50 Random Facts List #39

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26Alcatraz

Alcatraz was the only federal prison at the time to offer hot-water showers for its inmates because the prison staff felt the inmates would find the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay almost impossible to withstand during an escape attempt.


27. Iceland is extremely protective of their language. Instead of loaning words from other languages, they repurpose old ones. The telephone is 'Simi', meaning thread, a jet plane is 'Thota', meaning to zoom and the word for computer, 'tölva' translates to number priestess or numbers witch.


28. A Roman Mile was defined as 1,000 paces. Armies would leave mile markers every 1,000 steps as they marched. As a result, well-fed armies marching at a fast pace marked longer miles.


29. The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world and the second largest purchaser of explosive devices, right behind the U.S. military.


30. NES games like Battletoads were made so hard because Nintendo was losing money on video game rentals. If they took a long time to beat, people would have to buy the games instead.


31HAL 9000

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 incorrectly predicts a 'mate in two' in a chess game with the astronaut. Fans have speculated whether this was a filmmaking error, a test by HAL of the human’s reliability, or an early sign that HAL is malfunctioning. Kubrick died without revealing the answer.


32. A man named Jonathan Fleming was imprisoned for 25 years before a hotel receipt finally proved he could not have been at the scene of the crime he had been falsely convicted for.


33. There are hypothesized planets better suited for life than Earth, or Superhabitable Planets.


34. The Miami zoo put 30 flamingos in the bathroom during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to ride out the storm. An image of them huddled inside became one of the most iconic from that hurricane.


35. In 1981, a man named Marcus Sarjeant fired blanks at Queen Elizabeth II, said he did it for fame, showed no mental issues, spent 3 years in jail, then changed his name and continued on with his life at age 20 once released.


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36Tom Green

Tom Green won five Razzies for Freddy Got Fingered and accepted the awards in person. He had to be dragged off the stage because he wouldn't stop playing the harmonica.


37. In 2010, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was deployed to Haiti after the 2010 Earthquake and provided the island with 200,000 gallons a day of fresh drinking water from its desalination plants.


38. Conan O'Brien credited "The Simpsons" with saving him. Prior to being hired on it, he was experiencing a personal and professional slump. He abruptly quit his SNL writing job with no plans other than aimlessly walking the streets of NYC for inspiration.


39. Ferrari and Mercedez keep blueprints to every car they've ever made and will produce parts for them if you need one repaired.


40. In 1981, Mr. Rogers had a segment on his TV series where a disabled boy named Jeffrey Erlanger described to the audience what it was like to be handicapped and in a wheelchair. 18 years later, Jeff surprised Mr. Rogers with an appearance during his induction into the Television Hall Of Fame.


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41Eclipses

Eclipses can be mathematically calculated. The eclipse of May 28, 585 BC, which stopped a battle in Greece, was said by Isaac Asimov to be the earliest human event known to the exact date and time.


42. The Native American "Shame Pole" is a totem pole erected to embarrass people for non payment of debts or ridicule misdeeds. In 2007, one such pole was erected in Alaska depicting the CEO of Exxon to highlight an unpaid debt of $5 million owed from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.


43. The Aztecs made swords (Macuahuitl) embedded with prismatic obsidian blades that are far sharper than even high-quality present day steel razor blades.


44. People from different languages arrange pictures of chronological events differently (English speakers from left to right, Hebrew from right to left), and the Kuuk Thaayorre will arrange them from east to west regardless of the direction they face in the room.


45. Smile Mask Syndrome is a psychological disorder in which subjects develop depression and physical illness as a result of prolonged, unnatural smiling. First described in Japan in 1983, this is attributed to the great importance placed on smiling in the Japanese service industry.


46Killer whales

Killer whales can and do regularly eat swimming moose.


47. NASA recovered metal from the WTC and used it on Martian rovers as a tribute to those fallen on the 9/11 attacks.


48. Heroin use among US adults went from 0.33% to 1.6% from 2001 to 2013.


49. President Carter's son (Chip Carter) and Willie Nelson once got high together on the roof of the White House.


50. Patsy Cline was offered a car ride back to Nashville with singer Dottie West. Cline refused, telling West, "Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time." Patsy Cline died in a plane crash later that same day.

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