Interesting bug facts

Fun Facts About Bugs | Smithsonian Institution

  • Houseflies find sugar with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than human tongues.
  • Ticks can grow from the size of a grain of rice to the size of a marble.
  • Approximately 2,000 silkworm cocoons are needed to produce one pound of silk.
  • While gathering food, a bee may fly up to 60 miles in one day.
  • Ants can lift and carry more than fifty times their own weight.
  • Mexican Jumping Beans, sometimes sold commercially, actually have a caterpillar of a bean moth inside.
  • It takes about one hundred Monarch Butterflies to weigh an ounce.
  • When the droppings of millions of cattle started ruining the land in Australia, dung beetles were imported to reduce the problem.
  • Wasps feeding on fermenting juice have been known to get "drunk' and pass out.
  • The queen of a certain termite species can lay 40,000 eggs per day.
  • Honeybees have to make about ten million trips to collect enough nectar for production of one pound of honey.
  • Insects have been present for about 350 million years, and humans for only 300,000 years.
  • Blow flies are the first kind of insect attracted to an animal carcass following death.
  • The term "honeymoon" comes from the Middle Ages, when a newly married couple was provided with enough honey wine to last for the first month of their married life.
  • To survive the cold of winter months, many insects replace their body water with a chemical called glycerol, which acts as an "antifreeze" against the temperatures.
  • There are nearly as many species of ants (8,800) as there are species of birds (9,000) in the world.
  • The male silk moth is estimated to "smell" chemicals of female silk moths in the air at the ratio of a few hundred molecules among 25 quintillion (25,000,000,000,000,000,000) molecules in a cubic centimeter of air.
  • True flies have only one pair of wings, and sometimes, none at all. A hind pair of "wings" is reduced to balancing organs called halteres.
  • There are about 91,000 different kinds (species) of insects in the United States. In the world, some 1.5 million different kinds (species) have been named.
  • Vladimir Nabokov, a famous Russian author, collected butterflies and actually named as a new subspecies the Kamer Blue Butterfly from the pine barrens of the Northeast United States.
  • A particular Hawk Moth caterpillar from Brazil, when alarmed, raises its head and inflates its thorax, causing it to look like the head of a snake.
  • About one-third of all insect species are carnivorous, and most hunt for their food rather than eating decaying meat or dung.

Prepared by the Department of Systematic Biology, Entomology Section,
National Museum of Natural History, in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services, 
Information Sheet Number 177, 1996

25 cool facts about bugs!

Here at National Geographic Kids, we love bugs!

And it seems we’re not the only ones – wildlife presenter Chris Packham chatted to us about all things bugs…

“When I was a child, at the front gate of my parents’ house was a bush which was the home to the most beautiful ladybirds. I would stand on the wall and catch ladybirds of all different colours,” he says.

“My favourite bug is the Hornet.” Chris tells us. “They’re fantastic insect predators. Watch them hunting, they are like aerial tigers. Equally they are very beautiful with their patterning and colouring.”

“It’s really important for kids to explore the bug life in their garden because it’s been proven that being connected to nature makes you happier.”

Shockingly, new research from intu Shopping Centres found that one in six kids hasn’t seen a bug in six months!

Yikes! Come on gang, we’re going to find out what makes insects so amazing, in our 25 cool facts about bugs!

Facts about bugs

1) A ladybird might eat more than 5,000 insects in its lifetime!

2) Fruit flies were the first living creatures to be sent into space.

3) Dragonflies have been on earth for 300 million years!

4) A bee’s wings beat 190 times a second, that’s 11,400 times a minute.

5) The stag beetle is the largest species of insect to be found in the UK.

6) Caterpillars have 12 eyes!

7) One dung beetle can drag 1,141 times its weight – that’s like a human pulling six double-decker buses!

8) A single honeybee colony can produce around 100kg of honey each year – that’s 220 jars!

