Random #307 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Venus Flytrap

The Venus flytrap naturally grows in very few areas in the Carolinas, so park rangers have to keep most of their grow sites a secret to keep them safe from poachers.


2. Cleopatra often used clever stagecraft to woo potential allies. For example, when she met Mark Antony, she arrived on a golden barge made up to look like the Goddess Aphrodite. Antony, who considered himself the embodiment of Dionysus, was instantly enchanted.


3. Men wearing wedding rings was not common until World War 2 when soldiers would wear a ring to remind them of their love back home. After World War 2, it became mainstream for men to wear a wedding ring.


4. Alexander Cumming was an inventor who became the first person to patent a flush toilet in 1775. Cumming included an s-trap in the design to prevent sewer gasses from entering the building through the toilet. Modern toilets still incorporate this design.


5. “Jazz” is statistically the hardest word to guess in hangman. It has to do with it being a short word, having only one vowel, and using “j” and “z,” letters that people rarely guess in hangman.


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6Fermilab

Fermilab used to clean its particle accelerators with a ferret named Felicia, who would run through the tubes with cleaning supplies attached and be rewarded with hamburger meat.


7. Queen Elizabeth once hid in a bush with her corgis to avoid talking to Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife.


8. Model Jennifer O'Neill was cast to star in Disney's, "The Black Hole" but was told she needed to cut her hair as it would be easier for scenes set in zero-g. She gave in, drinking wine during the haircut and leaving noticeably impaired. She lost the part after a serious car crash on the way home.


9. Naked Mole Rats speak in dialects unique to their colonies and will kill intruders with the wrong dialect.


10. Guy Fawkes was hung, gutted, and tortured for his plans. He was caught red-handed after an anonymous tip-off leading to his torture, which revealed co-conspirators. This was followed up by his execution and his body parts being paraded around London.


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11Vietnam Drafting

61% of U.S troops killed in Vietnam were younger than 21 years old, most of whom were drafted.


12. In 1933, in a publicity stunt for a Mae West movie named "It ain't no Sin", a Hollywood Press Agent bought 50 parrots and had taught them to squawk "It ain't no sin!" Then the movie changed titles and the parrots were subsequently released in South America, still repeating "it ain't no sin."


13. Cheating on exams or any other assignment at the University of Virginia is punished by expulsion. There is no lesser punishment.


14. Until 1956 after the end of British rule, Egypt hadn’t been both fully independent and ruled by native Egyptians for 2500 years.


15. Before the British left New York City after the Revolution, they nailed the Union Jack to a greased flagpole as a final act of defiance. One American managed to scale the pole with nails and cleats and replace the flag with the Stars and Stripes. Reenacting this feat then became a holiday celebration.


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16Snowmobile

Amazon Web Services offers a service called Snowmobile, where they will bring you a truck with 100 Petabytes worth of hard drives, copy your data, then drive it to its destination, bypassing the internet entirely. Transferring this much data over a 1Gbps line would take 20 years.


17. 63 years after its launch on March 17, 1958, Vanguard 1 is the oldest satellite still orbiting Earth. Weighing only 3.2 pounds and with a diameter of 6.5 inches, Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, derided it as "the grapefruit satellite."


18. During the Gulf War, U.S. troops dropped a 6,800 kg BLU-82 bomb as an act of psychological warfare against Iraqi troops. A British SAS unit that witnessed the explosion assumed that U.S.A. had used a nuclear weapon and radioed back to their headquarters, “Sir, the blokes have just nuked Kuwait!”


19. In June 2020, a team of researchers in Japan used a drone that shot pollen-dusted soap bubbles to pollinate a pear orchard; 95% of the flowers bore fruit, which was about the same success rate as hand-pollinating.


20. Michael Jackson suffered from severe insomnia and did not get any real sleep for 60 days prior to his death. Instead, his personal doctor had been putting him under general anesthesia every night.


21Gorillas Humming

Gorillas hum happy songs when they eat and if they are eating their favorite food, they sing even louder.


22. Mexico has a Ley Seca (no alcohol) tradition during elections to promote peace and order. They also hold elections on Sunday, allowing most voters to participate without worry of missing school or work.


23. BACA is a biker gang whose members will defend kids who have been abused or bullied, giving them their own vest, take them the school, and will even guard a house 24/7 to make sure the kids can sleep.


24. Sid Meier (of Sid Meier's Civilization and Sid Meier's Pirates!) began placing his name in the title of his games because of a suggestion made by Robin Williams in the 1980s.


25. The 1,500 Irish Defence Forces members that played the army in Braveheart were promised weekends off, but the shooting often ran over. One weekend, when Colonel McCorley ordered his men to march off the set, “Mel Gibson’s mouth dropped. He couldn’t say anything.”

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