Random #288 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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Cymburga was a 15th Century Polish princess who became the female ancestor of all later Habsburgs. She was “renowned both for her beauty and for her ability to drive nails into oak planks with her bare fists.”

27. Lions don't eat hyenas after killing them. Some biologists believe that lions do not like the taste of hyena meat while some say it is because hyenas aren’t a nutritious diet for them.

28. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration derives from a Norse myth. Norse god, Balder's only weakness was the mistletoe plant. On learning this, Loki, the god of mischief carved arrows from the branches of plant which were used to kill Odin’s son.

29. The unit “carat” for the jewelry comes from the carob seed, which was used to measure their weight in ancient times. A carat, or 0.2g, is equivalent to the weight of a carob seed.

30. In 1323, the Mexica, founders of the Aztec Empire - asked the King of Culhuacan for his daughter. The Mexica sacrificed her, believing that would make the princess into a deity. During a festival dinner, a priest came out wearing her flayed skin. Upon seeing this, the King expelled the Mexica.

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31David Gluckman

David Gluckman

Baileys was invented in 1973 by a South African man, David Gluckman, working for a London marketing agency designing drinks for an Irish company. The name was inspired by a local restaurant, Baileys Bistro.

32. Since India has more than 400 million vegetarians, every packaged food or toothpaste in India must have a mark to distinguish whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The vegetarian symbol is a green square with a green dot in the center while the non-vegetarian is the same in red.

33. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer had a development plan he wanted to keep secret, so the architect jokingly labeled the block of land as "dinosaur park". After newspapers worldwide reported that they were planning to clone dinosaurs, 500 scientists applied to be involved in the process.

34. Sanada Masayuki, the head of the Sanada clan in the 16th century, sent his older son to join the Tokugawa army and his younger son to the opposing army at the Battle of Sekigahara, the turning point in feudal Japan, to ensure the survival of the clan, regardless of the outcome.

35. According to a University of Chicago study, while the joy of receiving gifts lessens over time, the psychological benefits of giving do not. Participants’ happiness hardly declined if they repeatedly bestowed gifts on others, versus repeatedly receiving those same gifts themselves.

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36Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

In 1992, a hurricane hit Hawaii where they were filming "Jurassic Park." Spielberg's crew had to be evacuated via helicopter; the pilot, Fred Sorenson, had previously met Spielberg while playing the pilot in the opening scene of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

37. Chuck E. Cheese Pizza was created by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell created the pizza and arcade restaurant to serve as a distribution network for his Atari games.

38. The Mayans had paper-based books (codices) that Spanish missionaries burned, causing "much affliction" among the surviving Maya. Only three codices survive today.

39. The famously isolated Sentinelese hunter-gatherer tribe appears not to know how to set fire. They rely on natural fire from thunderstorms and keep the embers burning as long as they can.

40. Fungi are evolutionarily more closely related to animals than to plants, and this was not recognized until a few decades ago.

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41European Starlings

European Starlings

European Starlings are an incredibly invasive species, introduced to the US by Eugene Schieffelin. Convinced the country needed every bird in Shakespeare’s works, he had approximately 100 starlings released in NYC in 1890. They are now one of the most abundant birds in North America, numbering at approximately 200 million.

42. Coca-Cola once ran a failed “Magican” campaign. They sold cans that contained spring-loaded tabs to dispense cash prizes. Prize cans contained a foul-smelling liquid instead of cola to prevent drinking. Though harmless, one child drank it and Coca-Cola ended the campaign 3 weeks later due to backlash.

43. In an attempt to trim out the listing Yamato, Japan's super battleship, the captain flooded the outer engine room, drowning three hundred men at their stations.

44. There is a Colombian species of Frog called Allobates Niputidea which in English translates to “Allobates Not a F*cking Clue.” This is because when discovered, the team had no idea how to classify it.

45. Many of the scenes in "Elf" were filmed at an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Vancouver. In the '50s, Riverview Hospital was home to more than 4,000 patients. The X Files, Supernatural, Saw, Deadpool 2, and many others have filmed scenes on the site.

46Sammy Sosa

Sammy Sosa

Baseball right fielder Sammy Sosa suffered from an extreme back spasm before a game in 2004 as the result of two violent sneezes. He had to sit the game out and receive an epidural to bring down the inflammation.

47. In the 1870s and 80’s a Polish ophthalmologist named L. L. Zamenhof created a language named Esperanto, aiming for it to be an easy to learn universal language. His goal was to promote world peace and a better worldwide understanding of each other.

48. The best-selling Christmas song of all time, White Christmas, was written by a Jew whose own Christmas tradition was visiting the grave of his son who died on Christmas day in 1928 at the age of three weeks old. That son was Irving Berlin, Jr.

49. On June 15th, 1944, the Captain of the USS Texas (BB-35) intentionally flooded the lower decks of the ship so that he could further extend the range of the ship's guns while firing onto the fortified German-held positions of Isigny and Carentan.

50. Some zoos take donations of Christmas trees to provide enrichment for their animals. Lions are particularly fond of them.

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