Random #268 – 50 Lesser Known Random Facts

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Dreamworks used to punish their animators who failed at their work on Prince of Egypt, by sending them to work on Shrek. Apparently the punishment even had a nickname - to be "Shreked."

2. Jason Vukovich, a.k.a. “Alaskan Avenger,” was convicted of using the state’s sex offender registry to track down offenders, break into their homes, and beat them with a hammer.

3. Democritus (460-370 B.C.E.), the ancient Greek philosopher, asked the question “What is matter made of?” and hypothesized that tangible matter is composed of tiny units that can be assembled and disassembled by various combinations. He called these units "atoms."

4. Not only did Arnold Schwarzenegger say his famous catchphrase “I’ll be back” in every Terminator movie, but he also said the phrase in 11 other movies including Commando, The Running Man, and Total Recall.

5. Dusty Hill from ZZ Top wanted to feel "normal" after their "Worldwide Texas Tour". So he cut his hair, got a job at an airport, went by the name of "Joe" and would go out on Friday nights with coworkers so he could feel "grounded."

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6Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison before signing the statehood papers for North Dakota and South Dakota shuffled the papers so that no one could tell which became a state first. "They were born together," he reportedly said. "They are one and I will make them twins."

7. Michael Jackson's Super Bowl half time show was so successful that for the first time ever, a performance won higher ratings than the game.

8. When Pablo Picasso died at the age of 91, he left more than 45,000 works. In 1980, the Picasso estate was appraised at $250 million, but experts have said the true value was actually in the billions. Picasso did not leave a will, the division of his holdings took six years among seven heirs.

9. Atari programmers met with Atari CEO Ray Kassar in May 1979 to demand that the company treat developers as record labels treated musicians, with royalties and their names on game boxes. Kassar said no and that "anyone can do a cartridge." So the programmers left Atari and founded Activision.

10. In order to convince Robin Williams to play the Genie in Aladdin (1992), Disney hired an animator to draw and lip-sync the Genie performing Williams’ own stand-up comedy. Williams was so impressed that he signed on immediately.

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11Christian wedding

Christian wedding

Despite Christians making up only 1.5% of the population of Japan, the majority of Japanese people are married in a Christian ceremony. By contrast, the traditional Shinto ceremony makes up only 1 in 6 Japanese weddings.

12. Linda Burfield Hazzard a.k.a the “Starvation Doctor” who wrote the book, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease,” was convicted of manslaughter in 1912 for a patient’s death by starvation. At least 15 deaths are attributed to her “care.” While doing a fasting cure on herself in 1938, she died of starvation.

13. There is a psychological state called “helper’s high” whereby giving produces endorphins in the brain that provide a mild version of a morphine high. Research has shown that helping others lights up the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure.

14. Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ isn’t a celebration of choice and individuality. It’s actually the opposite. He wrote it sarcastically to make fun of an indecisive friend, and the poem actually asserts that the choice between the “two paths” doesn’t really make a difference at all.

15. Alexander the Great once suffered an arrow wound that pierced his lung. He fought on as long as he could but eventually collapsed on his shield. His army was able to protect him long enough to win the battle and to escape. They cut the arrow out of his chest and amazingly he fully recovered.

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16Open-plan offices

Open-plan offices

Open-plan offices can lead to increases in health problems in office workers. The design increases noise pollution and removes privacy which increases stress. Ultimately the design is related to lower job satisfaction and higher staff turnover.

17. The United States Navy Pre-Flight School created a routine to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. It took pilots about 6 weeks of practice, but it worked — even after drinking coffee and with gunfire noises in the background.

18. In 1963, Barbie introduced a teenaged “babysitter” Barbie which was sold with a doll-sized book titled "How To Lose Weight," and read “Don’t Eat.” Babysitter Barbie also came with a pink scale, with the weight permanently reading 110, 35 pounds less than a woman her height should weigh.

19. Ewan McGregor's character in Black Hawk Down is fictionally named because the real person was convicted of child molestation in 1999. The Pentagon gave permission to use actual Army Black Hawks in the movie if the producers agreed to change the name from John Stebbins to 'John Grimes.'

20. The oldest federal enforcement agency in America is the United States Postal Inspection Service, a fact-finding, investigative agency of fully sworn-in federal agents. Founded in 1772 by Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin, it predates both the Declaration of Independence and the USA.

21Miki Endo

Miki Endo

A Japanese Emergency Worker named Miki Endo saved thousands of lives during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami by warning the people of Minamisanriku city via the Emergency Broadcast System. She did not leave her spot and was eventually killed in the subsequent disaster.

22. Humans are 99.9% genetically identical to each other. The 0.1% difference accounts for the various differences, like skin color, hair color, eyes, and even diseases.

23. Ultramarathoner Jasmin Paris won the 268-mile Spine Race in 2019 in a record-setting 83 hours 12 minutes, while stopping at aid stations to express milk for her daughter.

24. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese military leader who unified Japan and became the de facto leader of Japan, was never granted the title of Shogun because he had no traceable samurai lineage, and his father was an ashigaru – a peasant employed by the samurai as a foot soldier.

25. Christopher Walken first trained as a dancer and has danced in over 50 of his films, also starring in a music video which won a Grammy for Best Music Video of 2002.

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