Fact Of The Day

Fact of the day

We post three daily fun facts 365 days a year! Our facts of the day are random, interesting, and fun facts that we have sourced from all over the internet with a link to all the details and further reading if the fact whets your apatite to learn more on the subject. We invite you to head to our homepage to see our 11,000+ facts in the order they’ve been posted, or if you are just looking for random fun facts then head to our random fact generator page.

Without further ado, today’s facts:

  • WTF Fun Fact 13754 – Why Does Beer Taste Better Cold?

    Beer lovers agree: a cold beer tastes better. But why? Let’s explore the science behind why chilling beer improves its taste. It turns out that temperature plays a crucial role in how we perceive flavors and aromas.

    The Science of Temperature and Beer Taste

    Our taste buds react differently to various temperatures. Cold temperatures numb the taste buds slightly. This numbing effect can dull strong, bitter flavors and highlight more subtle, refreshing notes. Many beers, especially lagers and pilsners, benefit from this cooling effect. They taste crisp and clean when served cold.

    Warm beer, on the other hand, can be overwhelming. Warmer temperatures amplify the beer’s bitterness and alcohol content. This can make the beer taste too intense and less enjoyable. A study published in the “Journal of Sensory Studies” confirms that people prefer the taste of beer served at lower temperatures​ (KnowBC)​.

    Cold Beer and Carbonation

    Carbonation also plays a big role in the taste of beer. Cold temperatures help maintain the beer’s carbonation. This keeps the beer lively and bubbly. Warm beer loses its carbonation quickly, making it taste flat. The fizz in a cold beer enhances the drinking experience, adding a refreshing burst with each sip.

    Carbon dioxide, the gas that carbonates beer, dissolves better in cold liquids. This means that cold beer holds onto its bubbles longer. The bubbles carry the beer’s aromas to your nose, enhancing the overall flavor. A well-carbonated, cold beer can be a delight to the senses.

    Let’s face it: a cold beer is refreshing. There’s nothing like a cold drink to quench your thirst on a hot day. The coldness itself is a big part of why beer tastes better chilled. It cools you down and feels satisfying to drink. This is not just psychological; the cold temperature actually refreshes your body.

    When you’re hot, your body craves something cool. A cold beer meets this need perfectly. The cooling sensation enhances the pleasure of drinking it. This refreshing quality is why beers like lagers, which are meant to be drunk cold, are so popular in hot climates.

    Flavor Suppression and Enhancement

    Different beers taste best at different temperatures. Light beers like lagers and pilsners taste best very cold. The cold temperature suppresses any off-flavors and enhances the beer’s crispness. This makes the beer taste cleaner and more refreshing.

    Darker beers like stouts and porters can be enjoyed at warmer temperatures. These beers have complex flavors that come out better when they’re not too cold. Serving them slightly warmer allows the flavors to open up. However, even these beers can taste unpleasant if they get too warm.

    The Psychological Element of How Beer Tastes

    There’s also a psychological aspect to consider. People associate cold beer with relaxation and pleasure. Advertisements often show people enjoying an ice-cold beer in a fun setting. This creates a strong mental link between cold beer and enjoyment. So, when you drink a cold beer, your brain is already primed to enjoy it more.

    This psychological factor can influence your taste perception. You might genuinely think cold beer tastes better because of the positive associations you have with it. It’s a classic case of expectation affecting experience.

    Practical Tips for the Best Beer Taste

    To enjoy beer at its best, follow these practical tips:

    1. Store Beer Properly: Keep beer in the fridge, ideally between 35-40°F (1.6-4.4°C). This keeps it cold without freezing it.
    2. Use a Frosty Glass: Serve beer in a chilled glass. This helps maintain the cold temperature longer.
    3. Know Your Beer: Different beers have different ideal temperatures. Lagers and pilsners taste best very cold. Ales and stouts can be served slightly warmer.

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    Source: “Scientists Explain Why Beer Tastes Better Cold” – Food & Wine

  • WTF Fun Fact 13753 – Mayans Used Chocolate as Currency

    The Mayans had an intriguing and unique use for chocolate. They didn’t just drink it; they used it as money. Yes, you read that right—chocolate was currency. The Maya civilization, which thrived in Mesoamerica, innovatively integrated chocolate into their economy. Let’s dive into how this delicious system worked.

    Chocolate in the Mayan Economy

    The Mayans were among the first to cultivate cacao trees. They valued cacao beans highly. These beans were not just food; they were wealth. Cacao beans became a standardized form of currency. People used them to buy goods and pay for services. Archaeological evidence shows that Mayans traded cacao beans for items like food, clothes, and tools.

    Imagine going to the market and buying groceries with chocolate beans. This was everyday life for the Mayans. The beans were lightweight, portable, and valuable. This made them an ideal currency for trade and commerce.

