50 Fun/WTF Facts Everyone Should Know

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1John Fairfax

John Fairfax

On July 19, 1969, John Fairfax finished rowing across the Atlantic and became the first person to row solo across an ocean. His fame was short-lived, though, as the very next day humans landed on the Moon for the first time.

2. Louis Armstrong once asked Richard Nixon to carry his bags through customs for him because he ‘was an old man’. The bags had marijuana in them.

3. When the first iPod prototype was shown to Steve Jobs, he dropped it in an aquarium and used the air bubbles to prove there was empty space and it could be made smaller.

4. The Great Emu War was a nuisance wildlife management operation undertaken in Australia in 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok. Despite the use of military equipment such as machine guns, the operation was considered a failure.

5. Ancient Assyria elected “Substitute Kings” during eclipses to protect the king from a prophecy of death. Once, the real king died during this period while eating porridge, so his substitute, Enlil-bani, formerly a random gardener, stayed king for 24 years.

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6Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill’s most iconic photograph presents a stoic and determined Churchill during World War 2 when, in reality, the Prime Minister was annoyed because the photographer had just snatched his cigar before taking this picture.

7. Nowadays, a lot of people say video games are a waste of time and lead to violent behavior. 150 years ago, they were saying the same thing about chess.

8. Ostracod is tiny crustacean which looks like a shrimp-like organism about 1mm in size. When eaten by another fish, the Ostracod immediately releases a bioluminescent chemical in an attempt to illuminate the fish from the inside making it identifiable to predators.

9. The CIA spent $20 million in the 60s training cats to spy on the Soviets. The first spy cat was hit by a taxi.

10. In an emergency coconut water can be used as blood plasma.

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In 1799, when English scientists first saw a platypus, they thought it was a prank and one zoologist tried removing the platypus' bill.

12. A man in Pennsylvania found an original copy of the Declaration of Independence hidden in the frame of a $4 painting he bought at a garage sale.

13. There is a coffee shop named The Vault in North Dakota that has no employees staffing it. It runs entirely on the honor system and its working.

14. Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward and their wings can beat at up to 80 times per second.

15. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was the first person to suggest that unsterile working practices by doctors caused infections that killed patients. Later in life, he went mad because nobody would believe him. Now he’s known as the “Savior of Mothers.”

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Humans have the ability to see ultraviolet (UV) light, but it is filtered by the eye’s lens. People who have surgery to remove the lens can see UV light. The condition is known as Aphakia.

17. In Alaska, it is illegal to whisper in someone’s ear while they are moose hunting.

18. Nikon was once accused of racist face-detection software in its cameras. When Asian faces were photographed, a message would pop up on the camera screen asking, “Did someone blink?”

19. When female aphids are born, they are already pregnant with their own embryos. This is called Telescoping Generations, in which a grandmother technically gives birth to the next two generations at once.

20. After the entire national Soviet hockey team was killed in an airplane crash in 1950, Stalin’s son Vasily, the manager of the team, covered up the disaster and replaced everyone on the team to avoid his father’s wrath. Stalin never noticed.

21Vincent Speranza

Vincent Speranza

During the Battle of the Bulge, an American paratrooper named Vincent Speranza filled his helmet with beer from a destroyed pub and brought it to wounded soldiers in a nearby church. The story of him doing this is so famous in Bastogne that they have a local beer brand in his honor.

22. Jazz musician Billy Tipton decided to pass as a man to help her jazz career. She tricked almost everyone she knew for 53 years, convincing 5 wives (at least two of whom she had sex with) and 3 children that she was a man.

23. After World War 2, a Czech Nurse was honored for sleeping with Nazi soldiers to give them STDs and kill them. She used to work in a local hospital and decided to get revenge on the Nazi invaders after she was raped shortly after the occupation of her town in 1938.

24. Tsar Peter III of Russia court-martialed and hanged a rat which had chewed the heads off his toy soldiers.

25. Violet Jessop worked as a stewardess/nurse aboard the Titanic and Britannic when they sank as well as on the Olympic when it collided with another ship. She survived all three incidents.

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