9) An ant-eating assassin bug piles its victims onto its body to scare predators.

10) Large groups of fireflies sometimes flash in unison.

11) To breathe underwater, the water scorpion uses a snorkel-like tube on its abdomen.

Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable ‘Make a bug hotel’ primary resource? Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents alike!

12) There are 36 species of dragonfly found in the UK.

13) Bulldog ants can leap seven times the length of their bodies!

14) Mosquitos are attracted to smelly feet!

15) Some male stoneflies do push-ups to attract a mate.

16) Butterflies taste with their feet.

17) Grasshoppers have special organs in their hind legs that store energy for jumping.

18) A hornet’s favourite food is a…bee!

19) The red postman butterfly develops its own poison by eating toxic plants!

20) A sea skater’s leg hair traps air, enabling it to float on water.

21) Grasshoppers existed before dinosaurs!

22) Ladybirds sometimes play dead to avoid predators.

23) Damselflies have been on earth for more than 300 million years.

24) Greater water boatmen breathe through their bottom!

25) Male giraffe weevils use their long necks to fight each other.

Photos: Getty Images UK.

Look for bugs in the garden!

There are lots of exciting things you can find if you go on a bug safari in your garden!

“You can find everything from ladybirds, bees and beetles, such as the stag beetle,” says Chris Packham.

“What’s also great about your insects in your backyard is that there are seasonal changes and you can always find something new.”

Wow! If you want to go exploring in your garden, you can use our insect safari primary resource to help you!

What do you think to these cool facts about bugs? Let us know by leaving a comment, below!


Interesting Facts about Errors — Museum of Facts

New facts can now be read on Telegram, Instagram and Twitter.

What border shape is the state of Colorado?

The states of Colorado and Wyoming on the map look like rectangles, and their shape, given only by lines of parallels and meridians, is determined by the decision of the Congress. But the real form is far from this because of the demarcation errors made by surveyors of the 19th century due to the imperfection of instruments, landscape features and simply the human factor. If we take into account all the errors, then Colorado should be considered 697-gon.

Source: Big Think / Colorado is a rectangle? Think again

Wyoming geography borders Colorado errors USA

Which gods of Slavic mythology are the result of errors or exaggerations of researchers?

Sigismund von Herberstein, a diplomat from the Holy Roman Empire who visited the Russian state in the 16th century, tried to translate The Tale of Bygone Years into Latin. He made a mistake in the phrase “Perun is drevyan, and his head is silver, and his mustache is golden, and Kharsa Dazhbog and Stribog and Semargl and Mokosh”, as a result of which the god Uslad appeared, whom Russian so-called “armchair mythologists” declared two centuries later to be primordially Slavic the god of fun and pleasure Oslad (or Delight). Various exaggerations and misinterpretations led to the appearance of other imaginary members of the Slavic pantheon, for example, the flower goddess Zimtserla, the god of love Lel or the solar god Yarilo.

Source: Wikipedia / Oslad, Arzamas / Who invented the ancient Slavic gods and why?

deities mythology errors translations The Tale of Bygone Years Russia Holy Roman Empire

In what country was a photograph of Master Yoda printed in school textbooks at the first UN conference?

Saudi Arabian artist Shawish created a series of photo collages that put popular pop culture characters into a historical context. In one of these collages, Master Yoda sits next to the future Saudi king Faisal, when he, in the status of Minister of Foreign Affairs, signs at 1945 year of the UN charter. This photo was printed in textbooks for Saudi schools, after which the Minister of Education was forced to publicly apologize.

Source: BBC / Saudi textbook features image of Yoda with King Faisal

collages Master Yoda UN mistakes Saudi Arabia photo

Why are there no Martin II and Martin III in the list of popes, but Martin IV and Martin V?

Martin I, Martin IV and Martin V can be found in the list of popes, but the second and third Martins are missing. The fact is that by the time of the election of Martin IV in 1281, in the list of his predecessors, two popes with the name Marin were mistakenly recorded as Martins. Later, the error was discovered, but the established numbering was not changed.

