Random #329 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Zombie Fungus

The fungus Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis (Zombie Fungus) doesn't control ants by infecting their brain. Instead it destroys the motor neurons and connects directly to the muscles to control them.


2. During World War II, British spies plotted to spike Hitler's food with estrogen to make him less aggressive.


3. In 1888, a female reporter named Nellie Bly attempted to to turn the fictional novel 'Around the World in Eighty Days' into fact for the first time. Not only did she complete it with eight days to spare, she made a detour to interview Jules Verne, the original author.


4. The only time a chess game has ended with a result of 0-0 (instead of 1-0, 0-1, or ½-½) was when Tony Miles and Stewart Reuben both agreed to a draw without playing any moves to secure them both a high place. The arbiter decided to award 0 points to each player instead of a draw.


5. Mississippi did not make child-selling illegal until 2009, after a woman tried to sell her granddaughter for $2,000 and a car. Lesgislators discovered that they could not charge her as there was no law to punish her under.


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6Brendan Fraser

In 2006, actor Brendan Fraser became the first American-born actor to be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.


7. President Harding is known to have literally saved the U. S. Constitution. When he found that it was deteriorating due to being improperly stored at the State Department, he had it preserved in a glass case.


8. The 1996 Action movie 'The Rock' starring Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery is the only Michael Bay-directed film to be ‘certified fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 66% fresh rating.


9. In 1604, King James I wrote ‘A Counterblaste to Tobacco’, in which he described smoking as a ‘custome lothesome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs.'


10. The "Liking Gap" is a psychological illusion which estimates that people you meet like you more than you think. Psychologists found that "people systematically underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company."


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11P&G's $456 Million Fine

Unilever and Procter & Gamble were fined $456 million for fixing washing powder prices in 8 European countries in 2011. The fines were discounted by 10% after the 2 industry giants admitted to running a cartel. Their rival Henkel, who provided the tip-off, was not fined in return.


12. 'Loving Day' which falls on June 12 celebrates the day that Interracial Marriage became legal in the United States.


13. In 1997, the small Texas community of Kleberg County tried to replace "Hello" with "Heaven-o" citing ‘hell’ being negative and ‘heaven’ having positive influence on people.


14. Almonds and peaches are so genetically similar, they can fertilize each other and produce viable hybrids.


15. Thankful Villages a.k.a. Blessed Villages are those few villages in Britain which suffered no casualties during the First World War. These villages lost no men in the war. All those who left to serve came home again when war ended.


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16Hisako Koyama

Hisako Koyama was a female Japanese astronomer who hand drew sunspots every day for more than 40 years. Her detailed sketches aid researchers in studying solar cycles and the sun's magnetic fields.


17. On onset of 100 years war, blind King John of Bohemia refused to sit it out and ordered his men to tie their horses to his and guide him into the battle. As battle turned sour, he was advised to flee but he replied "Far be it that King of Bohemia should run away." He died fighting.


18. James Jakob Williams was an African-American marine who after fighting in the Second Barbary War (1815), traveled to Greece where slavery had been abolished. There, he fought for the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman empire. He died in 1829, a free man, in a free Greece.


19. A Seattle born athlete named Rebecca Twigg became a popular cyclist in 1980s. She won 6 world championships, 2 Olympics gold medals, appeared in Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, and numerous commercials. In 1996, however, Twigg abruptly dropped out of the sport, re-entered the workforce, had trouble holding down a desk job, became homeless and has been living on the street for years.


20. Migraines are 3 times more common in women than in men.


21Czernina Soup

There is a Polish soup called czernina that's made with duck blood and other ingredients. Traditionally, this soup was served to men who were rejected after asking for permission to wed their significant other.


22. Michael Jackson ordered his music video "Thriller" to be destroyed after being threatened with excommunication from his Jehovah's Witness faith. Michael later apologized and settled for the disclaimer at the start of the video.


23. Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller was an accomplished Olympic swimmer. In 1927, when he and his brother were swimming in Lake Michigan, they saw a boat capsize. They rescued at least 14 people and 11 of those people survived.


24. The Big Ben’s bell has a unique sound because it cracked in 1859, barely two months after its inauguration. The bell has since been oriented in such a way that the hammer doesn’t strike the ‘crack.’


25. During Germany's invasion of Russia, Joseph Goebbels sent a plea to the citizens of Germany to send in their winter clothing for the troops. This resulted in many Nazis on the grim Russian front wearing incongruously festive Christmas outfits.

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