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1 February

1st February


Although the Yo-Yo can be traced back to almost 500 B.C. it was only in the late 1920s that an international craze started.


A U.S.A. immigrant from the Philippines, Pedro Flores, remembered how popular the toy had been in his homeland so while working as a bellboy in Los Angeles, he handcrafted some Yo-Yo’s and sold them to children.


Once popularity increased, he was able to secure financing to open a factory; within the first year, he was producing 300,000 Yo-Yo’s a day.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge


2nd February


Richard T. James was a mechanical engineer who had the task of designing a sensitive spring that would keep fragile equipment steady on ships. After accidentally knocking one over, he watched how it seemed to walk the fall. His wife named it the “Slinky”, and it became the must-have novelty toy of Christmas 1945.


However, James was unable to handle the success and fame that the toy brought. After donating large amounts of money to questionable religious charities, he abandoned his wife and six children to join a cult in Bolivia.


His entrepreneurial wife secured a mortgage against her home, started a TV advertising campaign, and built a toy empire around the “Slinky”.


In 2001 Betty M. James was inducted into the “Toy Industry Hall of Fame”.


During her lifetime, 300 million variations of the “Slinky.”

were sold.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge


3rd February


In 1950 an English inventor, Edgar Ellington, attempted to create waterproof socks. However, when the water kept leaking through the socks, he was so frustrated that he threw the product across the room, causing it to burst - this generated a new idea, and shortly afterward, water balloons were marketed.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



4th February


The Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, suggested that when you prepare your food, you anticipate its taste (pre-consume) and consequently become less hungry for it.


This concept is called habituation, i.e. the process by which someone’s response to something lessens the more thought they give to it.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




5th February


Yale University students were known for playing catch with plates from the local bakery called “Frisbie Baking Co”. To alert others of the airborne plates, they would call out “Frisbie”.


Around the same time, there was a heightened obsession with UFOs. Two men combined the ideas and created a plastic version of the plate called the “Flying Saucer” which was renamed in 1955 as the “Frisbee”.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



6th February


The vaccines for chickenpox, haemophilia influenza, hepatitis A and B, measles, meningitis, mumps, and pneumonia were all developed by the American microbiologist Maurice Ralph Hilleman. As a specialist in vaccinology, he created eight of the fourteen vaccinations routinely used today. 


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge


7th February


Georges Hébert (1875-1957) was a ground-breaking physical instructor who worked for the French marines. He firmly believed that the body should be refined to enable it to move quickly with maximum flexibility.


He defined the principles of his physical education system, which have since evolved into what is now known as Freerunning - the creation of Sébastien Foucan.


Freerunning aims to improve the body’s strength, flexibility, and coordination; the goal of the sport is to ensure movement is not hindered by any obstacles in the way.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



8th February


For most people toilet paper is an essential everyday item. However, toilet paper contains the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) which can have adverse health effects such as an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, male impotence, reproductive disorders, and type 2 diabetes.


BPA is also found in an extensive selection of other paper products. The highest concentration levels were found in till receipts, but BPA is also detected in newspapers, napkins, food wrappers, and printer paper.


It is estimated that 2,500 rolls of toilet paper can be made from a 40-foot tree.

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



9th February


Gelotology is the study of humour and laughter. It is undertaken by specialists known as gelotologists who analyse the psychological and physiological effects laughter has on the human body.


Laughter can be contagious and often triggers similar gelotoleptic fits in others - this may account, in part, for the popularity of laughter-tracks in TV sitcoms.


Records exist dating back to the 5th century B.C. which indicate that people literally died from laughing. One such person was a Greek painter named Zeuxis who reportedly died from laughing at the humorous way he had painted the goddess, Aphrodite.


