Random #250 – 50 Fantastic Random Facts

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26Monty Hall

Canadian game show host Monty Hall was born Monte Halparin. Excluded from medical school due to secret quotas restricting the number of Jewish students, he got a job in broadcasting. His station misspelled and shortened his names, making him Monty Hall. He co-created and hosted "Let's Make a Deal" for almost 30 years.


27. The Christian Cult called "The Children of God" encouraged its female members to enter into sexual relationships with potential converts to lure them in. Called 'Flirty Fishing', they 'successfully' lured over 100,000 men into the cult.


28. Humanity nearly became extinct 72000 years ago as human population plunged to just 40 'breeding pairs' due to a super volcanic eruption. Toba eruption dimmed the sun for six years, disrupted seasonal rains, choked off streams and scattered whole cubic miles of hot ash across acres and acres of plants and trees, killing them. Humans are genetically less diverse than most species largely due to this (and possibly others) bottleneck event.


29. Photographer Lassi Rautiainen documented an unusual friendship between a female grey wolf and a male brown bear in Finland. He spotted them together every night for 10 days straight, spending several hours together between 8 pm to 4 am. They would even share food together.


30. American science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein challenged readers' possible racial preconceptions by writing strong, sympathetic characters, only to reveal later that they are of African or other ancestries.


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31Jeffrey Katzenberg

Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg revived Walt Disney Studios by many of their biggest hits: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty, and the Beast and Aladdin. After these, he requested promotion and was then abruptly fired by them. He then swore revenge against Disney and founded Dreamworks.


32. Up until 1991, there was a dedicated position in the British Armed Forces called 'The Keeper of the Apes'. Their job was solely to care for the monkeys of Gibraltar. The military even had a budget for ape-related expenses. Any sick or injured monkey was cared for in British hospitals.


33. In 2009, a parrot was banned from a football game in England for imitating the referee's whistle and causing confusion.


34. Steve Martin and Martin Short both turned down the role of Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber. Originally the Farrelly Brothers didn't know who Jim Carrey was and was only told that he was "The White Guy" on In Living Color series.


35. A mother from Washington State named Lydia Fairchild was accused of fraud and kidnapping her own children. During the application for government assistance, her DNA test showed that she had no connection to her kids. It turned out she has chimerism. She has 2 sets of DNA which was the reason behind the maternal test anomaly.


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36Pink Pearl

There are over 7,500 varieties of apples. One particular variety of it is called the Pink Pearl, which is known for its taste, resembling that of a raspberry, but it smells like a grapefruit.


37. The cool Japanese bamboo water features that give out a ‘DOOK’ sound are called Shishi-odoshi. Originally created to scare away deer or boar, to prevent them from eating crops, they are now used as an audiovisual aesthetic.


38. In 1962, when Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall refused to integrate his team, President Kennedy forced his hand by refusing to allow the team to play in their then-new stadium, which was on Federal land. Marshall relented and became the last NFL owner to integrate.


39. A starfish does not have the capacity to plan its actions. If one arm detects an attractive odor, it becomes dominant and temporarily over-rides the other arms to initiate movement towards the prey.


40. To shoot a documentary called Kadoma, 2 American Pro Kayakers and their South African guide named Hendri Coetzee attempted the first descent of the Lukuga River in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Seven days into their expedition, the guide was snatched out of his kayak by a 15-feet crocodile and never seen again.


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41Thomas Jefferson

In 1793, Thomas Jefferson requested a 1 kg copper cylinder from France, to be used as a weight standard in adopting the metric system in the United States. The ship carrying the copper was blown off course into the Caribbean, where it was looted by pirates.


42. South Korean singer PSY, famous for Gangnam Style, stayed up late for about 30 nights to come up with the dance. He had tested various "cheesy" animal-inspired dance moves with his choreographer, including panda and kangaroo moves, before settling for the horse trot, which involves pretending to ride a horse.


43. Arnold Schwarzenegger was instrumental in the creation of the Hummer as a civilian vehicle. He fell in love with the military trucks he saw in a convoy on TV and pestered the defense contractor to make a civilian version, thus starting the Hummer craze of the early 2000s.


44. The first mathematical theorem to be created and proven on TV was on Futurama (The Prisoner of Benda). It theorized and proved that if two people could switch unique pairs of bodies only once, it requires only two extra individuals to return everyone to their original bodies.


45. Tony Gemignani, the first non-Neapolitan to win the World Pizza Cup in Naples had to be escorted off the stage by police for fear of being attacked by the crowd.


46Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was originally cast as Miss Scarlet in the 1985 cult classic film ‘Clue’ but was replaced last minute by Lesley Ann Warren after the insurance company for the film wouldn’t cover Carrie Fisher because she had just checked into an outpatient rehab for cocaine addiction.


47. Ethiopia named one of its cities squares in Addis Ababa after Mexico because it was one of only 5 countries that refused to recognize Italy's annexation of Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.


48. Despite their fearsome reputation, Spartan warriors were no more effective in battle than any other Greek solider. Sparta lost as many battles as it won, and Spartans' brutal training resembled indoctrination of child soldiers and not combat training.


49. Each state in USA is allowed to donate two statues to be displayed in the United States Capitol building to honor persons notable in their history.


50. Gus was a polar bear in Central Park Zoo who was described as “bipolar”, “neurotic”, and “depressed.” He swam obsessively 12 hours a day and was the first zoo animal to be given Prozac. He eventually stopped eating and when he was placed under anesthesia to determine the cause of his problems, he was found to have an inoperable thyroid tumor. So he was euthanized in 2011.

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