50 Random Facts List #167

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1Mr. T

Laurence Tureaud named himself professionally as Mr. T because he hated how his father, uncle, and brother who returned from Vietnam, were disrespectfully called "boy" by whites. He wanted the first word from everybody's mouth to be "Mister" when speaking to him.


2. When Mr. Rogers heard his limo driver was going to be waiting outside while Rogers was in a meeting, he asked the driver to come in. On the way back they passed the driver's home and Rogers asked if they could stop and meet his family. Rogers kept in touch with the driver for the rest of his life.


3. Frank Zappa was a futurist who was enthusiastic for the possibility of holographic imagery. So much so that he recorded footage of himself in the early 70s with the intention to be used when technology got to that point. A Frank Zappa holographic tour using that footage starts in 2019.


4. Soon after Bill Gates had gone to start Microsoft, a Harvard professor who had worked with him recalled, "He had moved to Albuquerque... to run a small company writing code for microprocessors, of all things. I remember thinking: 'Such a brilliant kid. What a waste.'"


5. In Hinduism, atheism is considered to be a valid path to spirituality, as it can be argued that God can manifest in several forms with "no form" being one of them.


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6William James

Philosopher William James experienced depression due to the notion that free will is an illusion. He brought himself out of it by realizing, since nobody seemed able to prove whether it was real or not, that he could simply choose to believe it was.


7. Walt Whitman's friend, Silas Soule, at the age of 17 was escorting slaves on the Underground Railroad. By 22, he had staged two prison heists and became a blacksmith. At the age of 26, he defied orders to participate in a massacre of Native Americans, testified against its architect, and was murdered for it.


8. Director Peter Weir wanted to have cameras installed in behind every theater showing ‘The Truman Show’ and have the projectionist cut the power at some point during the film, cut to the viewers so they'd be watching themselves, and then cut back to the movie.


9. While waiting for his audition for 'The Office', John Krasinski was telling someone about how he was worried the producers were going to screw the show up because of how great the British version is. The person he was talking to was Greg Daniels, the show’s executive producer.


10. After Michael Jackson's hair caught fire in 1984 he founded a burn center. “I wanted to do something because I was so moved by the other burn patients I met...” He suffered painful burns, but hospital staff remembers him spending much of his time visiting and comforting other patients.


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11Bob Hawke

Former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke had a serious accident at the age of 17. This near-death experience acted as his catharsis, driving him to make the most of his talents and not let his abilities go to waste. Later, he set a world record by drinking 1.4 liters of beer in 11 seconds.


12. Sweden is actually increasing forest biomass despite being the second largest exporter of paper in the world because they plant 3 trees for each 1 they cut down.


13. Medal of Honor recipient Edward Carter could speak 5 languages, fought in his first war at the age of 15, and joined the Spanish Civil War to fight fascists at the age of 20 before eventually fighting in World War 2. Despite his heroism in combat, he and all other black awardees would not be recognized until 1997.


14. Charles Manson tried out Scientology and subsequently declared it as "too crazy."


15. Smoky the Yorkie was a pet dog to soldiers in the south pacific, weighing 4lbs, who kept operational 40 United States fighters by running a wire tied to her collar through a 6in pipe, completing a 3-day construction job in minutes. He also had 10 recognized combat flights and 8 combat stars.


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16Penguin poop

Penguin poop will change Antarctica's ecosystem. For the last 5,000 years, penguins have delivered roughly 16 million pounds of nutrient-rich poop on the rocks of Antarctica. This poop can one-day support plants and animals which currently can't survive in Antartica.


17. Charles Darwin, while working on a book about orchids, was frustrated and wrote in a letter to his friend “But I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything.”


18. Electricity was first installed in the White House in 1891. It was such a new concept that President Benjamin Harrison and his wife both refused to touch light switches due to their fear of electrocution so the White House staff had to follow them around and turn the lights off and on for them.


19. A Hungarian-born United States Army soldier Tibor Rubin survived the Holocaust, fought for the US Army during the Korean War, became a POW, and had to wait 55 years to receive his Medal of Honor, all because his sergeant was an anti-Semite.


20. Former Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg once went incognito as a taxi-driver in Oslo because he wanted to "hear from real Norwegian voters and that taxis were one of the few places where people shared their true views."


21Pencils

Pencils historically never had lead in them, they in fact always had graphite. When graphite was discovered, it was thought to be a form of lead, hence calling it "lead" in the pencil.


22. An Iraqi named Hussain al-Shahristani was forced into solitary confinement in prison for 8 years under Saddam Hussein. He kept his sanity by “making up mathematical problems, which he then tried to solve.” He later became Iraq’s minister of higher education and scientific research.


23. In Victorian London, mail was delivered to homes 12 times a day. "Return of post" was a commonly used phrase for requesting an immediate response to be mailed at the next scheduled delivery. It was quite common for people to complain if a letter didn't arrive within a few hours.


24. The second officer (Charles Herbert Lightoller) of the Titanic stayed onboard till the end and was trapped underwater until a boiler explosion set him free. Later, he volunteered in World War 2 and helped evacuate over 120 men from Dunkirk.


25. A female Giant Pacific Octopus can lay 50,000 eggs. She quits eating and spends 6 months slowly dying as she tends to and protects them. On average, only 2 out of the 50,000 baby octopuses survive.

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