The New York Times Picks “72 of Our Favorite Facts of 2021”

From a New York Times Insider column headlined “72 of Our Favorite Facts of 2021”:

Each day, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in articles throughout the newspaper. Here are 72 from the past year that left us thinking.

1. The N.B.A.’s halftime entertainers — contortionists, acrobats, Frisbee-catching dogs — typically make $1,500 to $5,000 a show.
A Timeout for the N.B.A.’s Halftime Performers Is Costing Them Big

2. “And now, here is the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ … Alex Trebek!” is a phrase that Johnny Gilbert said some version of over 8,000 times during Mr. Trebek’s run of the show.
On Alex Trebek’s Final ‘Jeopardy!,’ a Last Introduction From a Friend

3. In December 2020, women lost 156,000 jobs in the United States, and men gained 16,000, largely because women were shouldering the additional caregiving responsibilities of the pandemic.
How Biden’s Proposed Paid Leave Would Work

4. Roughly 50 million households started watching Season 1 of the television series “Cobra Kai” in the first four weeks that it was available on Netflix.
‘Cobra Kai’: Strike First. Strike Hard. Come Back for More.

5. In Victorian times, treadmills were used as punishment and to prevent idleness, with English convicts condemned to trudge for hours a day.
Hate Working Out? Blame Evolution

6. At 22, Amanda Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.
Amanda Gorman Captures the Moment, in Verse

7. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division made 70 million pounds of snacks leading up to Super Bowl week 2021 — slightly more than it did in the previous year, based on the expectation that smaller gatherings would result in increased purchases of chips.
Super Bowl Means Snacking, Even Without Parties

8. The surface of Venus today is a hellish place where temperatures roast well over 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Life on Venus? The Picture Gets Cloudier.

9. Prosecco makers must follow strict rules set by the Italian government. Among them: The wine must come from a geographic region that partly encircles Venice like a tiara, to the west, north and east.
Meet the Proseccos You’ll Be Drinking This Summer

10. In Victorian England, where flowers were sometimes used as a form of coded communication to express feelings that could not be spoken aloud, daisies were said to convey innocence, while tulips were a declaration of love.
In This Petal Poem Game, Say It With Flowers

11. Distillers call the 20 percent or more of whiskey that evaporates as it ages “the angel’s share.”
Can a Fine Whiskey Age Overnight?

12. GameStop stock soared by 1,700 percent in January.
Gensler Faces Big Challenge in Tackling GameStop’s Wild Ride

13. During frigid temperatures in February, Texas’ largest oil field burned off 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in one day — enough to power tens of thousands of homes for at least a year.
Drillers Burned Off Gas at a Staggering Rate as Winter Storm Hit Texas

14. Before the pandemic, the net worth of a typical Black family in America was one-tenth that of a white family, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.
To Help Black Developers, Programs Start With Access to Capital

15. At museums, maquettes — mock-ups of original artworks that are sometimes made of wood or cardboard — function as stand-ins for pieces, enabling curators and designers to determine gallery layouts.
The Secret Stunt Doubles of the Art World

16. The Suez Canal connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and carries roughly 10 percent of worldwide shipping traffic.
Suez Canal Blocked After Giant Container Ship Gets Stuck

17. Over 100 unfinished instrumental pieces survive from Mozart’s final decade.
Music’s Most Treacherous Assignment: Finishing Mozart

18. In the 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association adopted a rule saying that, without proper authorization, it was unethical for psychiatrists to issue a professional opinion about a public figure’s condition.
A Yale Psychiatrist’s Tweet About Dershowitz, Her Dismissal, and a Lawsuit

19. A study collating decades of data revealed that nearly a third of all birds — three billion creatures — have vanished from North America in the past 30 years.
Christian Cooper on a New Book That Asks: Why Are Migratory Birds Vanishing?

20. Acomedido is what Mexicans refer to as the blend of awareness and action to see which chores need to be done.
How Do Maya Parents Handle Temper Tantrums?

21. Traditionally, one maple sugaring tap produces about one gallon of sap, and then 40 gallons of sap reduces down to one gallon of syrup.
Maple Syrup Making Also Boomed as a Pandemic Hobby

22. Adults spend as much as 47 percent of their waking lives letting their minds wander, according to one Harvard study that tracked participants with an app.
Don’t Take Your Head Out of the Clouds!

23. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on April 9, 2021, made 22,219 solo public engagements over his lifetime.
How Prince Philip Navigated the Most Challenging of Corporate Dress Codes

24. Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of the dark, crowds and solitude.
The Many Selves of Alfred Hitchcock, Phobias, Fetishes and All

25. The United Nations estimates that there were about 95,000 centenarians in 1990 and more than 450,000 in 2015. By 2100, there will be 25 million.
How Long Can We Live?

26. In British parlance, the term “wet” means politically correct.
A 25-Year-Old Princess Diana Interview Thrusts the BBC Into a New Storm

27. The longest game in professional baseball history — 33 innings — was played at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I., in 1981.
The PawSox Moved, but Pawtucket Has Yet to Move On

28. In 2008, archaeologists in Tell el-Amarna, Egypt, found human remains from the 14th century B.C. with intact hairstyles. Some had more than 70 braids, with extra human hair worked into them to add length.
The Joy of Black Hair

29. In 1954, the British magician David Berglas made a grand piano vanish in a London hotel banquet room filled with guests.
The Mystery of Magic’s Greatest Card Trick

30. The historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote in “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” that, from roughly 70,000 to 30,000 B.C.E., gossip helped early Homo sapiens form larger and more stable bands.
Feeling Socially Rusty? Try a Little Light Gossiping.

31. People have been metal detecting since 1881, when Alexander Graham Bell invented a device to find the bullet lodged in President James A. Garfield.
The New Detectorists

32. Created in 1865 to chase counterfeiters, the Secret Service did not formally start protecting presidents until 1901, after William McKinley was gunned down in Buffalo.
The Many Blunders of the Secret Service — and the Dangers They Pose to U.S. Presidents

33. Idiopathic diseases are conditions whose symptoms can be described but have no known cause.
The Disease Detective

34. It is not the adult moth that eats clothing but the larvae: tiny caterpillars that feast on any keratin-based fibers but are particularly partial to wool and cashmere.
Moths Have Been Partying in Your Dark Closet. What Now?

35. There are roughly 4,500 licensed lobstermen in the state of Maine, and every fishing vessel is an independent operator.
Consider the $34 Lobster Roll

36. Digital mental health has become a multibillion-dollar industry and includes more than 10,000 apps, according to an estimate by the American Psychiatric Association.
Something Bothering You? Tell It to Woebot.

37. A compulsive shopper, Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln, ran up huge debts that she tried to hide by falsifying bills and misappropriating federal funds.
Pulling Back the Curtain on the Lincolns’ Marriage

38. Naomi Osaka has become the best-paid woman in sports, earning about $60 million in 12 months, according to Forbes.
Naomi Osaka Is Talking to the Media Again, but on Her Own Terms

39. More than 20 species of sharks live in the waters off New York and New Jersey.
Sharks Are Spotted Off Long Island. Scientists Say Don’t Panic.

40. At least 50 million people around the world now consider themselves content creators, according to SignalFire, a venture capital firm.
Facebook Wants to Court Creators. It Could Be a Tough Sell.

41. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the country’s largest hospital network and has the country’s oldest electronic health record system.
Hidden Costs and Flawed Training Plague the V.A.’s Huge Software Upgrade

42. President Emmanuel Macron of France had never won an election of any kind when he embarked on his run for the presidency in 2016.
Macron to the French: Vaccinate or Else

43. The first U.S. postal stamps were issued in 1847.
With Baseball Stamps, It Ain’t Over Until the Rights Issues Clear

44. Scientists in South Africa discovered that at night, dung beetles seemed to be able to roll balls of dung in straight lines, guided by the Milky Way.
What Animals See in the Stars, and What They Stand to Lose

45. The National Observatory of Athens weather service registered the highest temperature ever officially recorded in Greece on Aug. 2: 46.3 degrees Celsius, or 115.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat Emergency Brings Record Temperature and Fires to Southern Europe

46. The shoemakers Cos Kyriacou and Gary Kazanchyan made more than 3,000 custom pairs of heels for the singer Prince.
Shoe Obsession for the Ages: Prince’s Killer Collection of Custom Heels, Now on View

47. In the ice cream industry, slotting — the fees that must be paid to retailers to get placement on store shelves — can run as high as $40,000 per flavor.
The Cutthroat World of $10 Ice Cream

48. Female giraffes enjoy bonds that last years, according to an analysis of research. They have lunch buddies, stand guard over dead calves and stay close with their mothers and grandmothers.
Giraffes May Be as Socially Complex as Chimps and Elephants

