Random #284 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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26Snow globes

Snow globes

Snow globes were accidentally invented by a medical tool repairman. He was trying to make a brighter light bulb for operating rooms, so he tried using a water-filled glass with reflective particles to do this. The effect looked like snow to him which is how he got the idea for snow globes.

27. Dolphins sometimes play with Orcas, even though some Orcas eat Dolphins. Researchers believe this is because Orcas that eat red meat tend to avoid Orcas that only eat fish, so if they stay near the fish-eaters, they won't encounter the mammal-eaters.

28. Abraham Zapruder, the man who filmed Kennedy's assassination, was originally not even going to bring his camera because it had been raining that morning. Later, his assistant insisted he retrieves it from home before going to Dealey Plaza because the weather had cleared.

29. In 1944, three American B-29 bombers on missions over Japan were forced to land in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, who did not have a similar strategic bomber, decided to copy the B-29. Within three years, they had developed the Tupolev Tu-4, a nearly-perfect copy.

30. From 1777 to 1870, Vermont had a fourth branch of government called the Council of Censors. It consisted of 13 members, elected every 7 years, who had to check if "the legislative and executive branches have performed their duty as guardians of the people." They could also amend the constitution.

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31King George III

King George III

During the Christmas of 1819, King George III - who by then was completely blind, increasingly deaf, had dementia, was in pain from rheumatism and suffering from another bout of insanity - spoke nonsense for 58 hours.

32. An anonymous poster discovered a partial solution to a mathematical problem that hadn't been solved in over 25 years because they were trying to figure out the shortest way to watch every possible order of the first season of the anime "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya."

33. The reason Yukon Cornelius keeps licking his ax in the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" special is because he's looking for peppermint. The scene explaining that was deleted.

34. Greg Burson, who voiced Bugs Bunny following the death of Mel Blanc, ended his career after he barricaded himself in his home and held a woman hostage. According to an officer he was so drunk they couldn't tell if he was trying to do one of his voices or just slurring his words.

35. In 1941, a little girl who was selling lemonade at her lemonade stand caused a polio outbreak. The health department found that she hadn't cleaned the cups customers used. She ended up getting polio along with her friends.

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36Benson rafts

Benson rafts

Benson rafts were huge rafts (up to 1000 feet long) that were made up of thousands of logs lashed together. These rafts were floated across 1100 miles of open ocean from the mouth of the Columbia River to San Diego as a cheaper alternative to sending the logs by rail.

37. In the 1960s, Paul Klipsch was found in his office, stripped down to his skivvies with the thermostat set too high. He was trying to determine why early calculators would quit when operated at high temperatures. He later sent a letter to the manufacturer, explaining the source of the problem.

38. The Latin phrase "annus horribilis" is used by world leaders to call the worst year in living memory. For Queen Elizabeth, it was 1992, the year when Windsor Castle caught fire, and Princess Diana and Prince Charles' marital problems became increasingly public.

39. The Joker character in Batman myth was based on a character in 'The Man Who Laughs', a 1928 movie about a man who is disfigured with a permanent grin. The movie is based on Victor Hugo's 1869 novel of the same name, meaning that the Joker's origins are 150 years old.

40. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s story idea was initially rejected, as in the 1930s red noses were associated with alcoholism and drunkards. The author asked an illustrator friend to draw “cute reindeer,” and these drawings convinced management to support the idea.

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41Viking women

Viking women

Women in the Viking Age could own property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.

42. After the 1980 Irpinia Earthquake hit Southern Italy, the corruption was so bad that only 1/4 of the 40 billion dollar rebuilding fund got spent on relief. The rest got distributed among politicians and the mafia.

43. There was an attempted plane bombing in 1985 where the bomb went off an hour early, while still in the airport. The perpetrators did not realize that Japan does not observe daylight saving time, so the bomb went off before it made it onboard.

44. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent not 1, not 5, but 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface, after a rest period that included seven hours of sleep.

45. An American Bullfrog named Rosie the Ribiter holds the record for longest frog jump with a leap of 21 feet and 5 inches, which was set in 1986. The prize for anybody to beat the record stands at $5000.

46Illusion of Control

Illusion of Control

Humans often experience ‘illusions of control’ over events we cannot actually change. While psychologists in the past thought this meant we evolved to be deluded, some neuroscientists now think these false beliefs are our brain’s rational response to an uncertain and unpredictable world.

47. A rumor spread suggesting child actor Shirley Temple wore a wig. This led to fans on multiple occasions yanking at her hair to test the rumor. Temple's hair was in fact natural and she had to endure a nightly process in the setting of her curls, with weekly vinegar rinses that burned her eyes.

48. Former Spanish national team goalkeeper Iker Casillas was given money by his dad for lottery tickets every week but he used to spend it on himself. One day 14, his dad’s numbers came up and he lost his dad 1.1 million euros.

49. The Christian “Bob Jones University” didn’t allow blacks to attend until 1971. From ‘71 to ‘76 the only blacks that were allowed were married couples. In ‘82 they lost a Supreme Court case and had to pay back taxes from ‘71. Interracial dating wasn’t allowed at the university until 2000.

50. Around the Pittsburgh and Cleveland areas during the depression, pork and veal offcuts were cheaper than chicken, leading to "city chicken" a breaded stick of pork and veal that was fried up like a chicken.

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