During the American Revolution, an enslaved man was charged with treason and sentenced to hang. He argued that as a slave, he was not a citizen and could not commit treason against a government to which he owed no allegiance. He was subsequently pardoned.
2. The “drink 8 glasses of water a day” fact is based on a 1945 recommendation that had no medical basis. The current recommendation is to “drink when you are thirsty unless you are outside on a hot day or are elderly- then drink a bit more.”
3. When the territory of Wyoming applied to join the US, Congress told them they had to stop letting women vote. Their response was "We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women”. In 1890, they joined as the first and only state to allow women to vote.
4. Macy's originally agreed to be the department store in "Elf" however one stipulation was that Santa couldn't be revealed as a fake. Jon Favreau was unwilling to change the content so he changed the store to "Gimbel's" and filmed it in the cafeteria of a Vancouver mental hospital.
5. A Marine biologist named Stephen Hillenburg created an educational comic book about tide pool animals called "The Intertidal Zone" to help educate his students. In later years after becoming an animator he began developing those same characters and concepts for what became "SpongeBob Squarepants."
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The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 was so powerful that it shifted the earth’s mass, shortening our days by 1.8 microseconds.
7. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once sneaked out of a White House event, commandeered an airplane, and went on a joyride to Baltimore.
8. Pluto was discovered by a 23-year-old farm boy named Clyde Tombaugh with no degree in astronomy who spent a year comparing photographs of the night sky, searching for a "star" that changed positions. He would later earn his Masters degree and teach at New Mexico State.
9. In 1989, then Prime Minister of Japan Sōsuke Uno resigned after a geisha revealed she had an extramarital affair with him. The key to the scandal wasn't morality, but that he had failed to properly provide and support his mistress with an appropriate amount, and was branded as a stingy man.
10. A member of Al Capone's gang promised federal agent Eliot Ness that $1000 (around $33,000 in 2018 adjusting for inflatin) would be on his desk every Monday if he turned a blind eye to their bootlegging. Ness refused the bribe and in later years he struggled with money. He died almost broke at the age of 54.
Wilgefortis was a female saint whose distinguishing feature is a large beard, which grew after she prayed God to make her repulsive in order to avoid an unwanted marriage. She is the patron saint of women seeking the refuge of abusive husbands, and the patron saint of facial hair.
12. Sir David Attenborough is the only person to win a BAFTA for a programme in black and white, color, HD, 3D, and 4K.
13. It is illegal to include the Emergency Broadcast system alert tones in any broadcast media in any context unless it's coming through the actual Emergency Broadcast System. Even when remixed to sound different, networks can be fined thousands of dollars for each time the tone is broadcast.
14. There are contact lenses that are worn overnight which temporarily reshape the cornea, allowing the user to have a perfect vision during the day without having to wear glasses/contact lenses.
15. In 1986, Harrods, a small restaurant in the town of Otorohanga, New Zealand, was threatened with a lawsuit by the famous department store of the same name. In response, the town changed its name to Harrodsville and renamed all of its businesses to ‘Harrods.’
During Prohibition, moonshiners would wear "cow shoes." The fancy footwear left hoofprints instead of human shoe prints, helping distillers and smugglers evade police.
17. When Robin Williams auditioned for the part of Mork, an extraterrestrial from the planet Ork, Williams sat on his head when offered a chair. He was hired on the spot, the producer later commenting “Williams was the only alien who auditioned for the role.”
18. The Japanese government has been hosting speed-dating events in hopes of increasing marriage which hopefully will lead to more children as the country’s population has dropped by more than 1 million since 2010.
19. Juan Catalan spent nearly 6 months in jail for the murder of a teenage girl until his lawyer found unused footage from HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' that proved he had been at a Dodger's game with his 6 years old daughter.
20. George Washington actually wanted to end slavery but never did because he feared it would divide the new nation.
The crew of Planet Earth II filmed the mass birth gathering of Saiga Antelope, only to witness a disease spread and wipe out more than 150,000 antelope within 3 days.
22. “Weird Al” Yankovic would take dates to see The Naked Gun without telling them he was in it. He would also wear the same Hawaiian shirt he wore in the movie.
23. Cruise ships have morgues in them. On average, roughly 200 people die on cruise ships each year so most ships have the capacity to store up to 10 bodies at a time.
24. The "Jews are money hungry" stereotype can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when Jews were allowed to lend money with interest, but Christians were not as it was against their religion.
25. Sam Houston, after whom the city of Houston is named, was deposed as governor of Texas by the legislature after refusing to support the Confederacy, saying “you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it.”