50 Random Facts List #117

26D. Sancho

The first recorded weight-loss surgery was performed on D. Sancho the king of Leon, Spain during the 10th century. His morbid obesity made him lose the throne so his grandmother escorted him to Cordoba where a doctor sewed his lips shut. His was then fed with only a straw. He lost half his weight and reclaimed the throne.


27. When American writer Kurt Vonnegut served in World War 2, he was captured by Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was a POW in Dresden and survived the bombing of the city by hiding in a meat locker in a slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. This inspired him to write the anti-war novel Slaughter-House Five.


28. It was only after Mel Gibson personally underwrote Robert Downey Jr.'s liability insurance that his career took off again with Iron Man.


29. Moon rocks are considered a “national treasure” and their sale is illegal in USA.


30. There is rare genetic variation (SNP rs121912617) in humans that allows people affected by it to sleep 2 hours less a night with no ill effects.


31New York City

The New York City Metro Area has a bigger GDP than all of Mexico, Spain, or Australia. Effectively, this means that New York City makes more money than a first-world continent.


32. The first meal eaten on the moon was bacon, peaches, and grapefruit juice.


33. British author Agatha Christi absolutely detested the fictional Belgium detective Hercule Poirot, a character she created, going as far as to call him, “A detestable, bombastic, egocentric, little creep.” She only kept writing books about his adventures at the behest of her editors, because they sold so well.


34. Jeremiah Hamilton was 19th Century New York's notorious African-American Wall Street millionaire. Blacklisted by the city's insurance firms and Public Stock Exchange, he went on to amass a fortune of $250 million in today’s money and was known as the biggest single rival to the Vanderbilts.


35. There is a population of Polish Haitians descended from Napoleonic soldiers who deserted to join the Haitians after learning they were fighting for their freedom against slavery.


36Wedge-tailed eagle

Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle, is so territorial that it will attack even helicopters and small planes to defend its nest sites.


37. A horse named Sergeant Reckless was purchased by the Marines as a pack horse in a division. She was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines' tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.


38. After her plane went up in flames, flight attendant Barbara Jane Harrison helped passengers out and after the slides were punctured, pushed them out to safety. She was just about to leave when she turned back into the burning plane to help more passengers, which cost her life.


39. In 1815, when Napoleon Bonaparte was thrown overboard due to rough seas, a random fisherman's Newfoundland dog jumped into the water from the fisherman's boat and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.


40. Before it became male-dominated, computer programming was a promising career choice for women, who were considered "naturals" at it. Computer scientist Dr. Grace Hopper said programming was "like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so it’s ready when you need it."


41Window

During World War 2, the Allied forces would drop clouds of thin strips of aluminum foil from aircraft to overwhelm enemy radar in a countermeasure known as “Window.”


42. Diphenhydramine, sold under brand names Benadryl, Nytol, ZZZQuil, Unisom, and others can cause extremely realistic hallucinations and confusion at high doses. Most users report hallucinations of spiders, conversations with people that aren't there, and a lingering impending sense of doom.


43. Cartoon character Olive Oyl was a main character for 10 years before Popeye’s appearance in 1929.


44. Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, despite only having approximately 15 minutes of screen time.


45. When Paris was under siege from a viking raid in 886 A.D., King Charles III/The Fat didn't bother fighting them. He instead paid them 700 livres (257 kg) of silver to go and raid to the then rebelling Burgundy instead.


46Halflings

The original Dungeons & Dragons contained references to "hobbits" but those were removed when J.R.R. Tolkien's estate complained that he held the copyright to the creatures. They were later renamed "halflings" in Dungeons & Dragons.


47. When Ernest Hemingway tried his first daiquiri, he said it was too sweet and asked for double the rum and less sugar. Thus, the Hemingway daiquiri was born.


48. A woman named Akiko Takakura survived the Hiroshima bombing while being only 300 meters away from the epicenter of the blast.


49. There is a theory that the chronic vocal injuries suffered by today's vocalists are directly caused by the "sing from your diaphragm" methods introduced in the 1800s.


50. The oldest discovered wheel was found in Slovenia's Ljubljana Marshes in 2002 and it's approximately 5,150 years old.

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