Random #281 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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26Platypuses

The San Diego Zoo is the only zoo outside of Australia to have Platypuses. When they were sent from Australia, in 2019, it was the first time in 50 years that Platypuses had been cared for outside of Australia.


27. Plants make up 82% of the total biomass of Earth. Of all the mammals on Earth, 96% are livestock and humans, only 4% are wild mammals. Of all the birds on Earth, 70% are chicken and poultry, 30% are wild birds. The total biomass of the human race accounts for just 0.01% of all life on Earth.


28. When Argentine film actress Eva Peron died at the age of 33, her body was embalmed and put on display. After a military coup, it was lost for 16 years until it was found in Italy and returned to her husband who kept it in his dining room. Upon his death, both corpses were displayed together briefly before finally being buried.


29. The cowardly lion costume in the Wizard of Oz was made of real lion fur, skin, and human hair. It recently sold at an auction for $3 million.


30. John Carpenter's "The Thing" was the first movie in a Trilogy by Carpenter named "The Apocalypse Trilogy" all set in the same universe beginning with 'The Thing', followed by 'Prince of Darkness' and ending with 'In the Mouth of Madness.'


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31Starboard

The use of the term "starboard" to denote the right side of a ship is so-called because they were originally navigated with a steering oar on that side. “stéor bord” in Old English literally means “steering side”. When tying up, the dock always had to be positioned on the left, hence “port.”


32. Horses evolved in the great plains of North America. They migrated across the Bering land bridge to Asia, and all remaining horses died out in America. When the Spanish brought horses with them in the 16th century, they were returning them to their native ranges.


33. From November 1969 to June 1971, a Native American group occupied and held Alcatraz Island, claiming that, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie between the U.S. and the Lakota tribe, all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal land was returned to the Indians who once occupied it.


34. The common cold leads to almost $10 billion in doctor's visits and drugs per year. It is also responsible for almost 315 million sick days from school and work, costing over $20 billion and accounting for 40% of time lost from work.


35. A moment was a medieval unit of time. The movement of a shadow on a sundial covered 40 moments in a solar hour, a twelfth of the period between sunrise and sun. Although the length of a moment in modern seconds was therefore not fixed, on average, a moment corresponded to 90 seconds.


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36Hengdian Studios

The world's largest film studio is Hengdian Studios, in China. It is basically a city of permanent full-scale replicas of palaces, fortresses, and towns from various periods of China's history. Whole populations of nearby towns are often employed to be extras for period dramas and fantasy movies.


37. Jimmy Carter had a cat during his presidency named Misty Malarky Ying Yang.


38. Trading onion options is illegal. In the 1950s, two traders in Chicago cornered the market by crashing the price of a 50lb bag of onions to lower than the cost of the bag that carried them, leading to a shortage of onions in the U.S.


39. Two weeks after the 1972 democratic convention, vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton had to withdraw from the race because of a media campaign targeting his rumored history of depression and shock therapy. 77% of voters polled at the time, said that his medical record would not affect their vote.


40. In one Simpsons episode, Homer Simpson coats his mouth in hot wax in order to eat hot peppers. Fox censors sent a note to writers, asking that he scream in pain to stop kids watching from copying him. No scream was added; instead, dialogue from Ralph Wiggum questioning Homer on his action was used.


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41Siege of Boston

During the American Revolution at the Siege of Boston as winter approached the Americans were so short on gunpowder that soldiers were given spears to fight with, in the event of a British attack.


42. Following his resignation as U.S. President in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon forged a successful post-presidency as an author and elder statesman, meeting many foreign leaders such as Gorbachev. In 1986 he was ranked by Gallup as one of the ten most admired men in the world.


43. Caribbean sperm whales have a distinct culture. They are known to interact only with other whales with their own unique dialects and 'accents' which are variations of clicks unique to that area.


44. Nancy Dupree, an American-born woman who became known as the 'grandmother of Afghanistan.' Moving there in 1962 as a diplomat's wife, she spent the rest of her life in and around the country, collecting and saving documents and eventually founding a new library of Afghan history.


45. Sally was the canine mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. She accompanied the regiment through nearly the entire war until being mortally wounded in February 1865.


46Donkeys

On the French island of Ile de ré, the donkeys wear trousers. Because the marshes were thick with mosquitoes and other bugs, locals sewed pants to keep insects off the donkey's legs.


47. When George Foreman won the heavyweight championship at the age of 45 against Michael Moorer, he wore the same trunks he wore when he lost the title to Muhammad Ali 20 years prior.


48. Microsoft Excel can reach down to 1,048,576 rows. A YouTuber spent over 9 hours holding down the down key.


49. There is a bird called the Cream Coloured Woodpecker, also known as the Pikachu Bird. Males have the same coloration as Pikachu including the red cheeks. These birds are found in South America.


50. During the 1832 presidential election, Former American senator Henry Clay won Maryland by just 4 votes or 0.01%. This record for the smallest margin of victory was only beaten by Florida in 2000.

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