Random #275 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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26Mordhau technique

The Mordhau technique in historical swordsmanship was a half-sword technique where you turned your sword into a hammer and obliterated your opponent’s skull with the hilt.


27. The 'new castle upon the Tyne' which gives Newcastle upon Tyne its name dates back to 1080 A.D., built by the son of William the Conqueror. The castle was called 'new' because it stood on the site of a 2nd-century Roman fort and an Anglo-Saxon town.


28. During the recording process of the Iron Maiden album ‘The Number of the Beast’, producer Martin Birch was involved in a car accident with a minibus transporting a group of nuns, after which he was presented with a repair bill for £666.


29. The average lifespan of a wild rabbit is only less than a year due to starvation, predators, and disease.


30. Pound Cake gets its name because of how it was made in the 1700s. Originally, the recipe called for one pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.


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31Chinese alligator

Due to its docile behavior and it's hibernation patterns coinciding with the rainy season, it has been suggested the Chinese alligator is a source of inspiration for the folklore of the Chinese dragon.


32. A cockatoo at Brookfield Zoo named Cookie lived to be 83. He is believed to be the oldest member of his species and one of the longest living birds on record.


33. Magnolia Springs, Alabama is the only place in the US with a boat only USPS delivery service. The only way to get your mail is through the boat service which has been running since 1915.


34. Bananas glow bright blue under black lights. The closer to being perfectly ripe, the brighter the banana glows.


35. Blindsight is defined as the ability of person who is blind to respond to visual stimuli despite having no conscious awareness of it.


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36Hongzhi Emperor

China's Hongzhi Emperor (1487-1505) used toilet paper made of silk. When he discovered that palace maids collected his used toilet paper to make curtains, he stopped using silk toilet paper. This led to the unemployment of some silkworm farmers, so he went back to using silk toilet paper.


37. The song "Heart of Glass" by Blondie became a hit in part due to critical exposure on the TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati." In gratitude, the band gave the show a gold record, which can be seen hanging on set from the 2nd season onwards.


38. In the 1880s, Williamina Fleming, a pre-eminent woman astronomer who classified tens of thousands of star, and discovered white dwarfs and the Horsehead Nebula, was once a maid in the home of the director of Harvard College Observatory.


39. Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams originally auditioned for each other's roles in the movie Mean Girls. The head of Paramount decided Lohan's audience didn't want to see her as a villain which is why she got cast as Cady and not Regina George. McAdams was seen as too old for Cady's role.


40. Surfing existed in ancient Peruvian cultures, which used reed watercraft since 200 C.E. In 1590, a Jesuit missionary commented, “They looked like Tritons, or Neptunes, who paint upon the water.”


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41JFK assassination

The Zapruder film of JFK assassination wasn’t shown to the public until 12 years later (1975) when comedian Dick Gregory provided a copy to Geraldo for his show, “Good Night America.”


42. In the 1800s, there was an NYC neighborhood built on a pond called Five Points. The area was gradually redeveloped in the 1900s. During excavations in the early 1990s, 1 million artifacts from the former neighborhood were found and temporarily stored in WTC 6, which were mostly all destroyed on 9/11.


43. Virgil D. Hawkins was a black lawyer who spent half his life fighting to practice law after being rejected from the UF Law School due to his race. After opening his law office at 69 and resigning from the Bar due to problems, he was posthumously reinstated and had a DC hero named after him.


44. Malaysia has chicken beauty pageants where chickens are judged on their appearance, confidence, and style. Prizes for winning can be as high as $10,000.


45. Hurricane Harvey dumped 33 trillion gallons of water in its impact area, weighing an estimated 275 trillion pounds, which was enough to push down the Earth’s crust and lower the city of Houston by 2 centimeters.


46Cyanide

The length of time it takes for cyanide to kill a person ranges from around 2-5 minutes, and during this timeframe, they're fully conscious and experience every bit of the chemical's effects.


47. The Clark's Nutcracker bird buries around 98,000 nuts per season and can recall the location of almost all of them several months later, even when they are under 3 feet of snow.


48. Lovebug fly has acidic body chemistry. When they die on windshields, hoods, and radiators, if left for more than an hour, remains become extremely difficult to remove. The acidity of the dead body often results in pits and etches in automotive paint and chrome if not quickly removed.


49. Serial killer Joel Rifkin had a fight with murderer Colin Ferguson in prison. Ferguson was using the phone and told Rifkin to be quiet. They argued and Ferguson told Rifkin "I killed 6 devils and you only killed women,”, Rifkin responded "Yeah, but I had more victims." Ferguson punched him. 


50. The Halifax explosion of 1917 was caused by two boats crashing into each other. The 2.9 kiloton explosion was more than twice that of the Beirut explosion (estimated at 1.2 kilotons).

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