Random #293 – 50 Interesting Random Facts You Should Know

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26JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien's dislike of Snow White led him to prohibit the Disney studio from ever producing his works.


27. In 1983, a Mexican pilot named Ruben Ocana crashed landed in a small town in Ireland and the whole town came together to build a temporary runway for him to take off again and continue his flight.


28. When you see CNN playing in airport terminals you're actually watching a special version of the channel CNN produces just for airports.


29. Witches are banned from flying above 150 meters in the landlocked African nation of Eswatini. Any witch caught flying their broomstick above the limit faces arrest and a hefty R500,000 fine according to the country’s civil aviation authority. There's no penalty for flying below 150 meters.


30. To clean out the sewer pipes that tended to block, the mayor of the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe instituted a synchronized flush. Residents who did not comply were fined.


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31Alfredo Di Stéfano

After most of Manchester United's starting line-up died in a plane crash in 1958, Real Madrid offered to loan out Alfredo Di Stéfano, the world's best player, to Manchester United. All the parties agreed, but England's FA blocked the loan, because "it would halt the progress of a British player."


32. Ninjas often carried with them crickets or cicadas to disguise their sound when they needed.


33. A week after American singer Jim Croce died at the age of 30 in a plane crash, his widow received a letter from him promising to stop performing, get a master's degree, and write short stories and movie scripts. It ended "it's the first sixty years that count and I've got 30 left."


34. ParkWest is a Detroit-based gallery that only sells art in international waters during cruises. They purport to sell original artworks at steep discounts but in reality, they get bidders drunk to buy reproductions for thousands more than they are worth. Cruise lines are in on the scam.


35. Judith Catchpole, a young maidservant in the colony of Maryland was tried in 1656 for witchcraft and killing her newborn child. The judge summoned an all-female jury, who determined that Judith did not kill her child - in fact, there were no signs that Judith had even been pregnant.


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36Leif Erikson

Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He is thought to have been the first known European to have set foot on continental North America, approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus.


37. There is an ancient monument in Ireland called Newgrange and every winter solstice its chamber is illuminated for 17 minutes by a beam of light which reveals the mysterious carvings within.


38. Project Gunman discovered primitive keylogging technology installed by the KGB into the IBM Selectric typewriters used in the US Embassy in Moscow, enabling the Soviets to steal US secrets for eight years.


39. A black nurse named Elina Powell who served during World War 2 was assigned to work at a POW camp, like most African-American nurses at the time. She fell in love with a German Prisoner Of War named Frederick Albert there. They married and had children despite it being illegal in both the U.S and Germany during this time period.


40. A garbage collector and punk archaeologist partnered to find the fabled pit where a struggling Atari dumped tons of unsold inventory after the video game crash of 1983. They knew the Atari trove was close when they began unearthing artifacts of the 80s, including a Donny and Marie Osmond poster.


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41Ultrasound mood change

Researchers discovered that applying a sonogram to a person's skull and stimulating specific brain regions can alter their mood. One researcher described applying it to his own head and later feeling like he had a martini. They hope to develop a sonogram-based device to treat mood disorders.


42. Bears at Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in Montana have jobs, i.e., trying to open coolers/dumpsters/containers of treats. If bears can't make more than a tiny hole, the item is certified bear-proof. The GWDC is the only place where products can earn a certificate from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.


43. During the Battle of the Wabash or St. Clair’s defeat, an American army of 1000 men was slaughtered by a Native American force of near equal strength in 1791. Only 28 men escaped unscathed with a casualty rate of 97%. It remains the largest defeat in American history.


44. During a chess tournament a grandmaster named Jan-Krzysztof Duda lost every single game he played against his opponents until the very last one. He won against world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, ending Magnus’ 2-year, 125-game winning streak.


45. In 2014, New York City had $16 million in unpaid parking tickets from foreign diplomats. The largest offender was Egypt, with about $1.9 million. Diplomatic immunity is the main reason that those tickets remained outstanding.


46Bats

Not only do bats make high-pitched sounds for echolocation, but many bat species also sing. A team of scientists that analyzed one species’ song translated it as a sequence that opens with a hello, then a gender identification, then some geographic information, and then a "let's talk" section.


47. There is a 1,700 year old Ethiopian counterpart of the Rosetta Stone called the Ezana Stone. The inscription commemorates Ethiopian military victories and their conversion to Christianity in their native language Ge’ez, as well as ancient Greek and South Arabian Sabaen.


48. On February 18, 1982, while wearing his future wife Sharon's dress for a photoshoot near the Alamo, Ozzy Osbourne drunkenly urinated on a cenotaph erected in honor of those who died at the famous battle in Texas. He was subsequently banned from the city of San Antonio for a decade.


49. Miniature horses are used as blind guides. They have a very wide range of vision, with a range of nearly 350 degrees. Horses are the only guide animals capable of independent eye movement and they can track potential danger with each eye. Horses can see clearly in almost total darkness.


50. Babylonians were using a rudimentary form of calculus to calculate Jupiter’s displacement each day along the ecliptic, the path that the sun appears to trace through the stars. Historians had thought such techniques did not emerge until more than 1400 years later, in 14th century Europe.

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