Today I Learned, also known as TIL, is the fifth-biggest subreddit. It unites a whopping 30.9 million members, who all go there with a single goal in mind — to enrich each other's understanding of the world.
Sharing interesting facts about human psychology, animal behavior, food history, and pretty much everything else you can imagine, this online community is full of fascinating trivia that has been successfully evading many of us.
Continue scrolling to check out its recent posts, and for more, fire up our older publications on TIL here, here, and here.
TIL Japan has a ‘wind phone’. An unconnected phone booth where grieving relatives go to ‘talk’ to their lost loved ones. Opened after the 2011 Fukushima earthquake/tsunami, it has seen over 30,000 visitors.
TIL The average life span of a pet cat has risen from seven years in the early 1980s to fifteen years as of 2021.
TIL Environmental activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill lived in a 1500-year-old California redwood tree (known as Luna) 180 feet (55 m) off the ground for 738 days in order to prevent it from being chopped down by Pacific Lumber Company. She successfully saved the tree.
TIL Jonathan Goldsmith, AKA The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials, has been an advocate for landmine victim support, has assisted the effort to prevent and cure cancer in dogs, save the Siberian Tiger, and end child sex trafficking in Cambodia.
TIL in 1915 a pharmacist saw his sister make her own mascara with coal and petroleum jelly and thought he could make a better product. His invention was easier to apply and won't burn a woman's eye. He named his new company Maybelline after his sister Maybel and the base material Vaseline.
TIL about Third Man Syndrome. An unseen presence reported by mountain climbers and explorers during traumatic survival situations that talks to the victim, gives practical advise and encouragement.
TIL that elephant poaching has steadily decreased in certain African countries causing elephant populations to slowly begin rising.
TIL Crows are a highly intelligent species, which are self-aware just like humans. They are as smart as Gorillas and have a complex brain which has the ability to reason.
TIL that in 1554 Elizabeth Crofts hid in a wall on Aldersgate Street, where she pretended to be a heavenly voice. Reputedly 17,000 people came to listen to her give out anti-Catholic propaganda.
TIL that in The Shawshank Redemption, when Morgan Freeman’s character is asked “why do they call you Red?” and he responds with “maybe it’s because I’m Irish”. It’s because the character in the novel was a red haired Irish man. They cast Freeman for the part but added the line as a joke.
TIL that the world's largest rodent “Capybara” are so chill to the point that they can form an unlikely friendship with crocodiles.
TIL Willie O'Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL, was blind in one eye. It was caused by a ricocheting puck that hit him in the face when he was 18 and he kept it a secret for his entire 21-year career.
TIL That in 1941, USS New York opened fire on an object, believing it to be a japanese aircraft. Fire commenced until a navigator realized they were shooting at Venus.
TIL – The Middle Ages had retirement homes, where seniors could buy residence for the rest of their lives at a monastery with food, shelter and clothing included.
TIL that New York City is reintroducing millions of oysters into their harbor to help clean the water and create marine habitats. They've been collecting used shells from local restaurants to create new homes for juvenile oysters.
TIL when an American film has more than one writer, an “&” indicates that the screenwriters collaborated on the script. An “and” means they worked independently on separate drafts.
TIL a “ferocious rabbit” ran amok in Central Park in 1917. He terrorized the sheep in Sheep Meadow, maimed dogs, and fought an orangutan in the zoo.
TIL the Higgs-Boson Particle, aka “the God Particle”, was actually called “the Goddamn Particle” by physicists because it was so difficult to detect. Publishers forced the rename, resulting in a confusing tie to religion for the particle which is nearly universally hated by physicists.
TIL In 1941 The Germans allowed the British RAF to drop a prosthetic leg by parachute to a Luftwaffe base in France. The Germans were very respectful of Captain Douglas Bader, who was captured after bailing from his plane with only one of his two prosthetic legs. One got stuck in his damaged plane.
TIL Wolfgang Mozart had a sister, Maria Anna, who was also an extremely talented child prodigy in music. Sadly, she was prevented from performing as an adult. Many of her compositions have been lost, including one Wolfgang wrote that he was in ‘awe’ of, contributing to her obscurity.
TIL about the thymus, a small (1 oz.) organ behind the sternum that trains new white blood cells to NOT attack the body's own cells. Only 2% survive this rigorous training program; the rest commit suicide to prevent themselves from attacking friendly cells.
TIL about hysterical strength, a display of extreme physical strength by humans, beyond what is believed to be normal. Examples include a woman saved several children by fighting a polar bear and a woman lifting a car high enough to save a person.
TIL in the 1800’s bananas were seen as “immoral fruit” because of their shape. Fruit companies began issuing postcards of women eating bananas to advertise the fruit wasn’t taboo.
TIL that the writers on Futurama created and proved a new mathematical theorem as a plot point for a body-switching episode.
TIL Founding Father and author of the Bill of Rights James Madison stopped the Virginia Assembly from establishing Christianity as the state religion with the help of Thomas Jefferson.
TIL On PC/console games, about 60% of the female avatars you meet are played by a male player.
Note: this post originally had 110 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.