Random #297 – 50 Little Known Random Facts

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26Graham Hill

Graham Hill did not pass his driving test till the age of 24 and joined professional racing just a year later. He is the only driver to achieve the Triple Crown of Motorsport, an achievement defined as winning the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix.


27. When filming “The Lost Patrol” in Arizona, the cast only worked in the early morning and late afternoon, to avoid the intense day heat. The producer wanted longer filming hours, and to prove his point, walked around in the open at midday. He soon collapsed from the heat, requiring hospital treatment.


28. Honeybees used in almond groves often die of pesticides, lack of biodiversity, arousal from dormancy early. To mitigate, growers split hives, put mail-order queens in new hives and feed bees fake pollen. The “Bee Better” program puts diverse flora in almond groves as natural pest control/bee food.


29. There are more than 1,300 stone rings across the British Islands and Stonehenge is only the most famous of them.


30. After the film Gremlins came out, Entertainment Tonight critic Leonard Maltin gave it a negative review. The director was hurt by the initial review but later invited Maltin to film a cameo in the sequel, Gremlines 2. In it Maltin is attacked by the gremlins for his bad review.


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31Packhorse librarians

Packhorse librarians that serviced the Appalachian communities (e.g., rural Kentucky) in the mid-1930s to early 1940s were mostly women who rode on horses or mules to deliver library books to remote communities during the Great Depression.


32. There was a book about a famous train leaving King’s Cross Station on a magical adventure, written in 1937 by Doris Crockford (the same name as a witch Harry Potter meets in the first book).


33. Before synthetic plastics were invented, a substance called Hemacite was widely used to make everything from roller skate wheels to doorknobs. Its ingredients were blood and sawdust.


34. Lover’s eye jewelry was popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Stylish aristocratic Englishmen and women often wore miniature portraits depicting their spouse or lover. Because the tiny watercolors revealed only the eye, the subject’s identity was kept secret.


35. Vodka doesn't have to come from potatoes. It can be made from anything which will ferment, even grass, salmon or old newspapers. Vodka just needs to be a clear spirit distilled to 190 proof.


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36Grizzly Adams

Grizzly Adams died from complications from getting bit in the brain by a monkey. A previous injury from a bear left him with a portion of his brain exposed which was subsequently bitten by a monkey, resulting in an infection from which he later died.


37. FBI's nationwide manhunt to capture depression-era gangster John Dillinger after he broke out of jail cost them about $2 million at the time. The total amount of money his gang looted was around $500,000.


38. Pollen-deprived bumblebees tend to bite plant leaves more often than when pollen is plentiful. The bumblebee bites stimulate early flowering. Scientists compared bumble bee-bitten plants and unbitten plants. Bitten plants bloomed in 17 days and the unbitten took an average of 33 days to bloom.


39. Hummingbird nests are the smallest in the world. Most species of hummingbirds weave spider silk into the nest for structural support and to make it more elastic to accommodate the offspring as they grow. Often lichen will be attached to the outside of the nest for camouflage.


40. Paul McCartney wrote the song, “She’s Leaving Home”, after reading a story on the front page of the Daily Mail about a girl who ran away from her parents. The girl, Melanie Coe, coincidentally met McCartney when he chose her as the prize winner in a dancing contest three years earlier.


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41Highlander

One of the special effects in Highlander (1985) was achieved by strapping car batteries to the actors’ legs and wiring them up so they had spark when a sword struck. Production would pause while filming these scenes after three takes because the sword handles would get too hot.


42. In 1918, American socialist Eugene Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison for criticizing the government participation in World War 1. While in prison, he ran for president in the 1920 presidential election and managed to get 3.4% in the popular vote.


43. Lizards in areas hit by hurricanes have evolved grippier, bigger toe pads in order to hang on against high winds, even within one generation. Researchers studied 188 anole lizard species in 70 years of hurricane data. In areas spared by hurricanes, lizard toe pads were smaller.


44. In 1996, Russia launched a Mars Rover called "Mars96". It crashed back to earth after 2 days, containing plutonium-238 fuel which would have survived the impact. Nobody ever bothered to look for it, and it's believed to just be lying around the Andes mountains.


45. Judith Viorst (author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) wrote a poem about her parent's deaths when she was 7-year-old. Both her parents were still alive at the time and were not amused.


46Bono

The rest of U2 were furious at Bono for spending too much time interacting with the crowd during their 1985 Live Aid set, forcing them to cut their hit "Pride (In the Name of Love)". To their surprise, that moment was considered the highpoint of the entire event, and it made them global stars.


47. New Mexico was the original Sunshine State, unofficially using the slogan prior to statehood in 1912 and eventually adding it to their state license plates in 1932. However, they never made anything official, and Florida managed to adopt an official resolution and steal the slogan in 1970.


48. "It's a Small World" song, which is frequently played at its headline attraction at Disney theme parks, is the only Disney song not copyrighted due to the request by UNICEF. The song was played at the 1964 NYC World's Fair as a salute to UNICEF and is seen as a gift to children around the world.


49. An 18-year-old French forger named Adolfo Kaminsky faked IDs for Jews during World War 2. He once worked for 3 days straight to make papers for 300 children until he passed out. He kept his work a secret. His own daughter only learned the details while writing a book about him.


50. The "New England Vampire Panic" was an event in the 19th century where people thought that "consumption"(Tuberculosis) was actually the result of vampires. It got to the point where people would dig up those who died of Tuberculosis and stake them through the heart.

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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