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80 Useless & Pointless Facts You Should Know!

Ready for some unutterably USELESS information? Then read on and get your fill of foolishness with these funny featherbrained facts!

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  April 19th 2024

1. Lightning strikes the earth around 8 million times a day!

Did you know there are more than 8 million lightning strikes across the world every day? Don't worry, it's extremely unlikely you'll be struck by lightning - the odds are less than one in a million. Just make sure you're indoors if the sky starts to light up!

2. King Louis XIX ruled France for less than an hour

This French king is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the shortest-reigning monarch. King Louis – Louis Antoine, Duke of AngoulĂȘme – was on the throne for about 20 minutes during the July Revolution in 1830.

3. A dartboard is made out of plants

Inexpensive dartboards tend to be made out of cork, but usually, they're made out of fibres from a sisal plant. These plants are found in Mexico and the fibres look a bit like horsehair!

4. Humans blink over 6 million times a year

We tend to blink every three or four seconds. We've done the maths and this works out to around 6 million times every year. That's quite a lot.

A man with thick eyebrows

5. Neil Armstrong's left foot touched the moon first

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made this historic lunar landing in 1969. Neil was first out of the lunar pod and it was noted that his left foot touched the surface of the moon first!

6. A square mile of earth can be home to approximately 32,000 worms

It's like a muddy city under the grass if you think about it. Worms do an important job when they move around, as they loosen the soil and help it get oxygen. Thanks, worms!

7. Ghosts make an appearance in five Shakespearean plays

William Shakespeare loved adding ghosts into his stories and probably scared the people who attended his plays. Keep your eye out for some ghastly apparitions in Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Richard III and Cymbeline. Wooh!

Ghosts in a spooky room

8. Cats can make almost 100 vocal sounds

Anyone who has a pet cat will know they're almost exclusively to demand food, even when they've just eaten.

9. Pinocchio means 'pine eye' in Italian

This story about a wooden marionette who becomes a boy was written by Carlo Collodi. His name literally translates into 'pine eye' – pino + occhio!

10. Is it your birthday? You share it with about 18 million other people!

There's an estimated 8 billion on earth which means a lot of birthday cards, cake and a fair number of balloons too.

Birthday cake

11. Young children grow more during spring

Experts say that this is down to two things: more sunlight, which can help bone growth and more of an abundance of fresh food and outdoor activities as the weather is better. So now you know.

12. A rain drop falls up to 25 miles per hour

While rain usually falls at a speed of 15 miles per hour, in storms, they can exceed that by around 10 miles! That's why it's good to carry an umbrella, especially in Britain (at any time of year).

13. There are MANY moves in the first four moves of a chess game

There are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations in the first four moves of chess. If you want to get an advantage over your opponent, get learning them ALL now! Warning: this may take a while.

14. Nepal doesn't have a rectangular flag

This is the only country to not have a rectangular flag and it was adopted in 1962. The colour red symbolises Nepal's national flower, the rhododendron, while the blue border means peace.

15. Antarctica’s international telephone dialling code is +672

If you need to call a penguin to wish them a happy birthday, dial +672 before entering their home phone number.

Penguin

16. A small lump of gold can go a long way

A small piece of gold, around the size of a matchbox, can theoretically hammered flat and there'd be enough to cover a tennis court. Some players prefer clay, grass or concrete, but we've yet to see a Grand Slam match on a golden court. It'd be so fancy!

17. The first cashpoint was made available in England in 1967

Barclays in Enfield was the first bank branch to introduce a cashpoint on June 27, 1967. English comedy actor Reg Varney attended the launch. There are now an estimated 70,000 ATMs in the UK. ATM stands for automated teller machine.

A man with a silly amount of cash

18. The name Jeep comes from an army phrase

The US army are said to have coined the word as a shortened version of 'General (or Government) Purpose' – GP. It's quicker to say, no doubt about that!

