11 Unbelievable Facts

1. Bob Marley’s father was white.

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Marley’s father Norval Marley, born in the U.K. in 1885, was a European-Jamaican of British heritage. At the age of 50, Norval married an 18-year old gospel singer of African descent named Cedella Malcolm, who gave birth to their son Robert Nesta Marley. Bob Marley was only 10 when his father died.

2. The moon is moving farther and farther away from the Earth all the time.

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Just as the moon’s gravity pulls on the Earth, the Earth’s gravity pulls on the moon,making it slightly egg-shaped. (Freaky.) It’s also causing the moon to recede farther away from the Earth. We won’t feel any tidal effects from this for millions of years.

3. Humans have the genetic capability to hibernate.

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All mammals are equipped with the genetic mechanisms for hibernation, which can be used as an extreme survival tactic. Read more about the actual science here.

4. Australia once lost its prime minister.

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Harold Holt became prime minister of Australia in 1966. In 1967, he disappearedwhile swimming at Cheviot Beach. His body was never found, something officials suspect resulted from “an attack by marine life, the body being carried out to sea by tides or becoming wedged in rock crevices.” But by law, no official inquest into his death could be made without a body.

5. There was a chicken that lived for 18 months with its head cut off.

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en.m.wikipedia.org

After a farmer failed to properly behead a chicken because he missed the jugular vein, the bird lived for 18 months. Christened Mike the Headless Chicken, it survived on a mixture of milk and water, fed into his exposed esophagus via an eyedropper. The farmer turned Mike into a sideshow attraction, charging 25 cents admission. For a while, Mike earned $4,500 per month, or $47,500 today.

6 President Lyndon B. Johnson owned an amphibious car and used to drive guests into the lake to scare them, screaming about brake failure.

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LBJ Library / Public Domain Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Germany’s Amphicar was an amphibious car mass-produced for sale to the public starting in 1961. One of LBJ’s aides recalled: “We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The president shouted, ‘The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!’”

7. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia and Africa.

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Many of these end up on dinner tables, as camel meat is a popular foodstuff there. Lately, camel exports from Somalia have resulted in the spread of the harmful MERS virus.

8. It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.

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Diamond “hailstones” form on Saturn and Jupiter when “lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond,” according to the BBC. The largest diamonds are purportedly about one centimeter in diameter. In one interesting theory laid out in a book called Alien Seas, robotic “mining ships” could be sent to these planets to retrieve the diamonds and bring them back to earth.

9. If you fly directly south from Detroit, you’ll hit the Canadian border.

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If you fly out of Coleman A. Young International Airport, you’ll cross over the town of Windsor, Ontario, before re-entering U.S. airspace.

10. A shamanic group in Mexico worships Coca-Cola as a healing drug.

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Shamans in San Juan Chamula, Mexico, believe Coke heals worshipers. (Cola induces burping, which shamans believe releases evil from the soul.) WritesMexicoRetold.com, “Every group involved in ritual practice had glass bottles of Coke with them. Generally we saw people drink it in shot glasses, almost as if they were taking a medicine.”

11. Russia is bigger than Pluto.

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Pluto’s surface area is about 16.7×106 km squared, while the surface area of Russia: 17.1×106 km squared. Pluto’s diameter is 2,390 km across, or approximately the distance between Salt Lake City and Chicago.