50 Random Facts List #198

26Walter Jenkins

Lyndon Johnson's closest aide, Walter Jenkins, was forced to resign when he was arrested for gay sex. Johnson's wife publically supported Jenkins in a time when homosexuality was heavily scorned.


27. A 50-year-old woman named Violet Gibson attempted to assassinate Mussolini in 1927. She fired a gun once, but Mussolini moved his head and the shot hit his nose. She tried again, but the gun misfired. She was almost lynched by the crowd but was rescued by police and taken away for questioning.


28. Chiropractic was founded by a traveling religious miracle healer named Daniel David Palmer who believed that magnets could cure diseases. He was sent to jail in Iowa in 1906 for practicing medicine without a license. The American Medical Association later labeled chiropractors an "unscientific cult."


29. In 2007, a Russian company named Rossiya broadcasted television footage showcasing the Russians planting a flag at the bottom of the ocean in the North Pole. A 13-year-old boy from Finland noticed some of the footage the station used was from the film Titanic.


30. Wolfgang Doeblin was a Jewish-German mathematician who started fighting for the French during World War 2 and committed suicide at the age of 25 after his company was surrounded. A sealed letter he sent to the French Academy of Sciences was opened in 2000, revealing he had already proven a famous result in stochastic calculus.


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31E.B. White

American writer E.B. White hated the Hanna-Barbera animated film adaptation of his novel Charlotte's Web, saying "The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don't care much for jolly songs."


32. Queen Victoria was raised under a strict system called the Kensington System, created by her mother and Sir John Conroy. Her first two requests, upon her accession, were that she should be allowed an hour by herself and that her bed should be removed from her mother's room. She also banned Conroy.


33. J.R.R. Tolkien had been known to (as a practical joke) dress up as an ax-wielding Anglo-Saxon warrior and chase his neighbor down the street.


34. Hagfish slime expands by 10,000 times in a fraction of a second, it is 100,000 times softer than Jell-O and can fend off sharks.


35. When Alfred Hitchcock was five, his father sent him to the police with a note. The policeman looked at the note and locked him in jail for a few minutes. This experience left him with a lifelong fear of policemen and he wouldn't even drive a car in case he got a parking ticket.


36Paris Gun

The massive velocity of the Paris Gun used in 1918 meant that each shell fired had a larger diameter than the previous or the gun would blow up. The shells were numerically ordered by size from the factory to make sure you fired the right one.


37. Comedian-actor Harold Ramis successfully dodged the Vietnam draft by taking meth just before his physical.


38. The main purpose of a clapperboard in filmmaking is to synchronize picture and sound in post-production, and when out of sync it’s called ‘lip flap.’


39. In most US states it is illegal for a vehicle to pass a cyclist with less than 3 feet of space, and some states extend as high as 6 feet.


40. The first transcontinental trip across the United States in an automobile was accomplished in 1903. Two men and a dog used 800 gallons of gas and spent $8000 over 63 days to travel from San Francisco to New York in a car with no roof or windshield to win a $50 bet that they never collected.


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41Limewire

Record Companies sued Limewire creators for $72 trillion in damages. That was more than the global GDP in 2011.


42. Violinist Lili Haydn was allowed to choose her own name as a child, and for a time was known as 'Helicopter.'


43. Vasa Syndrome is a term which is used when there are problems in communication and management that can cause projects to fail. It is named after the Vasa, one of the largest and most spectacular warships ever built, which sank in 1628 on its maiden voyage because it was too unstable to withstand a gust of wind.


44. Fans were so relentless in stealing the "Penny Lane" street signs that Liverpool switched to painting the street name directly on buildings rather than replacing them.


45. When dashboard lights were first used in cars they were called "idiot lights" because drivers were frustrated by the warning lights used in place of gauges, making it more difficult to detect issues early since they only activated after one occurred.


46Linda Hazzard

In the early 20th century, “Doctor” Linda Hazzard killed at least a dozen of her patients, who coincidentally had just added her to their wills, by “treating” them with 30-40 day total starvation therapy. At first, she couldn’t be prosecuted because her patients signed up willingly.


47. Newborns with a vitamin D deficiency have a 44% increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia as adults compared to those with normal vitamin D levels. The developing fetus is totally reliant on the mother's vitamin D stores.


48. President William McKinley wore a red carnation in his lapel at all times as a good luck charm. During a public meeting in his second term, he took out the flower from his lapel and gave it to a 12-year-old girl. Minutes later, he was shot. He died a week later.


49. USC football player Marion Morrison, an early California bodysurfer, tore ligaments in his shoulder while riding the surf near Balboa Pier in 1926. Finished with organized sports, Morrison made his way to Hollywood and was renamed, John Wayne.


50. Bob Beamon had a lifelong goal of being the first athlete to ever pass 28 feet in a long jump. After the official measurement coming out to 29 feet and 2.5 inches in the 1968 Olympics, he became so full of emotion that his muscles literally began to collapse.

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