19. American Airlines saved a fortune by removing ONE olive from their salads

In the 1980s, American Airlines realised they could save $40,000 a year if they removed just one olive from each of their salads which were served during flights. They realised this when it was noted that some passengers declined the salty grape-like treat.

An aeroplane flying over a city

20. All porcupines can float

While porcupines use their quills as a way of defending themselves, they're also handy as a buoyancy aid. The quills have a little air pocket inside, which helps them bob around on the water. They're also good swimmers, too!

21. A sloth's fart doesn't stink!

The sloth’s gut produce methane but instead of being released out of the bum in the usual humorous, stinky way, the methane is absorbed into the blood. So there's absolutely no point in blaming a bad smell on these slow-moving mammals. They could let off all they want and you'd be none the wiser!

A person holding a notebook with a sloth in the background

22. The chances of getting a hole-in-one at golf aren't that small!

If you're a fan of golf, then you'll know getting a hole-in-one is the most exciting thing ever! The chances of getting on are around 12,500 to 1. Tiger Woods got his first aged 8!

A mouldy sandwich watches a game of golf

23. There's a Lego bridge in Germany!

In Wuppertal, there is an old bridge which has been painted to look as though it's made out of Lego bricks! The Lego-BrĂŒcke, as it's known, was repainted by the street artist Martin Heuwold and his team and looks amazing! We don't think an actual Lego bridge would take the weight of lots of cars.

24. King Charles III owns every swan in the United Kingdom – sort of

These often grumpy birds are the property of the monarch. People often assume it's all swans but it's in fact unmarked mute swans which King Charles III can lay claim to. It's a tradition that goes back to the 12th century as they were seen as food fit for royalty.

25. The Eiffel Tower gets taller in the summer!

Due to a process what boffins would call 'thermal expansion' the Paris landmark gains a few centimetres in the hot weather. The heat from the sun makes the metals used to stretch ever so slightly, but in the winter, it returns to its original height. Vive la science!

26. Lionel Messi's first contract was on a paper napkin!

When he was just 12-years-old, Messi played in a trial for Barcelona. Carles Rexach, who worked for the team, thought he was going to be a star and got him to sign a contract on a paper napkin to make sure he'd be part of the team. It's now in a frame, which belongs to football agent Horacio Gaggioli. Must be worth a few quid, at least!

27. The human heart beats about 100,000 times a day!

That means your ticker will beat around 36,500,000 times in a year. Count them if you don't believe us! Yes, we'll wait.

28. 350 slices of pizza are eaten in the USA every second!

The average American eats about 46 slices of pizza a year. If you're thinking about having a slice of pizza, remember to choose a healthy topping if you can!

29. Information in your brain can travel faster than a Formula 1 car!

The neurons in your brain transfer vital information from cell to cell at 268 miles per hour. Formula 1 cars can reach speeds of up to 220 miles per hour. Both are quite fast, we think you'll agree.

30. In Major League Baseball, the bases are exactly 90 feet apart!

This rule has been in place since 1877 and was created by the National League. The straightest line a batter would run is called the 'baseline', but players tend to run in a curved direction in order to make it to the fourth base without losing their pace. It's all very exciting!

31. Flamingos can only eat with their heads upside down

These tall pink characters use their tongue as a sieve to catch food by flipping their heads about. The flamingo’s tongue helps pump the food-filled water in and out of their mouths about three times a second. This technique is called filter feeding! 

Flamingo Jokes Thumbnail

32. There are 32 muscles in a cat’s ear

This feature is what allows cats to swivel and rotate their ears so that they can pinpoint the source of a noise. But what's more incredible is that they can move each ear independently and rotate them 180 degrees!

Cat

33. The chicken and the ostrich are the closest living relatives of the Tyrannosaurus rex

In 2003 scientists used collagen in ancient dinosaur remains to figure this out. They had suspected the dino-ness of birds for a long time, and finally here was actual evidence. Before this discovery, many experts believed that dinosaurs were giant reptiles, but it turns out they were basically massive chickens. A thought that makes Jurassic Park a little less scary... or maybe even more scary?

