Random #320 – 50 Awesome Random Facts

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26Discovery of America (statue)

From 1844-1958, there was a statue in front of the Capitol Building depicting Christopher Columbus holding the world in the palm of his hand while a Native American woman cowers in front of him. The statue was removed in the 1950s after protests from Native Americans and it is currently in storage.


27. Agatha Christie has outsold Stephen King and J.K Rowling combined by about 2 billion books.


28. There is an abandoned McDonald’s floating on a barge in Canada. The Mcbarge has been closed for over 30 years.


29. When Rick James attended a dinner party in Hawaii with Salvador Dali, Dali insisted on drawing him, sketched him on a napkin, and gave it to him. The priceless memento became an inky blob the next morning when he smoked a joint and went swimming with the napkin still in his swim trunks.


30. Hospitals can and do prescribe alcohol to patients in order to prevent delirium tremens and alcoholic withdrawal.


31Henry Heimlich

Even though Henry Heimlich demonstrated his signature maneuver thousands of times throughout his life he never got the chance to use it in an actual emergency until he was 96 when he saved a woman in his nursing home from choking on a burger.


32. A woman named Angela Hernandez drove her car off a 250-foot cliff and ended up stranded on a beach for a week. She was found alive with a brain hemorrhage, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, broken collar bones, and ruptured blood vessels.


33. Highly lethal, hallucinogenic, and terrifying effects from consuming the attractive flowers of the Brugmansia (aka angel tears) plant include the documented case of a young man who amputated his own penis and tongue after drinking only one cup of Brugmansia tea.


34. Elizabeth Ann is a black-footed ferret, the first U.S. endangered species to be cloned. The animal was cloned using the frozen cells from Willa, a black-footed female ferret who died in the 1980s and had no living descendants.


35. During Civil War, the North blockaded salt imports and destroyed salt mines in the South to sabotage food preservation. The food shortages resulted in general unrest and contributed to surrender.


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36Jeremy Spencer

In 1971, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer went AWOL before a gig at LA’s Whiskey A Go-Go and couldn’t be found for weeks. The band eventually tracked him down and discovered that he had joined the religious cult Children Of God and formed a band of his own with the members.


37. Humans didn’t perform the critically acclaimed high five before the 1970s.


38. Traditional battleships are no longer used by any navy. Most were decommissioned following World War 2, but the US maintained 4 that were in and out of service until the 1990s.


39. Garden Path Sentences are grammatically correct sentences that confuse the reader by making them parse the sentence incorrectly initially, causing confusion. Examples include “The old man the boat” and “The horse raced past the barn fell.”


40. The opening sequence in Spectre features a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. No such parade had ever taken place in Mexico City. One year after the film’s release, inspired by it, an actual “Día de Muertos” parade was held and attended by 250,000 people.


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41Paul Eggert

There’s a guy who is responsible for maintaining the database of time zones that computers and operating systems use to configure locales. His name is Paul Eggert and he's a computer scientist based in California.


42. Imhotep was an Egyptian architect, physician, and advisor to four pharaohs. He lived around 2667-2600 B.C. Imhotep practiced early medicine nearly 2200 years before Hippocrates and designed Djoser’s step pyramid at Saqqara. He is the only Egyptian besides Amenhotep to ever be fully deified.


43. In the 1971 film, “The Andromeda Strain,” in order to film the sequence in which a monkey was ‘killed’, an airtight set was created into which carbon monoxide was pumped, forcing the monkey to suffocate. Then, awaiting veterinarian rushed on the set and treated it with oxygen.


44. Sound travels at about 1,080 feet per second in a fog bank. Steamboat captains, rounding off to 1,000 feet for safety, would listen for the echo from their steam whistle to tell how far from shore they were in a fog. An echo heard 1 second after the whistle means the boat was 500 feet from shore.


45. George Cassiday a.k.a. the Man in the Green Hat was the man who during prohibition supplied alcohol to members of Congress, including those who voted for prohibition in the first place. After 10 years, when the story broke, the public’s outrage contributed to the repeal of the 18th Amendment.


46Jabuticaba Tree

The jabuticaba tree a.k.a. the Brazilian grape tree is unusual in the sense that its berries grow directly on the trunk. They are so popular in some Brazilian states that sidewalks are actually stained purple from the discarded skins of the fruit.


47. City spiders are getting bigger. One study found that when spiders lived in urban areas they increased in size and had larger ovaries: Scientists have found increasing evidence that the selective pressures of city living are driving “physical and biological changes” in urban wildlife.


48. In 1967, students at the University of Colorado voted to name their new cafeteria after Colorado’s most well-known cannibal, Alfred Packer.


49. The Black Walnut tree wages biological warfare on everything around it by producing a toxin that controls both plants and insects in its surrounding soil, which it can also recycle by reabsorbing and storing for future use.


50. Psychologists found that interrogative self-talk, i.e., asking yourself a question about a future action increases the likelihood of it happening. For example, rather than saying “I’m going to the gym later.” You would say, “Will I go to the gym later?” It triggers more goal-oriented behavior.

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