50 Random Facts List #224

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26Scholz’s Star

70,000 years ago, a nomadic star came within 1 light-year of the Sun. Research suggests this close pass by Scholz’s star sent dozens of comets and asteroids tumbling out of the solar system.


27. During the hyperinflation of the 1920s in Germany, waiters in restaurants would stand up on a table every 30 minutes to call out the new prices.


28. In 2011, two men got lost at sea and were adrift for 33 days before washing up on an atoll, where they met a descendant of a long-lost uncle. Their uncle had also gone adrift 50 years earlier.


29. The owner of a brand name can lose their legal protection for it if people started using it as the common or generic name for a type of product or service. This is what happened to Cellophane, Escalator, Flip Phone, Frisbee, Hovercraft, Kerosene, Sellotape, Trampoline, and Videotape. This is why Adobe really doesn’t want you using “photoshop” as a verb. This also nearly happened to Nintendo, which is why Nintendo promoted the use of the term “games console” so people would stop calling consoles produced by other manufacturers “Nintendos.”


30. Brought up in a wealthy home with a revolving door of governesses, Franklin D. Roosevelt (presidency 1933 - 1945) was the last U.S. president who was fluent in a language besides English. He spoke French and German.


31Charlie McCarthy

For the first three years of her life, Candice Bergen had breakfast with Edgar Bergen, her famous ventriloquist father, and Charlie McCarthy, his dummy, and thought Charlie was her brother. Charlie would sit there and talk to her: ‘Drink your milk.’ Her father never spoke directly to her.


32. Norway leads the world in commercial whaling, hunting hundreds of times more than Japan per year despite its much smaller population.


33. Harlon Block, the marine who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, died a few days after the famous photo of the event was taken. He was misidentified for 2 years. However, his mother had immediately recognized him in it, saying “I’ve changed so many diapers on that boy’s butt, I know it’s my boy.”


34. Stalin was hit by a horse-drawn carriage twice as a child, which led to permanent damage to his left arm. This injury exempted him from fighting in World War 1 where he would have likely died.


35. Family Video is still in business because the owners were smart enough to invest in purchasing the property (which can be leased out even after DVD's were dead), instead of simply renting space as Blockbuster did.


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36Sheep Dipping

“Sheep Dipping” is a practice known in intelligence circles where a member of the Army is “officially discharged from service” as part of their covert cover, while in secret, they are still eligible for rank promotions and military benefits.


37. Saudi Arabia once accidentally printed textbooks showing Yoda sitting next to the king.


38. The Inca Road system was at least 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) long. The roads were carefully planned and maintained. They were paved where necessary, had stairways, bridges, and constructions such as retaining walls and a drainage system. Only 25% of the system remains visible today.


39. In 1984 a group of Australian Aboriginal people living a traditional nomadic life were discovered in the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. They had been unaware of the arrival of Europeans on the continent, let alone cars or even clothes.


40. Seneca Village, a community composed mainly of free black people, was destroyed in the 1850s to make way for New York City's Central Park.


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41Hephaestion' Funeral

When his friend Hephaestion died, Alexander the Great held such an expensive funeral that it has been estimated to have cost the modern equivalent of $2 billion.


42. When the Baltimore Colts tried to move to Indianapolis, the owner feared that the government would attempt to keep the team in the city by eminent domain. He secretly packed up everything in trucks in the middle of the night and was in Indiana before the government realized they were gone.


43. The first woman to establish a bank in the USA was an African-American named Maggie L. Walker in 1903. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank was one of the few to survive the Great Depression and, after a merger, still exists today.


44. The Warty Comb Jelly Fish does not have an anus in a fixed location on its body. Instead, an anus develops when the jelly needs to defecate and disappears when it’s done.


45. A pair of Miami DJ’s prank called Fidel Castro in 2003. They pretended to be Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to get Castro on the line and had a brief chat before telling Castro he had been fooled. Castro responded with a brief verbal tirade. The radio station was later fined $4,000.


46Bail

If you pay the full cash bail to the court, that money is required to be returned to you after all court appearances have been fulfilled and you were found not guilty. If you paid a bail bondsman, that money is not returned because it is deemed their fee for service.


47. During the Korean War, hundreds of American pilots fought and died in a hot aerial war with the Soviet Union, which flew 75% of all fighter missions in support of North Korea. This was kept secret by both countries until the end of the Cold War to avoid pressure for confrontation.


48. Concorde flew so high that passengers received twice the dose of radiation than flying in a conventional aircraft, which was believed to increase cancer risk. The flight deck had a radiometer so that they could descend in case of a solar storm.


49. In 1885, Chief Sitting Bull spent four months playing himself in reconstructions of Custer’s Last Stand for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Historians are divided as to whether he cursed the audiences in the Lakota language during his performance.


50. In 1850, California law made it legal for towns to pay bounties for Indian Scalps. Shasta City offered $5 for every Indian head brought to city hall, expenses reimbursed by the state treasury. There were 150,000 Indians in California before the 49ers and by 1870 there were less than 30,000.

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