Source: Wikipedia / Martin IV

error names popes

What simple actions significantly reduce the error rate of Japanese railway employees?

Japanese railroad workers introduced the "Shisa Kanko" system from the beginning of the 20th century, which significantly reduced the number of errors of machinists and other employees. During work, routine actions must be accompanied by a pointing gesture and voice commentary. For example, when looking at the device, the driver points his finger at it and loudly pronounces the readings, and the conductor points to the closed door and announces that the door is closed. The effectiveness of the method is due to the fact that the connection of actions with physical and speech activity greatly increases focus, and, therefore, reduces the likelihood of errors caused by fatigue or thoughtfulness. A similar system is also widely implemented on the railways of China and some other Asian countries.

Source: Lifehacker / The Secret of Efficiency from Japanese Railways, Wikipedia / Pointing and calling

railways China mistakes work Japan

What did a Spartan have to do to have his name placed on a gravestone?

Two categories of citizens of Sparta had the right to perpetuate the name on the gravestone: men who died in battle, and women who died during the performance of a religious rite. In one of Plutarch's translations, the second category was erroneously indicated as women who died in childbirth, and this interpretation has spread through many sources.

Source: Wikipedia / Women in ancient Sparta

wars women graves men rituals mistakes funerals religion childbirth Sparta

How does Mephri's law differ from Murphy's law?

Murphy's famous joke law says that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. There is also Mephri's law derived from it. According to him, you are bound to make a mistake when writing criticism of someone's editing or proofreading.

Source: Wikipedia / Mephri Law

error laws

Which club mistakenly tried to buy Lionel Messi because of a misinterpretation of the words?

In 2008, Sheikh Mansour's investment company from the United Arab Emirates bought the English football club Manchester City. In one of the phone conversations with the executive director of the club, the sheikh said: "It's all getting messy" ("Everything is getting complicated"). The director misheard and understood this phrase as an indication to buy Lionel Messi from Barcelona, ​​but the Spanish club rejected an offer of 30 million pounds for their leader. In the spring of the following year, Manchester City made a new attempt to buy Messi and were ready to pay five times more, but were again refused.

Source: / "Manchester City" tried to buy Messi by mistake

English England Spain Manchester City Messi UAE errors translations trade FC Barcelona football

Which American state was named as a result of a cartographer's mistake?

When the Spaniards, led by Columbus, landed on one of the American islands, they named it San Juan in honor of John the Baptist. The town of Puerto Rico soon became the administrative center of the island (translated from Spanish as "rich port"). But later cartographers confused the names of the island and the city, so now the state is called Puerto Rico, and its capital is San Juan.

Source: Wikipedia / Puerto Rico

geography John the Baptist cartography Columbus error names Puerto Rico

Why did golfer Tiger Woods make a video about him being able to walk on water?

Since the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, Electronic Arts has received many complaints from gamers that it is possible to hit a ball lying on the surface of a body of water. In response to these claims, a viral video was shot, the hero of which was the real Tiger Woods. He, as if nothing had happened, walked through the water and delivered an accurate blow, and Electronic Arts announced the misunderstanding in the game "not a bug, but a feature."

Source: Youtube / Tiger Woods 09 - Walk on Water

Electronic Arts golf computer games bugs advertising Tiger Woods

What kind of person, having come to an IT job interview, became a TV star?

On May 8, 2006, an emigrant from the Republic of the Congo named Guy Goma got on the air of the BBC news channel, although he came to the TV center for an interview for the position of an IT specialist. The expert Guy Kewney, who was actually supposed to be interviewed, was in another waiting room, but due to erroneous tips from an assistant, a BBC employee invited Gom into the studio. He realized that there was a mistake when the presenter had already introduced him as Kewnie, but he was not at a loss and answered all the questions about downloading music from the Internet. After this incident, Goma became a local TV star and took part in many TV shows on various channels, but he never got a job at the BBC.

