The Best Facts From 2023

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Each day, Times Insider editors scour the newspaper for the most interesting facts to appear in articles. Tidbits about Cookie Monster, the ‘Sodfather’ and leaf blowers surprised, enlightened and entertained us this year.

1. The title character of the film “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” is the first metal 3-D-printed puppet. It was animated using some 3,000 replacement faces.

For ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ a Star Built From Tiny Gears and 3-D Printing

2. Neuropsychology has shown that short-term memory lasts 15 to 30 seconds, after which it either has to be encoded as a long-term memory or it decays.

The Man Who Made Spain the Magic Capital of the World

3. The world produces about 400 million metric tons of plastic waste each year, according to a United Nations report. About half is tossed out after a single use.

Trying to Live a Day Without Plastic

4. Research suggests noise from shipping, oil exploration and other underwater human activities may make it harder for dolphins to communicate and work together.

8. Wedding rings stem back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that there was a vena amoris, Latin for “vein of love,” in the left hand’s fourth finger with a direct route to the heart.

An Enduring Commitment, Wedding Ring or Not

9. As groundskeeper, George Toma, 94, has prepared the Super Bowl field for 57 straight years. Known as the “Sodfather,” he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

All Hail the ‘God of Sod,’ Groundskeeper for All 57 Super Bowls

10. New Orleans, a majority Black city, was once the site of the country’s largest slave market, where by one estimate more than 135,000 people were bought and sold.

In Majority-Black New Orleans, Chefs Are Rewriting ‘Whitewashed’ History

11. In a 2022 survey of dentists, conducted by the American Dental Association, half reported that they had treated patients who were under the influence of marijuana or another drug.

What Dentists Wish You Knew

12. Twenty-nine percent of American credit card customers pay only the minimum payment or close to it, even when they can afford to pay more, according to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Why Russia Has Such a Strong Grip on Europe’s Nuclear Power

16. The average annual income of farmworkers in California is between $20,000 and $25,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Can the United Farm Workers Rise Again?

17. Using geolocation data near golf courses in the United States, a study from Stanford University found there were 278 percent more people playing golf at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday in August 2022 than in August 2019.

Golf at 3 p.m. Thursday? Sure, It’s the Afternoon Fun Economy.

18. Traditional aperitivo, a bittersweet red liqueur, owes its rich tint to a natural dye derived from crushed insects known as cochineals.

America Already Loves Spritzes. Now It Just Needs Its Own Aperol.

19. The crew of the 1975 film “Jaws” faced problems when shooting on the open water, including with their malfunctioning mechanical shark, seasickness, uncooperative tides, boats sailing into the frame and even sets that sank.

Lauren Daigle, a Christian Music Superstar, Is Ready for a Bigger Tent

27. Because polo ponies gallop up to 30 miles per hour in quick bursts on grass fields the size of nine football fields, players bring about a dozen horses per match to prevent exhaustion and injury.

Polo and Ponies: ‘My Money Pit of Choice’

28. About a fifth of Americans today have had their hearing damaged by noise by the time they turn 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated.

Hearing Aids Are Changing. Their Users Are, Too.

29. Harald Bluetooth, a Danish Viking king who died near the end of the 10th century, is celebrated as a unifier of feuding Nordic fiefs and the inspiration for the name of a wireless technology designed to unite devices.

A Centuries-Old Mystery: Did This Elusive Viking City Exist?

30. In the United States, there are as many as six parking spaces for every car.

America, Land of the Free Parking

31. Almost all Arctic predators, from wolves to eagles, rely on squirrels as a food source.

Just Between Us Squirrels, There Might Be Trouble in the Arctic Dating Scene

32. In the span of 15 miles in Fresno, Calif., from the city’s wealthy Northside to its poverty-ridden Southside, life expectancy drops 20 years.

In California’s Heartland, a New Resistance Movement Is Taking Root

33. The human body is continually renewing itself. Billions of cells are replaced every day; by some accounts, after 100 days, enough cells will have turned over to generate an entirely new person.

Review: ‘Being Mr. Wickham’ Tracks a Rake’s Progress

34. The comedian Joan Rivers maintained an organized collection of 65,000 typewritten jokes, cross-referenced by categories like “Parents hated me” or “Las Vegas.” The largest subject area is “Tramp,” which includes 1,756 jokes.

Corporate Landscaping Lets Its Hair Down

38. The skew of affluent students enrolled is so extreme at some U.S. colleges that more undergraduates come from the top 1 percent of the income distribution than from the entire bottom 60 percent, one study found.

Social Class Is Not About Only Race

39. Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has been a fashion editor, a nurse, a flight attendant, an “executive career girl,” an astronaut and the president, but she has never had a child.

Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ Dream Job

40. Wikipedia has versions in 334 languages and a total of more than 61 million articles. It consistently ranks among the world’s 10 most-visited websites. Its contributors, who make about 345 edits per minute on the site, are not paid.

Wikipedia’s Moment of Truth

41. An A.I. chatbot hallucination refers to the tendency of artificial intelligence to fabricate information.

We’re Using A.I. Chatbots Wrong. Here’s How to Direct Them.

42. Nearly half of the United States’ unsheltered population — those who sleep on the streets, in tents, in cars or in other places not intended for human habitation — resides in California.

43. Fearing the consequences of a single country’s monopoly on the atomic bomb, the American atomic physicist Theodore Alvin Hall decided to pass classified nuclear details to the Soviet Union. He was never prosecuted and died in 1999.

‘A Compassionate Spy’ Review: Back to the U.S.S.R.

44. The ocean, which covers about 70 percent of the world’s surface, has absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat unleashed by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activity.

What This Year’s ‘Astonishing’ Ocean Heat Means for the Planet

45. Aug. 11, 1973, is regarded by many as the birth of hip-hop. That was when DJ Kool Herc — in an apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx — reportedly first mixed two copies of the same album into one seamless breakbeat.

60. China accounts for a third of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions — more than North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Africa combined.

China Is Winning in Solar Power, but Its Coal Use Is Raising Alarms

61. The solar and galactic radiation that washes over Mars, which at its closest is 34 million miles away from Earth, is potentially 700 times as great as what passes through our magnetic defenses.

The Bodily Indignities of the Space Life

62. Those who commute by public transit spend roughly twice as much time traveling to and from work as people who drive.

Most Americans Still Have to Commute Every Day. Here’s How That Experience Has Changed.

63. Gram for gram, the white truffle is one of the most expensive foods on the planet. In Italy, fresh white truffles run as high as 4,500 euros per kilogram (or nearly $2,200 per pound), according to Italy’s biggest agricultural trade group.

‘The Climate’s No Good’: The Hunt for White Truffles Gets Pricier

64. Each year in Japan, thousands of people deliberately disappear without a trace, a phenomenon so common that there’s a word for it: jouhatsu, or “evaporated people.”

67. The Federal Election Commission does not have the power to look in bank accounts and must take campaign finance disclosure reports at face value.

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Class of 2000 you are looking rough. I just saw a few of them when I came home from Xmas.
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