34. It’s impossible to tickle yourself.

You can't tickle yourself because when you move a part of your own body, a part of your brain monitors the movement and anticipates the sensations that it will cause. So we humans can't tickle ourselves because what makes tickles ticklish is that they are surprising!

35. Dr Seuss invented the word ‘nerd’.

Dr Seuss first used the word ‘nerd’ (which he meant as a ‘comically unpleasant creature’) in a book called If I Ran To The Zoo in 1950.  Little kids reading Dr Seuss loved the word and passed it on to their older siblings. After that, the meaning of the word began to change to mean someone who wasn't very cool... then changed further to loosely mean someone with an obsessive interest in something - either way, who doesn't love a nerd?

36. A blob of toothpaste is called a nurdle.

Nobody is quite sure where the word 'nurdle' originated. A fact as useless as the word.

37. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

In some novels published in the 1960s, Barbie’s parents' names were given as George and Margaret Roberts, and apparently, they all lived in the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. Don't be fooled by the improbable proportions that she got - She's just Barbie from the Willows.

Barbie

38. The moon has moonquakes.

Shallow moonquakes are caused when the moon's crust slips and cracks due to the gradual shrinking of the moon when it cools. Meteors can also cause quakes when they crash into the surface of the moon.

Moon in sunglasses

39. People used to believe that kissing a donkey could relieve a toothache.

Yep, that’s right!  People have always done rather odd things to prevent toothache. For example, the Ancient Egyptians scrubbed their teeth with a powder made from ox hooves and eggshells. But weirder still, during the Middle Ages in Germany, they thought a cure for a toothache was kissing a donkey. Even if it did something for your toothache, it certainly won't do anything for your breath.

40. Your body contains about 100,000 miles of blood vessels.

A bit gross, but if you took all the blood vessels (including arteries, veins and capillaries) out of an average child and laid them out in one line, the line would stretch over 60,000 miles. An adult's would be closer to 100,000 miles long. 

41. Slinkies are 82 feet long.

Fully stretched out, Slinkies can reach up to 82 feet – that’s as long as 14 average-sized people, or nearly twice the height of the Hollywood sign, or a just a touch longer than a cricket pitch. 

42. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

An ostrich is the biggest bird in the world, and it has the largest eyes in the whole animal kingdom – that's right, its eyes are bigger than its brain. Having said that, its brain isn't that big! An ostrich's eyes are about 2 inches or 5 centimetres in diameter, which is around the size of a ping pong ball. 

43. If you open your eyes in a pitch-black room, the colour you'll see is called 'eigengrau'.

‘Eigengrau’ is German for ‘intrinsic grey’, also known as dark light, or brain grey. It is used to describe the uniform dark grey background that many people see in the absence of light. The term dates back to the nineteenth century.

44. Humans are the only animals that blush.

Humans are the only species known to blush, but we still don't know why. Charles Darwin called blushing ‘the most peculiar and the most human of all expressions. It can definitely be super embarrassing! 

45. Rabbits can’t vomit.

Welcome to the vomit void. Bunny rabbits are very hygienic creatures who self-groom in much the same way that a cat does. But the rabbit’s digestive system does not move in reverse, meaning rabbits cannot bring up hairballs like a cat can. So basically if you're banking on a burst of bunny barf, don't hold your breath.

46. Astronauts say that space smells like hot meat.

In a video, NASA astronaut Tony Antonelli said that space smells "strong and unique".  He said he has never smelled anything like it on Earth. Others have described the smell as “seared steak and raspberries”, smokey and bitter. Mmm, delicious outer space!

47. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.

