Random #324 – 50 Fantastic Random Facts

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1Dynamic Phototherapy

A cancer treatment known as Dynamic Phototherapy has the side effect of giving humans a slight level of night vision. Under this treatment, the retina becomes able to process light at wavelengths higher than the visible light domain.


2. Mushroom suit is one of a kind eco burial alternative, where the suit digests your body after you die. Actor Luke Perry was buried in one.


3. Dexter, the U.S. Navy’s very last working horse, was stationed in Philadelphia to haul trash, and upon his passing in 1968, he was buried with full military honors.


4. Four Spider-Man suits were stolen during the filming of the Spider-Man movie back in 2002. The suits cost $50,000 USD to make and Sony offered $25,000 USD for their return. It led to an 18-month investigation, and the suits were found in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo. It was stolen by a security guard who worked on the set.


5. Hundreds of thousands of kudzu plants were planted in the US South to fight erosion. The vine can spread over one foot a day and spread through runners, rhizomes, and vines that root at the nodes. It is now overtaking entire areas and outcompeting all other plants including trees.


6Olivia Jane Cockburn

Actress Olivia Wilde, born Olivia Jane Cockburn, chose to change her last name in high school to honor her relatives who were authors who used pen names. She chose Irish author Oscar Wilde and she spent her childhood summers in Ireland and studied acting in college in Ireland as well.


7. Putting live birds in a pie was a form of entertainment in the 16th century. An Italian recipe book of 1549 described how to make a pie so that the birds survived and 'flew out' when it was cut open. This recipe was also found in a 1725 cookery book by John Nott.


8. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was written by composer Frank Loesser in 1944 for him and his wife to sing at the end of their housewarming party as a way to tell guests it was time to leave. Afterward, they were invited to tons of parties with the expectation of the song being the closing act.


9. In 1381, over 70,000 peasants from across England revolted against their lords, led by a farmer named Wat Tyler. The 'Peasant Army' marched into London, sacking parts of the city and killing any wealthy elites they found.


10. A man named Daniel Kish who is blind since the age of 13 months has taught himself to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes, similar to echolocation in bats. Kish and other researchers believe that echolocation produces images similar to sight.


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11Filet-O-Fish Creation

Due to falling hamburger sales on Fridays, a McDonald’s franchise owner created the Filet-O-Fish sandwich to meet the demands of Western Christians who observed a “No Meat” Friday.


12. As of 2010, Paul McCartney was making $400,000 to $600,000 a year from "Wonderful Christmas time."


13. People with dementia think that stuff like a black doormat isn’t a doormat, but a deep hole in the floor. Due to these visual perception problems, people with dementia avoid stepping on these kind of doormats, and this is sometimes used to keep them from leaving their care facilities.


14. “Old people house smell” is caused by our bodies releasing more of the chemical 2-nonenal as we age.


15. Tonsil Stones are deposits that grow in your tonsils up to several cm in size. A 2007 study found 75% of participants with bad breath (halitosis) had tonsil stones. They can cause throat and ear infections and a persistent bad taste in the mouth.


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16Mark Welch Munroe

During the Great Depression, banker Mark Welch Munroe convinced struggling families in Quincy, Florida to buy Coca-Cola shares that traded at 19 dollars. Later, the town became the single richest town per capita in the US with at least 67 millionaires.


17. En Passant is a move in chess where you can capture a pawn that has moved two squares from its starting square as if it had advanced only one square.


18. In 1908, Harriet Tubman opened the 'Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly', a retirement home for indigent and aged African-Americans. Among the residents was Tubman herself, who was admitted in 1911, and would remain there until her death in 1913.


19. The main accusers of The Salem Witch Trials were a group of girls and young women from Salem Village who are often referred to as the “afflicted girls” because they claimed that witches were afflicting them by attacking them and making them ill.


20. Dissecting human bodies was taboo in antiquity up to the 16th century. The only people to systematically do it before then were Erasistratus and Herophilus from Alexandria. Their work pioneered medicine and anatomy but was criticized by contemporaries, especially their practice of vivisections.


21Helmut Schmidt

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt was a heavy smoker. He was well known for lighting up during TV interviews and talk shows. He was also charged with defying smoking bans. In 1981, he got a pacemaker. Despite these facts, he was the longest living chancellor, dying at the age of 96.


22. Alaska used to belong to Russia. It was sold to the United States in 1867. Russia governed Alaska as a colony for almost as long as the U.S. has now governed Alaska as a territory and state.


23. Super weaners are elephant seal pups who, in an attempt to slow their weaning, will steal milk from nursing female elephant seals ("milk thieves"), or be adopted by another nursing mother elephant seal ("double mother-sucklers"). Super weaners are usually male and may weigh up to 600 lbs.


24. Whale vomit is actually used in perfumes to make scents last longer. It’s called ambergris and is a product of whale bile duct juices and undigested squid beaks. The hard waxy solid that’s regurgitated floats to the surface and if you are lucky enough to find one, it can fetch you tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram.


25. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre a.k.a. the Amritsar Incident took place in 1919 when the British Imperial army opened fire, without warning, on a peaceful gathering protesting the inhumanities of the colonialist British government. Hundreds of unarmed men, women and children died.

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