Random #309 – 50 Surprising Random Facts

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26All Persons Fictitious

All Persons Fictitious

The “All persons fictitious” disclaimer that appears in the end credits of films and TV shows is the result of a libel case brought against MGM that had produced a film suggesting that a Russian princess had been seduced by Rasputin.

27. Stephen Hawking used a single cheek muscle to communicate. A sensor attached to his glasses detected these movements which in turn moved a cursor on a screen that utilized predictive text. Much of this text was personalized to Hawking and was based on phrases he had previously used.

28. In the 1990s, a group of Mazda engineers created a suitcase “car” from a large Samsonite suitcase and a pocket bike. The suitcase car took just a minute to assemble and had a top speed of 30 km/h (18.46 mph).

29. Harry S. Truman was among the poorest U.S. presidents, with a net worth much less than $1 million. His financial situation contributed to the doubling of the presidential salary to $100,000 in 1949. In addition, the presidential pension was created in 1958 when Truman was again having financial hardship.

30. In May 1942, a South African Air Force squadron got lost and landed in the Libyan Desert. They broke compasses to drink the alcohol but one man shot himself from stomach pain. They sprayed themselves with fire extinguishers but this made their skin erupt in blisters. There was only one survivor.

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31Dog Braces

Dog Braces

Dogs can wear braces on their teeth. When a 6-month-old Golden Retriever named Wesley wasn’t able to fully close his mouth and chew well, he was fitted with braces by, Dr. James Moore AKA “The Doggie Dentist.” As with people, dental problems for dogs can lead to other, more serious health issues.

32. Old fire houses had towers constructed to hang the fire hoses up to dry. Canvas hoses had to be dried thoroughly to avoid deterioration.

33. In 1957, a Douglas DC-3 ran out of fuel while flying over Missouri. All onboard bailed out, only to discover later that the plane had gone on to land itself perfectly in a cornfield.

34. A woman named Katherine Rawls dominated women’s swimming in America during the 1930s, winning 33 national titles. During World War II she switched to flying as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). “Katy” ferried B-25 and B-26 bombers across America, as well as P-51 and P-63 fighters.

35. Diggerland USA is an amusement park that has multiple locations around the world and offers not only standard amusement park fare like rides and food, it also allows young people to actually operate heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators, and more.

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36Army Cake Cutting

Army Cake Cutting

The US Army has historical protocols associated with using a sword to cut the cake. Traditionally, the oldest and youngest soldiers are chosen to cut the cake in some ceremonies as a way of linking the past with the future. Swords dating from the Revolutionary War are often used at such events.

37. Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou was the first African-American female to operate a streetcar trolley in San Francisco and she got her license to do so at age 16.

38. In the 1900s, the Austerlitz family in Omaha, Lutheran German emigrants, moved to New York City in hopes of finding fortune through their children's vaudeville talents. The son wore a top hat and studied tango, waltz, and other ballroom dances. He would become Fred Astaire.

39. Baseball great Dizzy Dean boasted he could strike out Vince DiMaggio four times in a game. After three strikeouts, DiMaggio hit a pop foul ball. Dizzy yelled to his catcher to drop it so he could win his boast. He then got the fourth strikeout.

40. Though Finland was allied with Germany during World War 2, they refused to expel their native (and immigrant) Jewish population, with those serving in the army taking particular delight in speaking Hebrew around the SS and Wehrmacht in Finland.

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41Oldest Football Club

Oldest Football Club

The oldest documented club dedicated to football in the world was the Foot-Ball Club of Edinburgh (1824- 1841), and surviving records describe a match involving 39 players and “such kicking of shins.”

42. Steak Tartare gets its name from a 13th-century myth that Mongols (called Tartars at the time) would ride with meat under their saddles to tenderize it and then eat it raw. The story was false and the chronicler who popularized it had never even encountered Mongols himself.

43. In times of desperation, Mongol armies would slit a minor vein in their horse's neck and drain some blood into a cup. This they would drink either “plain” or mixed with milk or water. This habit of blood-drinking (which applied to camels as well as horses) shocked the Mongols’ enemies.

44. Authors J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) and CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) were close friends and in their early writing days were often each other’s first readers.

45. WWII British Cromwell tank was so overpowered performance-wise that later models had to be governed to a maximum speed of 32 mph in order to prevent damage. This was still fast enough for one group of Cromwells to reportedly jump over a 20-foot canal when surprised by enemy forces.



The banana plant is a herb, distantly related to ginger. There are more than 1,000 types of bananas in the world.

47. A tanner named John J. Loud desired a pen that could write on leather. He ended up inventing the first ballpoint pen and patented it in 1888. This pen had a small steel ball which was placed such that it would not fall out nor fall in but still could rotate freely. Loud’s invention was not commercially viable then.

48. Early in his career, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix played briefly in rock pioneer Little Richard’s touring band under the name “Maurice James.” Hendrix was soon fired for flirting too much, constantly being late, and upstaging the main act.

49. Up until 2018, colored eggs were considered to be an avian innovation that had evolved in birds. However, a phylogenetic analysis published in Nature found that colored eggs evolved deep within the dinosaur tree and long before the evolution of modern birds.

50. The Academy Award-winning documentary “Colette” was released as part of the gallery mode for the VR game “Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond”. Thus, though not mentioned by name in the citation, “Above and Beyond” is arguably the first video game ever to receive an Oscar for its content.

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