40 Awesome Random Facts That’ll Blow You Damn Mind | Random List #224

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1Thomas de Mahy

Thomas de Mahy was an aristocrat who was sentenced to be hanged during the French Revolution after a two-month trial. Upon the reading of his death warrant, he remarked, “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes.”


2. Honey bees aren’t native to North America. When they arrived from Europe they spread out faster than the colonists, and Native Americans considered the appearance of the “white man's fly” an indication of the impending approach of European settlers.


3. Wisconsin uses briny water from cheese production to de-ice their roads in winter.


4. Top Gear once conducted an extreme test of a Toyota pickup truck by leaving it on a beach to be taken by the tide, leaving it on top of a high rise building that was demolished, and setting it on fire. It still ran after being repaired with only the tools in the truck's toolbox.


5. In 1969, Rolling Stones hired Hell's Angels to provide security for their gig at the Altamont Free Concert for a fee of $500 worth of beer. A man by the name of Meredith Hunter Jr. drew a revolver at the stage and was stabbed and kicked to death by the Hell’s Angels.


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6$2 Bill

The $2 bill makes up 1% of currency circulation. Its scarcity in daily use has confused some merchants who believe the bill to be fake. A 13-year-old girl in Texas was detained by Police when she tried to pay for her school lunch with a $2 bill because the school’s counterfeit pen wouldn’t work on it.


7. A helicopter pilot flew to 40,820 feet, setting a world record for the highest altitude reached by helicopter. However, when he started to descend, the engine failed, but he safely landed the helicopter with absolutely no power, a world record for the highest unpowered descent by a helicopter.


8. Norbert Pearlroth was the silent partner of Ripley's Believe It or Not. He was the sole researcher, answering 3000 letters a week, examining 7000 books a year, spending 10 hours a day, six days a week at the New York Library, and fluent in 14 languages. He produced 24 items a week for 52 years.


9. Dogs are prosocial, meaning that they volunteer to help or share with others, even when there might not directly be any benefit to themselves.


10. Sisamnes was a corrupt judge in the Persian Empire. In 525 B.C., after accepting a bribe, the king had him arrested and skinned alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat from which judgments were made. His own son ‘Otanes’ then replaced him as a judge.


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11Douglas

A camel named Douglas was killed by a Union sharpshooter at the Siege of Vicksburg. A team of six Confederate snipers was assembled and tasked with avenging his death.


12. Conservationists created a match.com profile for the world’s loneliest frog named Romeo, in order to raise funds for expeditions to find more of his species. Their work paid off, and Romeo and Juliet are together at last.


13. WWII Submarine Captain John Philip Cromwell stoically went down with his stricken sub Sculpin rather than allow himself to be captured by the Japanese. Cpt. Cromwell had knowledge of top-secret highly sensitive Allied war plans that the enemy may have extracted from him through drugs or torture.


14. US Supreme Court has concluded that US citizens have the right to refuse Presidential Pardons. George Wilson fought a presidential pardon and won a hanging. He was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death.


15. When Victor Vescovo reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest trench in the world (at 10,928 meters or 35,849 feet), he was shocked to discover a plastic bag and candy wrappers, thereby confirming that human-generated waste can pollute even the deepest parts of the ocean.


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16Birds

Dinosaurs didn’t evolve into birds. Birds are dinosaurs. Specifically, they are Theropods in the subgroup Coelurosauria in the clade Maniraptora. In fact, there are still far more species of dinosaurs (minimally 10,000) on the planet than there are mammals (around 5400).


17. Starving female praying mantises lure males into sex, and then eat them instead. The study shows that male mantises were more likely to seek out starving females than healthy females, due to the increased pheromones they purposefully secrete.


18. 70,000 years ago, a nomadic star came within 1 light-year of the Sun. Research suggests this close pass by Scholz’s star sent dozens of comets and asteroids tumbling out of the solar system.


19. During the hyperinflation of the 1920s in Germany, waiters in restaurants would stand up on a table every 30 minutes to call out the new prices.


20. In 2011, two men got lost at sea and were adrift for 33 days before washing up on an atoll, where they met a descendant of a long-lost uncle. Their uncle had also gone adrift 50 years earlier.


21Genericized Trademarks

The owner of a brand name can lose their legal protection for it if people started using it as the common or generic name for a type of product or service. This is what happened to Cellophane, Escalator, Flip Phone, Frisbee, Hovercraft, Kerosene, Sellotape, Trampoline, and Videotape. This is why Adobe really doesn’t want you using “photoshop” as a verb. This also nearly happened to Nintendo, which is why Nintendo promoted the use of the term “games console” so people would stop calling consoles produced by other manufacturers “Nintendos.”


22. Brought up in a wealthy home with a revolving door of governesses, Franklin D. Roosevelt (presidency 1933 - 1945) was the last U.S. president who was fluent in a language besides English. He spoke French and German.


23. For the first three years of her life, Candice Bergen had breakfast with Edgar Bergen, her famous ventriloquist father, and Charlie McCarthy, his dummy, and thought Charlie was her brother. Charlie would sit there and talk to her: ‘Drink your milk.’ Her father never spoke directly to her.


24. Norway leads the world in commercial whaling, hunting hundreds of times more than Japan per year despite its much smaller population.


25. Harlon Block, the marine who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, died a few days after the famous photo of the event was taken. He was misidentified for 2 years. However, his mother had immediately recognized him in it, saying “I’ve changed so many diapers on that boy’s butt, I know it’s my boy.”

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