50 Random Facts List #213

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26Steve Fossett

When billionaire Steve Fossett went missing during a solo plane flight where it was ultimately discovered he perished, the CAP, National Guard, and thousand of AMT volunteers found many other plane crash sites lost to time. Most (at the time) were not investigated further.


27. During surgery on a 60-year-old woman, Italian doctors discovered one of the first heart prostheses - an artificial mitral valve - which was implanted almost 50 years ago when the patient was 10, by Christiaan Barnard, the surgeon who performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant.


28. In the Philippines, for the bargain price of roughly £350, you can purchase "death kits" which is made up of documents that prove your death. The process involves obtaining a fake death certificate and buying an unclaimed corpse from one of the many morgues in the Philippines.


29. Harry Houdini started a tradition of stage magicians seeking out and debunking fraudulent psychics, mystics, and spiritualists who claim to possess real supernatural powers.


30. Paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a phrase is surprising in a way that causes the reader or listener to reinterpret the first part. An example would be Mitch Hedberg's famous one-liner “I haven’t slept for ten days because that would be too long.”


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31John F. Kennedy

In 1962, John F. Kennedy wanted to create a nuclear economy which would have made viable massive desalination plants. Getting freshwater from saltwater “would really dwarf any other scientific accomplishments.”


32. Mice can sing, but we can't hear them. Male mice can produce complex songs, similar to songbirds, in the ultrasonic range when they spend time with females.


33. Squirrels' brains grow in size during the fall to help them remember where they bury their nuts. Their brains are smaller for the rest of the year.


34. It was only in 1968 that the Navajo Code Talker program was declassified, and until then the US and not even the Code Talkers’ own family members had any idea what a big contribution they had made to victory in the Pacific theater during World War 2.


35. Ne Win, the dictator of Burma (Myanmar) was obsessed with numerology. He removed 50 Kyat and 100 Kyat banknotes from circulation. Replaced them with 45 Kyat and 90 Kyat banknotes. The economic instability which followed led to a coup d'êtát in 1988.


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36Abraham Lincoln

During the American Civil War, the workers of Manchester, England voted to support the blockade, meaning they’d get no cotton for their cloth factories. Abraham Lincoln sent an eloquent Thank You letter to them.


37. Between 1964 and 1973, USA dropped 260 million bombs in Laos, a country smaller than Michigan. The number of bombs dropped there is larger than bombs dropped on Europe during the whole of World War 2.


38. Maria Sibylla Merian, the naturalist who discovered the life cycle of butterflies and insects, painted them in breathtakingly accurate watercolors and braved the jungles of Africa with her daughter to greatly advance the science of entomology.


39. Queen was competing with Wham! to become the first Western pop group to perform in China. Wham!'s manager made 2 brochures - one featuring Wham! fans as pleasant middle-class youngsters, and one portraying Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in typically flamboyant poses. The Chinese opted for Wham!.


40. Pillow fights are banned at West Point after one pillow fight left 30 freshmen cadets injured, including 24 diagnosed with concussions.


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41Snakes

Snakes have forked tongues to be able to smell in three dimensions. By picking up odors from slightly different locations they are able to tell the direction and source of the smell.


42. Whitesnake changed the word "hobo" to "drifter" in the re-recording of "Here I Go Again" to ensure that it would not be misheard as "homo."


43. America’s Pronghorn Antelope is the fastest animal (55 mph) only to the cheetah. It likely evolved this speed to outrun the now-extinct American cheetah; and despite its appearances, it is not an antelope at all, but rather more closely related to giraffes.


44. A Danish artist named Thomas Dambo is hiding enormous troll statues made with recycled materials in Belgian forests.


45. Barbara Newhall Follett was a child genius born in 1914 who released her first novel at the age of 12, and her second when she was 14. At the age of 18, she married an unfaithful man and fell into depression. She vanished when she was 25 and was never seen again.


46Carrots

Carrots were originally purple. The orange ones we are familiar with today started as a hybrid intended to be sweeter.


47. “Stolpersteine” (German for stumbling stones) are small cobblestones that have inscribed on them the names and fates of Nazi Victims. They are placed all over Europe in front of the last free home the victim had before deportation. Over 70,000 have been placed so far.


48. Loneliness is labeled an epidemic worthy of a public health intervention in the USA. Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.


49. Link, from The Legend Of Zelda, was originally intended to have a button nose similar to Mario, but the wife of game designer Yoshiaki Koizumi convinced him to change it to a sharper one because she thought Nintendo didn't have enough handsome characters.


50. In 2013, a truck in Norway carrying 27 tons of Brunost (a delicacy cheese) caught fire in a tunnel. Due to the high fat and sugar content, the fire raged for 5 days and caused significant damage to the tunnel, requiring several months to repair it.

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