isn’t Technically Coffee

Espresso is usually thought of as concentrated coffee, but it's more complex than that. Espresso is made in a particular way. It is produced by pressurizing near-boiling water through finely ground coffee beans packed into cakes. If the drink is made any other way, like on a stovetop pot or fancy pour-over method, then it is coffee, even if it were to taste exactly like a shot of espresso. 

3. You Exhale Fat When You Lose It
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While a few deep breaths don't burn many calories, this is how most burned-off fat exits the body. You may have thought it was through sweat, urine, or some other excretion, the truth is, as we exercise or go about our day, most of the fat is converted into carbon dioxide, leaving our body through our lungs. The remaining 16% of the fat is converted to water and leaves through urine or sweat. 

4. Women Have Adam’s Apples

The Adam's Apple is the thyroid cartilage that surrounds the larynx. But, while it was often thought that only men have it, women have it too. It's just more prominent in males because the larynx is larger in men - hence their deep voice. 

5. Family Members Share a Smell
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The natural smells of any two family members are similar and this is why the average person does not find family members attractive. According to research conducted at the University of Utah, subjects were more averse to family members' scents than to strangers' scents. This is Mother Nature's way of decreasing genetic mutations caused by inbreeding. 

6. Dry Cleaning Isn’t Technically “Dry”

Dry-cleaning garments are thrown into a giant front-loading washer with a liquid detergent. Your clothes are completely immersed with a liquid solvent. So, why is it called 'dry'? This is because there is no water in it. Dry cleaning was originally discovered by someone who accidentally spilled petroleum all over his clothes, only to discover that it removed stains he couldn't previously get out. Because petroleum is harmful to the environment, new solvents have been created over time. 

7. Brain-Eating Monsters Exist
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Naegleria fowleri is a free-living excavate form of protist that is typically found in warm bodies of fresh water. The amoeba in the water enters through the nose, then travel from the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue. It then invades the nervous system and consumes the brain. It has only been found in warm freshwaters like lakes, rivers, and hot springs. 

8. Red-Eye in Photos is a Reflection of Your Blood

When the flash of a camera goes off, the eye isn't prepared for the sudden influx of light and the pupil doesn't have time to restrict. In addition to this, when taking a photo, you are likely using flash in dark lighting. At that point, the eyes would have already dilated to adjust to the dark room. When the flash goes off and the photo is taken, your eyes are still dilated, so the light reflects off of the red blood vessels of the choroid, which is the layer of the connective tissue in the back of the eye that nourishes the retina.

9. There’s a Meaner Plant than the Venus Flytrap
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Bladderworts are carnivorous, bog-dwelling plants that can snap their traps shut in less than a millisecond, 100 times faster than a Venus flytrap. They are rootless floating plants that have a yellow flower at the top and an insect-digesting bladder sac. They range in size from a few inches to a few feet long. 

10. Stars Are Made of Matter

While you may think that a star - a giant ball of light and heat - contains zero matter, it is made up entirely of energy - almost! Stars don't contain matter - gas, liquid, or solid as we know it. It is made up of plasma, a super-heated state of matter that humans cannot handle. 

11. The Supreme Court Houses a Basketball Court
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The highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, is also home to a basketball court on its roof, appropriately named, the Highest Court in the Land. While it is smaller than a regulation-size court it provides a great sweat therapy session. In recent years it has been modified to also include a gym and a yoga studio. 

12. Your Taste Buds Have an Average Lifespan of 10 Days

In general, adult taste buds turn over within eight to 12 days. Taste buds are clusters polarized sensory cells embedded in the tongue. There are three types, the ones that are closer to the surface have a shorter lifespan. That's why, when you burn your tongue it doesn't take too long until you're able to taste again. 

13. Some Trees are Fire-Resistant
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Redwood and Sequoia trees have a bark that builds up over time to protect them from the elements. The bark, which may be up to one foot thick, contains tannin. This provides protection against fire and fungus. Tannin solutions are used regularly in contracting wooden building to mitigate any potential for fire damage. 

14. Your Pencils Can Be Made into Diamonds

Science has a glamorous side to it. Graphite can be transformed into a diamond by applying a temperature of 3,000 degrees Celcius and pressure of 100,000 atmospheres. Graphite and diamond share the same chemical element, carbon. This technique isn't reserved for jewelry-diamonds, are used for a variety of industrial applications, including cutting tools to electronic devices. 

15. There’s a Rock That Floats
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Pumice is a volcanic rock that is produced when lava erupts from a volcano. It then cools with a lot of small gas bubbles. Because of all the bubbles, it is less dense than water. It is also great for scrubbing away dead skin. However, if it's in water for too long, it will eventually become waterlogged and sink. 

16. You’re Not Really Seeing Black in a Pitch-Black Room

What you are actually seeing is 'dark light', or 'eigengrau' - often referred to as 'brain grey'. It's completely uniform dark, almost black, a gray background that many people state they see in the absence of light. There are people who prefer to call what they see 'visual noise' because what they are actually seeing is an ever-changing field of tiny white and black dots. 

17. There’s a Trick for Discovering a Two-Way Mirror
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If you walk up to a mirror and place your fingertip or nail against it, if you notice the reflection of your finger directly touches your finger, it's a two-way mirror. But if there is about a 1 cm distance between your finger and the reflection, it's not. 

18. There’s a Purpose to Those Tiny Pinholes in Airplane Windows  

The holes you may have noticed in airplane windows are called 'breather' or 'bleed' holes. Airplane windows have three panes each. The breather hole being in the middle to equilibrate between the cabin and the gap between the outside windowpanes. This helps alleviate pressure so that neither the outside nor inside panes crack. 

19. Falling in Your Dream Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does
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When you feel as though you are falling in a dream, it actually comes from the brain falling asleep too quickly, and it basically assumes that it is dying. There is a part of your brain that is essentially responsible for waking you up. Sometimes it wakes up a bit faster, or it falls asleep a little faster than the rest of your dream. In addition, the common dream of being paralyzed is also related to this body-brain disconnect. 

20. Sound Doesn’t (Really) Travel in Space

There are simply no molecules in space for sound to vibrate between. Technically there are molecules - but they're spread so far apart that a sound's vibration is unable to reach them. The result is a really low frequency that's barely discernible. So, basically, in space, no one can hear you scream. 

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