Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith didn’t play baseball until he was a junior in high school. He only tried out to win a $10 bet, and only started pitching after his team’s star pitcher was killed in a hunting accident. His first start was a no-hitter.
2. In the 1950s, the US airforce tried to design a cockpit to fit the average pilot's body. After measuring 4000 pilots they discovered that none of them came close to having an average body. This lead to the introduction of adjustable seats.
3. The plans for Winston Churchill's state funeral had to be revised several times because Churchill outlived several intended pallbearers.
4. In World War 1, Nobel prize-winning physicist Marie Curie developed mobile X-Ray stations to travel to the frontlines and assist army surgeons and preventing amputations when limbs were still intact. It's estimated that over a million wounded soldiers were x-rayed with her units.
5. Icelandic horses are not allowed to leave the country. If they do, they are banned from returning. Iceland being an island has limited diseases, and this is one of the measures they have in place to prevent importing disease.
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American Rapper DMX avoided a maximum jail term for tax fraud when his lawyer played his song "Slippin'" for the judge in order to show X's struggles and how bad his upbringing was.
7. People keep finding meticulously crafted hollow dodecahedrons throughout Europe dating back to the Roman Empire but historians have no idea what they are supposed to be used for as there is no historical record of them anywhere. Theories range from dice to knitting.
8. Prince Edward, the youngest son of Elizabeth II, was made Earl of Wessex on his wedding in 1999. He wanted that title, which hadn't existed for centuries, because he liked Colin Firth's character Lord Wessex in "Shakespeare in Love."
9. Catherine De Medici maintained 80 ladies-in-waiting, whom she allegedly used as tools to seduce courtiers for political ends. They were known as her "flying squadron". She also used them as a court attraction. In 1577, she threw a banquet at which the food was served by topless women.
10. Whales have inverted nipples and produce milk so fatty it has the same texture as toothpaste.
After the Library of Congress was burned by the British in 1814, Thomas Jefferson offered his immense personal library as replacement but some opposed its contents. Jefferson wished all subjects available and his scholarly collection soon helped transform a niche library into a national library.
12. Fido is a common name for a dog because of Abraham Lincoln's dog Fido. Fido was "assassinated" by a drunk with a knife a few months after Lincoln's assassination.
13. Teeth are only able to experience one sensation, which is pain. When you eat or drink something too hot or too cold, or a dentist operates on your teeth, you will only experience pain because that is the only thing the nerves around your teeth respond to.
14. In 1845, Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar ordered 50,000 of her subjects to go on a buffalo hunt. The hunt required building roads across jungles. The hunt lasted for 4 months, with around 10,000 people dying from exhaustion, starvation, and malarial disease. Not a single buffalo was killed by her hunting party.
15. In 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard hit 2 golf balls on the moon. He hit the first one into a crater, and claimed to have smashed the second one “miles and miles and miles”. However, recent research has shown that the first ball traveled 24 yards (22 meters), and the second ball only 40 yards (37 meters).
Michael Jackson is estimated to have donated over half a billion dollars over his lifetime, setting a record for any pop star.
17. Gerard Way, the lead singer of “My Chemical Romance” wrote the comic series “The Umbrella Academy.”
18. Although tomatoes are a staple of Italian cuisine, they originated in South America and were domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico where Hernan Cortes found them and sent them to Europe.
19. Spike Milligan, a member of the comedy team The Goons, joked after fellow member Harry Secombe sang at Peter Sellers' funeral, "I hope you die before me because I don't want you singing at my funeral." 22 years later, at Milligan's memorial, Secombe's son played a recording of his late father singing.
20. British royal family members must pack a black outfit with them when they travel in the event of a death in the family
There are around 800 European Bisons living in Białowieża Forest, one of the largest and last remaining parts of the primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain.
22. The B-52's song "Rock Lobster" inspired John Lennon to start making music again in 1980, because it reminded him of his wife Yoko's work.
23. The first pilot to spot incoming Japanese fighters at Pearl Harbor was a woman. Her name was Cornelia Fort and she was a civilian flight instructor. 2 years later, she was killed in a mid-air collision and became the first female pilot to be killed on active military duty.
24. Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, earned his Ph.D. in 2 weeks immediately after being forced to flee Hamburg for debunking the mayor's fake taxidermied 7-headed hydra.
25. In Tongan mythology, the God Tafakula defeated his enemy Gods by straddling an island. He then bent over, to show his anus, which shone brightly like the sun, scaring off the other Gods.