Random #259 – Interesting Random Facts

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26CIA

"Glomar response" ( the 'neither confirm nor deny' response) was created by the CIA in reaction to media inquiries about a covert agency program. When the CIA opened its Twitter account for the first time, they tweeted: 'We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.'


27. When he was young, boxer Manny Pacquiao ran away from home and lived in a cardboard box after his drunk father ate his dog.


28. The name of the mid-90s fad, "Pogs" was actually an acronym for Passion/Orange/Guava, which was the type of juice that kids used the caps of when it was first invented in Hawaii.


29. As of 2020, the world's longest domestic flight (and the world's longest flight by distance) is a 15728 km flight between Paris and the city of Papeete in the Pacific territory of French Polynesia, which takes between 16-17 hours.


30. Angela Morley, the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Academy Award, was John Williams’ primary orchestrator throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She helped write and arrange the scores for Star Wars, ET, The Empire Strikes Back, Home Alone, Superman, and Schindler’s List.


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31Rhino enclosure

A zookeeper secretly grew a cannabis plantation inside the rhino enclosure at an Austrian zoo for years. He was the only one who had access to the enclosure and police made the discovery after a tip from a drug user.


32. Venus could have had habitable conditions for billions of years in the past, long enough for life to have developed.


33. Georgian swimming is a swimming style where swimmer's hands and feet are bound together. It was re-discovered in the '60s after a swimming enthusiast decided to fact-check a legend about ancient warriors training by swimming in this manner.


34. Iceland in 1940 passed a law that made swimming lessons mandatory in schools starting at grade 1 (age 6) to grade 10 (age 16). Lessons are held once a week. Historically, a lot of Icelandic seamen had met a tragic end because of the harsh sea and this law was an attempt at saving lives.


35. Each episode of A.L.F. (Alien Life Form) took 20-25 hours to shoot and was extremely demanding on the crew. Max Wright, the dad in the show, despised supporting a demanding inanimate object and at one time become "crazed", physically attacking the puppet.


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36Until the bitter end

The phrase “Until the bitter end” doesn’t refer to feelings of bitterness, but instead it is a nautical term referring to the end of an Anchor, known as “The Bitter.”


37. Pizza Hut restaurants in China stopped offering one trip salad bars due to customers creating elaborately engineered “salad towers” carefully balanced on one plate.


38. Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 26,300 square miles, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. Latest satellite images reveal that it is completely gone. The rivers feeding it were diverted to grow cotton in Uzbekistan. They use lots of chemicals in agriculture there. The runoff into what is now known as the Aralkum Desert is so polluted that the dust blowing off the dry lake bed is toxic. Birth defects are a huge problem in the area.


39. Steve Jobs was already trying to develop the iPad in 1983, saying what they want to do is "put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes" and that he hoped to sell it for under $1,000 within the decade.


40. Solitary bees can pollinate exponentially more flowers than honey bees and there are many important bees that live alone and aren’t part of a colony.


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41Javed Iqbal

A Pakistani judge told a convicted serial killer (Javed Iqbal); “You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed, Your body will then be cut into 100 pieces and put in acid, the same way you killed the children.” The killer died before that happened.


42. Afghanistan shares a 46-mile border with China. Venetian explorer Marco Polo used it in his Silk Road travels. It's rumored to have a fort Alexander the Great was not able to conquer, and it has one of the largest untouched copper mines in the world.


43. Charles Darwin was invited on the voyage of HMS Beagle not as a biologist but for his interest in geology. The ship’s primary mission wasn’t even on zoology, it was to conduct hydrographic surveys and test new chronometers.


44. While Mexico only drinks 50% more soda per capita than the US (100 liters and 150 liters respectively), the Mexican state of Chiapas drinks 820 liters per capita every year(2.2 liters per day) due to the drink being introduced into the religious activities of the Mayan people of the region.


45. Ancient Greek slingers used to write “ΔΕΞΑΙ” (Dexai) meaning “take that” or “catch” on their lead sling bullets. Soldiers have been writing sarcastic taunts on their weapons forever.


46Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley threw Nicolas Cage’s $65,000 engagement ring into the ocean during a fight on his yacht. Cage hired professional divers to find the ring, but the ring was never recovered.


47. Male cichlids have oval-shaped dots on their anal fins called egg-spots used to trick females who are carrying unfertilized eggs in their mouth to think they have dropped some. The female will then place her mouth to the anal fin and receive a load blown into her face.


48. The Icelandic band Sigur Ros felt so strongly that music was more than words they made up their own language for one of their albums.


49. The RIAA criticized the first MP3 player (MPMan) for having "no function other than playing material that was stolen from record companies."


50. Concorde had to reduce its cruising speed when it was painted blue for a promotional deal with Pepsi because otherwise, the plane would overheat.

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