Random #324 – 50 Fantastic Random Facts

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26Dick Best

During World War 2, Dick Best led a dive bomber attack during the pivotal battle of Midway. The attack's success was led by the fact they showed up late. Because of this, the Japanese defense planes were engaged elsewhere leaving Best's forces free to sink 3 Japanese carriers and turn the tide of the war.


27. World War 2 German pilot Erich Hartmann is the most successful fighter ace of all time. He was tried and convicted by the USSR after World War 2 for destroying “expensive” Soviet aircrafts and was sentenced to hard labor, which he refused to do. He was later exonerated of all charges by Russia.


28. The Duff Beer logo is censored in French broadcasts of The Simpsons due to France’s strict laws regarding alcohol product placement. A German brewery makes Duff Beer using the logo from The Simpsons, making it retroactive product placement.


29. Nature has evolved different species into crabs at least 5 separate times, a phenomenon known as Carcinisation.


30. German-born soldiers made up about 10% of Union forces during the Civil War. Some of them were exiled supporters of the 1848 revolutions that swept Europe. After the war, the Forty-Eighters supported improved labor laws, and also advanced development in education, medicine, and journalism.


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31Japanese Bread

Japanese bread is so soft because it included cooked-flour dough in the bread mixture. The Japanese realized that by cooking the flour, the dough absorbs all the water. This cooked dough is added into the rest of the bread mixture, which gives it a moister feel in the mouth.


32. Ketchup is a non-newtonian fluid. Unlike “magic mud,” its viscosity actually lowers when a force is applied to it. This is why ketchup will often pour out in such large unintended quantities after a little shake.


33. Dolly Parton recorded “9 to 5” using her acrylic nails as an instrument.


34. Brainf*ck is an esoteric programming language whose compiler uses only 240 bytes of memory making it around 11,000 times smaller than the C++ compiler.


35. The Darien Scheme of 1698 was Scotland’s sole attempt at colonization. The effort failed but cost £400,000 (£71,000,000 inflation-adjusted), which is about 20% of the nation’s capital. It crippled Scotland’s economy and was a major factor in its Act of Union with England in 1707, thus forming the United Kingdom.


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36Public Housing Estates

In Singapore, all newly developed public housing estates (HDB) must have a green plot ratio of 4.5. That means the total "leaf area" of plants and trees must cover at least 4.5 times the area of the development site itself.


37. Allen Gant Sr., the inventor of pantyhose was inspired when his pregnant wife told him she didn't want to travel due to not being able to comfortably wear stockings and a garter belt. He decided that sewing stockings onto panties would help with this. In 1959, his product was in stores.


38. UFC Champion Charles Oliveira, who was born in a poor family in a favela in Brazil, was diagnosed with a disease at the age of 7 due to which he was told he would never walk again. His mother responded, “we don’t accept that.” His mom then sold snacks and discarded cardboard on the streets to help fund his training.


39. The Beatles don't actually spell out "HELP!" in semaphore on their album cover for "Help !", instead just random letters that looked better together.


40. In 1915, during World War 1, when the Belgian and German trenches were a mere 45 meters (150 feet) apart, there was a “Battle of the Words”, where each side threw insults at each other all day and night. It eventually became so annoying that the Belgian commander forbade his men from talking to the Germans.


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41Visual Perception

Researchers have found that the brain’s frontal cortex not only controls vision; it leaves out things in plain sight. Although the eye's vision appears like a camera, in actuality, it is actively constructing a visual scene and making decisions about it.


42. The reason the graphite core in pencils is called "pencil lead" traces back to a graphite deposit discovered in Seathwaite, Cumbria, England, in the 1500s being misidentified as a form of lead. That deposit gave England a monopoly on the production of pencils until the late 1600s.


43. Early in her career, Mariah Carey was a backup singer for Brenda K. Starr who sang the 1988 hit, “I Still Believe.” In 1999, Carey released a cover of this song to thank Starr for helping her career and because it was the first song she sang as a pro.


44. IBM once required employees to sing praises of its president and company from the official IBM Songbook.


45. Barry Larkin, who was against the Olympic torch relay for its Nazi origins, pulled a hoax of running with a fake torch made of pudding cans, underwear, and wooden chair legs at the torch relay for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics (in Australia).


46Japanese Punch Perm

The Japanese punch perm became a popular hairstyle in Japan from the 1970s to the 1990s. It was popular with the yakuza which contributed to its decline in general popularity. The inventor was inspired by the African-American hairstyles and created a special curling iron for this style.


47. Cows can walk downstairs, contrary to popular belief, but only if they have to. They avoid the situation as much as possible because they are not prepared by evolution for such steep slopes and foreign leg movements.


48. Eating grapefruit (and a few of its close relatives) can increase the side effects of certain medications by disrupting a specialized group of proteins in your liver and small intestine called cytochrome P450 (CYPs).


49. Hooters ran Valentine's day publicity stunt where you got a discount if you destroyed your ex's photo. In 2020, they destroyed 49,000 photos.


50. There was a woman named Josephine Myrtle Corbin who was born with four legs and two vaginas who had five children.

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