The subreddit called “Today I Learned” truly is one of the most impressive and interesting resources on the internet. It takes advantage of the collective knowledge found in the internet’s great hive mind — more knowledge than could ever possibly be found in the brain of a single individual, however brilliant — to inform us all.
True lovers of knowledge know that education never really ends and that it is a mistake to think of learning only as something that you do in school. The truth is you learn all sorts of fascinating things outside of school — by reading, by researching, by following you curiosity and just by living life.
In light of that, the TIL community — nearly 26 million strong as of this writing — has decided to share a few interesting and incredible facts that you probably never heard in school. To show you that it’s never too late to learn something cool, here are just a few of them.
- Most of us have heard of biker gangs. Many know of gangs like the Hell’s Angels, a group shrouded in romance, mayhem and a history of violence. That violent history has generally tainted most people’s perceptions of biker gangs. But not all biker gangs are like that.
In fact, there’s one gang called BACA, or Bikers Against Child Abuse. They go out of their way to defend children who have been bullied or abused in any way.
Not only that, but they’ve also volunteered to do things like build schools for kids and guard their houses at night.
Being the Queen of England imposes many responsibilities and duties on Elizabeth II, some of them rather unsavory. At one time, the queen was scheduled to meet with Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. But rather than meet with the brutal tyrant, the queen went off and hid in a bush with her pet dog.
Stephen King is a stunningly prolific writer whose font of creativity appears to be endless. But did you know that he’s an extremely magnanimous man as well? In fact, he has made a habit of selling the rights to some of his short stories for merely $1. This allows film students and up-and-coming filmmakers to cheaply adapt them into movies.
- Since the theme of these facts is that you probably didn’t learn them in school, we should all remember that some people simply don’t belong in a formal scholastic environment. The story of dancer Gillian Lynne brilliantly illustrates that.
Lynne struggled so mightily in school that her teachers assumed she had a learning disorder. She was then taken to a doctor. But when the doctor observed her dancing to music on the radio, he immediately perceived that she was a dancer at heart. Lynne was then sent to a dance school and went on to become a world-famous dancer and choreographer.
- Latin is commonly ridiculed as a dead language, but sometimes it pays to know it.
Former pope Benedict XVI accounted his retirement to a shocked world in 2013. The pope initially made the announcement in Latin. Most reporters do not understand Latin and so could not break the story. But — mirabile dictu! — one reporter did, and she scooped everyone else.