Whether you want to brush up on your pub quiz skills or just enjoy finding out esoteric info, here's a dozen erudite, off beat facts to boost your knowledge.
The word "river" in Scandinavian is "Å," and both Norway and Sweden have villages with this as their name. Sweden also has a village named Ö, which means "island." France has a village called Y.
The U.K.'s official name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is the most characters (56) in a country's full name. Libya used to hold the honor at 63 characters when it was called Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma. The name was changed in 2013 to the State of Libya.
However, the longest name of any place on earth is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Rather than going by this 21-word name, the city goes by its widely known nickname: Bangkok.
Only two countries in South America do not border Brazil. Brazil is so large that it takes up 3,287,956 square miles of South America. Only Ecuador and Chile, both on the west coast, are separated from Brazil by other nations.
What's the largest organ in your body? Your skin! Not only is it the body's largest organ, but the skin is also the body's largest and fastest-growing organ. Skin covers 22 square feet or 2 sq.m of the human body in a full-grown adult and is completely replaced around once per month.
Serbia: This former Yugoslavian republic was once the center of the Roman empire and it shows - there were 18 emperors born in what is now modern-day Serbia. The most famous of these was Constantine I, who founded Constantinople (Istanbul) and elevated Christianity to a state-level religion.
Nepal's flag is the only flag in the world that is not a rectangle. Its two triangles are a combination of pennants to showcase the country's Himalayan Mountains.
Finland: Since 1949, the Finnish government has given every expectant mother a cardboard box that their baby can sleep in, filled with essential items like clothes, sheets and toys.
Iceland is known for being tops in a lot of per-capita categories, but none is more surprising than Coca-Cola. Icelanders, per capita, consume more of the soft drink than any other country in the world.
Saint Lucia: This island nation in the Caribbean Sea is the only country in the world that’s named after a woman, in this case Saint Lucy of Syracuse. French settlers were the first Europeans to arrive on the island, and gave it that name.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to allow women to vote in parliamentary elections.
North Carolina has a piece of land that belongs to England: Along North Carolina's Outer Banks, in the small town of Ocracoke, is land officially leased forever to England. Actually a cemetery and memorial, the site honors the HMT Bedfordshire, an English naval ship that patrolled the coastal waters during WWII. When the Bedforshire was sunk by a German U-boat torpedo, all 37 sailors on board died, most never to be recovered. Four bodies did wash ashore, though, and are buried in a cemetery leased in perpetuity to the British so the men can remain on their home soil.
Today's OGN Sunday Magazine articles