50 Random Facts List #214

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26Jafar Panahi

Jafar Panahi

An Iranian director named Jafar Panahi made a documentary about his life as a dissident under house arrest and had it smuggled out of the country on a USB stick hidden inside a birthday cake. He also defied a 20-year filmmaking ban to make the movie.

27. In 1924 the KKK tried to move into South Bend before the Irish Catholic students of Notre Dame drove them out by throwing potatoes.

28. In Frasier, many of the callers to Frasier's show were celebrities who phoned their lines into the studio without having to appear in person. Celebrities who called in include Christopher Reeve, Eddie Van Halen, Jay Leno, Matthew Broderick, Timothy Leary, Macauley Culkin, and Kevin Bacon.

29. Plebeians from the Roman Empire abandoned the city in a form of protest, known as Secessio plebis, leaving the streets completely empty and the wealthy unable to enforce their power.

30. The Co-founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, bought 28,100 acres of land in the U.S. for $23 million. His long term plan is to retire to the region. And his short term plan - to stop the logging operations and preserve the country.

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31Thermal paper

Thermal paper

According to the EPA, handling most receipt paper (aka thermal paper) is likely dangerous to your health, due to the high levels of BPA, and using hand sanitizer before handling a receipt exponentially increases the amount of the chemical you absorb into your body.

32. Researchers played nonstop loops of Led Zeppelin, A Tribe Called Quest and Mozart to cheese wheels to find out how sound waves impacted flavor. Cheese wheels that were exposed to hip hop music had the strongest flavor.

33. Georges Cuvier, the father of paleontology, established the idea of species becoming 'extinct' as a fact. Until the late 18th century, 'extinction' of species was unthinkable because God would not wipe out the entire species he created for his divine plan.

34. A neutron star is so dense that a matchbox-sized portion of one would weigh 3 billion tons.

35. 9 missing episodes of the 1960s Dr. Who series were found in a TV station in Nigeria. They’d been left there in the 60s-70s for foreign syndication. It was the largest haul of classic Who episodes ever recovered in the last three decades.

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36Peregrine falcons

Peregrine falcons

New York City has the highest concentration of nesting Peregrine falcons in the world. The birds can soar over the city by taking advantage of updrafts from skyscrapers. Pigeons are widely available for food, which also negates their need to migrate.

37. Zofia Rydet was a Polish photographer who, at the age of 67, decided to try to shoot the interior of every home in Poland. Over the final 19 years of her life, she shot 20,000 images. She said, "The simplest, most ordinary documentary picture becomes a great truth about human fate."

38. During the Irish Potato Famine, the poor were hired for useless construction projects called 'famine follies' in order to provide them with work that would not take existing work away from other workers. These included roads in the middle of nowhere, between two seemingly random points.

39. The IRS and the USPS both have a plan in place in case of a nuclear war. The IRS has an employee handbook called the "Internal Revenue Manual" that details how to collect taxes after the nukes. The USPS will continue delivering mail and has 60 million change-of-address forms prepared.

40. The US two-dollar bill is still being produced today. Its apparent rarity is in part due to the common misconception that it is no longer being produced, causing people to collect them, thus pulling them out of circulation.

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41Giant manta ray

Giant manta ray

Giant manta ray has the largest brain of any fish — with specially developed areas for learning, problem-solving and communicating. Giant manta rays are known to be playful and curious and might even recognize themselves in mirrors, a sign of self-awareness.

42. When Elvis Presley's debut single was first played on the local radio station, he was invited for an on-air interview. The DJ asked Elvis which high school he attended: a roundabout way of informing the audience of his race without actually asking the question.

43. The beat of the Mission: Impossible theme song spells the letters M.I. in Morse Code: dash dash-dot dot).

44. John D. Rockefeller once had an apprenticeship making $16 per month and his dream as a kid was to make $100,000. His personal fortune ended up being $1.4 billion by 1937 which makes him the wealthiest person in recent history.

45. Orange Crush soda originally had orange pulp in the bottles, giving it a "fresh squeezed" illusion even though the raw pulp was merely added during bottling, rather than actually being the remains from freshly squeezed oranges.

46Dominique Dunne

Dominique Dunne

A day before she was to guest star on Hill Street Blues (1981), Dominique Dunne was badly beaten by her boyfriend. She showed up on the set with bruises on her face with no makeup; since she was playing an abused teen in the episode. The bruises we see in the episode are real.

47. The original Black and White set for the Addams Family was actually pink because it looks better on Black and White screen.

48. The disclaimer that now appears at the end of every American film, (“The preceding was a work of fiction, any similarity to a living person...”) first appeared because Rasputin’s assassin Felix Yusupov successfully sued MGM for libel against his wife in the movie “Rasputin and the Empress.”

49. The largest octopus species in the world, the giant Pacific octopus, has three hearts, nine brains, and blue blood.

50. Monte Melkonian was an American citizen, who joined the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the early ’90s. With the little military experience, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in command of 4 thousand men. He is recognized as a hero in Armenia with statues standing today in his honor.

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