Random #275 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Bob Dylan

"All Along the Watchtower" was a Bob Dylan Song. Dylan said he was so "overwhelmed" by the more famous Jimi Hendrix version, that he started playing it that way. After Hendrix died, Dylan said playing the song felt like a tribute to Hendrix.


2. In several Chinese cities, there is a service called "jam-busting". Drivers in traffic jams who need to get somewhere urgently call for a couple of people to show up on a motorbike. One stays with your car, and the other puts you on the back of the bike, and blasts off through and around the jam.


3. Keanu Reeves almost renamed himself “Chuck Spadina” because some casting agents were resistant to having him come in for auditions because his first name was hard to pronounce and seemingly too exotic.


4. The camera company, Fujifilm, also makes skincare products because the CEO predicted that sales for their film would decrease with the rise of digital cameras. Chemicals they discovered earlier to prevent color fading in photographs are used to prevent sagging and fading skin now.


5. Fairy rings, i.e. mushrooms growing in a circle, are an actual natural occurrence, caused by mushroom mycelia growing out from the center and exhausting nutrients on the inside of the circle.


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6Peljidiin Genden

The first president of Mongolia, Peljidiin Genden, allegedly slapped and broke Stalin’s pipe after Stalin pressured him to destroy Mongolia's Buddhist clergies.


7. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, an elderly Rwandan woman named Zura Karuhimbi saved the lives of over 100 Tutsis by hiding them in her home and scaring away Hutus by claiming her home was inhabited by ghosts.


8. Lyndon Johnson did not become a rancher until he was 43 but was quite successful. He left his ranch to the American people as a historical site, providing it was maintained as "a working ranch, and not a sterile relic of the past." To this day the National Park Service breeds Hereford cattle there.


9. Over time diamond degrades to graphite as its atoms internally rearrange and relax to a lower energy state. However, at Earth's surface temperature, this process can take millions of years, which makes the phrase "diamonds are forever" a very good approximation to reality on a human time-scale.


10. In 1991, a diver discovered a 20-ton nugget of pure copper in Lake Superior. It took some 4 years of paperwork before it was pulled up in 2001.


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11Jeppson's Malört

The Swedish maker of Jeppson's Malört was free to sell the "medicinal" spirit in Chicago during prohibition since law enforcement concluded no-one in their right mind would drink it recreationally.


12. A Johns Hopkins University professor named Steve Hanke proposed to do away with time zones completely and put the entire world on universal time (UTC). Under this system, when it's 9:00 in one place, it's 9:00 everywhere on the plane.


13. A study found that an Andean Condor can soar 100 miles without flapping its wings, staying airborne for up to 5 hours by surfing currents of rising air called thermals. It's the world's heaviest soaring bird at 33 pounds with a 10-foot wingspan.


14. The Rocky Mountains were once a plateau higher than Tibet, but because the mountains are much older than the very young Himalayas they have eroded away to their present altitude.


15. Horatio Nelson Jackson was the first person to drive across the continental United States and he did it for a $50 bar bet. It took him just over 2 months, having to replace most of the parts on his car. When he got it to Vermont from San Francisco the Drive chain snapped pulling into the garage.


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16Tira

There is a rare polka-dotted zebra that is the only one in the world and her name is Tira. She has a genetic condition known as ‘pseudomelanism’ which is responsible for the abnormalities in the stripe pattern amongst zebras.


17. In 1968, the Church of Scientology hired a private investigator named Rex Beaver to spy on Rupert Murdoch who had published unflattering stories about the church in his newspaper. After passing his security check Beaver went to Murdoch and offered to work as a double agent.


18. In the Philippines, all processed foods are required to be fortified with a vitamin and/or mineral in order to battle the malnutrition that is prevalent in the country. Because they are cheap, most families can only afford processed foods like chips, ramen noodles, and biscuits.


19. Caffeine narrows the blood vessels in the brain. That’s why headaches are a primary symptom of caffeine withdrawal, as, without caffeine, the vessels widen and increase blood flow, causing head pain.


20. Some leafcutter ants grow antibiotics on their backs so that when their nests get infected with microbes they roll on it to kill bacteria. This new discovery is helping doctors and researchers stop the current antibiotic crisis.


21USS Swordfish

In September 1978, a paint scraper worth 15 cents was dropped into the torpedo launcher of the US nuclear submarine USS Swordfish, jamming the loading piston in its cylinder. When divers failed to free the piston, the sub had to be drydocked and repaired at a staggering cost of $171,000.


22. The Ancient Chinese could tell the hour of the day by smell. The incense clock had a timed measure of incense attached to a ball, which then dropped from the display. Each section was indicated by a different aroma.


23. Some Breyers ice cream had to be renamed in 2013 to "frozen dairy dessert" because it didn't meet the legal definition to still be called "ice cream."


24. Theoretically, spiders of the world combined could eat all the humans within a year, and still remain hungry. Average number of spiders in a square meter is 131, and for some areas, it can exceed 1000 per square meter.


25. A 34-year-old French veterinary surgeon named Jean-Pascal Danneels was a passenger on an airliner that crashed into the Atlantic and disintegrated more than a mile offshore from Côte d'Ivoire. He survived the impact, swam for four hours in darkness to the shore, and lived.

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