Random #289 – 50 Random Facts Very Few People Know

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1George Clooney

George Clooney

George Clooney purchased a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Max as a gift for his then-girlfriend, actress Kelly Preston. When their relationship ended, Clooney kept the pig for an additional 18 years until Max died in 2006. He has jokingly referred to Max as the longest relationship he had ever had.

2. The residents of the Spanish village Villar de Corneja near Avila, where the average age is 75, toast the New Year 12 hours before the rest of their countrymen in a collective decision to get to bed at a decent hour.

3. Instead of saying "once upon a time," Korean fantasies usually begin with "back when tigers used to smoke."

4. Some Inuit groups used to ridicule in the form of song duels as a means of conflict resolution. Two men who had failed to resolve a conflict by other means would secretly compose derisive songs about their adversary. The whole camp gathered in a large igloo to observe the song duel.

5. The white dashed lines on US highways are 10 feet long and the space in between them runs 30 feet long. Most people believe that they are only 2-4 feet long at most.

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6European bison

European bison

European bison herds move by majority rule. Each bison “votes” by facing the direction it wants to go and the herd goes in the direction chosen by the largest number.

7. There is no Wendy's in Europe due to a local Dutch snack bar owner owning Wendy's trademark in Europe. They have been in a legal battle for years and Dutch courts side with the snack bar every time.

8. When Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 1963, doctors predicted he had about 2 and a half years to live. Fortunately, the disease progressed much slower than the doctors expected, and Hawking lived up to 76 years before dying in March 14, 2018.

9. In Western dress codes, technically a black-tie event is still only 'semi-formal', as a full formal dress is 'white-tie', which for men requires a coat with tails.

10. The Earth's rotation and speed changes with the weather and geological events. This means atomic time and solar time may not be identical. Sometimes leap seconds are needed for an adjustment. On 31 Dec 2016, a leap second was added, and the time 23:59:60 existed.

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11Blue Planet II

Blue Planet II

When David Attenborough's series "Blue Planet II" aired in 2017, so many Chinese fans downloaded the programme on the country’s online Tencent Video channel that the internet in China temporarily slowed down.

12. In 1990, a man named Iben Browning predicted a massive earthquake would hit New Madrid, Missouri on December 3rd. The prediction sparked a panic. Schools in 5 states closed, and over 200 media outlets sent reporters to the area. Browning had no seismology expertise, and nothing happened.

13. Sue, the most complete T. Rex skeleton, was discovered by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson when she and her crew got a flat tire at the end of their field season. During repairs, Hendrickson found bones at a cliff face leading to the discovery of larger bones in the cliff's formation.

14. In 1974, drinkers in a British pub were bemoaning the fact that the UK didn't produce world champions, so they invented a sport that no one else knew about: toe wrestling. In 1976, a Canadian visitor competed and won, so with the point of the sport gone, the "World Championship" was discontinued.

15. The majority of MF Doom and Madlib's Madvillainy was recorded in an old bomb shelter in Mount Washington, Los Angeles.

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16Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton, known author of the "alphabet series" ('"A" Is for Alibi', '"B" Is for Burglar', etc) died months after the release of '"Y" is for Yesterday', leaving her one book shy of the complete series. 

17. When the Seinfeld finale originally aired on NBC, TV Land paid tribute by not programming any shows opposite it, instead showing an image of a closed office door with handwritten notes that said, "We're TV Fans so... we're watching the last episode of Seinfeld. Will return at 10 pm Eastern Time, 7 pm Pacific Time." 

18. 75% of mammoth fossils are male, because "male mammoths—young, reckless, foolhardy—were just more likely to get into some kind of trouble and die, from getting stuck in a pit to running afoul of hunting humans." The tar pits, bogs, crevices, and lakes preserved remains well.

19. Tibetan Monks spend weeks/months carefully "pouring" colored sand to make a very detailed and complex museum-worthy artwork that is known as the "Sand Mandala". Once complete, these intricate paintings are then ritualistically destroyed and that symbolizes the Buddhist belief of impermanence.

20. Ancient Egyptians had 12 months of exactly 30 days each, with five epagomenal days to bring the total to 365. Each month was divided into three 10-day periods known as decans or decades.

21Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton

Racing driver Duncan Hamilton was disqualified from Le Mans in 1953 due to a technicality. He went to a bar and got drunk, but was told he had been reinstated in the race shortly after. During the race, he drank brandy on pit stops, hit a bird at 130 mph that broke his nose, and then won.

22. In the Sellafield nuclear power plant, there is an industrial freezer packed with an expanding mountain of radioactive seagulls that were shot by snipers employed by the plant. The reason for the contamination is that there are open fuel storage ponds on site where occasionally, seagulls are caught bathing in them.

23. The Antikythera Shipwreck of the 1st Century B.C.E. was discovered by Greek sponge divers. It yielded artifacts which included art, jewelry, a statue of Herakles, coins, but most importantly the Antikythera Mechanism that consisted of interlocking gears that computed the movements of the sun, the moon, and eclipse dates.

24. 80's metal bands Twisted Sisters and Manowar were involved in a feud. In an interview, Manowar called Twisted Sisters a bunch of 'sissy boys with makeup'. Twisted Sister challenged them to a street fight at Covent Garden, but Manowar never showed up and later apologized for offending them.

25. In the 1790s, William Blount became the first federal officer in USA to be removed from office for conspiring to instigate an act of war in order to increase the value of his real estate holdings.

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