50 Random Facts List #200

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1Admiral Ackbar

The crew of 'Return of the Jedi' mocked the character design of Admiral Ackbar, deeming it too ugly. Director Richard Marquand refused to alter it, saying, "I think it's good to tell kids that good people aren't necessarily good looking people and that bad people aren't necessarily ugly people."


2. When he was a child, Stephen King witnessed one of his friends being killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving to go play with the boy, King returned, speechless and in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death.


3. One evening, while rushing for dinner after a long day at the lab, Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist at Johns Hopkins, forgot to wash his hands that had traces of benzoic sulfimide. This compound made his dinner taste sweet, and that’s how he discovered the artificial sweetener Saccharin.


4. Gwen Stefani's brother Eric Stefani was originally the keyboardist for “No Doubt” but left to become an animator for “The Simpsons.”


5. In 1966, a computer scientist wrote a program, called ELIZA, intended to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between people and machines. Instead, it came to be seen as a therapy program and fooled a remarkable number of people into believing that the computer had feelings.


6Steve Madden

When Steve Madden was convicted of fraud and forced to resign as CEO of his company, he created a new position for himself that paid $700,000 per year while he was in prison.


7. In 2015, researchers testing the efficiency of mosquito repellents used Victoria’s Secret perfume because they thought the floral fragrance would attract mosquitoes. To their surprise, they found it repels mosquitoes better than a range of mosquito deterrents.


8. Tooth enamel is harder than steel. It is composed of mineralized calcium phosphate, which is the single hardest substance any living being can produce. Your tooth enamel is harder than a lobster's shell or a rhino's horn.


9. The Stevie in Stevie Wonder is not short for Steven or Stephen, but Stevland.


10. Peña, the man who says "Bye, Have a Beautiful Time" at the end of American Dad episodes was the former security officer at the office building where Family Guy and American Dad! were produced.


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11Bob Graham

Bob Graham's (38th Governor of Florida) political campaign included performing a full eight-hour workday of the various jobs that Floridian voters held. Starting in 1974, and totaling 408 workdays, jobs he worked included being a teacher, police officer, busboy, and construction worker.


12. Of the 1,213 warships involved in D-Day, only 200 were American and 892 were British. Of the 4,126 landing crafts involved, 805 were American and 3,261 were British.


13. Lego used to bury its used molds in the concrete foundations of buildings to prevent them from being reused.


14. Mexico's official name is the United Mexican States.


15. Rice farmers often put fish into their water-laden fields in a process called “rice-fish culture.” The fish act as pest control, improve oxygen circulation, and can even fertilize the soil with their droppings. This can increase the crop yield by 10% or more.


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16Hanns Scharff

Hanns Scharff, German Luftwaffe's "master interrogator," instead of physical torture on POWs used techniques like nature walks, going out for a pleasant lunch, and swimming where the subject would reveal information on their own. He helped shape US interrogation techniques after the war.


17. Left-handed people's brains are so different from right-handed that they are often excluded from many psychological research studies.


18. The "whistling" noise used to indicate bombs falling in movies and TV shows is almost always the wrong way round. Anyone underneath a bomb that made such a sound (only specific WW2-era bombs) would hear the pitch increasing as it got closer, not decreasing, due to the Doppler effect.


19. For millennia Autism and other sudden disabilities were explained by the Changeling folklore. A fairy or demon would steal a normal baby and replace them with their own child in disguise. The Changeling would cry, scream, not display social behavior, or just become completely unresponsive.


20. Skilled archers can make shot arrows turn in mid-air, hitting targets behind obstacles.


21Dr. Henry Faulds

A Scottish scientist named Dr. Henry Faulds discovered that fingerprints were unique, and asked Charles Darwin to help him promote the idea. Charles Darwin shared this with his nephew, who then claimed the finding as to his own.


22. In the 1930s, residents of Munich would take a small side street so they didn't need to render the Nazi salute to the shrine of the Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch. This side road came to be called "Drückebergergasse" or "Shirker's alley."


23. The band name Smashing Pumpkins doesn't mean breaking a gord; the "Smashing" in it is an adjective, not a verb. So smashing as in "fantastic."


24. Female Komodo Dragons can impregnate themselves without a male through a process called parthenogenesis. By forcing the duplication of sex chromosomes they can give birth to male Komodo Dragons and keep their species alive.


25. Speed cameras in Germany take photos of drivers who sit in the left side of the vehicle, so a driver using a British car put a muppet in the passenger seat to hide their identity.

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