Source: Wikipedia / Goma, Guy

BBC England errors Republic of the Congo television

Which painting has been hanging upside down in the museum for a long time?

In the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1961, Henri Matisse's painting "The Boat" was exhibited. Only after 47 days did someone notice that the painting was hanging upside down.

Source: Wikipedia / Le Bateau

art paintings Matisse museums New York mistakes US artists

How is mumpsimus different from sumpsimus?

The English word "mumpsimus" denotes a person who sticks to his views or habits even after they have been clearly shown to be wrong. The origin of the term goes back to the story of a priest who misremembered the Latin word "sumpsimus" as "mumpsimus". When the error was pointed out to him, he said that he was already used to writing like that and would not be reorganized. Interestingly, "sumpsimus" also appears in the English dictionary and means the opposite - a strict pedant who refuses to accept more common but formally incorrect norms.

Source: Wikipedia / Mumpsimus

English Latin errors

What stupid miscalculation caused the Mars Climate Orbiter to crash?

In 1999, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter landed on Mars. However, instead of the calculated 140, it passed over the surface of the planet at an altitude of only 57 km and simply burned up in the atmosphere. Later, the cause of the accident was established: one group of specialists used British units of measurement (pound-force) in calculations, and the other - metric (newton).

Source: Wikipedia / Mars Climate Orbiter

accidents measurements astronautics errors planet Mars USA

Why did the two halves of the bridge between the German and Swiss cities not dock?

In Germany and Switzerland there are cities with the same name Laufenburg, separated by a river. In 2003, they decided to jointly build a new bridge - teams of builders worked towards each other. However, shortly before the meeting, it became apparent that the two halves of the bridge did not meet vertically by 54 cm due to errors in the calculations related to sea level. The fact is that the Germans define it in relation to the North Sea, and the Swiss in relation to the Mediterranean. Although the engineers were initially aware of the difference of 27 cm, somehow instead of zeroing this figure doubled, and the German part of the bridge had to be lowered.

Source: BBC / Great miscalculations

Germany Sea bridges Mistakes North Sea Mediterranean Sea construction Switzerland

Which area is left white on one of the most expensive stamps with the inscription "The whole country is red"?

In 1968, China issued a postage stamp with the silhouette of the state in red, inside which was the inscription: "The whole country is red." At the same time, the territory of Taiwan, which Beijing considered and continues to consider part of the PRC, remained white due to the oversight of the artist. The authorities managed to seize almost the entire circulation of the stamp in circulation, but a few copies fell into the hands of collectors and are now considered among the rarest and most expensive in the world. Nothing was known about the fate of the artist Wang Weisheng for a long time, but already in the 21st century it turned out that he was alive and did not even end up in prison.

Source: Wikipedia / The whole country is red

China postage stamp errors Taiwan

Which world-famous corporation was named after a spelling error?

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with the name of the new search engine, they wanted to express in it the huge amount of information that the system is capable of processing. Their colleague suggested the word "googol" - this is the name in mathematics for a number of one followed by a hundred zeros. He immediately checked the domain name for employment and, finding that it was free, registered it. Moreover, he made a mistake in writing the word: instead of the correct, he entered However, the newly invented word liked Page and established itself as a name.

Source: David Coller. Origin of the name "Google"

Google domains internet computers names errors search engines numbers

In which country was last year's New Year's address of the leader once broadcast?

On December 31, 1986, the German television channel ARD mistakenly broadcast last year's New Year's address from Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The correct appeal was shown to the audience only on January 1.

Source: Wikipedia / New Year's message to the people

Germany Kohl New Year mistakes rulers television

Why is spinach credited with an overestimated benefit from its iron content?

