50 Random Facts List #190

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26Sanskrit

Indians are relearning Sanskrit and reviving the ancient language, with 10,000 new speakers in 2010 alone.


27. Dogs’ facial expressions are not just random face movements. These facial expressions are actually tools to communicate with their owners. According to the study, the researchers inched toward the conclusion that dogs are smiling at us.


28. The Lyme disease was not as common in the past as it is now, and its prevalence is actually due to an explosion in the white-footed mouse population at the turn of the 20th century. This, in turn, coincides with the extinction of the mouse's primary ecological competitor: the passenger pigeon.


29. During the French Revolution, Louis XVI ordered the arrest of a judge named D'Epremesnil. When the arresting officers came to the Palais de Justice, they did not know D'Epremesnil by sight, so all the judges stood up and cried "We are all D'Epremesnil!". No arrests were made that day. 


30. Uncle Tom was actually the hero that stood up against slavers but pro-slavery works created afterward poisoned the name "Uncle Tom."


31Henry Brown

Henry "Box" Brown escaped slavery in the American south by mailing himself to freedom. He had friends pack him into a small box, and ship him as cargo from Richmond to Philadelphia. He survived and went on to work as a magician.


32. Some European countries have a "Freedom to Roam", which means that you can freely go into private land for recreation as long as you don't cause any problems.


33. When the allies were close, Fritz Suhren, a concentration camp commandant took Odette Sansom, an inmate whom he believed to be Churchill's niece, and drove with her to the US base, hoping it would save him. She was, in fact, a British spy under a false name. He was hanged in 1950.


34. Killer-whale mothers often stay with their adult sons for their whole lives. Killer-whale mothers also help their sons find mating opportunities to increase their chances of becoming grandmothers.


35. At the temperature -20°C or below Emperor Penguins form a huddle (like rugby players) to stay warm. The temperature inside the huddle sometimes gets so hot (37°C) that some penguins come out and eat ice to cool off a bit.


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36General Patton

During World War 2 when General Patton got in trouble for slapping a shell shocked soldier, his punishment was to command an inflatable army of decoy tanks in England to divert Germany's attention from a potential attack at Normandy. This proved to be essential to the success of the D-Day invasions.


37. In 1728, the philosopher Voltaire got rich by outsmarting the lottery. The prize money was larger than the cost of all the tickets combined, so Voltaire and his friend formed a syndicate, bought all the tickets, and won several times.


38. The ancient Greek historian Polybius came up with a cyclical theory of government (anacyclosis), where governments start off as monarchies, the final stage is ochlocracy when a democracy degenerates into chaos and mob-rule. Then the cycle resets itself.


39. Abram Gannibal was a black African-born Russian nobleman in the 18th century. Sold into slavery, he was eventually freed by Peter the Great and adopted into the Emperor's household as his godson. His great-great-grandson is the celebrated author and poet Alexander Pushkin.


40. A 9/11 survivor named George Mironis visits FDNY Ladder Company 10 House, across from the memorial, once a week and leaves a candle in a glass jar just outside the firehouse. He does this to honor a firefighter he passed in the North Tower stairwell on 9/11 who did not survive.


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41Freddy Krueger

Freddy Krueger was inspired by Wes Craven's experience watching a man in a fedora outside his apartment. "Somehow he sensed that someone was watching, and he looked right up and into my eyes.” Craven retreated, but when he looked out his window again, the man was still there, staring up at him.


42. First Lieutenant Mary Louise Hawkins assisted with the evacuation of patients in World War 2. Her plane was forced to make an emergency landing and a patient's trachea was severed by debris. Mary went full MacGyver and managed to keep the man alive with found items for 19 hours until help arrived.


43. In 2017, a famed green jacket from the Augusta National Golf Club was purchased for $5 at a Toronto thrift shop, then sold at auction for $139,000.


44. Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid was kicked out of the Scottish National Party for being a Communist and was kicked out of the Communist Party for being a Scottish Nationalist.


45. Cahokia, a great Native American city near current day St. Louis had a population in 1250 A.D., bigger than London.


46Julius Fucik

The music commonly associated with clowns in circuses was written by Julius Fucik. It was originally titled "Entrance of the Gladiators" and was meant to represent slaves marching into an arena to fight to the death.


47. Two species of vultures (New World and Old World) evolved completely separately from each other on different continents, suggesting that vultures have a huge and essential ecological value in nature.


48. A Cuban fighter pilot named Orestes Lorenzo defected to the US. He flew to Florida in a MiG-23 and requested his family join him. When his family was banned from leaving Cuba, he raised money to buy a plane. He then flew back to Cuba, landed on a highway and bought his family back himself.


49. According to a 2008 survey of infant and toddler feeding habits, some babies are served soft drinks daily as early as 9 months of age. The same survey found that by 24 months, more than 10 percent of toddlers were drinking soda every single day.


50. Tom Tobin was a famous American mountain man, and bounty hunter. In 1863, Tobin hunted down one of America's first serial killers, Felipe Espinosa, who killed 32 innocent civilians before Tobin single-handedly decapitated him and his accomplices. Tobin was paid with a Henry rifle for the killings.

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