Random #312 – 50 Wonderful Random Facts

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1Maui

Maui in Maori Mythology, who influenced Maui from Disney's Moana, turned into a worm so that he could climb into the vagina of the Goddess of Night in order to grant immortality to humanity. He was killed when she woke up and crushed him with her obsidian vaginal teeth.


2. The Peshtigo Fire, the worst wildfire in history, lasted only two hours but killed ~2,500 people across Wisconsin and Michigan. The reason the fire is forgotten in the history books is it took place on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, Great Michigan Fire, and Port Huron Fire.


3. In 1947, for a prank, a man named Ross Petrie climbed Mount Hood in Oregon in the middle of the night and surreptitiously left a morning newspaper and a quart of milk for his friends, who were spending the night on the summit. Mt. Hood’s elevation is 11,250 feet and it is estimated that for anyone who is trained and in good shape, it can take 4-7 hours to climb to the summit.


4. Cicada’s wings have an anti-bacterial surface that kills bacteria not by chemical reaction, but with mechanical force, using a nanopattern made of nanopillars that shreds the bacterial membrane.


5. Home teams in basketball wear white uniforms because the home team had access to laundry facilities. By wearing grey or another dark color the visiting team was better able to conceal the stains that had accumulated on their uniforms over the course of the series.


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6Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell tried to eliminate American Sign Language and deaf schools in the U.S because he was afraid of a deaf race emerging from it.


7. British banknotes increase in size as they increase in value to help blind people tell them apart.


8. Kris Kristofferson went into music after studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He moved to Nashville and made ends meet as a helicopter pilot. After trying unsuccessfully to get Johnny Cash to hear some of his songs, he finally got Cash’s attention by landing a helicopter on his lawn.


9. The sting from a wasp that has been appropriately named Tarantula Hawk causes “...immediate, excruciating, unrelenting pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except scream.”


10. “Janet” Airlines is a secret, full-service airline whose sole purpose is to ferry military and contractor employees to classified sites in the USA such as Area 51.


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11Dramamine

In 1947 a woman with hives went to Johns Hopkins to cure her hives. She received an experimental drug Compound 1694 and not only her hives cleared up she reported that her trolley rides were free from nausea. Doctors immediately tested the drug for motion sickness and Compound 1694 became Dramamine.


12. In 1981, American wildlife photographer Carl McCunn became stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. He hired a bush pilot to drop him off but never confirmed his pickup. He even gave a plane that spotted him an ‘all is well’ sign by mistake. He took his own life when he ran out of supplies.


13. Humans have been depicting beekeeping in art for 40,000 years and it's now thought this development contributed to human brain capacity development to a similar degree that meat did.


14. Capybaras, the largest extant rodent, have adapted well to urbanization in South America, and they can be found in many urban parks and lakes. Capybaras are quite docile and often allow humans to pet them though it is discouraged as the mammals’ ticks can carry the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


15. Native Australians, often thought of as pure hunter-gatherers, were farming fish 6600 years ago.


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16Mozart Effect

The Mozart Effect, the idea that classical music makes babies more intelligent, is largely unfounded. However, listening to music one enjoys does lower cortisol levels and anxiety, offering benefits to studying as long as it isn’t too distracting.


17. Poland and the Soviet Union were the two most affected countries in World War 2 in terms of deaths as a percentage of the population. In Poland 5.7 million died in the war, over 17% of its population. In the Soviet Union, an estimated 26.6 million people died, over 15% of its population.


18. Yi Sun-Sin was a 16th century Korean Admiral, who in spite of having no prior naval experience, remained undefeated at sea and never lost a single ship. In his most famous battle, he commanded 13 ships against the Japanese who had 330 vessels. He won, all whilst recovering from having been recently tortured.


19. Kim Kardashian sued Old Navy claiming the use of Canadian actress Melissa Molinaro violated her publicity rights by using a lookalike in an ad. Old Navy countered that the actress was famous in her own right and the case was settled out of court.


20. There's an ethnicity known as the “Magyarab,” who are the descendants of Hungarian mercenaries who settled in Sudan and Egypt under the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century.


21Magic Shell Syrup

Magic Shell syrup gets its hardening properties from coconut oil, which is high in saturated fats. Once it contacts something cold like ice cream, the fats rapidly cool down and solidify.


22. During a game between the Barbados and Grenada national football teams in 1994, a bizarre rule was added according to which goals in extra time were counted double. This meant it was more beneficial for Barbados to score an own goal. Grenada then tried to score an own goal to counter this, so Barbados had to defend both goals.


23. On Aug. 4, 1972, U.S. military pilots flying south of Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam saw something unexpected. More than two dozen sea mines suddenly and without apparent explanation exploded in the water. The cause behind it, discovered decades later, was found to be a solar flare.


24. When constructing a walkway for the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, the original design was replaced by a cheap one, which was never checked by an engineer. The new plans only had 1/3 the strength needed. The walkway collapsed in 1981 and killed 114 people, the deadliest accidental structural failure in US history.


25. In the USA, it is quite common for new homeowners of older homes to find inside their walls, piles of razor blades. Old bathroom mirrors had slots to slip the old razors in.

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