In terms of iron content - 2.7 mg per 100 grams - spinach is not a champion among vegetables. However, for a long time it was believed that spinach is exceptionally rich in iron. This misconception was born in the late 19th century from two sources. One American researcher came up with a figure of 2.9 mg, but forgot to put a comma, and in the published study it was 29mg. Regardless of him, a scientist from Switzerland announced an even higher figure - 35 mg, but he received such a result based on the analysis of dry spinach. The mistake was revealed only half a century later.

Source: Wikipedia / Garden spinach

iron science vegetables bugs USA Switzerland spinach

What funny day is Internet Day?

Archbishop Isidore of Seville, who lived in the 6th-7th centuries, wrote a 20-volume work "Etymology", in which he systematized the knowledge available at that time in the world. It is he who is considered the first encyclopedist, and now many Catholics revere him as the patron of the Internet. It's funny that Internet Day is celebrated on the day Isidore of Seville died on April 4th - when written down in numbers, this date coincides with the most recognizable error code 404.

Source: Wikipedia / Isidore of Seville, Wikipedia / Internet Day

internet catholicism errors encyclopedia priests

Why is the phrase "from the birth of Christ" essentially wrong?

It is believed that our era is counted from the birth of Christ. The year when Christ was born was calculated in the 6th century by the Roman abbot Dionysius the Small, and made a mistake. The exact value of the error cannot be determined, but the birth occurred approximately 4-7 years earlier than the beginning of our era.

Source: Wikipedia / Our era

time Ancient Rome Jesus Christ error calendar

Where did the word “bug” come from in the meaning of “malfunction”?

September 9, 1947, engineers at Harvard University discovered the cause of the failure of the Mark II computer - a moth stuck between the relay contacts. One of them documented an incident called "The first case of a bug" (in English, "bug" means "insect"). However, the word "bug" for technical malfunctions began to be used long before that, for example, it is found in Edison's diary. The word "debugging" in the sense of "debugging, fixing errors" also arose earlier - Oxford Dictionary 1945 years described him in relation to the repair of aircraft engines.

Source: Wikipedia / Software bug

English Harvard computers insects errors words technology universities Edison

Which rule of the Russian language is violated by the heroine of the "Irony of Fate" Nadya?

There is a well-known mnemonic rule for memorizing the use of the verbs “put on” and “put on”: “They put on Hope, but put on clothes.” It's funny that in the film "The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!" the main character Nadia, a teacher of the Russian language, pronounces a phrase with a caveat: "My dress, I forgot to put on a festive dress."

Source: Natalia Pankova. Don't hesitate to read this!

Irony of fate cinematography clothes mistakes Russian

Why is the curiosity of automatic spelling correction called the "Cupertino effect"?

In the dictionaries of early versions of spell-checking systems for text editors, the English word for "cooperation" was contained only in the version with a hyphen - "co-operation". If a person typed it all together, the correction algorithm offered to replace it with "Cupertino" (a city in California), and sometimes changed it automatically. Because of this, a considerable number of official documents have been preserved, where you can find phrases like "South Asian Association of Regional Cupertino." The "Cupertino effect" is now called any such curiosity of automatic correction.

Source: Wikipedia / Cupertino effect

California computers Cupertino errors

Which Moscow monument has 5 spelling errors at once in the inscription?

In 1992, a monument to Cyril and Methodius, who are traditionally credited with creating the Cyrillic alphabet, was erected in Moscow. The inscription on the pedestal is made in Church Slavonic and reads: “To the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles first teachers of the Slavic Methodius and Cyril. Grateful Russia. Later, linguists immediately discovered 5 spelling errors, including 2 errors in the word "Russia". On a similar monument on Astrakhan Street in Saratov, Kirill holds a scroll with the modern Russian alphabet, but the letters are stylized in antiquity. Moreover, a soft sign is placed in front of the letter "y", and after it, for some reason, the letter "yat" is inscribed.

