"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Have you ever paused to think about how one of the most famous sentences of all time doesn't make grammatical sense? Well, that's because we all apparently heard it wrong and continue to say it wrong.
According to the man himself, Neil Armstrong, what he said that day when he stepped foot on the moon was "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Which makes much more sense.
There are a lot of things that sound strange at first, but as we've all come to find out, sometimes reality can be stranger than fiction. Like how the sounds of the T-rexes speaking in Jurassic Park are actually just tortoises having sex. And how the eagle only sounds like this because of Hollywood magic when in reality, it sounds more like this.
Here are true facts that sound completely made up.
It's pretty common knowledge at this point that humans can live with just one kidney. But did you know that you can also live without a spleen, an appendix, a gall bladder, tonsils, six of your ribs, and one lung? In fact, many people do. And they lead pretty normal lives. The only thing you can't do with just one lung is participate in strenuous exercises or run long distances. But, with just one lung, you could run from the United States to Russia - since the shortest distance between the two countries is just 2.4 miles.
This distance is measured from Russia's Big Diomede Island to America's Little Diomede Island. Why is America's island smaller? We might never know. But you know what is really big, thick and long? A giraffe's neck. Considering how massive these things are, it's incredible to think they have the same number of bones as a human neck. They're just way bigger. And it's not just them and us. All mammals have the same number of bones in their neck.
When we were younger, we were taught that there are seven days in a week, four weeks in a month, and 52 weeks in a year. But the truth is that's wrong. Well, technically, it's correct, but it only works here on Earth. On other planets, it's completely different. On Venus, for example, a day is longer than an entire yea r!
It's probably helpful to mention that a day on a particular planet is defined as the time it takes that planet to spin once on its axis, and a year is the time it takes for the planet to orbit around its star, in this case, the Sun.
Pluto, sadly, wasn't able to complete one full orbit around the Sun in the 76 six years from when it was discovered in 1930 to when it was declassified as a planet in 2006. A small planet with a really long orbit.
But you know what is really, really, reaallly long?
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. It’s the name of a hill in New Zealand. You’re welcome.
You know, people put too much emphasis on size these days. People and Rebecca. If there is one thing that Rebecca, I mean people, need to learn, it's that size does not matter. What matters more are… hips.
Okay, let me explain. When you think of a beast, a true conqueror, a dinosaur, you think of this…or this….or this. But you know what else is a dinosaur? This, this, and this. It turns out these are all descendants of the dinosaur family. The common trait? The structure of their hips. The way their pelvic bones are attached is, to this day, the same as their much more aggressive relatives.
My friend recently fell asleep tired after trying to chase a chicken that was bothering him. "When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there." – this is a factually accurate statement, but it's also apparently the world's shortest novel.
What I am trying to say is that just because something looks cute, isn't as big, does the dishes and all your homework, doesn't make it any less of a person, okay Rebecca? We've all faced rejections and insults. Don't let them get to you. They're just lessons that we all learn one way or another. The founder of Lamborghini, for example, had to be rejected by Ferrari before he got the desire to create Lamborghini.
Steve Jobs had to be kicked out of his own company before he could bring it back to life. Microsoft had to stop producing newer versions of Internet Explorer to… well, realize that they should never have made it in the first place. But you get the point. Time is an illusion, and if you don't study history, it can be quite jarring to learn that sometimes, things aren't as timely as we think.
Did you know that we sent a man to the Moon before we put wheels on suitcases? Just imagine how stressful it must have been for Neil to carry all that luggage to and from space.
The invention of the iPhone in 2007, is closer to the existence of Cleopatra than Cleopatra was to the building of the Pyramids of Giza. And although Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire, it isn't the first university to ever exist. India's Nalanda University was in operation for hundreds of years before Oxford.
We made lighters before we made matches. Sharks existed before grass. Heck, sharks were in existence before the rings of Saturn.
It really makes you appreciate the beauty of human civilization. We've only been here for a short time, but we've been able to achieve so much. We're so special, aren't we? That is what I told Rebecca right before she broke up with me.
But now I know I was wrong because she wasn't special. She was bananas! I don't mean that as an insult because we're all bananas. At least 50% of each of us because humans share 50% of our DNA with bananas. And with fruit flies.
