Random #266 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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26Jerry Lawson

Jerry Lawson pioneered home video gaming in the 1970s by helping to invent the Fairchild Channel F, the first system with interchangeable cartridges. One of the few black engineers in computing at the time, he, unfortunately, received less recognition than deserved due to the Channel F's poor sales.


27. Dr. Khurshid Guru, the director of Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, saved the life of a child having an asthma attack aboard his transatlantic flight, by making a makeshift inhaler with a water bottle, cup, some tape, and an oxygen tank.


28. 44% of deaths among Russian soldiers are due to suicide after being a victim of a systematic abuse called Dedovshchina.


29. Edward Craven Walker, the inventor of the Lava Light was an accountant and originally didn’t envision his product associating with groovy psychedelic hippie culture. An ad for them in the straight-laced American Bar Association Journal pitched an “executive” desk version mounted on a walnut base beside a ballpoint pen.


30. The names at the 9/11 memorial are not organized alphabetically, by company or location, but rather by how close of a relationship that person had with those names around them.


31Pringles

The shape of Pringles purposely causes a loud sound when consumed. This loud noise causes people to perceive the chips as fresher and crispier.


32. Max Brooks, the author of "World War Z" and son of Mel Brooks, was invited to join the Modern War Institute at West Point as a non-resident fellow to write about non-military issues that could turn violent in the future, such as corporate control of the food chain.


33. Razzle Dazzle is a carnival game that is designed to make the player believe he is almost winning. But mathematically it actually is near impossible to win despite being very very few points from winning.


34. Actors Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were temporarily blinded with 'burnt retinas' on the set of Twister (1996) by bright lamps used to make the sky look stormy.


35. In Abraham Lincoln's time in the Illinois legislature, he once leaped out of a first-story window in a failed attempt to prevent a quorum from being present. The doors of the Capitol had been locked to prevent legislators from fleeing.


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36Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves was forced to shoot a film after a friend forged his signature on the film's contract. 'The Watcher' went down as one of his worst movies by critics.


37. In Ghana, imported second-hand clothing is known as 'obroni wawo', or 'dead white man's clothes.'


38. Milton Wright, a bishop once famously said: "Men will never fly because flying is reserved for the angels." He was the father of the Wright Brothers.


39. During World War 2, it was found that British tank crews regularly left the safety of their tanks in order to make tea. Accordingly, post-war British tanks have been fitted with internal tea-making facilities to enable tank crews to make tea in safety.


40. Bill Nye had worked alongside Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future: The Animated Series, where he played Doc Brown's assistant and demonstrated several experiments. These segments later led to Nye getting his own show.


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41Lottery win

A recent study found that the size of a lottery win subsequently increases borrowing and bankruptcies among neighbors of the winner.


42. The first book to be banned in USA was the “New English Canaan” which was banned in 1637. The author lampoons and criticizes the Puritans and compares their leadership to crustaceans because Puritans believed that Indians were wild men that needed to be suppressed (among other thing). A first edition copy of the book was recently sold at an auction for $60,000.


43. Hoatzins are the only birds born with claws on their wings, a trait exhibited in dinosaurs like archaeopteryx.


44. Many famous people have claimed to have seen Abraham Lincoln's ghost in the White House, including Winston Churchill, President Lyndon Johnson, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, First Lady Grace Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt.


45. 20th centuries physicist and Nobel laureate J.J. Thomson had 9 students who later won the Nobel prize in physics or chemistry. Robert Oppenheimer was also one of his students.


46Lion

We call lions "King of the Jungle" even though they don't live in the jungle because of a translation error. The original phrase in Hindi was "King of the Wasteland" but their word for Wasteland sounds like the word jungle.


47. Battle of Bowmanville was a 1942 revolt in the Bowmanville prisoner of war camp, where approximately 100 Canadian soldiers quelled a rebellion of German POWs using only hockey sticks and water cannons.


48. Andy Warhol’s failed assassin, Valerie Solanas was a radical who called for the elimination of the male sex to create a Utopia for women. She shot Warhol in the liver, spleen, lungs, and stomach and he was required to wear a corset for the rest of his life.


49. Mary Anderson was the inventor of the windshield wiper. She got a 17-year patent for it in 1903. She tried to sell the rights in 1905 but was rejected by a firm saying "we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale."


50. In 1967, a Munich resident named Helmut G. Winter built a catapult to launch Bavarian potato dumplings at noisy planes flying over his house forcing the West German Luftwaffe pilots to concede defeat and change their flight path.

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