You probably don’t want to think about what happens to your food after you swallow.
1. Pringles were chips. Then they weren’t. Then they were. Are. What?
That combination didn’t sit well with competing potato chip manufacturers when Pringles appeared on the scene. In 1975, about 100 smaller snack providers banded together against Procter & Gamble (who created Pringles and brought them to market, until Diamond Foods purchased the brand in 2011).
P&G threw up their hands and called their product “crisps.” The brand did quite well, no matter what you call them. Once the people of the world popped, they found, they could not stop.
2. A German TV station dared a scientist to transform peanut butter into a diamond. He did.
There, if Frost’s theory is right, the gas was subjected to intense heat and pressure. Meanwhile, iron in the mantle leached away the oxygen, leaving pure carbon. Let’s see: Carbon, heat, and pressure. That’s the recipe for a diamond.
In order to test his hypothesis, Frost subjected CO2 to some extreme conditions: 4,000 degrees and pressure that’s 1.3 million times greater than the surface atmosphere. It took a while, and the results weren’t big enough to fill a ring, but Frost got his diamonds.
3. Figs are made of wasps. Sort of.
Here’s what we mean: First off, a fig is technically not a fruit, but a type of inflorescence known as a spadix. (Big science words, but unavoidable here.) That’s a bundle of multiple flowers and seeds sealed away in a bulbous ovoid. (More science words.)
In order to get pollen from one of these internal flowers to the next, nature had to devise a creature that felt like boring into the spherical stem and scooting from flower to seed. Enter the fig wasp.
But don’t let this turn you off of figs forever. If you buy a fig at the grocery store, it’s probably a domesticated variety, which doesn’t host fig wasps. Pluck a fig from a wild fig tree, though, and chow down, and you’re probably going to end up eating some wasp bits—which are not strictly vegan, we’re sorry to say.
4. Americans waste 40 percent of all the food in the country.
Producing food is environmentally costly, as well. Ten percent of the country’s energy expenditures go toward agriculture, as does half of the land and 80 percent of the water we use. So if any of these stories make you want to throw out your Pringles, your peanut butter, or your figs, think twice before you do. Food can be gross and weird, but it is always precious.