50 Random Facts List #195

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1Farm Hacking

Farmers in the USA are hacking their John Deere tractors with Ukrainian firmware, which seems to be the only way they can actually own the machines and their software, rather than rent them for lifetime from John Deere. Manufacturers have made it impossible for them to perform “unauthorized” repair on their own tractors, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.


2. In 2016, a Stanford University study found a positive correlation between the use of profanity and honesty. In both individuals and groups, those who use profanity tend to be more f*cking honest.


3. When the US military tried segregating the pubs in Bamber Bridge in 1943, the local Englishmen instead decided to hang up "Black soldiers only" signs on all pubs as a protest. Later there was an outbreak of racial violence and mutiny, which resulted in 1 death and 7 injuries.


4. Peter Mayhew was eligible for the roles of either Chewbacca or Darth Vader. He chose Chewbacca because he wanted to play a hero.


5. Theodore Roosevelt's mother died at the age of 49 and less than 12 hours later, his wife Alice died from what was diagnosed as acute kidney disease. In his diary that night, the 26-six-year-old Theodore placed a large X, along with the simple words “The light has gone out of my life.”


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6Timeless physics

Timeless physics is a controversial view that time, as we perceive it, does not exist as anything other than an illusion. Arguably we have no evidence of the past other than our memory of it, and no evidence of the future other than our belief in it.


7. Martin Luther King Jr. started a pillow fight in the hotel room with other civil rights leaders in the hour before he was assassinated.


8. If microwaves had clear glass windows you would be exposed to the harmful microwaves they emit. The metal mesh screen over the windows have large enough holes for our eyes to see inside, but small enough to block the harmful microwaves that would otherwise be emitted.


9. Pink Floyd played a concert with no audience at the amphitheater in Pompeii, Italy in 1971. It became the first performance to have taken place there since the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Rome in 79 A.D.


10. Paul McCartney started the recording of "Hey Jude" unaware that Ringo wasn't there and sitting on the toilet. Ringo tiptoed his way back into the studio just in time for the drums to start.


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11Muppets

The Muppets’ first big break was on The Jimmy Dean Show (the sausage guy) from 1963-66. Rowlf the dog had a 7-10 minute spot with Jimmy every episode. Jim Henson was so grateful he offered Dean 40% of the Muppets, but he turned it down saying he didn't earn it.


12. A New York University study found that people with easier-to-pronounce names have higher-status positions at work.


13. The reason why NASA (and later the Russians) use a specialized space pen instead of the pencil in space is because the graphite of pencils is conductive and can cause short circuits and even fires. The pens have been used since the Apollo era and are still being used right now on the ISS.


14. The United States Postal Service has about 1,700 employees in Utah who read anything that the automated systems can't read like illegible addresses. About 5 million pieces of mail are read at this location daily. Seasoned employees generally average about 1,600 addresses read per hour.


15. Blade Runner and The Thing both came out on the same day, received mixed critical reception, and were considered box office flops, and are both now considered masterclasses in their genres.


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16Harry Fusao O’Hara

Harry Fusao O’Hara, a Japanese expat, volunteered to fight for Britain during World War 1. He was wounded nearly 70 times and received multiple medals for bravery. He remains the only known Japanese national to serve in the RAF.


17. In 1983, after a unit conversion snafu, Air Canada flight 143 ran out of fuel at 41,000 feet. The pilot, who flew gliders in his downtime, brought the plane down on an abandoned airfield which was being used as a racing circuit and everyone got out alive with only minor injuries.


18. The Russian language has a similar proverb to “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” that literally translates to “poor people are crafty.”


19. For every mile traveled, motorcyclists have a risk of a fatal accident that is 35 times higher than a car driver.


20. A former deputy sheriff named Joe Maggard, for unknown reasons lied for years through the media that he portrayed Ronald McDonald in the '90s (he was actually only a lighting stand-in for 2 commercials). He was convicted in 1999 of making harassing phone calls. He would always pose as Ronald and call people, scaring and threatening them.


21Joseph Andrew Dekenipp

In 2014, an Arizona man named Joseph Andrew Dekenipp escaped prison to meet with his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. The man crawled past razor wire, scaled two fences and made his way to a bar about 10 miles away.


22. The underbelly membrane of lobsters is the toughest material of all natural hydrogels, including collagen, animal skins, and natural rubber. The membrane is about as strong as industrial rubber composites, such as those used to make car tires, garden hoses, and conveyor belts.


23. Researchers at the universities in Durham and Lisbon believe that the essential story of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ dates back over 5,000 years. This prototype of Jack’s beanstalk antics is classified by folklorists as ATU 328 - The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure.


24. The @ symbol was chosen for the first electronic mail because the developer "was mostly looking for a symbol that wasn’t used much."


25. When Michael Jordan signed his first professional contract it came with a unique clause allowing participation in competitive off-season pickup games. Specifically, this clause allowed for Jordan's "Love of the game" (a desire to play anywhere, anytime), regardless of potential liability.

1 COMMENT

  1. As an Afrikaans South African I have never in my almost 24 years of life used the word “papier vampier” I have used “stapler” and “papier kramer” which translates to “paper crammer/pusher”.

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