Random #313 – 50 Little Known Random Facts

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1Shrek

William Steig, the author of the children's book Shrek, was worried that the animated movie based on his book would sanitize his book's crudeness. When the then 93-year old Steig finally watched the movie, expecting to hate it, he was instead overjoyed to find it to be even cruder than his book.


2. A local fisherman in Costa Rica nursed a crocodile back to health after it had been shot in the head, and released the reptile back to its home. The next day, the man discovered “Pocho” had followed him home and was sleeping on the man’s porch. For 20 years Pocho became part of the man’s family.


3. Jimmy Carter is the longest-lived president, the longest-retired president, the first president to live forty years after their inauguration, and the first to reach the age of 95.


4. In 1999, American rapper Jay-Z stabbed a man at an album release party, with a 5-inch blade in the stomach, after rumors the man was behind the bootlegging of one of his albums. He later pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, accepting a 3-year probation sentence.


5. While only 9.7% of Americans don’t wear seatbelts, 47% of those who die in car crashes were not wearing seatbelts.


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6US Concentration Camps

In 1927, during the worst flood in the history of the Mississippi River Valley, Herbert Hoover and the Red Cross set up “concentration camps” comprised of African Americans forced to work at gunpoint on the levee, and created a media campaign to cover it up.


7. Masks on airplanes generate oxygen by triggering a chemical reaction. If the pressure in the cabin is disturbed and masks drop, tugging the mask causes a firing pin to ignite a small explosion in an ‘O2 candle’ where Sodium Chlorate and Potassium Perchlorate combine to make oxygen gas.


8. Roberto Solis was sentenced to life in prison in 1969 for murdering an armored truck driver. He became a successful poet in prison which led multiple well-known writers to petition for his release. After he was released, he robbed an armored truck for $3 million and is still on the run.


9. During an infamous game of roulette played in Monte-Carlo on August 18, 1913, the ball fell on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost millions expecting it to land on red along the way, making “the gambler’s fallacy” famous.


10. Han Min-hong, a South Korean professor, built and successfully tested a self-driving car in 1993. The car traveled 185 miles from Seoul to Busan through one of South Korea’s most heavily-traveled expressways. Despite the amazing results, the government scrapped funding for his research.


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11Strep Throat Mechanism

The germs that cause strep throat tear apart red blood cells and then dress themselves in the debris. This disguise prevents the immune system from attacking them. Mice survived infection by mutant strep lacking that ability and were then more resistant to infection by normal strep germs.


12. Thomas Linley was known as “the English Mozart.” Mozart called him “a true genius” and said, “he would have been one of the greatest.” He drowned in a lake at the age of 22 and most of his compositions were lost or burned in a fire.


13. Tour de France has a dedicated team whose sole purpose is to drive each day’s route and turn genitals graffitied on the road into owls and butterflies.


14. The last words of French aristocrat Thomas de Mahy, Marquis de Favras; were “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes”, upon reading his death sentence warrant.


15. The founder of Texas Roadhouse Restaurants, W. Kent Taylor, has no ties at all to the state of Texas. Originally he had dreams of opening a Colorado-themed eatery.


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16Ol’ Dirty Bastard

When Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album achieved commercial success, one of the group’s members, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, was filmed cashing in a welfare check. This was because ODB had not yet filed his taxes, so the then-recent income did not impact his eligibility.


17. A British man was surprised at being urgently contacted by the NHS about his health when they calculated his BMI as being 28,000. They’d written his 6’2” height as being 6.2cm tall.


18. In the original ending of the Inca-inspired animated film “The Emperor’s New Groove”, the titular Emperor demolishes a rainforest to create a theme park. Sting – who spent 20 years defending the rights of indigenous people – threatened to leave the project unless the ending was changed.


19. Helen Keller was accepted to Harvard in 1900. Mark Twain introduced her to Standard Oil magnate, Henry Rogers, who paid for her education. In 1904, she became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor's degree.


20. In east Africa, movies are often watched with a “VJ” or “video joker” who provides live narration over the movie for translation, contextualization, or comedy purposes.


21Gaddafi’s Switzerland Hatred

Muammar Gaddafi had a burning hatred of Switzerland. Following the brief detention of his family in Geneva, Gadaffi declared a jihad against the country and used all of his speaking time at the 2008 G8 Summit to propose the country’s abolition.


22. Having resulted in 77 human deaths in 9 years, Australia’s horses and cows are deadlier than its snakes and spiders. Kangaroos killed 60 in that time, while snakes and lizards have only killed 23. Spiders haven’t killed anyone since 1979.


23. The oldest living elephant, Vatsala, lives at an Elephant camp in a Tiger Reserve (as of July 2021). At 105, she has lived for more than double the age of an average Asian Elephant. Despite losing her vision to cataract, she has been able to navigate using her trunk and support from her herd members.


24. In 2016, two thieves in New Zealand accidently stole a box full of extremely smelly “stoat anal gland oil”, mistaking it for drug-making materials.


25. Early puberty is a hereditary genetic condition. In one writer’s case, it meant growing pubic hair when he was only 2. According to him, “I Was a 4-Year-Old Trapped in a Teenager’s Body.”

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