In 1975, the death of Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from Norfolk, England, made the headlines as he laughed continuously for the half-hour before he died. Thirty-seven years later his 23-year-old grand-daughter suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest. A medical team subsequently diagnosed her with a hereditary heart disease known as “Long QT Syndrome” which triggers irregular heartbeats. It is now believed that Mitchell may also have suffered from the same condition, and the constant laughter instigated his collapse.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



10th February


The Common Palm Civet (also known as the Toddy Cat) is a cat-sized mammal found living in the Southeast Asian rainforests. Distantly related to cats, the civet family have catlike bodies, long tails, and weasel-like faces.


Civets have scent-producing glands located in a double pouch near the genitals. These glands secrete a yellow substance which has a unique musky odour. Animals held in captivity have the material removed regularly to be used as an additive in perfume.


The civet’s diet consists mainly of fruit although they are also fond of sweetened coffee cherries. They only eat the outer fruit of the coffee cherry and leave the actual bean to pass through the digestive tract.


At the start of the 19th century, the Dutch established coffee plantations in Indonesia but did not allow the plantation workers to collect coffee beans for their own use. However, the workforce quickly discovered that undigested coffee beans remained in the civet’s droppings. They started to collect the droppings to extract the beans and after a cleansing process ground them into coffee.


At the cost of up to $100 (in New York) for a single beverage, civet coffee (Kopi Luwak) ranks as one of the most expensive coffees. An increase in demand has resulted in wild civets being illegally poached, caged in cramped conditions, and force-fed a diet consisting of only coffee cherries. In their natural habitat civets are solitary creatures (on average they need approximately 17 kms² of territory); when imprisoned together in small cages, they fight with each other. Captivity also has an adverse effect on their health, and many go insane. There is a high probability that those released back into the wild would not be able to survive.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




11th February


At $1,100 per kilogram, Black Ivory coffee has the status of being the world’s most expensive coffee.


Rescued elephants reside at the not-for-profit “Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation”. They have a diet of coffee cherries, which are digested along with additional foods such as bananas, sugar cane, rice, and other vegetation.


During the digestion process, the elephant’s stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee beans, which removes the bitter aftertaste. The beans are also infused with flavours from the other foods giving the bean a distinct earthy and fruity taste.


Mahouts (elephant trainers) collect the elephants' dung to extract the undigested coffee beans which are dried in the sun before the coffee refinement process takes place.


The Canadian creator of Black Ivory coffee is Blake Dinkin who has stressed the benefits of this new delicacy, not only to the community, but also the conservation.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




12th February


Mageirocophobia is both the fear of cooking and the dread of possible adverse outcomes. Sufferers may feel intimidated by complicated recipes or tend to be afraid that their food is inedible. They may also worry that their cooking might cause them or a guest to become ill. Those with severe mageirocophobia have grave concerns about getting cut or burnt during the process. Experiencing anxiety about the presentation of the meal is also another symptom the sufferer may encounter.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



13th February


Teabags were the accidental invention of Thomas Sullivan in 1908. In a cost-cutting exercise, the New-York based tea merchant sent samples of tea leaves to potential customers in small pouches. Unsure what to do with the pouches, people started dunking them in hot water bringing about the birth of the teabag.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




14th February


The tall round white hat worn by chefs is called a toque blanch (French for white hat).


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




15th February


Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of having food stuck to the roof of your mouth – in particular, peanut butter.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



16th February


Alliumphobia is the fear of garlic! People who have this phobia may also avoid other pungent-smelling alliums such as chives, onions, or shallots.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




17th February


Breathing is controlled by the respiratory control centre located at the base of the brain. Signals are sent continuously down the spine to the relevant muscles involved in breathing. These signals ensure the muscles contract and relax regularly allowing the process to happen automatically.


Breathing Pattern Disorders fall into two categories. Firstly, hyperventilation - a biochemical problem caused by over-breathing which unbalances the levels of oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled. Secondly, dysfunctional breathing patterns which can be subdivided into two areas: breathing too fast or too large amounts, and training the wrong muscle groups to work, which may be the result of bad posture.