As it turns out, our profound exclusivity is neither profound nor exclusive. What is exclusive, however, is a randomly shuffled deck of cards. It may seem rather mundane, but the sequence of a randomly shuffled deck of cards has never been seen before and will never be seen again.
A standard deck of cards has 52 cards, which means there are 52 factorial (52!) different ways the cards can be arranged when shuffled randomly. That number, 52 factorial (52!), is 8, with 67 zeros after it.
To put this in perspective, the Universe has existed for over 13 billion years, but let's round it up to 15 billion. Let's also assume there are around 2 trillion galaxies, containing approximately 100 trillion star systems each. If each star system had ten planets, and each planet hosted 10 billion life forms, every one of those life forms could shuffle a deck of cards every second since the beginning of time, and they still wouldn't produce a repeated sequence."
That's simply insane!
Speaking of arrangements, some countries aren't arranged the way we think they ought to be. Finland and North Korea are separated by just one country. New York is closer to the equator than it is to Rome. And Bangladesh went to war and won against Pakistan, two countries that are separated by India, the seventh largest country in the world. And get this; all three countries were once considered the same country. Talk about sibling rivalry.
The logistics for that war must have cost several butt-loads, which is a legitimate unit of measurement, equal to 126 gallons.
Remember when you were young, and your mum told you not to swallow apple seeds, or a tree would grow in your belly? Well, it turns out she was wrong. Trees can't grow in people. But she was right in telling you not to swallow apple seeds.
Eating apple seeds can lead to cyanide poisoning. Don't worry too much, though. You'd need the seeds from at least 150 apples for that. Speaking of Apples, Steve Jobs chose the name of his company to get back at his former employer, Atari.
Because phone books, a book that had a list of names, addresses and phone numbers of the businesses in an area, were written in alphabetical order, Apple would come before Atari. So whenever people searched for a computer business in the phone book, they would find Steve's company first.
Suffice it to say that they no longer need that slight competitive advantage.
Fresh, clean water can do wonders. But how fresh is the water we drink? Did you know the probability that at least one of the molecules of water that you drank today passed through a dinosaur is 100%?
We somehow keep coming back to dinosaurs. Maybe it's a sign that Rebecca and I should be…Tyranno-work-things-out.
Because, at the end of the day, mistakes happen.
Like the time Switzerland accidentally invaded another country. In 2007, around 171 of Switzerland's troops accidentally went into Liechtenstein. The Swiss government formally apologized. But the governor of Liechtenstein wasn't worried and excused the situation. "It's happened before," he said. Uhhh??
Liechtenstein is really nice, as you can see. So nice, in fact, that in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Liechtenstein sent a company of 80 soldiers to war, only to have 81 return. Not only did they not have any casualties, but an Austrian liaison officer joined them on the way home.
But it also helps to have luck. Luck like Anatoli Burgowski had. He was a researcher working at the Soviet Union's most powerful particle accelerator, the U-70 synchrotron. He was down there one day to fix something. He leaned down to look at a part of the machine without realizing the accelerator was active at the time, and stuck his head directly into the beam bath. He reported seeing a tremendously bright flash – likely due to his optic nerves being excited through the roof. Believe it or not, he actually wanted to cover it up and decided to continue working.
As time passed, Anatoli noticed huge swelling develop along the regions where the beam had entered and exited his head. He slowly started developing radiation sickness. There was no hiding anymore, so he sought help. The physician in charge feared the worst, but as it turned out, Anatoli had unintentionally received a version of proton beam therapy, often used to treat cancer.
Thanks to the physics of proton beam therapy, most of the energy that might have otherwise killed Anatoli was deposited outside his skull. Despite suffering seizures and epilepsy, Anatoli lives on to this day. However, he refused an offer from the United States to be a research subject. Oh, and half of his face stopped aging. Talk about expensive Botox. It's something Rebecca would have needed, I mean liked… Oh well, she's gone now.
But I mean, for all her flaws, she was always very kind to me. Despite what we went through, despite how rough the breakup was, she put her hand in mine, looked me in the eye assuredly, and told me, "we can still be cousins." That, of course, was completely made up, or was it?