49. In 2019, the most recent year with available mortality data, Black babies were more than twice as likely as white babies to die before their first birthday.
The Black Mortality Gap, and a Document Written in 1910

50. A 2015 survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicated that 30 percent of the country (around 35 million households) could claim at least two refrigerators “plugged in and turned on” in their residence at all times.
In the Kitchens of the Rich, Things Are Not as They Seem

51. Women make up 81.9 percent of all hosts in American restaurants (and 81.2 percent of all hosts are white), according to a 2020 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Restaurant Host Is Suddenly at the Front of the Covid Wars

52. The Atlas, a humanoid robot engineered by Boston Dynamics, features software containing only templates of the physical actions the model can perform; the robot itself must calculate how much force to exert through 28 hydraulic joints.
Could Robots From Boston Dynamics Beat Me in a Fight?

53. Because of rising temperatures, parts of Britain, which is not at all known for wine production, are now making sparkling wine — as they did in Roman times.
Change May Be Coming to Your Favorite Wines

54. Roughly 20 percent of American adults have no or limited credit history, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Always Pay the Rent? It May Help Your Mortgage Application.

55. In 1970, N.F.L. kickers made 59 percent of their field-goal attempts; last season, they made 85 percent.
It’s Up, and It’s … Good?: Why Teams Don’t Try More Long Field Goals

56. Six years after the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, abortions had doubled to 1.5 million per year, nearly half the number of live births.
The Epic Life of the Woman Behind Roe v. Wade

57. Records of cidermaking date to the Roman Empire, and many historians believe the Romans discovered it while invading what is now modern-day England.
It’s the Season for Cider. Here’s How to Drink It.

58. The term “Asian American” was coined by student activists at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968.
The Myth of Asian American Identity

59. An estimated 94 percent of TV-owning Americans watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969.
Bezos Reaches for a Star

60. Horror films and television shows have helped some people cope better with their anxieties during the pandemic, according to a study published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
What Does Horror Taste Like? ‘Carnage Asada’ and Bloody Cocktails.

61. In the 1970s, the average time served for murder in state prison was seven to eight years. In 2018, it was 17 to 18 years.
He’s Remaking Criminal Justice in L.A. But How Far Is Too Far?

62. When giant hornets attack an Asian honeybee colony, the bees cock their abdomens in the air and run while vibrating their wings. The noise can sound like a human scream.
I Scream. You Scream. Bees Scream, Too.

63. Music festivals use counterprogramming on multiple stages, with overlapping set times, to prevent the full force of a festival audience from piling into one place at the same time.
Astroworld Disaster Rekindles Fears About Music Festival Safety

64. Investors now snatch up nearly one in six homes sold in America.
Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again?

65. The United States is home to 161 active or potentially active volcanoes — approximately 10 percent of the world’s total.
When Kilauea Erupted, a New Volcanic Playbook Was Written

66. Just over a decade ago, when New York City’s mayor-elect Eric Adams, was a state senator, he orchestrated a campaign called “Stop the Sag.” Its goal: to get men to stop wearing pants that appeared to be sliding down their underwear.
‘Everything About You Must Say Power’

67. In the past 20 years, Australia has fallen to 50th from 15th in the world for parliamentary gender diversity.
‘Like Fresh Meat’: Detailing Rampant Sex Harassment in Australia’s Parliament

68. The mechanism that allows us to find room for dessert after a big meal is called sensory specific satiety, which means the body has different limits for different foods as a way to ensure a balanced intake of nutrients.
Why You Always Have Room for Pie

69. As much as $68.9 billion worth of products were stolen from retailers in 2019, according to one industry group.
Thefts, Always an Issue for Retailers, Become More Brazen

70. The French artist Henri Rousseau often told stories of how his tour of duty in Napoleon III’s intervention in Mexico had inspired his jungle paintings. In reality, he played in an infantry band and never once left France.
What Will Art Look Like in the Metaverse?

71. In 1953, the actress Lucille Ball testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which grilled her for registering to vote as a Communist Party member in 1936 (as did her mother and brother). Her appearance was kept secret.
‘Being the Ricardos’ Review: Kiss, Fight, Rinse, Repeat

72. The megalodon, an ancient shark that went extinct 3.6 million years ago, was about 50 feet long and is often referred to as the Tyrannosaurus rex of the seas (though its bite force, up to 41,000 pounds, was far more powerful).
‘Jaws’ Is Fiction. This Show Presents Sharks as Embattled Heroes.

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