50 Random Facts List #117

1Norm Macdonald

One and a half years after Norm Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live, he was asked back to host. In his opening monologue he said “How did I go from not being funny enough to being so funny I'm hosting the damn show? Then it occurred to me. I haven't gotten funnier - the show has gotten really bad.”


2. American chewing gum industrialist William Wrigley Jr. began by selling soap and offered baking powder as an incentive to buy it. Finding the baking powder more popular, he switched to selling it instead and gave his customers gum as an incentive. Again, he found that the gum was more popular and began to sell it instead.


3. Most older CD-based video games can be put in a CD player and you can listen to the soundtrack of the game.


4. Congress voted to pay George Washington $25,000 a year during his presidency. After initially declining the salary, he ultimately accepted it to avoid setting a precedent whereby the presidency would be seen as limited only to independently wealthy individuals who could serve without any salary.


5. Ancient Mexicans were the only New World civilization who invented the wheel, and it is the only known instance of the wheel having been invented independently of the Sumerian version.


6Diarrhea

Diarrhea killed approximately as many people as HIV and AIDS in 2012.


7. A young Winston Churchill was on a South African train that was ambushed by Boers. He was captured and sent to a prison camp from which he escaped and then evaded a massive manhunt by hiding in a mine for days. He later led liberation of the 180 soldiers remaining in the prison and returned home a hero.


8. Chimpanzees understand vengeance. Two zookeepers played contrasting roles: one regularly fed the chimpanzees and the other took their food away. When a third person pretended to beat each zookeeper, many chimpanzees made an effort to watch the "disliked" zookeeper being punished.


9. Microsoft tried to monopolize the early web browser market by making it difficult to install other web browsers and slowing down Windows if Internet Explorer was uninstalled.


10. American voice actor Casey Kasem was a devout vegan. He supported animal rights and environmental causes, and was a critic of factory farming. He quit voicing Shaggy in the late 1990s when he was asked to voice Shaggy in a Burger King commercial, only returning in 2002 after negotiating to have Shaggy become a vegetarian.


11Earl Tupper

Earl Tupper, the inventor and the founder of the Tupperware Company, sold his ownership interest, bought himself an island in Costa Rica, and gave up his U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes.


12. The SNL Jeopardy sketch was created by Norm Macdonald purely so that he could show off his Burt Reynolds impression.


13. We have three types of tears - basal, reflex and psychic. Psychic tears, the ones we produce when we are sad, have a different chemical make up than the other two and contain a natural painkiller, leucine enkephalin, which is perhaps why we feel better after we cry.


14. One of the most inaccurately named men in history was Charles Coward. While in German captivity, he traded clothes with a Jewish inmate so that he could report to the British on what was happening in Auschwitz, and he later testified in Nuremberg.


15. Taylor Swift’s father Scott Swift is a wealthy Merrill Lynch banker who purchased a 3% stake ($120,000 ) of the independent label Big Machine Records in 2004, the label that first signed Taylor Swift.


16Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

The CIA once failed at bribing Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the then Prime Minister of Singapore, which was relatively undeveloped back then. After he revealed this in an interview, the US denied the incident. In a rage, Mr. LKY revealed a letter he received from then US Secretary of State and threatened to disclose further information.


17. King Sejong invented Korean Script out of a desire for universal literacy. About his script, he said, “A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.”


18. There is an island in Australia named Rottnest Island that is full of miniature kangaroos called ‘quokkas.’


19. Toilets and drains do not rotate differently in the southern and northern hemisphere.


20. During the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a second U2 Spy Plane had strayed into Soviet Airspace. When radioing for directions, an unknown voice told the pilot to turn right 35 degrees which would have taken the plane deeper into the Soviet Union. When asked for an identifying code, there was no response.


21Estonia

Estonia is developing the world’s first Digital Nomad Visa that will allow people who do the majority of their work online to work and travel in Estonia for up to 365 days.


22. 71% of 17-24-year-olds in the U.S. don't qualify for military service.


23. When a US Army nurse named Ruby Bradley was captured during World War 2, she was nicknamed the “Angel in Fatigues”. She helped deliver 13 babies and smuggled food to help starving children inside the prison camp. During the Korean War, she refused to leave her hospital until everyone has left, despite surrounded by 100,000 enemy soldiers.


24. During a famous Berlin performance of 'Mack the Knife', Ella Fitzgerald forgot the words to the song after the first verse and ad-libbed the rest. She won a Grammy for the performance.


25. In 1858, a confectioner in England tried to purchase harmless powdered gypsum from a local pharmacist to make peppermint lozenges, but was accidentally sold 12 pounds of arsenic trioxide. 21 people died and more than 200 others became ill when the poisoned candy was sold to the public.

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