Random #298 – 50 Mind-boggling Random Facts

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26 Skywriting


Skywriting was invented by the Royal Air Force in World War 1 to send messages to troops on the ground. After the war, Pepsi built a fleet of skywriting biplanes.

27. In 400s B.C.E., Athens would herd citizens into a town hall assembly with red-stained ropes to get them to participate in the local democracy. There was a fine if they got any red die on their clothes.

28. During the height of the California gold rush, an egg would cost the equivalent of $25 in today’s money, coffee went for $100/pound, and a pair of boots would set you back more than $2,500.

29. The Pan-American Coffee Bureau coined the phrase ‘coffee break’ in 1952, and ran a $2 million advertising campaign with the message that a ‘coffee break’ would give workers ‘a needed moment of relaxation along with a caffeine jolt.’

30. The average body temperature of a “healthy” human has actually dropped from 98.6 degrees (in Fahrenheit) to 97.5 degrees over the past 150 years.

31 Richard Luthmann

Richard Luthmann

Attorney Richard Luthmann who is a Game of Thrones fan once asked a court for a trial by combat with sword and shield, arguing it had never been outlawed in the U.S. and that historically, people with debt collection disputes would settle them by beating them each other with a bat. The court was not persuaded.

32. Despite never going to Japan, Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker’s studies on Seaweed resulted in a massive growth in Japanese Nori, and a local festival was made in her honor.

33. There is an Australian fungus called “The Stonemaker Fungus” that only shows up right after a forest fire. They live underground in a stone-like mycelium and pop up through the ashes 2-10 days after the fire, sometimes as infrequent as every 100 years.

34. The Beatles filed preliminary legal papers against the Beastie Boys for their numerous Beatles samples on 1989’s Paul’s Boutique. Mike D of the group’s response was “What’s cooler than getting sued by the Beatles?” Over 105 tracks were sampled on the album, including 24 on the last song alone.

35. In 1942, some scientists theorized that detonating a nuclear bomb could produce such intense heat that it would cause a chain reaction that would set the atmosphere itself on fire, killing all life on Earth.

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36 Bison


The animals commonly referred to as “Buffalo” in North America are actually not Buffalo at all, they are Bison. True Buffalo look much more similar to long-horned cattle.

37. In addition to ending World War 1, the Treaty of Versailles also made it clear so that Bayer could no longer trademark “heroin.”

38. Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ wasn’t originally intended to be presented as a work of fiction. His editor rejected the manuscript believing it would cause widespread panic, given that Jack the ripper was active in London at the time. The version we read starts on page 102 of the original script.

39. Chris McCandless’s “Into the Wild” bus in Alaska was removed from Denali after tourists kept getting severely injured or dying while trying to visit it.

40. Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel died of tuberculosis at the age of 26 and did most of his major work in a span of about 7 years while living in poverty. The equivalent of the Nobel prize in the field of mathematics; the Abel Prize, is named after him.

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41 Qinling panda

Qinling panda

There is another kind of Panda that is brown and super rare. Qinling panda is a subspecies of the giant panda and only inhabits in Qinling Mountains of China.

42. During World War 2 soldiers would keep photos of their loved ones under clear grips on their pistols. These were known as ‘sweetheart grips’ and soldiers made these grips themselves using plexiglass salvaged from downed aircraft.

43. Gladiators in Ancient Rome formed trade unions called “collegia” that would often pay for the funerals of fallen gladiators and take care of their families.

44. When relocating adult koalas to populate new areas of bush, the incoming koalas are fed a poo smoothie of local koala poo so that they would be able to digest local leaves.

45. Poe’s Masque of the Red Death was inspired by a masquerade ball held in Paris during the height of a global cholera epidemic. Over 2000 attended, including a man dressed as the Personification of Cholera.

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

46 Mount Hekla

Mount Hekla

In 2000, a NASA plane accidentally flew over Mount Hekla, a.k.a., the Gateway to Hell in Iceland, resulting in the first-ever directly recorded plume measurements of sulfur dioxide and temperature readings taken from an actively erupting volcano.

47. Edward St. John was an Australian politician who threw away his political career in his maiden speech in 1967 when he took the opportunity to criticize his own party in order to restore the honor of a Naval Officer wrongly censured after a collision at sea.

48. During the persecution of English Catholics, Nicholas Owen built secret compartments called “priest holes” into Catholic houses to hide priests from being rounded up. 400 years later some may still be undiscovered since Owen was tortured to death for not giving up their locations.

49. The lifespan of the first generation of postal pilots was around 900 flight hours. The job was so dangerous that 35 of the first 40 pilots hired died in crashes, leading to the nickname ‘The Suicide Club.’

50. The animal that causes the most human deaths annually in the US is deer. Deer sometimes leap blindly into roadways causing tens of thousands of traffic accidents annually. These accidents cause an estimated 200 deaths every year. Runner-up: Bees, wasps and hornets with 58 deaths.

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  1. Leonard Nimoy came up with the Vulcan neck pinch not because he was tired of the fight scenes, but because he believed that the Vulcans would not engage in fisticuffs. It was not logical.



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