Random #311 – 50 Amazing Random Facts

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1Elmer Alvarez

A homeless man named Elmer Alvarez found a $10,000 check on the street meant for a real estate broker and found a way to return it. The broker was so touched that she awarded him a place to live and arranged for a job interview. A year later, he was on the board of directors of one of her foundations.


2. When former NFL safety Dave Duerson took his life he left a note that read, “Please see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.” He shot himself in the chest rather than his head so as to preserve his brain. Doctors confirmed that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.


3. Michael Jackson was a virtuoso composer, despite being unable to read music or play instruments well. He wrote the parts to his songs by singing and beatboxing into a tape recorder. His musician said, “he would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. He had it all in his head, harmony and everything.”


4. In 1965, Arnold Schwarzenegger went AWOL from the Austrian Army (during the 1-year service required by the government) to attend a bodybuilding contest. He spent a week in military prison, but won the contest, propelling the opportunity for larger contests and, ultimately, his ticket to America.


5. Nazi Germany made a New Testament Bible where they removed the genealogies of Jesus that showed his Davidic descent, removed Jewish names and places, but left any mention of Jews that showed them in a bad light, in an attempt to Aryanize Jesus.


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6Benjamin Bolger

Benjamin Bolger is a man with dyslexia who possesses 14 degrees. He is one of the most credentialed perpetual students in human history.


7. Of all the gold medals won by US swimmers in the history of the Olympics, nearly 10% were won by Michael Phelps (23/246 as of June 2021).


8. As a teenager, Patrick Stewart worked as a newspaper reporter and obituary writer. After a year, his employer gave him an ultimatum to choose acting or journalism. Stewart had been attending rehearsals during work time and then inventing the stories he reported.


9. The giant-impact hypothesis says that 4.5 billion years ago, a planet named Theia collided with Earth. The collision resulted in the formation of the Moon and much of the water on Earth is from Theia. The remains of Theia can be found on both Earth and the Moon.


10. When sonar was first invented, operators were puzzled by the appearance of a ‘false seafloor’ that changed depth with the time of day and amount of moonlight. It was eventually identified to be a previously unknown layer of billions of lanternfish that reflect sonar waves and migrate up and down.


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11Electric Light Orchestra

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) holds the record for the band having the most Billboard Hot 100 top 40 hits (20) without a number one single in US chart history.


12. When his owner died in August 1936, Shep the Dog followed the casket to the railroad station and watched it being loaded onto a train heading to the eastern US. For six years until his own death, he would greet every train that arrived each day, expecting his master to return.


13. Ford originally wanted to unveil the 2021 Ford Bronco on July 9, 2020. However, the debut was rescheduled for July 13 when it was pointed out that July 9 is the birthday of O.J. Simpson.


14. The United States Department of Defense runs on the Linux operating system. In fact, the US Army is the single largest installed base for RedHat Linux, and the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet runs on Linux.


15. Japan has so many “ghost houses” that they are commonly given away at low/no cost.


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16Thomas Jefferson’s Moose

Thomas Jefferson once sent a giant moose carcass to Paris to prove that America’s animals were bigger than Europe’s.


17. Stingray injuries are almost never fatal. When Steve Irwin was killed in a stingray attack in 2006, he was only the second reported fatality in Australia since 1945. Only one to two fatal attacks are reported each year worldwide.


18. In 1999, author of the Dilbert comic Scott Adams released “the blue jeans of food”: a microwave burrito he affectionately dubbed the Dilberito. The product tanked, with the creator himself later admitting that “three bites made you fart so hard your intestines formed a tail.”


19. When Stephen Colbert was younger he wanted to be a marine biologist, but the surgery left him deaf in one ear and without a right eardrum. The removal of his eardrum meant he could no longer scuba dive without complications, thus ending pursuit of his dream and allowing his career in comedy instead.


20. Military Chocolate was made to taste terrible on purpose, as to have the soldiers actually save it for emergencies instead of eating it prematurely.


21Dovahkiin

Bethesda Games set up a challenge that would reward any couple free Bethesda games for life if they gave birth on Skyrim’s 11/11/11 release date and named the baby Dovahkiin. One couple took up that challenge and their son is now called Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer.


22. About 50 years ago, Ham the Chimp was launched into space, where he experienced up to 14.7g during a 6-minute free-fall. He survived his ocean splashdown (although he nearly drowned before rescue crews arrived) and lived 20 more years at a zoo in Washington D.C.


23. Bakersfield and Fresno were built on top of a former lake, Lake Tulare which was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It was drained for agriculture after the Civil War and was completely gone by World War 1.


24. In Scandinavia, the Kiruna to Narvik electrified railway carries iron ore down a steeply graded route. On the way down the trains generate large amounts of electricity by regenerative braking, which is sufficient to power the empty trains back up the track and pump excess energy into the grid.


25. Muhammad Ali went to Iraq in 1990 against the then-President George H.W. Bush’s wishes to secure the release of 15 American citizens held hostage in Iraqi prisons, and brought them home.

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