50 Random Facts List #171

1Willie

A parrot named Willie alerted its owner, Megan Howard when the toddler she was babysitting began to choke. Megan was in the bathroom when the parrot began screaming “mama, baby” while flapping its wings as the child turned blue. Megan rushed over and performed the Heimlich, saving the girl’s life.


2. During the filming of the ‘Sound of Music’, the city of Salzburg refused to allow Nazi flags to be hung off buildings for filming. The director threatened to instead use real newsreel footage of the city enthusiastically greeting Hitler. The city quickly backpedaled and allowed the shot.


3. Hershey's does not meet the legal minimum cocoa content to be described as chocolate in Britain.


4. In January 2014, a 7-year-old girl named Charlotte Benjamin sent a handwritten letter to Lego complaining there were "more Lego boy people and barely any Lego girls". In June 2014, Lego announced a new "Research Institute" collection featuring female scientists which sold out within a week.


5. After uniting Mongol tribes under one banner, Genghis Khan actually did not want any more war. To open up trade, Genghis Khan sent emissaries to Muhammad II of Khwarezm, but Khwarezm Empire killed the Mongolian party. Furious Genghis Khan demolished Khwarezmian Empire in two years.


6Operation Chariot

Operation Chariot was a World War 2 mission where 611 British Commandos rammed a disguised, explosive-laden destroyer, into one of the largest Nazi submarine bases in France filled with 5000 Nazis. They withdrew under fire, then detonated the boat, destroying one of the largest dry docks in the world.


7. Later in life, an Alzheimer stricken Ronald Reagan would rake leaves from his pool for hours, not realizing they were being replenished by his Secret Service agents.


8. Printer companies implement programmed obsolescence by embedding chips into ink cartridges that force them to stop printing after a set expiration date, even if there is ink remaining.


9. In the Philippines, some Catholics volunteer to be non-lethally crucified on Good Friday. The sterilized nails are driven through their palms and they are hung on crosses. A Filipino carpenter named Ruben Enaje has been crucified 32 times as of 2018. Philippines Department of Health advises tetanus shots before the crucifixion.


10. In 1966, after failing for 3 years to extinguish a gas well fire, Soviet authorities decided to use a 30kt atomic bomb. It was detonated at a depth of 1,500 meters crushing the well and extinguishing the flames in seconds. Following this success, the same technique was used on 4 other well fires.


11Dr. Khurshid Guru

In 2015, a doctor on an Air Canada flight jerry-rigged a device to help a toddler breathe who was having asthma attack. Dr. Khurshid Guru, director of Robotic Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, created a nebulizer using a water bottle, a cup, oxygen, and an adult inhaler.


12. In 2009, the film Braveheart was second on a list of "most historically inaccurate movies" in The Times.


13. In 1968, in Japan, a fake motorbike cop stopped a car carrying 300 million Yen in cash ($26 million). He told the driver to run because the car was rigged to blow and then simply drove the car away. The culprit and the cash have never been found.


14. Jeremy Spencer, who was one of the original members of Fleetwood Mac went out to a store while on tour in California in 1971 and never returned. The band, record producers, and the police searched for him for several days and discovered later that he had joined a cult called ‘The Children of God.’


15. An indentured servant boy named John Howland went overboard on The Mayflower and was miraculously saved. His descendants include the Bush family, FDR, writers Emerson and Longfellow, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, Chevy Chase, and over 2 million other Americans.


16Chess match

Before the Internet, chess players used to play each other all over the world by taking turns mailing a postcard to each other describing the move they had made.


17. Crickets are 65%-70% protein whereas beef is 17%-40% protein.


18. Usain Bolt suffered from scoliosis when he was younger and he therefore has an asymmetrical stride when he runs because his legs are slightly different lengths. Researchers aren’t sure if this lack of symmetry is a personal mechanical optimization by Bolt that makes him the fastest human or not.


19. In 2013, a 4-year-old boy named Paul Franklin fell and scraped his knee at a California beach. A couple of weeks later a black bump started growing on his knee. When squeezed, out emerged a live snail from the bump. The boy adopted the snail and named it “Turbo” after his favorite cartoon character.


20. James Lick, once the wealthiest Californian, donated the world's first permanently staffed mountaintop telescope to the University of California in 1888. His will only stipulated that he is to be buried under it and fresh flowers placed on his grave "always".


21Mousetrap

In 2016, a 155-year-old mousetrap kept on display in a museum in Berkshire caught a mouse.


22. Despite being banned from World War 2 military service, Charles Lindbergh's knowledge on fuel efficiency helped double the effective range of the P-38. The pilots he worked with were so grateful they let him sneak on a combat mission where he scored a kill.


23. In 1862, a British merchant named Charles Lennox Richardson was killed for getting too close to a Japanese feudal lord. His last words to his travel companions were: "I know how to deal with these people."


24. Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) battled cancer while filming the last Harry Potter movie. She continued with filming because she didn’t want to disappoint fans.


25. Dr. Joseph Goldberger proved in 1915 that pellagra was caused by poor diet in the South. Southern leaders refused to heed the advice of a northern Jewish doctor and pellagra wasn't eradicated until 1945 when federal law required flour to be fortified with thiamine, niacin, and iron.

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