A Chinese businessman named Tan Youhui hired a hitman to take out a competitor for $282,800. That hitman hired another hitman (offering $141,000). That man hired another hitman, who hired another hitman, who hired another hitman. The fifth hitman simply asked the man to fake his death.
2. In 2005, a Chinese man named Zhao Liqun found that he could still buy lottery tickets within a 5-minute window after the winning numbers were announced. This allowed him to win over $4 million. When the Chinese authorities caught on, he was sentenced to life in prison.
3. In 2008, a school named Charles Sumner Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey forced students to eat their lunch off the floor for 2 weeks after a child accidentally spilled water while refilling a water cooler. 7 students won a $500,000 legal settlement.
4. The screaming at Beatles concerts was so loud that no one could hear them play—not even the Beatles themselves. It led them to stop playing live performances entirely, retreat to the studio, and ultimately create albums like Sgt. Pepper with no concern for performing any of the songs live.
5. Domestic dogs are one of only a few species that can understand that the human gesture of pointing means, “look in the direction my finger is pointing”. Other animals, including wolves and other primates, don’t understand how it works and will only be interested in your outstretched finger.
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Despite what Bugs Bunny cartoons tell us, carrots are like candy to rabbits and should only be fed as an occasional treat to them. Having too much can result in obesity.
7. The Oslo Breakfast was a meal that began to be served to Norwegian schoolchildren starting in 1932. A typical version included an orange, milk, whole-wheat bread, rye biscuit, cheese, carrot, and a spoon of cod-liver oil. It reportedly increased the average height of 14-year-olds by 4 inches.
8. Humans can hear the difference between hot and cold water being poured. This is because the viscosity of water will go down as temperature increases.
9. British academics conducted an experiment with 6 monkeys and typewriters inspired by the famed "an infinite number of monkeys will eventually type out Shakespeare's plays" theory. After 4 weeks, the monkeys had typed out 5 pages, mostly of the letter S, then "got bored and sh*t on the keyboard."
10. When Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania for the Battle of Gettysburg, his army kidnapped free black civilians and sold them south into slavery.
Human hair rejected by wigmakers and sent from hair salons is being used to create oil adsorbing booms for ocean oil spills. Hair can absorb 3-9 times its own weight in oil.
12. American blues musician Robert Johnson was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil. The story is that he went to the crossroads near a plantation at midnight and met the devil, who took his guitar, tuned it, played a few songs, and handed the guitar back, granting him mastery of the instrument.
13. The Christmas pickle is a supposedly German tradition, where you hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and whoever finds it first gets a reward. Apparently this is a well-known tradition in the US, but not of German origin and in fact it is completely unknown in Germany.
14. A fish at the Vancouver Aquarium was given a prosthetic eye so it wouldn’t be bullied by other fish.
15. On April 7th 2007, a theater filled with parents and their kids who were there to see 'The Last Mimzy' were accidentally shown 'The Hills Have Eyes 2' which begins with a screaming, beaten and bloodied woman giving birth to a deformed newborn who is then killed herself with a rock to the head.
The White House was completely gutted and reinforced with steel beams in 1949-50. It was only standing, in the words of the Public Buildings Administration commissioner, “by force of habit.”
17. American stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle walked away from $50 million for a 3rd and 4th season of Chappelle’s Show because he "came from a realization that success was nothing like I thought it would be."
18. The famous photo of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger at San Quentin in 1969 was taken by photographer Jim Marshall when Marshall asked Cash to share his feelings on the prison authorities, saying to Cash, "John, let's do a shot for the warden."
19. Ford uses a robotic butt, called Robutt, to quickly simulate 10 years' worth of wear and tear on car seats in just 3 days. It is heated to 36 degrees Celsius (to approximate the human body’s temperature) and can sweat.
20. The waitlist for a liver transplant in California was going to take over a year, so Steve Jobs bought a house in Tennessee, giving him access to their waitlist, which would only take four months. By doing this, he effectively cut in line on the national transplant list.
William Breckinridge was a captain of the Confederacy who later renounced the views that led him to fight for them and became a racial equality advocate. He also represented blacks in court as a lawyer and was even noted by a black lawyer that he had helped many blacks in their law careers.
22. Someone experiencing stress or anxiety can feel a tight pain in their chest similar to that of a heart attack.
23. The German armed forces have the concept “inner guidance”, which obliges every citizen-soldier to think for themselves. Soldiers may disobey orders against their conscience and it officially traditionalizes the actions of the July-plot conspirators, like Claus von Stauffenberg.
24. An American teenager named D’Zhana Simmons survived for nearly four months without a heart, kept alive by a custom-built artificial blood-pumping device until she was able to have a heart transplant. She essentially lived for 118 days without a heart, with her circulation supported only by the two blood pumps.
25. At the end of each month, the president of the USA receives a bill for him and his family’s personal food and expenses including dry cleaning, toothpaste, and toiletries, which is then deducted from his salary.