On average, a person takes between eight to twelve cycles of breath each minute.


Breathing through your mouth while sleeping can contribute to night-time urination.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge



18th February


Cat urine will glow under a black light because it contains phosphorous.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




19th February


The ice at the centre of a comet is not just ordinary ice! The other elements that are included alongside the frozen water are ammonia, carbon dioxide, and cold methane, all of which are mixed with debris, dust, and rocks from the solar system.


The tail of a comet is the consequence of solar winds blowing against it. 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




20th February


“The Guide Horse Foundation” was established in America in 1999 with the vision to train miniature horses as a safe, cost-effective, and reliable alternative for visually impaired people who, for various reasons, are unable to use a guide dog.


There is an extensive list of advantages for training miniature horses which embraces their natural ability to guide, their excellent vision, and the fact that they remain focused on their work. Other benefits include their life-span (which can range up to fifty years) as well as their ability to stay calm regardless of how stressful a situation may be.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




21st February


In 1809, the Spanish town of Huéscar declared war on Denmark. They were legitimately at war for 172 years until a historian discovered the official declaration and realised that a peace treaty had not been signed. During the interim period, not a single shot had been fired nor any lives lost. The signing of a peace treaty in 1981 brought the war to an end.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




22nd February


A liger is the offspring of a male lion with a tigress – an act that only takes place while both animals are in captivity.

During pregnancy, the tigress is put at significant risk and may require a C-section as ligers can grow to be twice the size of their parents.


A liger can suffer from many birth defects and have major health problems such as cancer, disease, and arthritis, due to the genetic abnormalities associated with hybridisation.


The world’s first white ligers were born in 2014. The four brothers are the product of breeding a white lion with a white tigress – both of which are extremely rare in their own right.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




23rd February


Throughout the ages, various items have been used as a substitute pacifier to soothe babies.


One of the most popular was known as a sugar-rag, which was a tied-off rag of linen filled with bread marinated in animal fat, honey, or sugar. For teething purposes, the sugar rags were dipped in whiskey to help alleviate the pain (and often helped the baby to fall asleep!). Earlier alternatives included the Romans’ idea to give babies a beaded necklace to put in their mouth while the Eskimos treated teething infants to a piece of whale blubber.


The pacifier we are familiar with today was inspired by the hard rubber teething rings used in the 19th century. In 1949 German physicians, Wilhelm Baltes and Adolf Müller invented the first silicon-based orthodontic pacifier.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




24th February


The gestation period of a sow or gilt is three months, three weeks and three days (approximately 112-115 days). An indication that the sow/gilt is about to farrow is nesting, i.e. by using her mouth and feet, she arranges any bedding materials (such as straw) into one area.


A litter of pigs is known as a farrow.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




25th February


Printing paper, newspapers, and notebook paper, are made from cellulose produced by trees.


Paper money is made from a special blend of fibres which consists roughly of 75% cotton and 25% linen.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge


 26th February


If a person sleeps for the recommended eight hours each night, a total of approximately 2,920 hours will be spent sleeping each year.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




27th February


With a wingspan extending to almost 30 centimetres the Attacus Atlas, otherwise known as the Southeast Asian Atlas Moth, is considered one of the largest moths in the world. Even though some moths are considered agricultural pests many others are essential pollinations as their hairy bodies transport pollen, e.g. the yucca plant is a moth pollinated flower.


The Actias Luna (luna moth) does not have either a mouth nor a nose. It has a short lifespan of just one week during which time its sole mission is to mate and lay eggs. The luna moth can detect odour molecules by using their elaborate antennae. These scent receptors enable males to detect a female from seven miles away.


Tiger Moths are at the bottom of the food chain and the primary source of food for bats. However, they can emit a defensive ultrasonic clicking sound which effectively blocks a bat’s sonar.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge




28th February


The average-sized home (1,500 ft²) accumulates 40 lbs of dust each year.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

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