Random #327 – 50 Awesome Random Facts

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1Dolly Sleeps in Make-up

Dolly Parton sleeps in make-up (and washes it off in the morning) just in case she has to go out in the middle of the night if a natural disaster strikes.


2. A black woman named Mary Ellen Pleasant in the 1800s amassed a fortune by eavesdropping on investors while working as a domestic.


3. In 2005, Sony shipped 22,000,000 CDs which, when inserted into a Windows computer, installed un-removable and highly invasive malware. The software hid from the user, prevented all CDs from being copied, and sent listening history to Sony.


4. In 2002, Joe Strummer (former frontman for The Clash) was vacationing in Los Angeles and found out Johnny Cash was in town recording. He came every day, and extended his vacation another week, to watch him play. They recorded Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" together, with Tom Morello on guitar.


5. In 1941, almost 10% of all recruits for the US military were rejected because they did not have 6 opposing teeth on their upper and lower jaws. US dental health was so poor before World War 2 that it was the leading cause of rejection.


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6Castro's $10 Demand

In 1940, a 14-year-old Fidel Castro wrote a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking “If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green American, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them” [sic]. He did receive a letter thanking his “letter of support and congratulations,” but Castro was annoyed that no cash was included.


7. In 1670, against a judge's instructions, a jury refused to find two men guilty. The judge held the jury in contempt; locked them up overnight without food, water or heat; and fined them. On appeal, the Chief Justice ruled that a jury could not be punished for returning the wrong verdict.


8. After conservative activist, Mary Whitehouse successfully campaigned to stop Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” being shown on the BBC music show ‘Top of the Pops’, Cooper sent her a bunch of flowers, since he believed the publicity helped the song to reach number one.


9. The salary of the President of the United States has only been increased 5 times since 1789. It was $25,000 in 1789, and was increased to $50,000 in 1873, $75,000 in 1909, $100,000 in 1943, $200,000 in 1969, and $400,000 in 2001.


10. In 2004, Jessica Simpson sold a line of edible makeup, perfume, and body wash that was discontinued after several lawsuits. One customer claimed the Butterscotch Toffee Body Wash caused a yeast infection, and another said after using Belly Button Love Potion, she was followed by bees.


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11Mongol Superstitions & Royal Executions

The Mongols had a superstition that said that spilling royal blood would lead to great disaster. So instead they had other creative ways of executing such people. These methods included sewing up their orifices, drowning them in molten metal or having horses trample them.


12. A modern highway in Greece now runs through the site of the Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans held back a massive Persian army for three days. A statue of the Spartan leader, Leonidas, stands just a few feet from the road.


13. During World War 2, Nazis entered the ‘The Lodz Ghetto’ and rounded up almost 15,000 ‘useless eaters’, majority of whom were children under 10. They were transported away from their families to be exterminated at the Germany’s first death camp at Chełmno. Many parents committed suicide after their children were taken away.


14. Dolphins sleep with one eye open as they have to periodically go up for air and also be aware of predators. They are only able to rest half of their brain at a time and always stay somewhat conscious.


15. The diabolical ironclad beetle (Nosoderma diabolicum) is a species of beetle that has one of the toughest exoskeletons in the insect world. Its exoskeleton lets it endure forces up to 39,000 times its body weight and this makes it impossible to put an insect pin through it without drilling a hole first.


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16Treadwheel Cranes

Ancient tread wheel cranes looked like a giant wooden hamster wheel that used man power to help build some of the most impressive buildings in Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe. Blind people were hired to work inside these treadwheels on construction sites, as they would not be scared from the sheer drop sight below them. It is also considered one of the worst jobs in history, as the wheels often broke.


17. In 1932, George Patton led a sabers-drawn charge against U.S. World War 1 veterans and their families (nicknamed “Bonus Army”) who were seeking promised bonuses.


18. A Muslim scholar named Ismail al-Jazari wrote the “Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices” in the 12th century where he described 50 mechanical devices along with instructions on creating them. He has been described as the father of robotics and modern-day engineering.


19. In 1937, in the Italian occupied Ethiopia, two men tried to kill Marquis of Negele, who was the Viceroy of Italian East Africa. In response, the Italian army and Italian civilians went on a killing spree, burning down houses, and killing an estimated 20% of the population of Addis Ababa including sympathetic Ethiopians. Italy still downplays the massacre.


20. Researchers in Siberia found a perfectly-preserved 42,000-year-old baby horse buried under the permafrost. It was in such good condition that its blood was still in a liquid state, allowing scientists to extract it.


21Sunlight Hitting Earth

The amount of sunlight that reaches Earth's surface within 1.5 hours has enough energy to satisfy the world's energy consumption for an entire year.


22. Archaeologist Alexander Peev was executed by firing squad in 1943 on suspicion of sending a coded message to the Soviet Union. It was actually an ancient inscription he wanted Russian archaeologists to help him interpret. The text remains undeciphered.


23. A Scottish politician named Alexander Hamilton had such a strong interest in Ancient Egyptian mummies that he arranged for his own body to be mummified and placed in a sarcophagus after his death in 1852.


24. The Great cheese riot of 1766 was a reaction to inflated cheese prices in Nottingham, England. The mayor tried to restore order but was knocked down by cheese. The military was called and shots were fired, killing one man. He’d been guarding his cheeses.


25. Nike's Cortez shoes were going to be called Aztec, but Adidas threatened legal action because of their Azteca Gold shoes. In response, Nike decided to name the new model after Hernán Cortés, whose expedition led to the Aztec Empire's fall.

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