50 Random Facts List #209

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26V for Vendetta

In 2012, China's national TV channel – known for its strict censoring of foreign films – stunned viewers by airing the anarchist film ‘V for Vendetta’ fully uncensored. It included the famous quote: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."


27. In Sweden, you agree with someone by sucking in air. In Sweden (and Norway), to show you’re on the same page as someone, you make a sharp sucking noise instead of saying "I agree" or nodding. It’s their way of letting you know they’re listening without interrupting the flow of conversation.


28. Subway chicken was DNA tested by a Canadian firm and was found to only contain about 50% chicken, with much of the rest being soy filler.


29. The term "plastic surgery" was coined in 1839, 70 years before plastic was even invented. It comes from the Greek word "plastikē" which means "sculpting" and has nothing to do with plastic.


30. The biggest infrastructure project in the U.S. ($512 billion), the Interstate Highway System, was built and championed by Eisenhower in 1956 because he thought it was virtually impossible to travel US roads after experiencing the German Autobahn in World War 2 during his experience as General.


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31Buzz Aldrin

After retiring from NASA, Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, fell into a deep depression and ended up working as a used car salesman.


32. Lucy Maud Montgomery stored her now-famous book Anne of Green Gables in a hatbox after it was rejected by every publisher she sent it to. Years later she tried again, and the book has now sold 50 million copies.


33. In 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 823 crashed onto Rikers Island, New York’s 400-acre prison complex. Around 50 inmates rushed to help pull passengers from the wreckage. Later, the governor set those prisoners free or reduced their sentences.


34. When Big Bird appeared on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers wanted to do a segment where Caroll Spinney would remove his Big Bird costume, demonstrate how the puppet worked, and talk about what it's like to play Big Bird. Spinney refused to do it, not wanting to ruin the illusion for kids.


35. William the Conqueror’s body exploded at his funeral. He’d died due to an intestinal infection from his horse rearing and throwing him against his saddle pommel. At his funeral, as his too large body was being forced into a too-small coffin, his abdomen burst. Mourners ran to escape the stench.


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36Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert donates his proceeds from the sale of AmeriCone Dream to charity.


37. Arnold Schwarzenegger paid Austria to ship him the exact same tank he drove when he was a soldier. It is fully operable (minus the gun) and he uses it to support his fundraising efforts.


38. Because electronic computers were not fast in 1959, the X15 experimental jet used a Fluidic Digital Computer that used water instead of electricity. It featured hypersensitive Fluidic Integrated Circuits and Logic Gates that could make course corrections faster than its contemporary computers.


39. Modern humans and neanderthals interbred, and as a result, all non-Africans carry between one and four percent Neanderthal DNA.


40. Nicholas Culpeper was a 17th-century physician who married a wealthy heiress, enabling him to provide services free of charge while translating Latin medical text into English. He then sold them very cheaply for the poor who couldn’t afford expensive physicians.


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41Reagan Administration

The Reagan Administration laughed about the AIDS epidemic during three separate press conferences.


42. A former engineer in Japan claims to be the only heir to authentic ninjutsu. In his 60s, Jinichi Kawakami decided he will not appoint anyone as the next ninja grandmaster, saying: "we now have guns, the internet and much better medicines, so the art of ninjutsu has no place in the modern age."


43. France has banned children under the age of 15 to use their smartphones in school. This ban also includes smartwatches and tablets.


44. The 1994 film "Clerks" had an extended, but a much darker ending, in which Dante Hicks was murdered by a robber who then proceeded to take the money from the cash register. Miramax reacted negatively and ordered writer-director Kevin Smith to delete that ending completely.


45. Bed headboards were first used to keep sleepers warm and were constructed to create space from the wall to allow falling colder air to sink to the floor rather than onto the bed.


46Philemon T. Herbert

Philemon T. Herbert, a California Congressman once shot and killed a waiter, for being refused breakfast because it was too late in the morning. He was acquitted of manslaughter by a sympathetic jury.


47. Italians eat so much bread and pasta that the government will give Celiacs (gluten intolerant) a stipend of up to €140 to spend on Gluten-free products.


48. Baby Sand dollars (like a sea urchin) eat the heaviest bits of sand they can find, to weigh them down so they don't get swept away, like a teeny tiny weight belt.


49. Many of the props used in Mel Brooks' 1974 film "Young Frankenstein" were originally used in the 1931 Frankenstein film.


50. UHaul rarely runs advertisements. The founder viewed having trucks all over the road with his logo on it as the only advertising he needed. 

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