    The Value of Cacao Beans to the Mayans

    Cacao beans had a set value. A single bean could buy a tamale, a small meal. Ten beans could get you a rabbit. The Mayans even paid taxes with cacao beans. This system worked because cacao trees thrived in the region. The beans were always in supply but still valuable enough to function as money.

    Not everyone had access to cacao trees, though. This made cacao beans even more precious. The beans became a symbol of wealth and power. Elite Mayans often consumed chocolate drinks as a luxury. This further elevated the status of cacao beans in their society.

    The Cultural Significance of Chocolate

    Chocolate had deep cultural significance for the Mayans. They believed cacao had divine properties. Mayan mythology stated that cacao was a gift from the gods. Consuming it was a spiritual act. Chocolate drinks were part of religious rituals and ceremonies. Priests and nobles drank it during sacred events.

    This cultural importance added another layer to cacao’s value. It wasn’t just a commodity; it was sacred. The spiritual aspect of cacao enhanced its worth as currency. People revered it not just for its taste but for its connection to the divine.

    How Cacao Beans Became Money

    The transition from food to currency was practical. The beans were small, durable, and easy to count. They didn’t spoil quickly, making them reliable for long-term storage. The Mayans stored cacao beans in large quantities, ensuring they had a stable currency.

    Markets and trade centers used cacao beans as the standard for transactions. This consistency helped the economy run smoothly. It wasn’t just local trade; cacao beans facilitated regional commerce too. The beans crossed borders, making them a widespread form of money.

    The End of Cacao Currency

    The use of cacao as currency faded with the arrival of the Spanish. The Spanish conquest disrupted Mayan society and economy. They introduced new forms of currency, such as coins and paper money. However, cacao beans remained valuable for a while. The Spanish even adopted chocolate drinks from the Mayans, spreading its popularity in Europe.

    The decline of cacao currency marked the end of an era. Yet, the legacy of chocolate lives on. Today, we enjoy chocolate in various forms. Few people know its rich history as money. The Mayans’ innovative use of cacao beans showcases their ingenuity and cultural depth.

    The Legacy of the Mayans & Chocolate

    Cacao remains a significant crop in regions once inhabited by the Mayans. Modern-day countries like Mexico and Guatemala continue to grow cacao. The cultural and economic impact of cacao endures. Farmers today still value the beans, though for different reasons.

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    Source: “The Maya civilization used chocolate as money” — Science

  • WTF Fun Fact 13752 – Top of the Totem Pole

    Many people think the top of the totem pole is the most important. This belief is flat-out wrong. The bottom is often the most significant. Understanding this is crucial to appreciating totem poles properly. Let’s explore why people misunderstand totem poles and why the bottom matters more.

    Totem poles come from Indigenous cultures in the Pacific Northwest. They are intricate carvings representing family crests, legends, or important events. These tall structures tell stories, and each figure on the pole has a purpose. People often believe the figure at the top holds the most importance. However, this is a big misconception.

    The top figure is often the least important. Carvers place the most significant figures at the bottom. This positioning keeps them closer to the people who view the pole. The bottom figures usually represent the family’s main totems or the most powerful animals and spirits. This placement ensures they receive the most attention and respect.

    Bottom Figures: The Real MVPs

    Consider the Haida totem poles. The Haida are a Native American tribe from the Pacific Northwest. Haida poles often feature the most crucial figures at the base. For example, the “Wasgo” or sea-wolf appears at the bottom. The sea-wolf symbolizes strength and bravery. Placing it at the bottom highlights its importance to the Haida people.

    The Tlingit people also follow this practice. The Tlingit often carve their most important clan crests at the bottom. A bear or raven at the base signifies respect and honor. This positioning shows that these animals play a crucial role in their cultural stories and beliefs.

    Another example is the Kwakwaka’wakw totem poles. The Kwakwaka’wakw carve poles that tell family histories. The most critical ancestors or animals are at the bottom. This placement ensures that viewers first see the most important elements of the family’s story.

    Totem Pole Misunderstandings

    Why do people get it wrong? Western culture often values the top position. People assume the highest point signifies the most importance. In many hierarchies, like corporate structures, the top position means power and authority. This mindset leads to the misunderstanding of totem poles.

    Movies and media also perpetuate this myth. Hollywood often shows the top of the totem pole as the prime spot. This depiction misleads people into thinking that the top is the best. Understanding totem poles requires setting aside these assumptions.

    The term “low man on the totem pole” is misleading too. It implies that being at the bottom means less importance. In reality, being at the bottom of a totem pole often means holding great significance. This phrase does a disservice to the true meaning and cultural importance of totem poles.

    Embracing the Correct Perspective

    We need to respect and understand Indigenous cultures better. Recognizing the true structure of totem poles is a start. This knowledge honors the cultural practices and beliefs of the tribes that create these poles.

    Next time you see a totem pole, take a closer look. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Appreciate the figures at the base. They are often the key to understanding the story and significance of the pole. Respect the carvers’ intentions and the cultural meanings behind each figure.

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    Source: “Totem Pole” — The Canadian Encyclopedia

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