Random #319 – 50 Impressive Random Facts

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1Mexikoplatz

Mexico was the only country to protest the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. To honor that support, there is a square in Vienna named “Mexikoplatz.”


2. The Vatican has its own telescope staffed by priests, and it has previously been given awards for the pursuit of scientific research.


3. The first child protective services organization in the world was created after the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals realized laws protecting animals from abuse were stronger than laws protecting children.


4. Ancient Egyptians used to give opium to calm their crying babies. This practice was also a popular way to calm babies in the Victorian era, but it sometimes caused infants to starve to death as they were kept in a constant state of narcotism.


5. The song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by the artist Skrillex was observed to be a mosquito repellent due to its low-frequency vibrations. Scientists also found that mosquitoes exposed to the song had sex “far less often” than other mosquitoes without music.


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6Nixon with Chopsticks

President Nixon, his wife Pat Nixon, and Henry Kissinger took lessons and practiced for months to learn how to use chopsticks properly, in preparation for the dinner banquet on his visit to China in 1972.


7. A French soldier’s life was saved during World War 1 by a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim” which he owned. It stopped a bullet fired at him. He befriended Kipling when he learned that he had lost his son in the war, and named his own after his.


8. Saccorhytus coronarius is a 535-million-year-old sea creature that is also the earliest known ancestor of humans.


9. In 1457, golf was banned in Scotland by King James II, because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing archery. It remained banned until 1502 when James IV became a golfer. Football was banned in England in the 14th Century for the same reason. The same was true for bowling. King Edward III banned it in 1366. Archery was a huge deal in late medieval Britain


10. Smarties candy was originally made with machines that were built to make gunpowder pellets for ammunition during World War I.


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11US Army Helicopters

The US Army tradition of naming helicopters after Native American Tribes (something that was once an official regulation) dates back to 1947 and General Hamilton Howze who felt that helicopters were meant to attack the flank and fade away, in the tradition of the Plains Indian tribes.


12. In the 18th & 19th centuries, garden hermits were people who were encouraged to dress as druids and live in caves and grottoes on the estates of rich people effectively as decoration. They usually received room and board as payment. One such hermit was fired three weeks into a 7-year term after being found drinking at a local pub.


13. Singer James Blunt once developed scurvy while studying in university because he only ate meat for two months ‘out of principle’ to annoy his vegetarian classmates.


14. The west coast of the U.S. does have fireflies. We don’t notice them because they just prefer to be active during the day.


15. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a challenge to write the worst opening paragraph to a novel possible. It is named after the author of the 1830 novel Paul Clifford, which began with “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents.”


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16Vladimir Bekhterev

Stalin struggled with depression and summoned renowned Russian psychiatrist Vladimir Bekhterev to examine him. After the examination, Bekhterev said only one word, “paranoiac.” He died on the very next day from what most believed was poisoning.


17. James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, developed a new proof for the Pythagorean Theorem while discussing math with some members of Congress. His proof was published in a peer-reviewed journal.


18. Bruce Springsteen’s mother would rent him guitars for $6 a week in 1957. Springsteen bought his first guitar as a teenager in 1964 for $18.95. Later on, his mother would take out a loan to buy him a $60 Kent guitar.


19. Kamikaze pilots weren’t 100% volunteers. Pilots were asked to put their hand up in a big group if they didn’t want to volunteer. Amid peer pressure, hardly anyone was able to say no to the mission.


20. Filipino churches built during Spain’s colonial period used millions of egg whites in the concrete to make it more durable. This is also why Filipino desserts often use lots of egg yolks. Many of these desserts were developed to use up all the extra yolks from construction projects.


21David Vogel

David Vogel, the then-president of production at Disney, was fired from his position for buying the rights to the script for Sixth Sense for $3 million because he bought it without permission.


22. Hospitals throughout New York City area were bracing for maximum capacity on 9/11, only to slowly realize that there were very few survivors from the World Trade Center’s collapse.


23. While alcohol made from apples is called cider, alcohol made from pears is called “Perry.”


24. A group of engineering students from Purdue University reported that its licking machine, modeled after a human tongue, took an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.


25. The FTC actually recommends against organizations using regular password changing policies as it only encourages users to use simple, easy-to-remember passwords that they then only alter in predictable ways.

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