50 Random Facts List #230

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26Moldy Cantalope

Essentially all penicillin produced after 1943 originated with a mold sample found on a cantaloupe in Peoria, Illinois. The moldy part was cut off and cultured and the lab technicians ate the rest of the fruit.


27. Most successful startup companies aren’t started by people in their 20s. The average age of founders who started a high-growth company is 45.


28. In August 1966, a few months after John Lennon claimed that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” a radio station in Texas, USA had a “Beatles bonfire” and burned thousands of Beatles records in front of a crowd. The next day, the station’s transmitter tower was struck by lightning.


29. Every sweater Mr. Rogers wore on his show had been hand-knitted by his mother, Nancy Rogers. She made him a new one every Christmas. She died in 1981. When they started wearing thin in the 1990s, replacements were found, but the source has been forgotten.


30. Victoria’s Secret was originally marketed to men to buy for their partners. Leslie Wexner bought it for $1 million and changed the marketing to women. To create the illusion of luxury, the company listed its headquarters on catalogs at a fake London address, with the real one in Columbus, Ohio.


31Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy returned to a crime scene the morning after he had abducted and killed a student named Georgann Hawkins, in order to retrieve some evidence. There, in the midst of a major investigation, he took her earrings and one of her shoes from an adjoining parking lot and left, unobserved.


32. Von Steuben was a central figure in forming the US army. His career in Prussia was cut short due to being openly gay. He moved to America and joined the revolution with Benjamin Franklin’s aid who knew of but ignored his sexual tastes. He lived with 2 lovers who inherited his estate after his death.


33. In the movie ‘The Godfather’, the reason the word ‘mafia’ is not mentioned a single time is because mafia boss Joe Colombo, along with Frank Sinatra, threatened the film's production and would only back the filming if they could change the script to their liking.


34. Eddie Deezen, who played the role of a nerd in a number of Hollywood movies in the 70s and 80s and whose role as Eugene in Grease is considered the archetype for the movie nerd, was turned down for a role in “Revenge of the Nerds” because he was “too geeky.”


35. In 2015 Forbes named Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America based on a $9 billion valuation of her company. Within a year, following revelations of potential fraud about its claims, Forbes revised her net worth to zero dollars.


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36Ravens

Ravens can solve puzzles that require a flexible planning ability previously documented only in people and great apes. They learned to pass up a small food reward in favor of a tool they used to get a much better reward and barter with bottle caps, concepts a toddler would struggle to understand.


37. In 1920, a thief named Carl Panzram broke into the home of former president William H. Taft and stole his gun. Over the next few years, he became a serial killer and killed 10 people with Taft’s gun.


38. Henry Ford was the first to introduce a $5 minimum wage. The move made national news as it constituted double the industry norm and double the pay of most of Ford’s own employees. He also reduced the working day from 9 hours to 8, becoming one of the first companies in America to adopt the 40-hour work week.


39. Magellan didn’t circumnavigate the globe. Magellan only made it to the Philippines, where he started a battle and was killed by natives. It was one of his Captains, Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476 – 1526), who actually completed the journey, yet historically has not received credit for his journey.


40. Benny Medina created ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ after growing up poor in East LA. His life changed when he befriended a rich white teenager, whose family lived in Beverly Hills and allowed Medina to live with them. Medina decided to change the rich white family to a rich black family in the show.


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41Soda vs Pop

Because of the availability of soda fountains in the Eastern US when soft drinks became popular, Easterners referred to the drink as soda. As the Midwest did not yet have them, the drink was called pop because of the sound a cork or cap makes when being removed from a bottle.


42. About 75%- 80% of Japan is made up of mountains, forcing 93% of the population to live in the cities, leading to the high population density in its cities.


43. Research shows that parents who want their children to cut back on screen-time must cut back on screen-time themselves.


44. A Michigan oncologist named Dr. Farid Fata falsely diagnosed 500+ patients with cancer they never had, subjected them to unnecessary treatments, including chemo, and then fraudulently billed over $30 million to their insurance. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2014.


45. A baker’s dozen is comprised of 13 because in medieval England there were laws that related the price of bread to the price of the wheat used to make it. Bakers caught cheating customers by overpricing undersized loaves were punished. For fear of coming up short, they would throw in an extra.


46Penguins

Penguins have a specialized organ that filters salt from their bloodstream, allowing them to drink salt water.


47. When Thomas Edison was 15 he sold newspapers to the railroads and saved the station master’s 2-year-old son from getting hit by a train. The Station Master repaid Edison by training him as a telegraph operator. Edison was adept and sold a better process to Western Union giving him the money needed to launch his lab.


48. All astronauts going to the International Space Station are required to learn Russian, which can take up to 1100 class hours for English language speakers.


49. Butter chicken was developed in the 1950s by three Punjabi restaurateurs who made it “by chance” by mixing the leftover chicken in a tomato gravy, rich in butter and cream. The dish is India’s most popular curry, not only domestically but also globally.


50. A 73-year-old woman named Teri Horton who is a former long-haul truck driver from California purchased a painting by Jackson Pollock in a thrift store for $5. It is now worth $50 million.

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