50 Random Facts List #224

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1Glenn K. Tripp

Glenn K. Tripp was a D.B Cooper copycat who hijacked a plane for a $600,000 ransom in 1980. He had his drink spiked with Valium by a flight attendant, and after a 10-hour standoff, he lowered his ransom to 3 cheeseburgers and a head start on a getaway.


2. A “white elephant gift exchange” gets its name from the legend of the King of Siam gifting rare albino elephants to those who displeased him in hopes that the upkeep costs would financially ruin them.


3. Henry Lincoln Johnson was a member of the Harlem Hellfighters who was nicknamed ‘Black Death.’ During an ambush in Argonne Forest in 1918, he injured or killed 24 German soldiers, without a working gun. He was the first American soldier to win a Croix de Guerre, France's highest award for bravery.


4. Bill Gates has succeeded in his mission to build an ingenious toilet that can combat the sanitary crisis across multiple parts of Africa and India. Costing $350, these Tiger Toilets are powered by worms and don’t require to be hooked up to a sewer system.


5. William Still, the father of the Underground Railroad, interviewed and kept records of every escaped slave he came across. Once, while interviewing a man, he discovered that the man was actually his long-lost brother.


6Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, one of America's founding fathers, was extremely progressive for his time. He advocated for the separation of church and state, universal suffrage, the abolition of slavery, and an early form of socialism. When he died, only six men came to his funeral.


7. Delta Air Lines no longer allows snub-nosed dog breeds such as bulldogs, pugs, shar-pei, etc. because of these breeds' breathing difficulties while flying.


8. Amy Carter (daughter of President Jimmy Carter), has been arrested 4 times: three times for protesting against Apartheid and once for protesting against CIA recruitment in college.


9. Thomas de Mahy was an aristocrat who was sentenced to be hanged during the French Revolution after a two-month trial. Upon the reading of his death warrant, he remarked, “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes.”


10. Honey bees aren’t native to North America. When they arrived from Europe they spread out faster than the colonists, and Native Americans considered the appearance of the “white man's fly” an indication of the impending approach of European settlers.


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11De-Icing

Wisconsin uses briny water from cheese production to de-ice their roads in winter.


12. Top Gear once conducted an extreme test of a Toyota pickup truck by leaving it on a beach to be taken by the tide, leaving it on top of a high rise building that was demolished, and setting it on fire. It still ran after being repaired with only the tools in the truck's toolbox.


13. In 1969, Rolling Stones hired Hell's Angels to provide security for their gig at the Altamont Free Concert for a fee of $500 worth of beer. A man by the name of Meredith Hunter Jr. drew a revolver at the stage and was stabbed and kicked to death by the Hell’s Angels.


14. The $2 bill makes up 1% of currency circulation. Its scarcity in daily use has confused some merchants who believe the bill to be fake. A 13-year-old girl in Texas was detained by Police when she tried to pay for her school lunch with a $2 bill because the school’s counterfeit pen wouldn’t work on it.


15. A helicopter pilot flew to 40,820 feet, setting a world record for the highest altitude reached by helicopter. However, when he started to descend, the engine failed, but he safely landed the helicopter with absolutely no power, a world record for the highest unpowered descent by a helicopter.


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16Norbert Pearlroth

Norbert Pearlroth was the silent partner of Ripley's Believe It or Not. He was the sole researcher, answering 3000 letters a week, examining 7000 books a year, spending 10 hours a day, six days a week at the New York Library, and fluent in 14 languages. He produced 24 items a week for 52 years.


17. Dogs are prosocial, meaning that they volunteer to help or share with others, even when there might not directly be any benefit to themselves.


18. Sisamnes was a corrupt judge in the Persian Empire. In 525 B.C., after accepting a bribe, the king had him arrested and skinned alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat from which judgments were made. His own son ‘Otanes’ then replaced him as a judge.


19. A camel named Douglas was killed by a Union sharpshooter at the Siege of Vicksburg. A team of six Confederate snipers was assembled and tasked with avenging his death.


20. Conservationists created a match.com profile for the world’s loneliest frog named Romeo, in order to raise funds for expeditions to find more of his species. Their work paid off, and Romeo and Juliet are together at last.


21John Philip Cromwell

WWII Submarine Captain John Philip Cromwell stoically went down with his stricken sub Sculpin rather than allow himself to be captured by the Japanese. Cpt. Cromwell had knowledge of top-secret highly sensitive Allied war plans that the enemy may have extracted from him through drugs or torture.


22. US Supreme Court has concluded that US citizens have the right to refuse Presidential Pardons. George Wilson fought a presidential pardon and won a hanging. He was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death.


23. When Victor Vescovo reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest trench in the world (at 10,928 meters or 35,849 feet), he was shocked to discover a plastic bag and candy wrappers, thereby confirming that human-generated waste can pollute even the deepest parts of the ocean.


24. Dinosaurs didn’t evolve into birds. Birds are dinosaurs. Specifically, they are Theropods in the subgroup Coelurosauria in the clade Maniraptora. In fact, there are still far more species of dinosaurs (minimally 10,000) on the planet than there are mammals (around 5400).


25. Starving female praying mantises lure males into sex, and then eat them instead. The study shows that male mantises were more likely to seek out starving females than healthy females, due to the increased pheromones they purposefully secrete.

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