Random #273 – 50 Random Fascinating Facts

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26Semordnilap

A Semordnilap (The Word Palindromes spelled backward) is a word that describes a word that spells a different word backward. Like the word "Stops" spells "Spots" backward.


27. Beaver colonies can occupy an area for 1000s of years. Lewis Henry Morgan observed and mapped beaver ponds in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the 1800s and 150 years later 75% of the original dams and ponds were still there.


28. “Knotty pine” paneling was made popular in New England homes because ship captains requested that their ship quarters be well-outfitted with knot-free pine. Shipbuilders took the leftover knotty pine to use in their own homes.


29. Volkswagen was sued by the Czechoslovakian car maker Tatra before World War 2 because the KdF-Wagen (the original Beetle) was so similar to the Tatra 97. Porsche was willing to settle but Hitler said he would "would settle the matter." After Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, T97 production was stopped.


30. The 1947 British partition of India was driven by fear of civil war. Yet, in haste, borders went unannounced for days after Independence Day. As a result, Hindus didn't know if they would wake up one day in Pakistan, or Muslims in India. 15 million were displaced and over a million died in the chaos.


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31Slammer

In 2004, the computer worm "Slammer" almost took down the entire internet in 15 minutes. The malware was very small (404 bytes) and once it infected a server it would send millions of copies to random IP addresses. It caused over $1 billion in damages and the creator has never been identified.


32. The study that was reported in saying “cheese is just as addictive as drugs” actually found no such thing. The dietician who made the questionable claim works for an advocacy group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which pushes veganism and urges people to shun cheese.


33. Worker ants take up to 250 naps everyday, with each nap lasting just over a minute. This equates to 4 hours and 48 minutes of sleep per day.


34. Young Komodo dragons roll around in entrails and feces to avoid being eaten by older, cannibal Komodo Dragons.


35. In 2008, the BBC created a film trailer for a nature documentary featuring flying penguins. It was hosted by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and directed by Professor Alid Loyas, an Anagram for April Fools Day. Indeed, the trailer premiered April 1st, as an elaborate April Fools prank made using CGI.


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36Poena cullei

The Roman punishment for the killing of parents was known as Poena cullei ('penalty of the sack') and it consisted of being sewn up in a leather sack, with an assortment of live animals including a dog, snake, monkey, and a chicken or rooster, and then being thrown into a body of water.


37. Anteaters do not produce their own stomach acid. Instead, the ants consumed are digested in the very own acid the ants carry in their bodies: Formic acid.


38. There is a subculture in Japan for tricking out and drag racing old full-size Dodge Ram Vans called “Dajiban” (literally “DodgeVan” with a Japanese accent).


39. In December 2018, an explosion 10 times that of Hiroshima happened over the Bering Sea in Earth’s atmosphere that largely went unnoticed. It happened due to a meteor.


40. Vin Mariani was a mixture of wine and cocaine that was popular in Europe during the late 1800s. Two popes were known to drink it and it was so much enjoyed by Pope Leo XIII that he was used on posters promoting the product. The creator won a Vatican gold medal for creating it.


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41Sussudio

"Sussudio" was just a word that came out of Phil Collins' mouth when he was playing around with a drum machine. He wanted to replace it with another word in the actual song, but couldn't find the right one, so he just left it in the final lyrics and named the song "Sussudio."


42. Beirut Chess is a chess variant in which players secretly equip one of their men with a “bomb”, which can be detonated at any time, wiping out all pieces on surrounding squares.


43. There is an opposite to “déjà vu”, they call it “jamais vu.” It’s when you meet the same people or visit places, again and again, but each time, is the first. Everybody is always a stranger. Nothing is ever familiar.


44. Dance marathons provided food, shelter, and morbid entertainment during The Great Depression. People died from exhaustion and attempted suicide after dancing for weeks and it was very lucrative.


45. A ghost light is a single bulb left burning in a theatre when it’s dark. Some argue it’s meant to chase away spirits; others say it lights the way for the ghosts that are said to inhabit virtually every theatre. Either way, the light ensures no one takes an accidental tumble off the stage.


46Swifts

Swifts (highly aerial birds), spend most of their lives flying in the air and can fly for almost an entire year, without ever landing. 


47. During the Russian Civil War, there was a faction called the Green army that consisted of peasants who opposed all sides and fought to protect their communities from requisitions or reprisals.


48. Green Tobacco Sickness is caused by nicotine exposure from handling tobacco leaves. It causes nausea and vomiting that can lead to hospitalization.


49. 80% of plane crashes occur in the first 3 or last 8 minutes of a flight.


50. Polybius is an urban legend that emerged in early 2000, concerning a fictitious 1980s arcade game. It was rumored that its graphics was designed to trigger strong symptoms of addiction in players, as well as psychoactive effects like hallucinations. To this day, the existence of the original game is unproven.

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