The unicorn was a symbol of innocence and purity in Celtic mythology. However, it was also associated with power and masculinity. Romantic stories about chivalry and dominance associated with the unicorn may be why it was chosen as Scotland's national animal... or maybe they were just having a laugh. Either way, we approve!

A farting unicorn on a blurred clover background

48. The Australian government once banned the word "mate" for a day.

In 2005 the word ‘mate’ was banned in the Australian Federal Parliament. The ban was revoked within 24 hours after people said it was ridiculous.  

49. Some sharks can live for up to five centuries.

Greenland sharks, in particular, can live a long time. They only grow a centimetre a year, but it is believed they may live for up to 500 years – as long as they don't have an accident! 

50. Mail was once delivered by 37 cats in Belgium.

These domestic cats were trained to deliver mail in the city of LiÚge. Waterproof bags containing letters were tied around their necks and then were driven out into the countryside, miles away from their homes and let go. They all made it home within 24 hours. Ultimately the scheme was abandoned as it was easier to deliver the mail yourself than rely on a cat! 

51. Alfred Hitchcock didn’t have a bellybutton.

The famous director of The Birds and Rear Window was born with one, but after surgery, it vanished after he was sewn back up! 

52. Bees sometimes sting other bees.

They don't mean to, but sometimes when they try to defend their nests from intruders, they accidentally sting other bees. Ouch!

53. The average yawn lasts six seconds.

Humans also yawn on average 20 times per day, so in total, that's 120 seconds or 2 whole minutes you spend yawning each day.  Yawning is contagious, so even reading this, and thinking about yawning, might make you yawn. (Bet you a zillion quid you just yawned. Are we right?)

Dog in dressing gown yawning

54. You can buy eel flavoured ice cream in Japan.

And that’s not even the weirdest flavour they have!  Fancy some horse meat flavoured ice cream? No probs. Chicken? here's a tub, fill your boots (best place for it). Garlic?! Soy Sauce?! You're in luck. Welcome to Japan!

55. There are more chickens in England than people.

There are around 982 million chickens eaten each year in the U.K. by 66 million people...  this statistic means that should the chickens decide to take over the country, (a la Jurassic Park) we would be massively outnumbered. The threat is real, people. Come the chicken uprising don't say we didn't warn you.

56. Bears don’t poo during hibernation.

They also don't eat, drink or wee! So once they are all snug in their cave, bears form a kind of plug for their bottom made out of their bedding, which is pretty gross but seems to work!

57. Crows hold grudges.

A 2011 study revealed crows can remember the human faces of those who capture them. According to another study, ravens, including crows, jays and magpies, can 'hold grudges' for up to two years. So make sure you don't upset a crow, because they just won't let it lie!

58. The word 'hipster' goes back to the 1930s.

The earliest uses of hipster are often mixed with a very similar word, the hipster. Hipster began appearing in the late 1930s and primarily referred to a knowledgeable person or interested in jazz. 

59. Water makes different pouring sounds depending on its temperature.

Hot water produces a higher-pitched sound when poured because the energised molecules are moving around more rapidly. Put another way, hot and cold water have a different ‘thickness’.

60. Thousands of rabbits once attacked Napoleon

Eight years before Waterloo (another humiliating defeat for Napoleon), he was beaten by a barrage of bunnies. He was signing a treaty when the rabbits (who had been captured) were released to be hunted. Instead of running away, they attacked their would-be hunters, including Napoleon, who was forced to flee. 

61. There is a town in Nebraska with a population of one

According to a recent census, Monowi is the only place in the USA with just one resident. She is her own clerk, mayor, librarian, treasurer, librarian and bartender and the only person left in the USA's tiniest town.

62. ‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia' is a fear of long words

Well, that's easy for you to say.

63. One King of England made a law that everyone had to be in bed by 8pm

Alfred The Great even introduced a curfew bell rung at 8 o'clock to tell people to go to bed.  They had to get their lights out and settle down and stop acting up, it's bedtime. You could be punished if you didn’t go to beddies!

64. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

A tiger's skin still displays its stripes if you shave away the fur. Leopards are the same way with their spots. So if you shaved a tiger, it would still be a) stripey and b) miffed. 

65. A group of jellyfish is called a smack.

Of course it is. There are loads of other excellent collective nouns for groups of animals, for example - a cauldron of bats, a coalition of cheetahs, and a rhumba of rattlesnakes. If you're surrounded by a rattlesnake rhumba you might say your rhumba's up. (Although you'd probably forego wordplay and just scream your head off.)

66. Beaver bum gunk is sometimes used as a vanilla flavouring.

A chemical compound used in vanilla flavouring and scents comes from the anal glands of beavers. So the vanilla scent could be due to the animal's diet of bark and leaves. Whatever the reason, chances are you've encountered said bottom debris. Enjoy.

67. You can sneeze faster than a cheetah can run.

We sneeze at around 100 miles per hour, faster than cheetahs run and four-and-a-half times faster than Usain Bolt's world record. You might think that's impressive, but it's SNOT.

68. The little plastic tube at the end of a shoelace is called an aglet.

Aglets are usually plastic or metal and they are designed to stop your shoelaces from fraying. That's all there is to tell you about that. We told you the facts were mostly pointless, don't blame us.

69. The wood frog can hold its pee for up to eight months.

They tend to do this in winter – because it’s too cold to pee?  No, because they recycle the nitrogen in their own wee to keep themselves warm from the inside out!

70. Due to a genetic defect, cats can’t taste sweet things.

 This is because they are missing a taste receptor gene that allows their brains to recognise sweet tastes. No wonder they're often grumpy!

71. There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

Those words include; tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. There's also the specialist zoological term apodous, which means 'without feet'.

A man thinking

72. You can't lick your own elbow.

Okay, so there are a few people who MIGHT be able to lick their own elbows, but it's very rare, and you'd need to have short arms. So why not give it a go and see if you can do it?

73. A giraffe can go longer without water than a camel can.

Giraffes can go up to 3 weeks without a drink. When they do drink, they've been known to down 12 gallons in one sitting to keep themselves going. In comparison, a camel can go about 2 weeks.

74. Rhubarb can spring up so fast that you can actually hear it grow

The buds of the plant cracking open make the sound, which is a sort of creaking and groaning. During the growing season, some people say it sounds a bit like the rhubarb is singing! We don't know what song the rhubarb is singing but our guess is 'Let's Get Ready to Crumble'.

75. A group of hippos is called a bloat

The word 'hippopotamus means 'river horse' and is often shortened to 'hippo'. Even though hippos have numerous collective nouns, 'bloat' is the most common. They are also sometimes a crash, herd, pod or dale.

76. Tornadoes can make it ‘rain’ fish

This phenomenon usually happens when swirling whirlwinds over shallow water develop into waterspouts that suck up water and the things living in it, like frogs, eels and fish. The creatures are carried long distances by clouds, and then drop to the ground like a mic.

77. The King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of cards without a moustache.

This difference wasn't a stylistic decision - he originally had one, but it got lost because of a printing error from the original design. Now it's just a thing. Check it out! The King of Hearts' top lip is always as smooth as a baby's bottom. The state of his bottom however, we can only speculate.

78. Alektorophobia is a fear of chickens.

The term comes from the Greek words ‘alektor’, which means rooster, and ‘phobos’, which means fear. It's a particular phobia and can be pretty extreme! And no wonder - we certainly won't be watching Jurassic Park in the same way again (see fact #3).

79. No word in the English language rhymes with 'month'

Other words with no rhyme include purple, silver, pint, ninth, wolf, opus, dangerous and marathon.

A man shrugging

80. The longest place name? A hill in New Zealand: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

It translates into English as; 'the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'land eater’, played his flute to his loved one.’

Without doubt our favourite hill that's named after a man with large knees.