1Chris Hadfield’s wife
Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s wife kept hanging up on his phone calls from the ISS thinking he was a telemarketer. The 3-second delay made her think no one was on the other side of the line when she’d answer. NASA then gave her the ISS’s phone number so her phone read “SPACE” each time he called.
2. Engineers have been able to increase the damage resistance of an airplane's black box by 60 times thanks to studying the anatomy of a woodpecker's skull.
3. Children's author Roald Dahl singlehandedly took on six German bombers in World War 2, developed a medical shunt that saved 3,000 childrens' lives, and was partially the inspiration for James Bond.
4. IKEA has complete ownership over their supply chain of products, even growing their own wood (forest ownership), and uses approximately 1% of all lumber usage globally.
5. For every child born or adopted in Wales, the Welsh government will plant a native Welsh broadleaf tree. The scheme is called Plant! – the Welsh word for children.
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Cats in Kazan, Russia were so good at catching mice, they were shipped to St. Petersburg in 1745 to deal with a rodent infestation. A statue dedicated to the cats can be found in Kazan today.
7. Voting is mandatory in Belgium. Citizens are automatically registered in the electoral polls and more than 90% of the eligible population takes part in the voting process since you risk a fine if you do not vote either in person or by proxy.
8. According to a study's preliminary results, when shopping, consumers respond rationally for the first 23 minutes, then they begin to think with the emotional part of their brain. After 40 minutes, the brain becomes tired and effectively shuts down, ceasing to form rational thoughts altogether.
9. In 1820, Thomas Jefferson cut and pasted numerous sections from the New Testament to make his own Bible. Jefferson's condensed composition excludes all "miracles" of Jesus and most mentions of the "supernatural". It's called The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.
10. In 2016, an employee at brewing company Brewdog printed "Mother F**cker Day" on 200,000 cans of their Punk IPA, after saying the company was not punk enough anymore, all of which had to be recalled. The Company made him an employee of the month.
11Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was named after his dead older brother, who died in infancy exactly a year before he was born. It’s been suggested that being given the same name might have had a deep psychological impact on him and influenced his art.
12. Camels once existed in Canada's far north. The Yukon giant camel was a 3.5 million-year-old ancestor of the living domestic camel found today in the deserts of Asia and Africa.
13. Actor, director, and producer Orson Welles refused admission into Harvard at the age of 16 so that he could travel. When he landed in Dublin he convinced everyone that he was a famous Broadway star and began producing plays. When he grew bored of the farce, he went to North Africa to draw pictures.
14. Child labor in the United States was largely ended by a photographer named Lewis Wickes Hine. He took photos of child laborers at eye level to humanize and personalize each child. He captured nearly identical pictures across the country to show lawmakers this was a systemic problem.
15. Thomas Edison produced a film called Fred Ott’s Sneeze, a 5-second film where Fred Ott, one of Edison’s assistants, sneezes. It is the oldest surviving film with copyright.
16Indonesian Communist purge
During the 1965-66 Indonesian Communist purge, over 500,000 to 1 million communists were killed, and the US played a significant role in the killings, supplying economic, technical, and military aid to the Indonesian military when the killings began and providing “kill lists.”
17. Cats often avoid consuming food or water from sides of their bowls to prevent 'whisker fatigue.' Whiskers brushing against a bowl can trigger sensory overload, causing them pain and stress whenever eating or drinking.
18. Elephants like to paint and play music. Some paintings have been compared to abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and have sold for $25,000. Other elephants have been taught to play in an orchestra and reportedly have a strong sense of rhythm and enjoy improvisation.
19. The guitar in Lil Nas X Old Town road was sampled from Nine Inch Nails. Nine Inch Nails ended up winning a country music award because of this.
20. The first-ever Ironman Triathlon was won by US Navy Communications Specialist Gordon Haller. The runner-up John Dunbar, a US Navy Seal, was winning after the second transition but lost his lead when he ran out of the water and his support crew started giving him beer instead.
The "cookies" Sesame Street's Cookie Monster eats are not real cookies, as the oils from them would damage the puppet. He instead eats painted rice cakes disguised as cookies.
22. Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard's verse on the hit song "Ghetto Supastar" was the result of him showing up at the wrong studio, loving the song, and asking to be part of it.
23. Albert Battel was a German Army Lieutenant. He blocked Waffen SS troops from taking Jews from a Ghetto for execution and his Sargent threatened to shoot the SS if they tried. He then broke into the Ghetto with army trucks and evacuated 100 Jews into the protection of the German army.
24. The Wolf of Wall Street movie was funded by a fraudulent bond scheme run by Goldman Sachs employees and a Malaysian PM.
25. The RMS Carpathia only heard the Titanic's distress call because Carpathia's wireless operator, Harold Cottam, was listening to his telegraph while getting into his pajamas, several minutes after his shift had ended. Had he signed off when he was supposed to, there may have been no rescue.