1. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach in the world.
Astronomers have worked out that there are 70 thousand million million million – or seven followed by 22 zeros – stars visible from the Earth through telescopes.
2. Your chances of being killed by a vending machine are actually twice as large as your chance of being bitten by a shark.
Sharks may look dangerous, but you are statistically more likely to be killed by a vending machine, ants, or even falling out of bed. Sharks only kill 5 people on average per year, while deer can cause 130 deaths annually.
3. The shortest war in recorded history was 38 minutes long.
In 1896, Britain fought against Zanzibar in a war that lasted 38 minutes.
4. On Jupiter and Saturn, it rains diamonds.
The dense atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn (and possibly even more planets) have high levels of gravity, which could squeeze carbon in mid-air… and make it rain diamonds!
5. John Tyler, the 10th president of the US, was born in 1790. He has two grandsons who are alive today.
John Tyler fathered his son Lyon in 1853, then Lyon Tyler had two sons born in 1924 and 1928.
6. From 1912 to 1948, art was an Olympic event.
Medals used to be awarded at the Olympics for painting, music, architecture, literature and sculpting.
7. The longest time between two twins being born is 87 days.
The mother went into labour four months early, then gave birth to the second twin three months later.
8. Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn.
Since the 12th century, the unicorn has been the Scottish heraldic symbol, which is fitting as the country is known for its love of myth and legend.
9. A dead man won a horse race in 1923.
In 1923, jockey Frank Hayes won a race at Belmont Park in New York despite being dead — he suffered a heart attack mid-race, but his body stayed in the saddle until his horse crossed the line for a 20–1 outsider victory.
10. The loneliest creature on Earth is a whale who has been calling out for a mate for over two decades — but whose high-pitched voice is so different to other whales that they never respond.
The unknown whale is called ‘lonely’ because it appears to communicate at a frequency not used by any other whale in the North Pacific, and so far, it is not thought to have ever got a response to its plaintive cries.
11. Officially, the longest war in history was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, which lasted from 1651 to 1986. There were no casualties.
The 335 Year War (as it is now known) was a bloodless conflict between the Netherlands and the tiny Isles of Scilly which began as far back as 1651 during the English Civil War.
12. In Denmark, Norway and other countries, citizens have to select baby names from a list of government-approved names/ regulations.
Germany states you must choose a name that reflects the gender of the child, while Norway reject first names that are traditionally used as surnames. (Read more country name laws here)
13. The first motorist to be fined for speeding in the UK was Walter Arnold in 1896.
He was fined a shilling for doing 8mph in a 2mph zone.
14. In the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 churches, the cathedral of St. Paul and left 70,000 homeless, only 6 people were killed.
The official death toll was astonishingly low – only six were officially verified – though there are no figures for the deaths of people made vulnerable by displacement.
15. In ancient Egypt, servants were smeared with honey in order to attract flies away from the pharaoh.
During King Pepy’s rule, he would have a nearby servant covered in honey to avoid flies.