Random #268 – 50 Lesser Known Random Facts

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26Jonathan Frakes

The reason Jonathan Frakes has a distinctive way of sitting (known as the Riker maneuver) on The Next Generation is because he injured his back working as a furniture mover. This is also why he leans on chairs and consoles or has one leg propped up on something.


27. Researchers documented elephants exhibiting contagious yawning in response to yawns by humans familiar to them. While spontaneous yawning is common across all vertebrate classes, contagious yawning is less common and has been observed only in a few species of social animals.


28. The year 536 A.D. is considered by some scholars to be the worst year ever to be alive due to volcanos, extreme weather, and famine throughout Europe and Asia.


29. In the 1980s, a classical bassist named Christopher Roberts hiked into Papua New Guinea's jungles with his bass and tape recorder. By doing so, he preserved a tribe’s rich musical heritage and history, which were being lost because of mining and missionaries.


30. Jean Mill was a cat breeder and conservationist who worked to protect the Asian leopard cat. She disliked the fur trade so much that she successfully crossed an Asian leopard with a domestic cat, creating the Bengal Cat breed, so that people can own cats with the same style of fur.


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31Edward Bellamy

In 1888, Edward Bellamy predicted the credit card. He wrote a book called "looking backwards" in which everyone uses a mechanical device to monitor and use their money/credit. The device he describes is almost identical to the credit card we use today.


32. In feudal Japan, merchants were at/near the bottom of the social hierarchy because they didn't produce goods. Artisans were a step above them because they produced non-essential goods and peasants were above artisans because they produced food.


33. Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan played the same character on the ‘All My Children’ soap opera. Jordan landed the role of Reggie Porter after Boseman was fired from it for Refusing to Play a Racial Stereotype.


34. Hindus in America are the highest educated religious group with 77% of all Hindus in the United States having college degrees.


35. Spain has been in the wrong time zone for 7 decades. Spain's dictator Francisco Franco set the country's clocks an hour ahead in World War 2 in order to be aligned with Nazi Germany, and the change was never reverted.


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36Sam Neill

For the Sci-Fi Horror film, 'Event Horizon' Sam Neill requested that the Australian flag on his character's uniform remove the Union Flag from the corner and for it to be replaced with the Aboriginal flag, the way he thought it should look in 2047.


37. NASA hired 11 deaf men to study the body's responses to foreign gravitational environments. They were chosen because their disabled inner ear made them immune to motion sickness.


38. The lady in Tom and Jerry is called Mammy Two Shoes and her face was shown in one episode.


39. An hour-long hot bath can burn 130 calories, the same amount you would burn by walking for 30 minutes.


40. Momčilo Gavrić was the youngest soldier to be enlisted during World War 1. He enlisted in the Serbian army at the age of 8 after Austro-Hungarian soldiers killed his family in 1914. He survived the war and lived until 1993.


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41Sir Richard Francis Burton

During his military service in India, British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton kept a menagerie of monkeys in an attempt to learn their language. His wife later claimed that he could speak over 60 words of monkey.


42. People in Maine are called Downeasters because it's downwind and east sailing from Boston. It's also why they "ship up" to Boston. 


43. In 1995, we sent a probe named Galileo crashing through Jupiter's atmosphere. It gathered and relayed data for 58 minutes, before being destroyed by the increasing pressure.


44. Ton 618 is the largest supermassive black hole with a scary large mass of 44 billion suns. It is also one of the brightest objects in the universe.


45. Screenwriter Robert Towne so hated the finished Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan that he pulled his name off the film and credited his dog as a writer. The dog, P.H. Vazak, ended up with an Oscar nomination.


46White torture

White torture is a type of psychological torture that includes extreme sensory deprivation and isolation. It involves putting the prisoner in "a completely white, soundproof room." This torture makes the detainee lose personal identity and can cause hallucinations.


47. When Richard Stanley, the original director of mega-flop The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) was fired and replaced, he secretly returned to set disguised as a mutant dog and worked for the rest of production as an extra.


48. The original story of Aladdin in One Thousand And One Nights was actually set in Western China and the main character is a young Chinese Muslim.


49. ESPN launched a sport centered phone called "Mobile ESPN" in 2005 which failed miserably. Steve Jobs called it, "The dumbest f*cking idea I have ever heard." It cost $300 for the phone itself, and between $65 and $225 per month for content.


50. There are 2 stars dedicated to Harrison Ford on the Hollywood walk of fame. Harrison Ford, the star of Indiana Jones/Star Wars, and Harrison Ford, the star of the silent movie era 1915-1932.

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