Source: Guidance / Sit down, grateful Russia, "two"!, Wikipedia / Monument to Cyril and Methodius (Saratov, Astrakhan street)

Cyril and Methodius Moscow errors monuments Russia Russian language Saratov

, although the researcher's name was Tatyana?

Tatyana Pronchishcheva was the first Russian explorer of the Arctic as part of the Lena-Yenisei detachment of the Great Northern Expedition of the 1730s. During the voyages, shortly after the death of her husband Vasily Pronchishchev, the head of the detachment, Tatiana also died. At 19In 13, one of the capes on the eastern coast of Taimyr was named after her, but the inscription "m. Pronchishcheva" in preparation for the publication of maps was mistakenly attributed to the bay, believing that "M" is the first letter of the name Maria. Subsequently, the true biography of Tatyana was restored, but to this day the bay of Maria Pronchishcheva is listed on the maps.

Source: Wikipedia / Pronchishcheva, Tatyana Fedorovna

Arctic geography capes errors Russia Taimyr expeditions

Where did the transition to the metric system almost lead to a plane crash?

In 1983, Canada was moving to the metric system and Air Canada ordered new Boeing 767s that were set to liters and kilograms instead of gallons and pounds. The incorrect use of new units of measurement by the crew of one of the aircraft led to the fact that the amount of refueled fuel turned out to be much less than required for the flight. As a result of this error, as well as errors onboard equipment, mid-flight at an altitude of 12,000 meters, the fuel ran out and the engines stopped. To the credit of the crew, the pilots managed to glide onto the runway of the former military base, and the passengers escaped with only minor injuries.

Source: Wikipedia / Gimli Glider

Boeing accidents aviation measurements Canada errors fuel

Which military organization gives the current coordinates of Santa Claus by phone in December?

In 1955, a store in the US city of Colorado Springs placed an ad in the newspaper before Christmas, inviting children to call Santa Claus. However, the phone number was incorrectly entered, and calls began to arrive at the air defense command center, whose specialists did not hang up, but began to tell the children the coordinates of the place where Santa was flying at the moment. Since then, the military has made taking calls from children an annual tradition called "NORAD Tracks Santa" with many volunteers helping to keep them going. Nowadays, from December 1 of each year, you can get real-time coordinates of Santa Claus on the official website of the program.

Source: Wikipedia / NORAD Tracks Santa

army december errors Christmas Santa Claus USA

What is survivorship bias?

There is a concept of survivor bias in statistics, when researchers look for commonalities among “survivors” without paying due attention to information about “dead”. A classic example is the task of finding a place to strengthen the armor of British bombers, set before the mathematician Abraham Wald during the Second World War. The planes that returned to the base had holes mainly on the wings and tail, but Wald reasoned that the cockpit and fuel tank needed to be strengthened, because bombers with shells that got there did not return. The same principle applies to the literature with the secrets of entrepreneurial success - blindly following the advice given in them does not mean repeating success, it is more useful to analyze the mistakes of failed companies.

Source: Wikipedia / Survivor bias

England business World War II errors aircraft statistics

Is Lara Croft's breast size a design error?

The chief designer of the first Tomb Raider game, Toby Gard, once mentioned in an interview that when he planned to increase Lara Croft's breasts by 50%, he mistyped and scored 150%, and the rest of the developers insisted on not rolling back and leaving the breasts exactly such. This story has grown into details and has been widely circulated on the Internet. Much later, Gard admitted that he was joking, and the appearance of the heroine turned out the way it was originally intended.

Source: TheGamer / Debunking The Myth That Lara Croft's Design Was The Result Of A Bug

Tomb Raider chest computer games Lara Croft bugs

Why is updating a computer program called a patch?

An update of a computer program that eliminates identified errors is called a patch, which literally means “patch” in English. This term arose when the main carrier of information in computer systems was still punched cards and punched tapes - paper coils with holes punched in the right places, which were read and converted into machine code. The developer of the program sent the corrected section of the punched tape to the users, and they themselves cut out the erroneous fragment and pasted the “patch”.

