10 Super Interesting Things I Learned This Year

POlice are bad at solving class 1 crimes

As I travel the world on my bicycle, I’m constantly on the lookout for new and interesting pieces of information. Constant curiosity, after all, is the secret to long-term world travel.

This year I cycled across Portugal, Spain, France, Andorra, Norway, Sweden, the United States and Ecuador and I wrote down any little interesting nuggets of information I happened across. Looking back at my notes now, I realize I learned quite a lot this year!

I learned so much, in fact, that I thought it might be fun to take a moment and share ten of the most interesting pieces of information I acquired this year.

man freediving in ocean

#10 – How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?

Herbert Nitsch is an Austrian free-diver who holds the world record for diving to a depth of 253 meters (831 feet) on a single breath. Can you believe that!?!

nobel peace prize economics world trade idea

#9 – Should We Keep Jobs In America?

The idea that keeping your money/jobs in the USA (or in any one country) might be a narrow-minded one. The world might be a more peaceful place if we traded more frequently with people and companies in other countries. After all, we wouldn’t want to go to war with Russia, let’s say, if we got a large amount of food, resources and money from that country. If you owned a business, for example, and your customers were in Russia, you wouldn’t want to go to war with them because it would be bad for your business. Bertil Ohlin and James E. Meade won the Nobel Peace Prize for this idea in 1977.


#8 – Russia Sold Alaska For Only $0.02

Alaska was purchased by the United States from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million dollars (or $0.02 USD per square mile). At their closest points, Alaska and Russia are only three miles apart.

POlice are bad at solving class 1 crimes

#7 – They’ll Never Find Your Mother’s Murderer

Many police departments in the United States have a “clear rate” of less than 10% for class 1 crimes (such as murder, rape, etc.). That means that 90% of the class 1 crimes in these areas go unsolved. And yet no agency or governmental body steps in to say, “This is unacceptable.”

how many hairs do gorillas have?

#6 – Are You As Hairy As This Gorilla?

As it turns out, yes, you are! Gorillas have the same number of hairs per square inch as human beings. Gorillas just have longer and thicker hairs than humans.

population density in Paris France

#5 – I Hope You’re A People Person

There are more than twice as many people per square mile in Paris, France as there is in New York City. The population density of New York is 27,000 people per square mile, whereas the population density of Paris is 56,000 people per square mile.


#4 – Beetles Are Taking Over The Amazon!

There are approximately 10 million species of animals, plants and insects known to man and more than half of them live in the Amazon rainforest. 90% of the animals in the Amazon rainforest are insects, with beetles accounting for about 40% of that.

adolf hitler strong family values

#3 – Hitler Hated Smoking

Adolf Hitler did some atrocious things in his lifetime. But did you know that Hitler created the first anti-smoking campaign in history, which is estimated to have saved the lives of more than 20,000 people who might have otherwise died from lung cancer? Click here to learn more.

Mom's little house

#2 – Are You a Mama’s Boy?

The average American lives only 18 miles away from his or her mom. The wealthier and more educated an individual is, the further away from home he or she tends to move.

nominative dissonance

#1 – Your Name Dictates Your Future

Nominative determinism” is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their name. For example, if your last name is Farmer, there’s a good chance you’ll grow up to become a farmer. If your last name is Tooth, you’ll likely grow up to become a dentist. And if your last name is Law, there’s a good chance you’ll gravitate toward being a judge or a lawyer.

Photos by: Ines Hegedus-Garcia, John Cunniff, James Cridland, Roberto Bosi, Anglea N., Matthew, IMLS Digital Collections & Content, Dale Cruse, Conor Lawless.








10 thoughts on “10 Super Interesting Things I Learned This Year

  1. louise says:

    Are you seriously with #3? I was interested into your blog. Thought about buying your book. But with this comment you lost all of my respekt.

    fuck u

    • Darren Alff says:

      Louise, I didn’t make this up. It’s a fact! Hitler did create the first anti-smoking campaign, which is credited to have saved the lives of 20,000+ people (who would have died prematurely due to lung cancer otherwise). I never said that the Nazi anti-smoking campaign made Hitler a good person. Or that that overrules the other terrible things he did. (I think that’s where you may have jumped to conclusions.) The Nazi anti-smoking campaign is just an interesting FACT I learned this year. That’s all. It sounds like it’s a new fact to you too, which is why I decided to share it. Here’s a little video where you can learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ULrPNN-A1s (in case you don’t want to actually read about the subject).

    • Darren Alff says:

      I agree he did so many bad things. I didn’ say he was a good person or anything. I’m just sharing a FACT. Hilter and the Nazi’s did create the world’s first anti-smoking campaign? Did you know that? I didn’t. That’s why I included this fact in the list of interesting things I learned this year.

  2. eoin O'Heada says:

    #7 “Clear” rate of major crimes is due to the enactment of the “Miranda” decision – Miranda was a murderer who himself was murdered, files are full of Open cases as a result of the decision….. in a majority of cases the perpetrator is well known to the police and prosecutors but the statements cannot be used in court. The end “loser” is John Q Public who feels the brunt of it via a profound loss of quality of life.

  3. Eric in CA says:

    Darren, Love you videos. Regarding #3, it does come off as praising Hitler a bit, whether or not it’s a fact. Very touchy subject for many. I hope you don’t have sympathies towards the man and his beliefs.
    #7 Why is the cop wearing lipstick and an unbuttoned shirt? Not sure you chose a ‘sexy’ picture like that for a serious subject.
    I’m really not trying to criticize you as a person. I’m a fan. But I’m just trying to understand the motivation behind these choices and let you know how it came across to me.
    I look forward to new inspirational touring videos!

    • Darren Alff says:

      I don’t see where you could think I was praising Hitler with this? It’s just a fact. Hilter and the Nazi’s created the first anti-smoking campaign… and if you read the article I linked to, it confirms that it is believed that this campaigned helped to save the lives of 20,000+ people who would have otherwise died of lung cancer. Of course that does not make any of the other terrible things Hilter did any better. It’s just an interesting piece of information. That’s why I decided to share it. I’m not in any way saying Hitler was a good person. Just sharing the fact that he and the Nazi’s created the world’s first anti-smoking campaign. That’s all!

  4. !@N says:

    So funny – 10 thought-provoking facts from a year spent travelling the world & the commenters are focussed on their own offense at a person (Hitler) being mentioned and a photo used (which may or may not be a real police officer)…really?
    Some people need to travel more – apparently it broadens the mind…

    Whatever you do, don’t mention that Hilter was also a Vegetarian…imagine the upset that FACT might cause.

    Personally, I didn’t assume that you were a nazi as soon as I saw you mentioned Hitler, despite his horrible history. I just took it as an interesting FACT – as you said it was. But then, I’m a grown-up.



    i read your article, very nice, peoples are very different types of nature, don’t worry, i love you and your travell videos, are you travel across india. cycling is good for health.



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