Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies, gave a woman who was dying of kidney disease $20,000 to get a banned stem cell treatment outside the US that could save her life. He only met her once, when he was lost and she gave him directions in a parking lot.
27. In 1933, Adolf Hitler made friends with a young Jewish girl, Rosa Nienau, whilst he was staying at his mountain retreat. After the meeting, they became pen pals and their correspondences carried on right until 1938 when Hitler’s secretary told her to cease contact. She died of polio at the age of 17.
28. Prince Pedro of Portugal fell in love with his wife’s maid, Inês de Castro. After his wife died, his father, King Afonso IV, desired he remarry but not to Inês. Pedro refused; so, the King had Inês killed. Pedro captured two of her killers and publicly executed them by tearing out their hearts.
29. Jim le Blanc was exposed to near-vacuum for 15 seconds when his spacesuit sprung a leak in a test chamber. The last thing he noticed before he passed out was bubbling on his tongue. It was the moisture in his tongue that started to boil.
30. In 2011, a Russian Black widow bomber who planned to detonate explosives in central Moscow, blew herself up when her phone company sent her a spam text message, causing her explosive device to explode prematurely.
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Life inside the Movile Cave in Romania has been separated from the outside world for the past 5.5 million years. It is notable for its unique groundwater ecosystem rich in hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide but low in oxygen. Life there is based completely on chemosynthesis. More than 30 of the species found inside cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.
32. The reason why driving long distances makes you tired is because your body is constantly fighting the small vibrations from your car.
33. The term masterpiece was not used to describe an artist’s greatest work but was used by guilds to describe the piece submitted to them by artists and craftsmen to attain the rank of a Master.
34. The thief of America’s first bank robbery who stole the sum of $162,821, was caught because he deposited the money back into the same bank.
35. It’s impossible to die of skin suffocation. The filmmakers of the James Bond films believed it was a real risk. For Goldfinger, which features a scene of someone dying of skin suffocation due to being painted gold, they had a physician present and cleaned the person as quickly as possible.
Pythagoras cannot have been the first to discover the Pythagorean Theorem because it was known and used by the Babylonians over a millennium before he was born.
37. In 1825, a British geologist went to Sicily and examined the remains of a female saint named Saint Rosalia. He concluded that they weren’t human and likely belonged to a goat. He told the priests, who kicked him out and then placed the bones into a casket to prevent future study.
38. In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that film studios can't own movie theaters, thus breaking up their oligopoly. Before its ruling, Hollywood studios owned movie theaters to hold exclusive rights of showing their films, angering independent producers including Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin.
39. “The Drinking Man’s Diet” was the 1960s ancestor to Atkins and paleo. It was based on the observation that alcoholics drank thousands of calories per day and actually lost weight. It became one of the most popular diets of the decade, selling 2.4 million copies. The author lived to 98 years.
40. Legendary pickpocket Apollo Robbins once stripped Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service detail of their watches, badges, keys, and the presidential itinerary. He once stole a man’s driver’s license and made it turn up inside a sealed bag of M&M’s in his wife’s purse.
The earliest form of smallpox immunization was used in China in the 1500s. Doctors would take ground-up scabs from people with mild cases of the disease, and blow the material into their nostrils. This lead to a mild version of the disease which had a mortality rate of ~2% (20-30% if untreated).
42. In 1932, a man who is now known as ‘The Mad Trapper of Canada’ opened fire on policemen, fled 85 miles in -50 degree weather in 3 days, climbed a 7,000-foot mountain during a blizzard, and was finally shot dead by a WWI ace. The only sound he ever made was laughter as he killed a policeman. His identity is still unknown.
43. Though Madagascar now produces 80% of the world’s vanilla, the vine is native to Mexico. Mayans were the first to cultivate it in the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula. They flavored their chocolate drink with vanilla.
44. A Polish man received a building permit for a single-family home in the Polish village of Lapalice in the 1980s. He then spent his fortune building a 52-room castle, with 365 windows and 12 turrets. Once the authorities found out, they put an end to construction. He’s still fighting with them now, 35 years later, to complete it.
45. About 26 states in the U.S. do not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks to their employees.
46Night of the Living Dead
Due to a copyright issue, George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free on the internet. It is currently the most downloaded film on the Internet Archive, with 3.1 million downloads.
47. In Kentucky, five million gallons of the “angel’s share” from bourbon evaporates every year, which is also covering the state in a black fungus called “Baudoinia” that feeds off the ethanol vapor released by liquor as it ages.
48. WD-40's formula is a trade secret and has not changed. To avoid disclosing its composition, the product was not patented in 1953, and the window of opportunity for patenting it has long since closed.
49. During World War I, both sides used fake trees as spy posts. To make them, engineers would find a dead tree, then make sketches of it and make a detailed replica. At night, they would then tear out the original tree and replace it with the fake.
50. Roman Emperor Caligula was actually called Gaius. The nickname Caligula meant ‘little boots’ and came from the fact that his father liked to dress him up in child-sized armor. He hated it.