34 Obscure Random Facts That’ll Make You Smarter – Part 107

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1Richard Vallières

In 2017, a man named Richard Vallières was fined $9.4 million and sentenced to 8 years in jail for stealing 3,000 tons of maple syrup from the Quebec maple syrup reserve in 2012.


2. In 2013, American actor George Clooney once gave 14 of his close friends $1 million each as a surprise gift.


3. The punk band Offspring’s lead singer, Dexter Holland, worked on his Ph.D. in molecular biology while touring and recording music.


4. In 2002, after an 84-year-old man named Joseph Newton Chandler III committed suicide, police discovered that for decades he had been living under a false identity (of a dead 8-year-old boy) of someone who died in a car accident. His co-workers claim he never spoke, and he had no friends.


5. The mascot of Vlasic pickles was conceived by merging the mythology of a child-bearing stork with the notion that pregnant women have an above average appetite for pickles.


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6Blood alcohol content

Mississippi is the only state to allow drivers to drink alcohol while operating a motor vehicle as long as the driver's blood alcohol content stays below the state’s legal limit of 0.08%.


7. Great white sharks do not mistake human divers for pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). Attacks on people occur because sharks are sharp-sighted, curious animals, prone to taking "taste tests" of unfamiliar objects that catch their eye.


8. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Navy cook named Doris Miller manned anti-aircraft guns, (despite having no formal training in their use), and attended to the wounded. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart. Despite his heroism, he was assigned as a cook on USS Liscome Bay and was killed by a Japanese torpedo.


9. Before he became President, Grover Cleveland had an affair with a woman named Maria Halpin which resulted in her becoming pregnant, and in order to cover up the scandal, he had her committed and her child sent to an orphanage.


10. Even though the wheel is often cited as man's original invention, it wasn't invented until after flutes, baskets, woven cloth, and even boats.


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11Plan of Saint Gall

There is only a single known surviving European major architectural drawing from the 700 year span between the fall of the Roman Empire and the end of the Middle Ages. It is the Plan of St. Gall.


12. There was a famous best-selling novelist of the early 20th century named Winston Churchill, who has partly been forgotten due to being overshadowed by ‘the’ Winston Churchill.


13. An Indian will spend one-fifth of their life's earning on a wedding ceremony.


14. Victor Klemperer was a Jewish KZ inmate and post-war professor of German literature who wrote a book which analyses how Nazis introduced a nearly Orwellian kind of German language. Examples of this language are “crisis” for defeat, “connection” (Anschluss) for annexation, and “enhanced interrogation” for torture.


15. Psychologically, people prefer avoiding losses than gaining wins. It is better to not lose $5 than to find $5. This is called Loss Aversion. Some studies even have suggested that losses are twice as powerful psychologically than gains.


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16Concrete

The ancient Romans used concrete with volcanic ash mixed in, which allowed for much stronger crack-resistant concrete.


17. Marketing to children, such as commercials and toys based on kids shows, was illegal in the United States until Ronald Reagan took office. He changed that law, which started the “Dark Ages of Animation.” This lasted until 1991 when Nickelodeon changed to focus on animators and storytelling.


18. New Zealand spent $17.4 million searching for a new flag and they ended up using the old one.


19. Sony inscribed a wavy groove at a certain frequency at the start of all PlayStation 1 CDs. This was taken as an imperfection and unnoticed by most CD readers, except the PlayStation 1's, which used its specific frequency to detect the CD region and that it wasn't a copied disc.


20. The Windows XP wallpaper (Bliss) was so expensive that FedEx refused to ship it and was hand-delivered to Microsoft by the photographer Charles O’Rear.


21Captain America and Bucky Barnes

Stan Lee generally hates teenage sidekicks, which is why there are so few in the Marvel universe. Jack Kirby felt differently and kept Bucky Barns, who became a valuable sidekick to Captain America.


22. In 2016, an octopus named Inky escaped from her tank at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier and traveled down a 164 feet long pipe that led her to the South Pacific Ocean.


23. In 1906, a Congolese man named Ota Benga from the Mbuti pygmy tribe was held in a human zoo exhibition in the Bronx, as a display of “earlier stage” of human evolution. In 1916, after getting out and unable to return to his homeland, he shot himself in the heart with a stolen pistol and died at the age of 32.


24. Kelsey Smith-Briggs was murdered 4 months after a judge ordered her to be returned to her biological mother’s home, despite repeated reports of abuse. She was only 2 years old.


25. When writing a Torah scroll, "an error of a single letter, ornamentation, or symbol of the 304,805 stylized letters that make up the Hebrew Torah text renders it unfit to use."

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