50 Random Facts List #236

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1American flag

In America, before TV was on 24 hours, there was a nightly sign off where the Star Spangled Banner was played and an image of the American flag was shown before the TV cut to static.


2. In 1908, a German housewife named Melitta Bentz was tired of ground coffee leftovers in her coffee cup. As a consequence, she invented the paper coffee filter, founded a company, and became the employer of her own husband, in a time when women weren't even allowed to vote.


3. A deceased man was considered a coauthor of a 1990 math paper after he appeared in a dream to the other author to explain some of the key ideas.


4. After 25 years of wondering about a strange dip in the floor beneath his couch, a man named Colin Steer in Plymouth, England finally dug down into his home's foundation and found a medieval well 33 feet deep, along with an old sword hidden deep inside.


5. A French soldier named Jean Bernadotte became so popular in Sweden that they elected him as king in 1818 when their own royal family was about to die out. The Bernadotte family still rules in Sweden today.


6Roman concrete

The concrete used by the Roman Empire has been proposed as an alternative to modern concrete. It is believed that it would have a substantially smaller environmental impact than our own in addition to being far more durable, surviving thousands of years in harsh conditions nearly unscathed.


7. When astronauts are outside the ISS, space-borne compounds adhere to their suits causing a distinctive scent when they return to the station. The smell is so unusual that NASA reached out to a top fragrance maker to re-create the odor for its training simulations. 


8. Gad Beck was a Jew who borrowed a neighbor’s Hitler Youth uniform in 1942 and snuck into a pre-deportation camp to rescue his lover, Manfred Lewin. He got Lewin released by lying to the camp's Commanding Officer. Outside, Lewin said he couldn’t abandon his family and went back. Lewin and his family all died.


9. Prehistoric hunter-gatherer tribes had an average group limit of 50 people. Incidentally, modern research shows that in the video game World of Warcraft, maximum group player cohesiveness occurs at a limit of 50 players.


10. Bessie Coleman was an American aviator and the first black woman to earn a pilot's license. Because flying schools in the United States denied her entry, she taught herself French and moved to France, earning her license from France's well-known Caudron Brother's School of Aviation in just 7 months.


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11Soviet Union

The collapse of the Soviet Union directly correlated with the resurgence of Cuba’s amazing coral reef. Without Russian supplied synthetic fertilizers and agricultural practices, Cubans were forced to depend on organic farming. This led to less chemical runoff in the oceans.


12. Sir George Everest did not want Mount Everest named after him. He objected that his surname could not be written in the Hindi language and that it was difficult for the locals to pronounce.


13. Cowboy boots are designed for safety. The high heel prevents your foot from sliding through the stirrups, trapping your foot but if it does and you fall off the horse the lack of laces allows your foot to slide out of the boot preventing you from being dragged by the horse.


14. The first black baseball player wasn't Jackie Robinson, but rather Moses Fleetwood Walker, who played in the 1880s despite rampant racism. He was also an inventor, newspaper editor, hotel owner, opera house manager, postal worker, and a published author on race theory.


15. When Adolf Hitler joined the DAP, the predecessor of the Nazi Party, he was member number 555. However, he was only the fifty-fifth member of the party as they started counting membership at 500 to give the impression they were a much larger party.


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16William Howard Hughes

An officer of the United States Air Force named William Howard Hughes who had a security clearance and expertise in rocket self-destruct technology vanished in 1983. Authorities feared he had defected to the Soviet Union. In June 2018, however, he was found living in California under an assumed name.


17. Robert Downey Jr. provided his DVD commentary in Tropic Thunder as Lincoln Osiris, a nod to a joke in the film that Lazarus never breaks character until he completes the DVD commentary.


18. Jesus was often depicted performing his miracles with a magic wand in early Christian art.


19. When legendary artist Salvador Dali went to the screening of a new surrealist art film in 1936 he became enraged and knocked over the projector half through claiming the filmmaker had stolen the idea for the film from Dali’s mind. He yelled: “He stole it from my subconscious!”


20. Marlon Wayans was cast as Robin in Batman Returns. Producers decided that, with The Penguin and Catwoman, the movie was too crowded and decided to cut out Robin. Despite not getting to actually play the role, Wayans was still paid $100,000 and receives royalty checks up to this very day. 


21Czech Republic

During a 2011 census for the Czech Republic, 11,000 people listed their religion as "Knights of the Jedi."


22. In 2002, a Marvel comics writer based an alternate version of Nick Fury on Samuel L Jackson, using his image without permission. Jackson discovered this and nearly took legal action. Marvel offered to cast him as Fury if the character was ever in a movie. Jackson took the deal.


23. Jet Li was a Chinese citizen until 2003, United States citizen from 2003 to 2009, and has been a naturalized Singaporean citizen since 2009. He is said to have chosen Singapore for its education system for his two younger daughters.


24. In 2018, Simon Shelton, the actor that played the Teletubby, Tinky Winky, died alone on a street in Liverpool from alcoholism at the age of 52.


25. The US government created a raisin cartel that was run by raisin companies, which increased prices by limiting the supply and forced farmers to hand over their crops without paying them. The cartel lasted 66 years until the Supreme Court broke it up in 2015.

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