50 Random Facts List #229

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1Codex Leicester

In 1994, Bill gates purchased Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex for $30,802,500. Three years later he had its pages scanned into digital image files, some of which were later distributed as screen saver and wallpaper files on a CD-ROM as part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows so everyone could enjoy them.


2. George Washington declined to run for a third term of office because he believed his death in office would create an image of a lifetime appointment. The precedent of a two-term limit was created by his retirement from office.


3. Super Mario was named after real-life businessman Mario Segale, who was renting out a warehouse to Nintendo. After Nintendo fell far behind on rent, Segale did not evict them but gave them a second chance to come up with the money. Nintendo succeeded and named their main character after him.


4. In 2012, the University of Chicago received a package for "Henry Jones Jr" (Indiana Jones). Inside was a replica of Indiana Jones’s notebook. Turned out that someone had ordered it online, it fell out the packet and a postal worker assumed the name/address on the notebook was the intended recipient.


5. Henry Heinz deliberately put his ketchup in clear glass bottles which was uncommon due to a lack of food safety standards. Unethical companies used colored bottles to hide shoddy product and he worked with a chemist who went on to find foods containing gypsum, brick dust, borax, formaldehyde, etc.


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6Metallica in Antarctica

Metallica became the first band to perform on all seven continents by performing live and un-amplified (to protect the environment) in Antarctica in 2013.


7. Franklin D. Roosevelt asked singer Eddie Cantor if he could get a million people to send in a dollar to support polio research. He replied that it would be easier to ask for dimes. By the end of the month, the White House had received 2.68 million dimes ($268,000) and the March of Dimes began in 1938.


8. In 2017, two students in Scotland entered an art gallery and finding an empty table, placed a pineapple there to see if people would take it for art. When they returned 4 days later, the pineapple was covered with glass protection.


9. In the 1980s, businessman Armand Hammer bought a significant portion of the company that makes “Arm & Hammer” products simply because people kept asking him about the name.


10. A high school cheerleader named Tyra Winters saved the life of a choking toddler during a homecoming parade. She was on a float and jumped down from it when she spotted the suffering boy in the crowd. She’d gotten CPR training in the 8th grade and used it to save his life.


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11No Strings Attached/Friends With Benefits

In 2011, two Hollywood films opened just 5 months apart from each other that had the exact same runtime, exact same plot and same ending. “No Strings Attached” with Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman and “Friends With Benefits” with Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis. They both grossed $150 million.


12. The United States Postal Service is the single largest employer of veterans (22% of the postal workforce) and nearly a third of the veterans it employs are disabled.


13. When the ship HMS Guardian struck an iceberg in 1789, its captain decided to stay on it with 62 people. 259 people left in boats. However, the captain was able to save the ship and sail it back to land. It took 9 weeks, but everyone on the ship made it. Of the 259 that left, only 15 survived.


14. Applesearch is an organization that has dedicated the last 20 years to finding and saving heirloom apple varieties to ensure their survival for future generations.


15. There is a blood type called “RH null”, which is called “golden blood”. This blood is so rare that only 43 people worldwide have it. Its properties make it attractive in numerous medical applications and make it very valuable.


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16Bacterium

A bacterium that does photosynthesis without sunlight exists that uses thermal “black-body” radiation. It was discovered in 2005 on a deep-sea hydrothermal vent, at a depth of 2400 meters, in complete darkness.


17. The Montréal–Mirabel International Airport in which the movie “The Terminal” starring Tom Hanks was shot was a massive failure. Traffic predictions were grossly overestimated, the highways to link it to Montréal were never built and its terminal was insulated with asbestos. The terminal was destroyed in 2016 after it didn’t receive any passengers since 2004.


18. Due to a 1700% increase in bank robberies during the Great Depression, the Texas Bankers Association created the Dead Bank Robbers Reward Program, paying $5000 to anyone who killed a robber during the crime, no questions asked.


19. Children belonging to the Moken tribe of Thailand have perfect vision underwater. They do is by constricting their pupils and changing their lens shape, just like dolphins and seals. They use this ability to hunt for fish, clam, and shells to eat.


20. Researchers have found that naturally occurring lithium in water supply lowered suicide rates. They were able to measure lithium levels in 27 Texas counties and it showed that in counties with more lithium in their water had fewer suicides. Similar studies in Greece, Austria, and Japan corroborated the results.


21Paper Planes from Space

It is theoretically possible to send a paper plane from the ISS to earth, without the planes burning upon reentry. An experiment was scheduled but unfortunately canceled.


22. The plasma globe was invented accidentally by an MIT undergrad, who was working in a lab to create electrical rocket engines. Right after inventing it, he naturally brought it to his girlfriend’s house party.


23. Balkan sworn virgins are women who take a vow of celibacy in order to be able to live as a man in certain Balkan nations. They could wear male clothing, inherit property, and become the head of a household. Women take the oath to escape arranged marriages and having to bear children.


24. The Caesar Salad was not named after Julius Caesar but rather its inventor, an Italian restaurateur named Cesare Cardini who created the salad in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924.


25. There is an unusual instrument called the celeste/celesta which looks like a piano, but has metal plates like a xylophone, instead of strings, inside. This instrument is what gives the Nutcracker’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and the Harry Potter theme, their distinct sound.

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