Random #276 – 50 Awesome Random Facts You Didn’t Know

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1Rare bowl

Rare bowl

Someone in New York state bought an old bowl at a tag sale in 2007 for $3. When the buyer had it appraised several years later, they learned it was a 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl initially valued at $200,000 to $300,000. It later sold at auction for $2.2 million.

2. Mark Sizemore, Neil Armstrong's barber sold Armstrong's hair for $3,000 without his consent. Armstrong threatened to sue the barber unless he either returned the hair or donated the proceeds to charity. Unable to retrieve the hair, the barber donated the $3,000 to a charity of Armstrong's choosing.

3. In the 1790s, an Oxford student named William Buckland introduced using guano (bird poop) as fertilizer. He spread guano across the university lawn, using it to spell G U A N O. The lawn was soon scrubbed, but when spring came, the word GUANO was clearly visible, growing higher and thicker than the rest of the grass.

4. Italian speakers with dyslexia tend to have less severe reading impairment than English or French speakers due to the simpler and more phonetic spelling the Italian language has.

5. Harry Houdini wanted to prevent people from copying his "Chinese water torture cell" trick but didn't want to patent it, as that would require explaining how it works. So he gave a performance of the trick as a one-act play before an audience of one and then filed for a copyright on the play.

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6Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly

Journalist Nellie Bly got bored of writing about fashion and gardening and instead went undercover in a mental asylum to expose abuses and horrible conditions of the 19th-century institutions. She later traveled around the world by balloon in record time.

7. Journalist Dan Rather, became famous after his reporting saved thousands of lives during Hurricane Carla in 1961. Rather created the first radar weather report by overlaying a transparent map over a radar image of Hurricane Carla. This then helped initiate the evacuation of 350,000 people.

8. H.R. Giger (the designer of the alien in Alien), once got stopped by Dutch customs because of his disturbing drawings, which they thought were photographs. Giger later said: "Where on Earth did they think I could have photographed my subjects? In hell, perhaps?"

9. Sergei Korolev, the USSR's lead rocket scientist planted newspaper articles falsely suggesting approval for a Soviet space program. President Eisenhower responded by approving an American space program. This forced the Communist Party to approve the space program they previously denied.

10. In 1924, a Chinese-American writer named Ben Fee went to a San Francisco restaurant named Almond Blossom and was refused to be served because he was Asian. He returned the next day with 10 white friends who each ordered the most expensive dish i.e., porterhouse steak. Fee was again refused service. He then “confronted” his friends. They walked out, leaving the food unpaid for.

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11Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson

In 2019, a nurse named Jessica Anderson set the record for the fastest marathon in a nurse's uniform, but was originally rejected by Guinness World Records, because she was wearing scrubs and pants, and not a blue and white dress, apron, and a nurse's cap. After backlash, they backed down and accepted her record.

12. The Lakota language, spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux Native American tribes, is gendered. For ‘Dances With Wolves,’ Kevin Costner and many Native actors spoke the female-gendered language because the language tutor on set was a woman.

13. Certain random number generators use internal thermometers of a computer for input as the small fluctuations in CPU temperatures are extremely unpredictable.

14. Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, saved a baby's life whilst filming Carpool Karaoke. A hysterical woman approached the set screaming "My baby can’t breathe.” Kiedis calmly took the child and restored its breathing through CPR. He then resumed filming the show.

15. Linda Blair fractured her spine whilst filming The Exorcist (1973), later suffering from scoliosis. Linda was rigged to a mechanical bed that shook her so-violently; she broke her back. The shot was used in the final film and her screams of pain were real.

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16The Bachelor mansion

The Bachelor mansion

The mansion used on the ABC reality tv series, The Bachelor, is owned and lived in by a family. The family moves out and takes their furniture with them two times a year for 42 days of filming. This allows ABC to redecorate their house each season.

17. Giraffes have a blue tongue to protect them from sunburn because they graze on the tops of trees for up to 12 hours a day in the direct sunlight. Their tongue contains melanin, the same pigment responsible for tanning.

18. Profanities, vulgarities, and obscenities are all distinctly different from one another. Profanity relates to religious matters like blasphemy. Obscenity typically relates to sexual matters. Vulgarity is a coarse language.

19. In Argentina, the 29th day of each month is Gnocchi Day, with almost all families eating gnocchi. The tradition started because the 29th of the month was just before payday, so money was tight, and only potatoes and flour were left. For extra luck, everyone gets a peso under their plate.

20. Giving a shot of ketamine to heavy drinkers after reactivating their drinking-related memories led to a rapid decrease in urges to drink and a prolonged decrease in alcohol intake over nine months.

21Toby the Golden Retriever

Toby the Golden Retriever

A golden retriever named Toby saved his owner Debbie Parkhurst from choking to death on an apple slice by jumping on her chest until it dislodged. He also licked her face to keep her from passing out.

22. Charlie Cox actually received an award from the American Foundation for the Blind for his portrayal of blindness as Matt Murdock in the Daredevil series.

23. There are no legal ways to be buried in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen in Norway. In 1950, they discovered bodies of residents from the 1918 flu pandemic which had not begun to decompose in the cold. Scientists fear that the corpses, preserved in permafrost, could still contain live strains of the virus.

24. There is as much vitamins and nutrients in frozen vegetables as in fresh ones. This is due to the fact that they have been quickly frozen after picking to preserve their properties, unlike "fresh" ones that can stay for days in storage or display.

25. Michael Houghton, the co-discoverer of the hep-C virus declined the $100,000 Gairdner award in 2013 because they wouldn't include two other co-discoverers.

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