r/TIL, the subreddit usually referred to as “Today I Learned,” is a treasure trove for the perennially curious. Each and every day, people there share all manner of interesting, obscure, and sometimes bizarre little factoids that you never found in any of your school textbooks.
With more than 12 illustrious years in existence and a gargantuan community that now numbers more than 25 million and only continues to grow, Today I Learned is dedicated to keeping the flame of learning alive. The subreddit embodies the idea that it’s never too late to learn something new, and people are always posting there about the latest things they’ve learned.
Here are just a few recently posted facts that you might find there as you scour its latest threads.
Five Cool Facts From TIL
The country of Haiti was founded in a slave revolt directed against French colonialists and slave owners, which lasted from 1791 to 1804. The French Revolutionaries tentatively supported the principles behind the revolt, but when Napoleon came to power, he tried to shut things down. In 1802, as part of his effort to shut down the revolt, he included a Polish legion in his army. However, the Poles ended up joining the revolting slaves.
During World War II, MI5, Britain’s domestic counter-intelligence agency, used the Girl Guides to deliver secret messages. The Girl Guides were basically the British equivalent of America’s Girl Scouts. MI5 used girls for this purpose because they found that boys were too rowdy and talkative.
Steven Spielberg made his first film at the age of 17. It was called “Firelight, and it was a sci-fi film made on a budget of only $500. Five hundred people showed up to the premiere screening on March 24, 1964, paying $1 per ticket. However, since one person happened to pay $2, this film became Spielberg’s first commercial success.
Fermilab, the particle accelerator laboratory, used to clean its particle accelerators with the help of a ferret named Felicia. The lab workers would attach cleaning supplies to Felicia’s body and then have her run through all of the particle accelerator’s tubes. As a reward for this work, Felicia would be fed hamburger meat.
- The film Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as a pair of dopey public-access TV hosts, is a comedy classic. The movie is famous for its hilarious Bohemian Rhapsody headbanging scene, where the characters rock out in a car out to the famous Queen song. Although the film was released in 1992, Queen frontman Freddy Mercury was able to watch this particular scene shortly before his untimely death on November 24, 1991. He loved it. In fact, he predicted that the film and the song would help enable the band to make a comeback in the United States.