30 Unknown Random Facts That Are Worth A Read | Random List #159

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1Mr. Wizard

Mr. Wizard's science television program—running from 1951 to 1965—was so influential in inspiring people to pursue science careers that approximately 50% of all applicants to Rockefeller University throughout the 1960s-1970s in New York cited him when they were asked how they first became interested in science.


2. The Earth has another continent called Zealandia. The entire continent sank after breaking away from Australia around 65-80 million years ago.


3. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family does not believe James Earl Ray assassinated him and that he was framed for a government conspiracy.


4. A Finnish soldier named Aimo Koivunen during World War 2, over-dosed on amphetamines, lost his squad, laid in a ditch for a week after stepping on a landmine, then traveled over 250 miles on skis, was found alive only weighing 94 pounds. He went on to live another 45 years. 


5. In 1903, a pair of nearly identical strangers named Will West and William West ended up in the same prison in Kansas. This case helped the fingerprint technology to become widely accepted by law enforcement agencies in the United States.


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6Michael Jackson costumes

The costumes Michael Jackson wore at the end of his shows had to be smaller than the costume he wore at the beginning since he sweated so much during each concert that he physically shrunk.


7. Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time (2 billion books sold), and her estate claims she ranks 3rd overall, behind Shakespeare's works and the Bible. She is the most-translated author with works in at least 103 languages. "And Then There Were None" is her best selling book.


8. American filmmaker Kevin Smith opened his home to Stan Lee after reports of elder abuse.


9. After a fire destroyed Brazil's National Museum in September 2018, university museum studies students began collecting visitors' photos of the irreplaceable artifacts that were lost so they can re-create the museum's collection virtually.


10. In Barcelona, the government controls the pigeon population by mixing birth control chemicals with the birdseed.


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11Dreams

Dreams are caused by the random firing of neurons in the cerebral cortex during the REM period. The forebrain then creates a story in an attempt to reconcile and make sense of the nonsensical sensory information presented to it.


12. Caffeine evolved independently in many plants. It's toxic in high doses to hungry insects, and caffeinated leaf litter can make soil toxic for other competing plants. Separately, pollinators receive a light "buzz" from caffeine in pollen and are more likely to remember the flower's scent.


13. In 2015, a man named John Cox had his sentence doubled after an appeal judge decided his original 4-year sentence received from starting a toilet fire on a commercial aircraft from a cigarette was too lenient.


14. A retired construction worker named Wally Wallington has figured out a way for a single person to manipulate monoliths using only wooden levers, pebbles, and counterweights, and may have solved the mystery of Stonehenge. 


15. American astronomer Edwin Hubble broke the state record in the high jump and went on to play basketball for the University of Chicago. He won a Rhodes scholarship and studied law at Oxford. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy but practiced law in Kentucky.


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16Crocodiles

Crocodiles can jump vertically. The propelling of their tail is strong enough to launch their whole body out of the water. 


17. The Cutter Documents revealed that in 1980s pharmaceutical companies knowingly sold HIV contaminated blood products to hemophilia patients. It ended up killing many people.


18. In the Bible, Jesus entrusts Peter with "keys to the kingdom of heaven." The Vatican considers St. Peter the first Pope. The Vatican's coat of arms displays these keys to heaven.


19. Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice, liked to poke fun at his conservative colleagues. He would greet the Chief Justice with "What's shakin', Chiefy Baby?"


20. Elder rights activist Maggie Kuhn founded an activist group named Gray Panthers. She advocated for intergenerational housing, opposed the Vietnam War, attempted to reduce the taboo surrounding the sexualities of older people, and believed that teenagers should have more societal responsibility.


21Hope Diamond

When the Hope Diamond was sent to the Smithsonian, it was sent through U.S. Mail in a box wrapped in brown paper as simple registered mail with $2.44 postage.


22. During the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Kate Capshaw's custom-made beaded dress was hanging on a tree for a background shot. An elephant ate most of the back of it. Because of the dress' value, the production submitted an insurance claim, noting "dress eaten by elephant."


23. Anybody traveling on the International Space Station needs to have both metric and imperial tools with them. This is because the American portion has been built in 'imperial' and the rest in metric.


24. Maryland passed the United States' first campaign finance reform law in 1811. It prohibited candidates from purchasing alcohol for voters, which was an extremely common practice at that time.


25. A fake smile is called 'The Pan Am smile', named after the airline Pan American World Airways, whose flight attendants would always flash every passenger the same superficial smile.

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