Source: Wikipedia / Patch

computers punch card errors words

What accident did the Americans cause in 1896 for the entertainment of the public?

In 1896, one of the American railroad companies staged a show - a deliberate collision of two trains at full speed. 40,000 tickets were sold for the "performance", and a temporary campus was built for the spectators who bought tickets. However, the engineers miscalculated the force of the blast and the crowd was not withdrawn to a safe enough distance, resulting in three deaths and several others being injured.

Source: Wikipedia / Crash at Crush

accidents explosions railroads train errors US

Which city's coat of arms has a tiger mixed with a beaver?

The ancient coat of arms of Irkutsk depicted a babr (as the Ussuri tiger used to be called) holding a sable in its mouth. In the decree of the Senate of 1878, a mistake was made in the description of the coat of arms - a beaver appeared instead of a babr. The artists had to add a large beaver tail and webbed hind legs to the babr, creating a new mythical animal.

Source: Wikipedia / Coat of arms of Irkutsk

beavers heraldry animals laws Irkutsk errors Russia tigers tails

What is the number of the HTTP error indicating that access is restricted due to censorship?

Of all the HTTP protocol errors, users most often encounter a "404 Not Found" status, when the server cannot find information on the request generated by the client. You can often see the “403 Forbidden” status, which means that the server has information, but cannot give it to the client due to limited access rights. Among many other error messages, one can single out status 451, which indicates a ban on access to data at the request of government agencies or copyright holders. His number is a direct reference to Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451.

Source: Wikipedia / HTTP status code list

Fahrenheit 451 dystopia internet computers literature errors censorship

What is the name of Dr. Watson?

The name of Dr. Watson is mentioned four times in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. In A Study in Scarlet and two other stories, he appears as John H. Watson, but in The Man with the Split Lip, his wife refers to him as James. There is an opinion that this is just Doyle's mistake, but creativity researchers have another hypothesis: James is a variation of the middle name of Dr. Hamish (Hamish).

Source: Wikipedia / Dr. Watson

Dr. Watson names Conan Doyle mistakes Sherlock Holmes

How do toy ducks help programmers debug code?

Some programmers use the duckling method to debug code. To do this, you need to put a toy duck on your desktop (or imagine it) and explain in detail line by line what the program should do. By resorting to this method, the programmer often encounters the desired error, which he did not notice when viewing the code in the development environment.

Source: Wikipedia / Duckling method

computers errors programming duck

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In 1886, the doctor and pharmacist John Pemberton tried to prepare a potion based on an extract from the leaves of the South American coca plant and African kola nuts, which have tonic properties. Pemberton tasted the finished mixture and realized that it tasted good. He believed that this syrup could help people suffering from fatigue, stress and toothache. The pharmacist took the syrup to the largest pharmacy in Atlanta. On the same day, the first servings of syrup were sold, at five cents a glass.

However, the Coca-Cola drink appeared as a result of negligence. By chance, the seller, diluting the syrup, mixed up the taps and poured sparkling water instead of ordinary. The resulting mixture became Coca-Cola. Initially, this drink did not have much success. In its first year of soda production, Pemberton spent $79.96 advertising the new drink, but was only able to sell Coca-Cola for $50. Today, Coca-Cola is produced and drunk in 200 countries around the world.

Chocolate chip cookies

One of the most popular types of cookies in the US is chocolate-chip cookies. It was invented in the 1930s when a guest house owner, Ruth Wakefield, decided to bake butter cookies.

A woman broke a chocolate bar and mixed the pieces of chocolate with the dough, hoping that the chocolate would melt and give the dough a brown color and a chocolate flavor. However, Wakefield was let down by her ignorance of the laws of physics, and she took out a cookie with chocolate chips from the oven.

