Random #292 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs never coded for Apple. According to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, he didn't do any original design and one of Apple's earliest employees also stated that Wozniak was the inventor while Jobs was the marketing person.


2. Susan Travers was the only woman ever to serve in the French Foreign Legion. She waited until she was 91 to write her autobiography so that everyone mentioned was already died.


3. People who quit smoking before the age of 40 may live as long as people who never smoked at all. Researchers found a smoker loses roughly 10 years of life to the habit but regained most of that time if they quit before 40. The benefit is increased the sooner before 40 you quit.


4. Actor Simon Pegg once revealed the idea of writing a sequel to ‘Shaun of the Dead’ with the title ‘From Dusk Till Shaun.’ The 2018 ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ movie paid homage to this fact by having a ‘From Dusk Till Shaun’ movie poster in the background, suggesting it exists in a parallel universe.


5. Due to popular crime TV shows exaggerating the capabilities and techniques of forensic science in criminal investigations, many jurors have begun to demand a greater amount of evidence from the prosecution during trials, raising the standard of proof needed for a conviction.


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6Practice babies

In the early to mid-1900s, orphaned babies were lent out to college home economics programs where they were taken care of entirely by groups of students in order to learn child-rearing skills. These babies were known as practice babies.


7. Pope John Paul II liked Yoo-hoo. During his visit to Denver, Colorado, he requested a couple of cases be brought back with him. Because popes don't give commercial endorsements, the Vatican was forced to release a statement denying the pope had a preference for American chocolate milk drinks.


8. When France increased the price of cigarettes by 66% over an eight-year period, the smoking rate among French executives and professionals declined. However, the smoking rate among manual laborers remained about the same and among the unemployed, it increased.


9. When Dwayne Johnson was 15 years old, his family was going through a rough period. After losing their apartment, his mother Ata Johnson, stopped their car on a Nashville highway and tried to walk into oncoming traffic. Dwayne grabbed her and pulled her back, saving her life.


10. Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union, was an avid fisherman in his retirement. When President Eisenhower, who considered him the most instrumental Allied leader in Hitler’s defeat, learned of this, he sent a set of fishing tackle. Zhukov used it exclusively, for the rest of his life.


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11Ron Hubbard

Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard was placed in command of a Navy Ship during World War 2. He wound up being engaged in combat with absolutely nothing for 68 hours and accidentally conducted live-fire exercises on a Mexican Island, which led to him being fired.


12. Robert Frost couldn't read the poem he wrote for John F. Kennedy's inauguration due to the glare on the snow being too strong. So, he instead recited one he knew from memory.


13. There was a special GM program that allowed astronauts to lease up to two Chevys per year for $1 each. Six of the seven original Mercury astronauts took full advantage of the program by leasing both a family wagon and a Corvette.


14. Buffets are called "Vikings" in Japan. This is because a Japanese restaurant manager went to Sweden and liked smörgåsbords so much he copied the idea at his restaurant. This Swedish word was too hard to pronounce in Japanese, so the word "Vikings" was used instead after an employee suggested it.


15. Danny Devito often asks for a trampoline in his dressing room and uses it as part of his warm-up routine.


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16Alexander of Greece

King Alexander of Greece died after being bitten by a monkey that had attacked his German shepherd. This significantly impacted Balkan history and Winston Churchill later wrote, "it is perhaps no exaggeration to remark that a quarter of a million persons died of this monkey's bite."


17. "TMZ" stands for the Thirty Mile Zone around Los Angeles within which film crews don't get paid overnight expenses.


18. Mark Hamill auditioned for the role of Mozart in the movie adaptation of 'Amadeus' after playing the role on Broadway, but was rejected after a studio executive said, "I don't want Luke Skywalker in this film." 


19. Japanese Honeybees have adapted to kill Murder Hornets by vibrating together in a ball around the hornet and using their combined body heat to cook it alive.


20. In 1991, news magazine 60 Minutes suggested red wine was the answer to the "French Paradox" (France enjoys a low incidence of heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fats). Within a year, American consumption of wine increased 40% and some wine sellers began promoting their products as "health food". 


21Keith Richards

In 1978, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was convicted of heroin possession in Canada where he was ordered by the judge to play a benefit concert at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.


22. A man in Atlanta confounded doctors and specialists for over a year with a condition that did not respond to any therapies. After he mentioned that he played clarinet in a Dixieland jazz band, researchers examined his instrument and discovered Exophiala fungus inside his mouthpiece.


23. When the FBI went undercover to expose the McDonald's Monopoly promotion scam that occurred between 1989-2001 they posed as a production company that interviewed supposed winners for TV commercials and named it Shamrock Productions with the byline “‘Cause you’re just lucky” printed on their van.


24. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to be accepted at a medical school in the US because the students thought her application was a prank from a rival school and voted to let her attend.


25. Some roads in Australia are so long that the Australian government counteracts the risk of fatigue in these ‘Fatigue Zones’ by playing little trivia games on the side of the road.

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