50 Random Facts List #213

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1Jaequan Faulkner

In 2018, a 13-year-old teenager named Jaequan Faulkner opened a hot dog stand in front of his home in Minnesota, causing a complaint to the health department. Instead of shutting him down, the inspectors helped him bring his stand up to code and paid the $87 fee for his permit out of their own pockets.


2. A Philadelphia woman named Marion Stokes began taping whatever was on television in 1979 and didn't stop until her death in 2012. The 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes she made are the most complete collection preserving this era of TV. They are being digitized by the Internet Archive.


3. After visiting a prison in Norway that treated prisoners humanely, a warden from North Dakota went back and reformed her prison based on Norway's model. It later saw a sharp decline in violence against inmates and threats against staff.


4. A boy dying of an incurable illness wanted to meet Luke Skywalker (in character). His mental state devolved to the point where he did not realize Luke was fictional. Mark Hamill agreed to dress up in character and meet the boy. He spent hours answering questions.


5. A Polish pianist named André Tchaikovsky donated his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company after his death, as he wanted it to be used for Yorick in productions of Hamlet. It took 26 years for his wishes to be realized as no one wanted to use it. In 2008, David Tennant finally used it.


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6Ampex CEO

In the 1960s, the CEO of Ampex wanted his employees to take LSD to improve their creativity. The board of directors said "no" and then had to fire him after they discovered he'd snuck off anyway on a mountain hike with seven or eight engineers and given them LSD.


7. Vocal jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald was born with perfect pitch so precise that the band musicians she worked with would tune their instruments to her voice.


8. In 1926, famous jazz pianist Fats Waller was kidnapped by gangsters for three days in Chicago. He was the “surprise guest” at Al Capone's birthday party. He was later found very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash from Capone and other party-goers as tips.


9. Spain’s S-80 submarine program designed subs that were 70 tons too heavy and were likely to sink when submerged. Cost overruns to fix it were expected to reach $9 billion. The problem was traced back to an engineer misplacing a decimal point. It has been called the most expensive math error ever.


10. NASA once raided a Denny's as part of a sting operation to bust a 75-year-old woman for possessing and attempting to sell a moon rock the size of a rice grain.


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11Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan Salt is one of the most expensive salts in the world. People claim it contains more minerals than ordinary table salt. Scientists found the amount of minerals it contains is so minuscule that it makes no measurable difference.


12. Dogs have musical tastes. The Scottish SPCA and University of Glasgow monitored dogs' heartrates while playing different kinds of music and found that most dogs "prefer reggae and soft rock," though each individual dog also had its own preferences.


13. Gorillas sing happy songs while they eat. They don't sing the same song every time and they even sing louder while eating their favorite food.


14. The famous "Keyboard Cat" video was originally filmed in 1984 and that its star, Fatso, died in 1987, twenty years before it was posted on YouTube.


15. Richard Harris was so drunk through the 1970s that he forgot he owned a Rolls Royce. It sat in a New York garage for 25 years before he found an old photo of himself with it and his accountant confirmed it was still there running up $90,000 in garage storage costs.


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16Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball has actually caused an international incident. It is so popular in Mexico that there were government-sponsored public watch parties for the final episodes of Dragon Ball Super. They became so popular Japan had to send a formal diplomatic notice commanding them to stop, which they didn't.


17. In 1977, North Korean agents abducted a 13-year-old Japanese girl named Megumi Yokota while she was walking to school in Niigata, Japan. The agents then took the girl over to North Korea and forced her to teach infiltrator agents about Japanese culture. She is still missing to this day.


18. Nicolas Cage was arrested in 2011 for public intoxication and was bailed out by a fan who was a bail bondsman. That bail bondsman was none other than Dog The Bounty Hunter.


19. Doctor Min Chiu Li was fired from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the 1950s because he gave chemotherapy to patients even after their tumors appeared to be gone. After firing him, the NIH discovered the long-term survival rates for his patients were far superior to conventional treatments.


20. "Weird Al" Yankovic did not intend his song "Albuquerque" to be well-received as he wrote it as a joke specifically to "annoy people for 12 minutes." It ended up becoming one of his most popular songs.


21Yellow fever epidemic

During the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, many black citizens, widely believed to be immune to the disease, volunteered to deal with the dead and dying as white citizens fled the city. The immunity seems to have not actually existed, and blacks died at the same rates as whites.


22. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon wore off-brand shoes. To combat the robberies and killings for shoes that were common at the time, he even released his own signature shoe with Spalding, for $34.95.


23. In the Ancient Greek Olympics, competitors found cheating were fined. The money would pay for a statue of Zeus with a plaque shaming the offender, and placed on the road to the stadium.


24. 4G LTE isn't actually 4G. It stands for 'Long Term Evolution', and was invented so that companies can market their networks as 4G without meeting its specifications. Actual 4G speeds are 100 Mb/s for moving devices (in a train/car) and 1 Gb/s for stationary devices.


25. In the same year Einstein introduced general relativity, Karl Schwarzschild provided the first exact mathematical solution to general relativity whilst on the front lines of World War 1.

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