Random #297 – 50 Little Known Random Facts

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1African grey parrots

In an experiment, researchers taught African grey parrots to buy food using tokens. When they were paired up, one parrot gave ten tokens and the other none. Without any incentive for sharing, parrots with tokens started to give some to their broke partners so that everyone could eat.


2. Tim Curry, a life-long Scooby-Doo fan was offered the villain role in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie, but he turned it down after learning the film would include Scrappy-Doo, a character he disliked.


3. With 5 million vending machines nationwide (that's 1 vending machine for every 23 people) and natural disasters commonplace, Japan has specialized vending machines that have a backup battery and dispense free drinks and food in the event of a major emergency.


4. Shakuntala Devi from India, also known as the human-computer, gave the 23rd root of a 201 digit number in 50 seconds. The answer was verified at the US Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.


5. John Krasinski wore a wig in season 3 of The Office so he could film Leatherheads. He pitched the idea to the producer who rejected it because it would be too obvious. John, who was wearing the wig during the meeting, told him it wouldn't be, took off the wig, and was granted approval.


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6Hershey Ice Cream Company

The Hershey’s Ice Cream Company is a completely separate entity from the Hershey Chocolate Company, despite both being founded in Lancaster County in the same year by unrelated men named Hershey.


7. Star Trek: The Next Generation was to include dolphins and whales as crewmembers but the idea proved too expensive to film and was stopped except for mentions of Cetacean Operations.


8. The Black Death was responsible for the beginning of the end of European Feudalism/Manoralism. As there were fewer workers, their lords were forced to pay higher wages. With higher wages, there were fewer restrictions on travel. Eventually, this would lead to a trade class/middle class.


9. Alexander Fleming’s mold could not produce penicillin fast enough for mass production. It wasn’t until 15 years later that his lab worker ‘Mouldy’ Mary Hunt tested a moldy cantaloupe in a grocery store and discovered the strain that is used to produce all penicillin today.


10. In 1991, it was discovered that human heart has its own “little brain” or “intrinsic cardiac nervous system.” This “heart brain” is composed of approximately 40,000 neurons that are alike neurons in the brain, meaning that the heart has its own nervous system.


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11Motts Tonelli

Motts Tonelli was a Notre Dame fullback who ran in the winning touchdown against University of Sothern California in 1937. About five years later in 1942, he had his class ring confiscated during the Bataan Death March. A Japanese officer returned his ring, telling Tonelli that he was US-educated and recognized him from his time at USC.


12. Late wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow once saved three children from a burning house and 40% of his skin was left with second-degree burns forcing him to retire and being hospitalized for two months. Bam Bam said he had “no regrets” of his act of courage, as long as all three kids were safe.


13. In 882 A.D., Louis III of France mounted his horse in pursuit of a girl who was running to seek refuge in her father’s house. He then rode through a low door, hit his head on the lintel and fractured his skull. He died childless. He is one of two French kings to die from hitting a door lintel.


14. Lenny Kravitz was named after his uncle Leonard Kravitz, who died saving the lives of other Korean War soldiers in 1951. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2012 after Congress reviewed Jewish (and Hispanic) recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross who were denied the higher honor.


15. In 2014, the Indian government employed 40 people to impersonate monkeys, to scare off real monkeys causing havoc around the parliament in Delhi. The men made screeching noises similar to those of black-faced langur monkeys, imitating their whoops and barks, to frighten red-faced macaque monkeys.


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16Marv and Harry

A doctor reviewed the injuries sustained by Marv and Harry in Home Alone 1 and 2, and concluded that 23 of the injuries would have resulted in death.


17. In 1963, Robert Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper, presented it to Ford Motor Co., and was hired. Ford fired him and took his technology. He sued Ford for patent infringement and after 12 years of litigation, at times without a lawyer, the court awarded Kearns $10.3 million.


18. David Bowie lured unknown Stevie Ray Vaughn to play on his 1983 album “Let’s Dance” by dangling an opening act on tour. However, after recording, Vaughn was relegated to a backup musician and wouldn’t be allowed to talk about his music. So, he quit, released “Texas Flood”, and became a superstar instead.


19. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam smokes so much pot that he had a fireman’s pole installed in his home just so that he could get to his studio faster to avoid forgetting ideas for songs/lyrics he creates.


20. Berkshire Hathaway was a failing textile business. The chairman at the time offered to buy Warren Buffet's stake but changed his offer last minute. Angered, Buffet bought more, taking control of the company and firing the chairman.


21Thirteen Colonies

The Thirteen Colonies were used as a penal colony for English criminals between the 1600s to 1776. Historians estimate between 50,000 to 120,000 criminals were transferred. After America's independence the Brits tried to substitute America with Ghana and Senegal, ultimately deciding on Australia.


22. By the age of 18, 3rd century Roman emperor Elagabalus had been a high priest, consul, married four times, Roman emperor for four years, and the victim of an assassination devised by his grandmother.


23. B92 is a dissident radio station in Serbia that played Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” on repeat when they were banned from broadcasting news. The song became an anti-Milošević anthem in 1991.


24. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once had a cameo on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” As a huge soap opera fan in 1981, Gretzky made a cameo on the daytime show as a mafia boss. His one line was, “I’m Wayne from the Edmonton operation.”


25. Research shows that viewing online cat media (i.e. pictures and videos) is related to positive emotions. It may even work as a form of digital therapy or stress relief for some users. Some feelings of guilt from postponing tasks can also be reduced by viewing cat content.

2 COMMENTS

  1. 29. There are more than 1,300 stone rings across the British Islands and Stonehenge is only the most famous of them.
    WRONG!
    Aubrey Burl’s gazetteer lists 1,303 stone circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany. The largest number of these are found in Scotland, with 508 sites recorded. There are 316 in England; 187 in Ireland; 156 in Northern Ireland; 81 in Wales; 49 in Brittany; and 6 in the Channel Isles.

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