50 Random Facts List #227

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26Joseph Beyrle

Joseph Beyrle, an American Paratrooper, fought for both the US and the Soviet Union in WW2. He was captured in Normandy, sent to a POW Camp, escaped, joined the Red Army and liberated the camp he had just escaped from. He later met Marshal Zhukov and won the Purple Heart for his Service.


27. In 1900, when submarines were being introduced to navies, Admiral Arthur Wilson called them underhanded, threatening to hang enemy sub crews as pirates. So, in 1914, when Max Horton commanded Britain's first sub engagement against the Germans, he ordered his crew to fly a Jolly Roger.


28. In 1955 the famous, white DJ Alan Freed “accidentally” played the single, Only You (And You Alone) by The Platters, on-air during a prime time that was traditionally reserved for only white artists. It became an instant hit and pioneered the “new sound” of rock ’n’ roll as we know it today.


29. Superhallucinogen BZ is a chemical weapon that overwhelms the victim for 5 days. After 12 hours of a mild coma and primitive crawling and spasms, for another 48 to 60 hours they experience extreme hallucinations, psychosis, and cognitive impairment, with after-effects that last for weeks.


30. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for 3871 years until it was beaten by a cathedral in a town called Lincoln in the UK.


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31Graffiti over Rail Cars

If graffiti covers the identification numbers on a railcar the company has to repaint it. Artists have since stopped painting over them as a way to preserve their art longer.


32. Senator John Ashcroft is the only Senator to lose reelection to a dead person. His opponent died in a plane crash 2 weeks before the vote and his name was unable to be taken off the ballot.


33. We don’t get all of our drinking water from the ocean because it costs $1-2 dollars per cubic meter (264 gallons) to desalinate ocean water, while only costing 10-20 cents to purify freshwater.


34. We are currently living in an era called “The Long Peace”, a period of peace that has not been seen since the Roman Empire. There are now less than 10 reported deaths per million each year due to war.


35. In 1996, David Bowie released the first downloadable song by a major artist (it took 11 minutes to download). He later launched an ISP (BowieNet) to compete with AOL. Subscribers to the dial-up service were offered exclusive content, as well as an email address and “uncensored” Internet access.


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36Race Film

As early as 1915 an African-American film industry ran parallel to the Hollywood mainstream, catering to the community’s segregated filmgoers. ‘Race movies’ had their own Black-owned studios, directors and popular stars, though the majority of these early film reels are lost or damaged today.


37. Thomas Jefferson had a copy of a 1734 edition of the Quran in his private library. Historians believe he bought the book while studying law to better understand Islam’s influence on some of the world’s legal systems.


38. The Tamaskan dogs are a Finnish crossbreed made to resemble wolfs, with their thick coats, straight bushy tails, and gray wolf fur color. Despite their lupine appearance, they are a recognized dog breed and can be trained as therapy dogs.


39. In 1984, a man named George Martorano was sentenced to life without parole on non-violent charges. In his 32 years in the prison system, he learned dozens of subjects, taught numerous courses such as creative writing to over 8000 inmates, and authored more than 30 books.


40. Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright invented the condition “drapetomania” (the urge to run away from captivity). He practiced in the United States in the 1850s, and couldn’t understand African slaves’ desire to flee the ‘paradise’ of captivity. So he made up a term for it.


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41Smaug Gold

In the Hobbit movies, Smaug is guarding 16,646,250 metric tons of gold, and it would be worth approximately 676 trillion USD.


42. Actress Glynis Johns originally thought she was being offered the role of Mary Poppins. To soften the blow of telling her she was being cast as Mrs. Banks, Walt Disney announced she’d get her own song, then quickly called the film’s songwriters, who adapted a deleted song into Sister Suffragette.


43. After a Taliban fighter successfully shot down an American CH-47D Chinook, he bragged about it over his radio. Signals Intelligence was able to determine who had made the call and after only 2 days, an F-16, a C-130, and two Apache Gunships killed him and 5 others using their combined firepower.


44. Für Elise, one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions, was not published during his lifetime. It was only discovered in 1867, 40 years after his death.


45. Redoshi was a woman who is believed to have been the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade. She was captured in 1860 in West Africa at the age of 12 and she worked on a plantation in Alabama. She died in 1937 and lived long enough to become acquainted with people active in the civil rights movement.


46Video Game Crash

From 1983-85, there was a huge crash in the Video games industry. Market saturation was a factor, with too many competing consoles & games. Revenues went from $3.2 billion to $100 million, a 97% drop. Despite NES’s later success, the crash ended the 80’s generation of console gaming in the US.


47. In the traditional version of ‘The Frog Prince’ story, the frog was not transformed by a kiss, but by being thrown angrily by the Princess, with all her strength, against a wall.


48. Actor Will Friedle who is best known for his role as Eric in ‘Boy Meets World’ suffers from an anxiety disorder that forced him to stop acting on-screen. Despite this, his career continued via voice acting (starring in Batman Beyond and Kim Possible) and in 2015 he felt comfortable enough to return to live-action for ‘Girl Meets World.’


49. Liu Xiaobo, the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China, was imprisoned 4 times for his human rights activism and spent more than 13 years in prison since his return to China in 1989.


50. Queen Elizabeth’s favorite snack is chocolate biscuit cake and she has one slice of the cake every single day. Even when she’s traveling a supply of the cakes is transported with her.

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