Random #314 – 50 Awesome Random Facts

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26Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “all the branches of a tree at every stage of its height when put together are equal in thickness to the trunk”. In 2011, Christophe Eloy investigated and found that trees that followed Leonardo's rule would be the best at resisting wind-induced fracture.


27. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written various books on topics ranging from the history of a black tank battalion that fought in World War 2 to a reimagining of the life of Mycroft Holmes, the brother of Sherlock Holmes.


28. Russian fishermen learned to farm caviar as early as the 12th century and for centuries it was considered nothing more than cheap peasant food, served with porridge and eaten by the bowlful.


29. Vin Diesel finessed Universal Studios to trade his Tokyo Drift cameo for full rights to the Riddick franchise. Riddick 2 had flopped hard before it and Vin Diesel was the only one who saw the potential of it. Later he did Riddick 3 with a more sensible budget making it a success for him.


30. Some grocers in South Korea package their bananas in a group of different ripeness, allowing you to eat properly yellow ones over the course of several days.


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31Ben Affleck

The New Zealand Parliament unanimously passed a motion to censure Ben Affleck, out of anger that a line in his film 'Argo' falsely claimed that the British and New Zealand embassies had turned away the six escaped American diplomats in Tehran during the hostage crisis.


32. In 1948, Milwaukee burger chain George Webb’s said they would give free hamburgers if the local baseball team won 12 games in a row. Since then it’s only happened twice: in 1987, and 2018. They honored the promise and gave out hundreds of thousands of free burgers.


33. Arthur Tudor, the older brother of Henry VIII, exchanged letters with his fiancée, Catherine of Aragon, in Latin. When they met in person they were unable to communicate, however, as they had mastered different pronunciations of the language.


34. Crowing first at dawn is a privilege reserved for the highest-ranking rooster.


35. In 1999, Harvard physicist Lene Hau was able to slow down light to 17 meters per second and in 2001, was able to stop light completely.


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36US Navy

The US Navy conducted mock air attacks by aircraft carrier on Pearl Harbor in 1932 and 1938. In both exercises the attacks were successful, demonstrating the importance of air power over battleships. Both exercises were ignored by the US Navy but were studied carefully by the Imperial Japanese Navy.


37. For the film Stargate, Kurt Russell was paid twice his going rate because he was the only actor at the time to have "zero unlikability" in a global poll. 


38. In 1995, a policy known as “the Wall" was created to discourage information sharing between the CIA and FBI, which played a critical role in their inability to stop 9/11. It got so bad agents played a CD with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” into the phone as they were told their access was denied.


39. DoorDash was forced to honor its own arbitration clause after over 5,000 drivers took the company to arbitration and cost it $12 million just in filing fees.


40. Despite all manner of theories and suggestions, Douglas Adams himself has said he chose 42 as ‘the answer to life, the universe, and everything, after simply staring out at his garden and choosing a ‘funny’ number, completely at random.


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41Disney's Fireworks

Disney's Fireworks use pneumatic launch technology, developed for Disneyland as required by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District. This uses compressed air instead of gunpowder to launch shells into the air. This eliminates the trail of the igniting firework and permits tight control over height and timing.


42. Almost all of the fruit, vegetables, and animals we eat are domesticated and are not found in nature. Only a few foods like some berries, nuts, and mushrooms are consumed in the same form they grow in the wild. Humans have been “selectively breeding” species for more than 12,000 years.


43. Kellogg pioneered the 6 hours a day, 30-hour work week and by the very measure on both the employee and employer side, it produced positive results. They kept this going all the way to 1980.


44. In 2018, a woman accidentally paid a Swiss cafe $7709 for coffee because she entered her PIN number as the dollar amount. When she called to get the money back, nobody answered because the cafe had filed for bankruptcy.


45. The Seattle band ‘The Gits,’ were gaining popularity until their lead singer, Mia Zapata, was raped and murdered in 1993 at the age of 27. Despite bands like Nirvana hiring a Private Investigator, her killer wasn't caught for another decade.


46Swearing Birds

Some hikers and researchers have spotted wild birds swearing. It is believed that birds that escaped from captivity teach other wild birds how to speak and swear in English.


47. Montreal’s Days of Shame: In 1934, 75 Montreal physicians went on strike to protest a Jewish doctor that was hired at a Catholic hospital. After 4 days, the Jewish doctor finally resigned because patients weren’t getting care.


48. FNG Syndrome: Instead of rotating units into and out of Vietnam, the US military replaced individual members. The replacements were subjected to abuse from their peers, leading to an increase in the number of psychiatric casualties who were removed from the battlefield.


49. Civil rights activist Andrew Goodman was buried alive by the KKK after being apprehended by a deputy sheriff. The deputy sheriff identified the activist using information provided by an official Mississippi state agency dedicated to spying on civil rights activists.


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

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