Random #280 – 50 Awesome Random Facts You Didn’t Know

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1Chung Ju-Yung

Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of Hyundai was born to an impoverished family of peasants in what is now North Korea. In 1998, he sent 1001 cows to his hometown in North Korea as a repayment 1000 times over for a cow that he stole in the early 1930s to afford his train ticket to Seoul and escape from poverty.


2. Ryan Reynolds paid $10,000 of his own money for the right to wear a shirt with The Golden Girl’s Bea Arthur on it in Deadpool. The estate agreed for a donation in that amount to a charity of their choosing. Ryan paid it himself because he felt you couldn’t have Deadpool without Bea Arthur.


3. Prairie dog language is complex. They don’t just have a call for “danger”: their calls differentiate human, hawk, a domesticated dog, coyote, etc. and specify size and color. One study found that they can communicate “Here comes the short human in the yellow” (vs the tall human in blue) to each other.


4. The AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas changes the gender signs on bathrooms based on the gender makeup of a crowd. This allows them to provide more female or male bathrooms depending on the event. It also prevents long lines for bathrooms.


5. The holes in honeycombs don't actually start out as hexagons. Bees create circular tubes staggered with one another. The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which connects the gaps between the holes. Then the wax hardens into the most energy-efficient shape, the hexagon.


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6Homegrown National Park

“Homegrown National Park” is an effort to encourage Americans to plant as many native plants as possible everywhere on their property to help bring back the continent’s biodiversity.


7. In Sierra Leone, before getting a driver's license, you have to buy a board game called "The Drivers' Way" and play it at least once. The game involves rolling stoplight-themed dice and moving models of classic cars around a board, together with answering questions about the country’s road laws.


8. Pumpkins evolved to be eaten by woolly mammoths and giant sloths. Pumpkins would likely be extinct today if ancient humans hadn't conserved them.


9. A British nurse named Edith Cavell helped treat soldiers regardless of their nationalities in World War 1. She also helped them escape from German-occupied Belgium. When caught, she refused to lie about her actions and was executed by firing squad.


10. The formal clothing of the Roman Citizen was the Toga. During Roman elections, those running for political office would rub their Toga with dazzling white chalk to stand out. Called Toga Candida (pure-white) this clothing was the origin of the word "candidate."


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11Buzz Aldrin

When Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, guest-starred in The Simpsons, writers were concerned he would be offended by his line, "second comes after first," and offered an alternative- "first to take a soil sample." However, Aldrin preferred the original line, and it remained in the script.


12. The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.


13. In 1900, a sealed cave was discovered in China's Gansu province containing 1,100 scrolls and 15,000 Buddhist texts. Believed to have been sealed around 1002, the last recorded date, the cave contained lost texts and the earliest dated printed book, a copy of the Diamond Sutra printed in 868.


14. In 1817, a woman posed as the fictional Princess Caraboo of Javasu. She fooled a small British town for months into believing she was a princess who had been captured by pirates, jumped overboard in the British Channel and swam ashore. She was later recognised as a cobbler's daughter from Devon.


15. The filmmakers for ‘The Blair Witch Project’ saved money by returning the video camera to Circuit City after they were done filming.


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16Bats

Not only do bats make high-pitched sounds for echolocation, many bat species also sing. A team of scientists that analyzed one species’ song translated it as a sequence that opens with a hello, then a gender identification, then some geographic information, & then a "let's talk" section.


17. Outlaw Country Superstar Waylon Jennings once earned $25,000 during contract negotiations when he quietly walked out of the room to pee because the record company thought he had walked out in frustration.


18. Confucius' family tree is the longest recorded extant pedigree in the world. There are 2 million registered modern descendants, with major branches in Korea (where his family was invited by the Goryeo dynasty in 1351) and Taiwan (where family members fled during the Chinese civil war).


19. Windsocks are calibrated to visually show wind speed as well as wind direction. They are designed such that each inflated red/white stripe indicates a 3-knot increase in wind speed to a maximum of 15 knots.


20. Japanese pro wrestler Rikidōzan often went to the bar immediately after his matches, without treating his wounds first. When patrons asked him why his face was bloodied, he'd reply "I had a tough day at work."


21Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of World War 2, suffered from battle fatigue for the rest of his life. He endured chronic insomnia and recurring nightmares and kept a loaded pistol under his pillow. He eventually took to sleeping alone in his garage with the lights on.


22. Baskin Robbins used to serve the Chocolate Oreo Milkshake that contained 2600 calories, 1700mg of sodium, 135g of fat, and 263g of sugar. Unsurprisingly, Men’s Health Magazine dubbed it the worst food in the U.S.


23. Southern live oak was a secret weapon of the USS Constitution, one of America's first naval vessels. It was nicknamed “Old Ironsides” after so many cannonballs bounced off her hull because live oak wood is a super dense wood.


24. The Inka never developed writing but instead had a system of tying knots called khipu in which the color, direction, and structure of the knots communicated different information. While most of it is numerical, fully cracking the code reveals a phonetic khipu alphabet with records of history.


25. Friedrich Kellner’s diary titled “My Opposition”, consists of 10 volumes, 861 pages, and 676 individually dated entries from September 1939 to May 1945. His diary offers a glimpse at what an average German citizen might’ve known of during the height of Nazi Germany’s power.

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