50 Random Facts List #186

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1Lawrence Anthony

Lawrence Anthony

When Lawrence Anthony (A.K.A. “The Elephant Whisperer”) passed away, a herd of elephants arrived at his house in South Africa to mourn him. Although the elephants were not alerted to the event, they traveled to his house and stood around for two days, and then dispersed.

2. People seem to like someone more after doing them a favor. This is known as “The Benjamin Franklin Effect.” When Franklin asked his rival for a rare book and returned it with a note of thanks, Franklin’s rival spoke to him with great civility and offered help, leading the two men to become good friends.

3. In 2008, at the age of 45, Flea, a bass player of the multiplatinum rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, enrolled as a freshman at University of Southern California's music program to learn the academic side of music.

4. Comedian Ryan Stiles from “Whose Line is it Anyway?” has been a frequent fundraiser for children with burn injuries, raising over $500,000 for the Burned Children Recovery Center since 2009, helping the foundation to recover from the economic crash of 2008.

5. In South Korea, only visually impaired people can be licensed masseurs. This law dating back over 100 years to a Japanese colonial law that was set up to guarantee the blind a livelihood.

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6Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury

The piano Freddie Mercury used to record "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the same one Paul McCartney used on "Hey Jude."

7. Wilma Rudolph had polio as an infant and was unable to walk properly until she was 11. For several years, her family had to massage her legs four times a day, and she had to wear a metal brace. In 1960, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in an Olympic event.

8. During World War 2, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris helped over 500 Jews disguise themselves as Muslims by making the administrative staff grant them certificates of Muslim identity, which allowed them to avoid arrest and deportation.

9. The film 'The Shawshank Redemption' remains one of the most valuable assets in Warner Brothers catalog (which has several multi-billion dollar movie franchises) and Bob Gunton (the warden) still makes six figures a year from it.

10. 60% of a cow is used for food, and parts of the other 40% can be made into antifreeze, blood thinners, insulin, marshmallows, and toothpaste.

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11Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers

Mr. Rogers once used an egg timer and simply let it run for 60 seconds on a television broadcast—in order to demonstrate how long a minute is. Unlike most TV made for kids, "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" was deliberately slow and contemplative.

12. The Bee Gees were going to lip sync to a record in the local Gaumont cinema, but as they were running to the theatre, the fragile shellac 78-RPM record broke. The brothers had to sing live and received such a positive response from the audience that they decided to pursue a singing career.

13. Abraham Lincoln had an incredibly high-pitched voice that was described as shrill, sharp, and unpleasant.

14. Ancient Sumeria elected ‘Substitute Kings’ during eclipses to protect the king from a prophecy of death. Once a real king named ‘Erra-imitti’ suddenly died while eating hot porridge and his substitute, ‘Enlil-Bani’ formerly a random gardener, stayed king for 24 years.

15. Liver of polar bears is so rich in vitamin-A that it is considered poisonous. When hunting them, the livers are buried or burned to prevent the hunter's dogs from eating them.

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16Turkish Embassy

Turkish Embassy

The Turkish Embassy in D.C. played a vital role in desegregating the Jazz scene. Two teenage sons of the ambassador would often organize events in the embassy inviting black and white artists to perform together. One of these sons went on to start Atlantic Records.

17. People used to gather around paintings at well-to-do parties identifying hard-to-spot things for fun, a game that was essentially I Spy but for the wealthy and educated. 

18. The Honus Wagner card is the most expensive baseball card in the world. It is so rare because it was sold by the 'American Tobacco Company'. Wagner was a nonsmoker and he threatened to seek legal action against ATC so they stopped producing it.

19. Anthony Hopkins composed a waltz in 1964 that was only released years later. The famous actor was afraid that nobody would like it and therefore never got to hear it being played up until 2011 thanks to André Rieu - a Dutch violinist who got sent the music sheets by Hopkins' wife.

20. Burmese pythons have overrun the Florida Everglades partly as a result of Hurricane Andrew destroying a breeding facility in 1992, which released hundreds of snakes.

21Justin Schmidt

Justin Schmidt

After being stung by the Warrior Wasp, sting pain index creator Justin Schmidt described the pain as, “torture, like you are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Why did I start this list?”

22. Hugh Hefner published nude pictures of Marilyn Monroe without her permission in the first edition of Playboy magazine. He later purchased the crypt beside her's even though they had never met in life.

23. Both of Jon Hamm's parents passed away by the time he turned 20 and when he was 24 he moved to Los Angeles with nothing but his car and $150 to pursue acting.

24. The Inuit way to teach kids to control anger is by using storytelling to discipline and not acting out.

25. 2 students were arrested and sentenced to 7 years in prison, in Portugal for "raising a toast to freedom" in 1960. The news of this inspired British lawyer Peter Benenson to lay down the foundation for one of the largest human rights organizations in the world, the Amnesty International.

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