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are the result of a failed experiment to improve adhesive strength. In 1968, a research lab employee at 3M was trying to improve the quality of duct tape. He received a dense glue that was not absorbed into the glued surfaces and was completely useless for the production of adhesive tape.

Photo by Hugo Rocha

The researcher didn't know how to use the new type of glue. Four years later, his colleague, who sang in the church choir in his spare time, was annoyed that the bookmarks in the book of psalms kept falling out. Then he remembered about glue, which could fix paper bookmarks without damaging the pages of the book. At 1980 Post-it Notes were first released for sale.


In 1844, inventor Charles Goodyear accidentally discovered a recipe for making rubber that does not soften in heat and does not become brittle in cold. The new technology was called vulcanization.

Goodyear, after many years of unsuccessfully trying to improve the quality of rubber, at that time an extremely capricious and inconvenient material, one day accidentally heated a mixture of rubber and sulfur on a kitchen stove. The discovery of the rubber vulcanization process was the impetus for the development of the electrical industry, since rubber is an excellent insulating material. (History of the discovery of rubber vulcanization in Charles Goodyear.)


This device, which saves the lives of millions of people suffering from heart disease, was invented by accident. In 1941, engineer John Hopps was commissioned by the Navy to conduct research into hypothermia. He was tasked with finding a way to warm up a person as quickly as possible, who had been in the cold or in cold water for a long time. Hopps tried to use high-frequency radio waves for warming up and accidentally discovered that a heart that had stopped beating as a result of hypothermia could be "started" again if it was stimulated with electrical impulses. At 1950, based on the discovery of Hopps, the first pacemaker was created. It was large and uncomfortable, its use sometimes led to burns on the patient's body.

The medic Wilson Greatbatch made a second accidental discovery. He worked on the creation of a device that was supposed to record heart rate. One day, he accidentally inserted the wrong resistor into the device and noticed that oscillations arose in the electrical circuit, resembling the rhythm of the human heart. Two years later, Greatbatch created the first implantable pacemaker that delivers artificial impulses to stimulate the heart.


In 1928, scientist Alexander Fleming noticed that the mold penicillin had infected one of his specimens with pathogenic staphylococcus bacteria left by an open window. Fleming examined the sample under a microscope and noticed that the mold killed the bacteria.

The importance of Fleming's discovery became clear only in 1940, when mass research began on a new type of antibiotic drug. Nowadays, antibiotics are extremely widely used in medicine, they account for up to 15% of all medicines sold in the world. (See also the chapter "Alexander Fleming" in Grzegorz Fedorovsky's Pleiad of Great Physicians.)

Supermarket trolley

Merchant Sylvan Goldman invented the first shopping trolley in 1936. Goldman owned a large grocery store in Oklahoma City and noticed that customers were reluctant to buy certain items because they were too heavy to carry.

Photo by Markus Spiske

The discovery was accidental: Goldman noticed how one customer placed a heavy bag on a toy car that her son was rolling on a string. The merchant first attached small wheels to an ordinary basket, and then attracted mechanics to help and created a prototype of a modern cart. Mass production of this device was started in 1947 year. The invention of the cart made it possible to create a new type of store - the supermarket.

Garbage bag

Harry Wasylyk invented the first garbage bag in 1950. Vasilyuk was an inventor and engineer, and once he was approached by the municipality of the city, who set the task: to make sure that household waste does not spill out during the loading of garbage collection machines.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński

Vasilyuk thought for a long time about creating something like a vacuum cleaner, but the decision came suddenly. Some of his friends or family (versions differ) threw the phrase: “I need a trash bag!”. Vasilyuk realized that disposable bags should be used for garbage operations and suggested making them from polyethylene. The first to use plastic garbage bags was the Winnipeg City Hospital. The first trash bags designed for private individuals appeared in 1960s. Nowadays, one of the most important problems that humanity has to solve is waste disposal.

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