50 Random Facts List #49

1RMS Carmania

In World War 1, the Germans disguised one of their ships as the British ship, the RMS Carmania and sent the disguised ship to ambush the British ones. Unluckily, the first ship it encountered was the real RMS Carmania, which promptly sank them.


2. English is the universal "language of the skies". All pilots must learn and speak English, regardless of their origin.


3. In 1926, Poland sent the US a birthday card with over 5 million signatures. Polish citizen Leopold Kotnowski visited the White House to present the card for America’s 150th birthday. It has 30,000 pages full of art, photos, poems and pressed flowers.


4. The Retail Credit Company's public image took such a beating after a series of congressional testimonies that they changed their name. Today, they are known as Equifax.


5. In 2009, the residents of a neighborhood in Northern Ireland complained of mysterious ailments from a new cell phone tower. During a meeting, the owner revealed that the tower had been off for over a month. Residents didn't show up to the follow-up meeting.


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6Cruise ships

Cruise ships' emissions can be equivalent to one million cars per day and air quality on deck can be worse than in the world's most polluted cities.


7. In 1975, stagehands mistakenly installed a malfunctioning piano for an hour-long solo Jazz performance. The musician, Keith Jarrett, had to improvise around the instrument's limitations. A recording of this concert went on to become the best selling piano album of all time.


8. The Harpy Eagle's parents prey on harder to catch food further away from the nest so that when the child finally begins to hunt on its own, an abundant amount of easy to catch prey (sloths and monkeys) are available close to the nest.


9. There's a missing link in the European bison lineage that scientists call the "Higgs Bison."


10. Earth is the only known planet where fire can burn. No other planet has enough oxygen.


11Indiana Jones and the last crusade

In Indiana Jones and the last crusade, most of the uniforms, worn by the Nazis in the Berlin book burning scene, are authentic World War 2 uniforms, and not costumes. A cache of old uniforms was found in Germany and obtained by Costume Designer Anthony Powell to be used in the film.


12. The RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, rammed a U-Boat and sunk it, making it the only merchant ship in World War I to have sunk an enemy vessel.


13. Evangeline Lilly agreed to play Tauriel in the Hobbit movies on the condition that she would not be part of a love triangle. The love triangle was added during reshoots.


14. Disney's Tower of Terror drop has been developed by Otis, whose normal job is to make elevator rides as smoothly as possible.


15. In 1981, the Pentagon spent $6 million trying to determine whether or not burning a photograph of a Soviet missile would destroy the actual missile.


16Jan de Doot

A Dutchman named Jan de Doot, in 1651, removed his own bladder stone with a kitchen knife. He pulled it out through an incision he made in his perineum. It was the size of an egg and weighed a quarter of a pound. He lived for years after and had the stone plated in gold.


17. Actor Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise in "IT") stayed in character so authentically while on set that when a group of (kid) extras met him for the first time, some got terrified and started to cry in the midst of the take. When filming cut, Skarsgård apologized to them, "Hey, I'm sorry, it's pretend".


18. Bill Werbeniuk was a Canadian Snooker player who drank 43 pints of lager in a drinking contest against Scotsman Eddie Sinclair. After Sinclair passed out following his 42nd pint, Werbeniuk was reported to say "I'm away to the bar now for a proper drink".


19. Natural gas has no smell. Gas companies are required to add a chemical called mercaptan as a safety precaution, so people know the smell and can identify a leak.


20. Chrysler built 55 turbine-powered cars from 1963-1964. It could run on any fuel that could burn with oxygen, including perfume and tequila, and produced 130 horsepower. Only 9 still exist.


21The Mainichi

One of the most popular national daily newspapers in Japan (The Mainichi) circulated an entirely recyclable newspaper. It had plant seeds embedded in the newsprint. After reading, you could plant the newspaper directly into the soil and it would grow.


22. Terrence Howard thinks 1x1=2. He has detailed a system called "Terryology" that he believes is "true universal math". For a time he also devoted up to 17 hours a day to cutting up wires and plastic to form building-block-like contraptions he believes will bring truth to the universe.


23. RPG doesn't actually stand for rocket-propelled grenade. Instead, it actually stands for "Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomyot", which translates to "Hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher".


24. In the late 1960s, some researchers reported catnip gave people a marijuana-like high, but it turned out they had simply mixed up the two plants.


25. While bored during his work with the Manhattan Project, Richard Feynman, would amuse himself by picking the locks of his colleague's confidential file cabinets and placing prank notes. His colleagues believed a spy had infiltrated the project.

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