Random #266 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Game counselors

Game counselors

Before the internet, Nintendo had "game counselors" - whom you could call if you were stuck in a game and they would coach you through it.

2. Hawaii’s “Forbidden Isle” is an island bought by a Scottish woman for $10,000 in 1864. Access to the island or its 170 inhabitants requires special permission from the woman’s great-great-grandsons, who still own and control the island.

3. William Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller's father and patriarch of the incredibly wealthy family, was a con man and snake-oil salesman, and intentionally lent money to impoverished farmers to take their land.

4. Between 1948 and 1958, a man named Tony Signorini wore 30lb, 3-toed lead shoes, and stomped around a Florida beach during the night, leading people to believe there was a 15-feet tall penguin roaming their lands. The hoax was only revealed 40 years later.

5. In 2017, it was revealed that the current King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, even after his ascension to the nation’s throne in 2013 had been for 21 years secretly serving as the First officer on Dutch airline KLM flights twice a month.

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6Xanthopan morganii

Xanthopan morganii

In 1862, someone sent Charles Darwin a flower from Madagascar that had an extremely deep crevasse where the nectar was located. He predicted that there was a moth with an extraordinarily long tongue to reach the nectar. Xanthopan morganii was discovered nearly 150 years later feeding on the flower. 

7. The United States has the world's most violent weather, receiving more high-impact extreme weather incidents than any other country in the world.

8. An extra on the set of Star Trek IV ad-libbed a line that made it into the final movie. Since she wasn't an actor, she then had to be registered to the Screen Actors Guild since membership was required for anyone with speaking lines in a movie.

9. American TV personality Paula Deen (of deep-fried cheesecake and doughnut hamburger fame) kept her diabetes diagnosis secret for 3 years. She also announced she took sponsorship from a diabetes drug company the day she revealed her condition.

10. Chrysler made a car with a turbine engine that could run on everything from perfume to peanut oil. Adolfo Mateos, the President of Mexico fueled one with Tequila.

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11Jacintha Saldanha

Jacintha Saldanha

In 2012, an Indian nurse named Jacintha Saldanha looking after the Duchess of Cambridge was prank called by an Australian radio station pretending to be the Queen. This led to her revealing confidential information which was then broadcast on the radio. 3 days later, she committed suicide by hanging.

12. Given their lack of empathy, psychopaths are not susceptible to contagious yawning, according to a study conducted in 2015 at Baylor University.

13. Harrison Ford got his ear pierced at the popular preteen store, Claire’s Accessories. After the piercing, he signed a notepad to the woman who pierced his ear: "To Tavora. You made a hole in me. Harrison Ford."

14. Black American Sign Language (BASL) is a dialect of American Sign Language (ASL), used most commonly by deaf African-Americans in the United States, that diverged from ASL largely as a result of the segregation of schools in the American South.

15. Many of the props used in the 2009 film ‘District 9’ were reused from a planned Halo movie that fell through.

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16Decision fatigue

Decision fatigue

Decision fatigue refers to that weary feeling you get when you are overly stressed by the endless amount of decisions you’ve had to make throughout the day, from what to eat for lunch to more complicated decisions that involve our emotional, financial, and physical well-being.

17. “Barcode Battler” was a handheld game released in 1991. The “barcode gaming system” came with a variety of cards containing barcodes; each representing a player, enemy, or power up. Players could also experiment to find barcode monsters from everyday products like food and cleaning supplies.

18. As President Grover Cleveland and his wife were moving out of the White House, she told staff to take care of the place because "We are coming back four years from today." Cleveland won another term and moved back in four years later.

19. Screech owls bring Texas blind snakes into their nests so the snakes will eat the parasites that feed on the owlets.

20. Between the years 4000 of 3500 B.C., the Tripolye culture which was centered around the modern Moldova in Eastern Europe built the largest settlements in the world at that time. They were inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people. Cities of this size only reappeared in Mesopotamia a Millennium later.

21Macaroons and macarons

Macaroons and macarons

Macaroons and macarons are not the same things. Macaroons are American coconut-based cookies. Macarons are French (originally Italian) meringue-based confection made up of two cookies with filling in the center.

22. Orville Wright, the co-inventor of the airplane was still alive when the sound barrier was broken in 1947 by Chuck Yeager.

23. Towards the end of filming the first Harry Potter film, Daniel Radcliffe's voice broke. For the final filmed scenes, a "soundalike" child actor, Joe Sowerbutts, was recruited to overdub his lines in post-production. 

24. The 442nd Infantry Regiment was comprised almost entirely of Japanese American soldiers during World War 2. In total, about 18,000 men served, ultimately earning 9,486 Purple Hearts and 21 Medals of Honor, making it the most decorated combat unit in US history.

25. A Marine Corps veteran by the name of John "Chick" Donohue snuck into Vietnam in 1967 during the ongoing war simply to deliver beer to his friends in combat.

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