Random #322 – 50 Random Facts You Never Knew

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A town in Spain named Trasmoz was excommunicated for witchcraft in the 13th century, with Pope Julius II also cursing the village in 1511. Neither the ex-communication nor the curse has ever been lifted. Every June, during the Feria de Brujeria festival that the town celebrates, one person is named as ‘Witch of the Year.’

27. Because pendulum clocks are unreliable at sea, the first attempt at a marine chronometer was undertaken in 1673 utilizing a balance wheel and spring for regulation instead of a pendulum. This opened the way for the first modern pocket watches and wristwatches.

28. After the civil war, the pumpkin pie was resisted in southern states as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on the south, where there was no tradition of eating pumpkin pie.

29. In order to promote Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Ubisoft funded the exhumation, DNA testing, and facial reconstruction of famous 18th-century pirate Amaro Pargo.

30. The US Government passed the Stolen Valor Act in 2005. The Act made it illegal to wear or falsely claim to have received any military medal or decoration without authorization, including the Medal of Honor. However, the Act was later ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court.

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31Cain’s Jawbone

Cain’s Jawbone

Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers is a 1934 mystery novel printed with its 100 pages out of order. To solve the puzzle, readers must determine the correct page order as well as the names of both the six murderers and six victims. The mystery has only ever been solved by three people.

32. When Niccolo Tartaglia found a formula to solve certain types of cubic equations, he did not publish his findings. However, Tartaglia wrote a 25 line poem explaining the formula and shared it with another mathematician, Girolama Cardano, who went ahead and published it himself.

33. Joaquin Phoenix’s older brother, River Phoenix, who starred as a kid in Stand By Me among other movies, died of an overdose while attending a concert with Joaquin on Halloween in Los Angeles at the age of 23 in 1993.

34. ‘Death cleaning’ is an exercise unique to Sweden where elderly people deliberately clear out and declutter their possessions so that nobody else has to do it once they’re dead.

35. The Danish language has about 40 different vowel sounds and it is so hard to learn that Danish children on average know 30% fewer words at 15 months than Norwegian children and take two years longer to learn the past tense.

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36Richard Scrushy

Richard Scrushy

Richard Scrushy who was charged with masterminding a $2.7 billion fraud case, came up with a novel strategy: “[play] the religion card” and become a televangelist to curry favor with jurors (the trial was held in Alabama). He was acquitted of all charges.

37. The original John Hughes cut of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” ran 3.5 hours because there was so much improv between Steve Martin and John Candy, and that cut is probably lost forever.

38. Henneguya salminicola is the first and thus far the only known multicellular animal that doesn't seem to use oxygen to breathe. It is an 8-millimeter white parasite that infects the flesh of Chinook salmon.

39. In 1762, Benjamin Franklin had a hollow walking stick created that could secretly hold around 1 pint of oil in it. When the head of the stick was pushed down, it would release oil from the bottom. He did this to trick his friends into thinking he had the power to calm waves in troubled waters.

40. The US exports more bull semen to Iran than any other country. In 2018 alone, the amount of semen exported from the US was more than the combined total of the next seven other countries exporting semen to Iran.

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41Edict of Salerno

Edict of Salerno

In 1231, after noticing the rapidly rising cost of medicine, Emperor Friedrich II forbade doctors from doubling as pharmacists. He fixed the prices of various medicines so that they could not rise further.

42. Some of the boulevard medians in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have 8-10 feet deep bunkers with toilets in them, originally installed in the 1930s as a convenience for city workers who were out and about all day without access to a toilet.

43. In Kaziranga, a national park in north-eastern India, rangers can shoot and kill poachers to protect the Indian one-horned rhinoceros with legal immunity, which has reduced rhino poaching.

44. Astronaut Bruce McCandless floated in space completely unattached to anything, 320 feet away from the space shuttle with only a nitrogen jetpack back in 1984.

45. Jazz guitarist Pat Martino suffered a near-fatal seizure in 1980 which left him with amnesia and no recollection or knowledge of how to play the guitar. He re-learned how to play the instrument, and resumed his performing and recording career in 1987 until his death in 2021.

46Guerrilla Warfare Book

Guerrilla Warfare Book

In 1961, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wrote a book called “Guerrilla Warfare”, which explained different tactics for waging guerrilla warfare in different countries. Bolivian counter-insurgency forces also studied this book, which eventually led to Guevara’s capture and execution in 1967.

47. “Wrap Rage” (the anger/frustration which results from an inability to open packaging) is estimated to be responsible for up to 60,000 people a year being treated for injuries. In one survey, 71% say they’ve been injured while opening packages and in 2004 the US had 6,500 emergency room visits due to these kinds of injuries.

48. Sir Paul McCartney’s mother (Mary McCarthy) died when he was just 14 years old. He struggled with grief for around 8 years, until one night she appeared to him in a dream saying things like “Don’t worry, live your life, let it be.” From this, he wrote the world-famous Beatles song “Let it be.”

49. The longest confirmed tank kill in history was recorded in 1991 when a British Challenger-1 tank with the callsign 11B fired at an Iraqi main battle tank from a distance of more than 5,100 meters (just above three miles) with a Depleted Uranium round.

50. Ève Curie, the youngest daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie chose not to pursue a career in science. Her parents, sister, brother-in-law, and husband all won Nobel Prizes in their respective fields. She won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 1937 for her book ‘Madame Curie.’


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