50 Random Facts List #210

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1Macaulay Culkin

After an internet vote for a new middle name, Macaulay Culkin legally changed his name to Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin.


2. Bees don't buzz during an eclipse - Using tiny microphones suspended among flowers, researchers recorded the buzzing of bees during the 2017 North American eclipse. The bees were active and noisy right up to the last moments before totality. As totality hit, the bees all went silent in unison.


3. Despite it being common practice for casinos to ban card counters, a 1979 New Jersey Supreme Court decision banned all Atlantic City casinos from doing so, making them the only state in America where a casino is forbidden from throwing out, skilled blackjack players.


4. Marcus Terentius Varro was a Roman scholar who predicted microbiology over 2000 years ago, writing “there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, but which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and cause serious diseases.”


5. In 1941, when a General asked Winston Churchill for more men to man Antiaircraft guns, Churchill replied: “No, I can’t spare any men, you’ll have to use women.” Mary Churchill (at the age of 18), Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter was among the first to join and rose to the rank of Junior Commander in 1944.


6Dead Peasant Insurance

Walmart used to take out life insurance policies on their employees and keep the payouts when they died, a practice colloquially known as “Dead Peasant Insurance.”


7. The opening track to Slipknot’s album “Iowa” titled “515” wasn’t just random screaming. Sid Wilson was having an emotional breakdown in the studio because he wasn’t able to make it home to tell his grandfather goodbye before he died.


8. At the premiere of the Good Omens TV series, a front-row seat was left empty in tribute to Terry Pratchett. His trademark scarf and hat were placed on it, and there was a bag of popcorn. Neil Gaiman said that Terry wanted to sit next to him and eat popcorn if an Omens movie ever happened.


9. The International Potato Center has successfully grown potatoes in a simulated Mars environment. They grew the plants in a CubeSat which mimicked the Martian air pressure and atmosphere and used saline desert soils analogous to Martian soils as the growing medium.


10. James Earl Jones demanded David Prowse receive sole credit for portraying Darth Vader believing that his voice was 'just special effects.'


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11Tina Turner

Tina Turner was diagnosed with kidney failure after she opted to take homeopathic remedies instead of high blood pressure medication, something she now regrets. She was considering an assisted suicide until her current husband donated a kidney to her, saving her life.


12. After arresting a man named Jack Gilbert Graham for blowing up an airplane federal agents learned that it was not in fact a federal crime to blow up an airplane. Colorado instead charged the man for the single murder of his mother, a passenger on the plane.


13. The motto, "In God We Trust," is not the original motto of the United States. During the Cold War, it was changed from "E Pluribus Unum" ("from many, one") in an effort to differentiate the United States from atheistic communism.


14. The Navajo language was once in danger of losing a lot of speakers, but the Navajo nation set up programs to teach the language in many bilingual schools. Now there are even institutes, community colleges, and technical universities with classes in the Navajo language.


15. Coco was originally about a Mexican-American boy coping with the death of his mother, learning to let her go and move on with his life. As the movie developed, Pixar realized that this is the opposite of what Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is about.


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16Six Flags Over Texas

When the Six Flags Over Texas theme park opened in 1961, it had a section dedicated to the Confederacy where actors would hunt through the crowd for Union "spies" and "execute" them by firing squad, and where boys and girls could sign up to defend the South as soldiers and nurses.


17. Glitterex, one of the top glitter manufacturers in the USA cannot name their biggest client since the client doesn't want it known they use glitter. When a manager was asked if they could name them in a New York Times interview they instantly replied, "No, I absolutely know that I can’t."


18. When cockroach poisons claim to kill the whole nest, it's not because roaches share food with others. Roaches are cannibals and a single dose of poison can often be eaten many times and still be deadly.


19. In 1848, two slaves, Ellen and William Craft escaped slavery by traveling openly from Macon, Georgia to Boston. Ellen, who was light-skinned, dressed as a man with a sling to hide the fact that she could not write and passed as William's slave owner. Eventually, they fled to Liverpool, England.


20. Americans are now tipping more money, and for more services, than ever before. It’s a phenomenon called “Tip Creep” where social pressure encourages tipping for counter-service interactions where a tip was previously never given.


21ForgetMeNot

There is a hero in the X-Men named ForgetMeNot who's main power is that nobody is able to remember he exists.


22. The dictionary isn't as much an instruction guide to the English language, as it is a record of how people are using it. Words aren't added because they're OK to use, but because a lot of people have been using them.


23. The MIT has developed a camera that uses terahertz radiation to read closed books. This is a fascinating breakthrough that could mean reading dated and delicate documents such as historic manuscripts without touching or opening them.


24. Casualty or ‘Mercy’ dogs were vital in World War 1. They carried supplies so wounded soldiers could help themselves to supplies and tend to their own wounds, whilst other more gravely wounded soldiers would seek the company of a Mercy dog to wait with them whilst they died.


25. It took E. B. White 17 takes to read the death scene of Charlotte, as he recorded the audio version of his book Charlotte's Web. He is said to have walked outside, come back in, and start crying again when he got to that moment, "a grown man crying over the death of an imaginary insect."

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