Random #330 – 50 Interesting Random Facts

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1Foie Gras

It is possible to have foie gras without force-feeding geese. One farm in Spain farm harvests wild geese that show up to eat fallen acorns and olives once a year. The high-fat content in nuts allows the wild geese to develop enlarged livers.


2. Before the bison were slaughtered in 1800s, Native Americans living in the plains were among the world’s tallest humans in the world. Just a generation later, the height of Native American tribes who depended on bison, dropped by over an inch.


3. Mushroom clouds can be caused by any powerful explosion, not just nuclear, and there are depictions of them in art since the 1700s.


4. In 1984, the city of Glasgow changed the name of St George's place to Nelson Mandela Place. This meant the South African consulate located there had to release official communication with an address bearing the name of South Africa’s most high-profile political prisoner.


5. During the Victorian period, because of fires, the average lifespan of a theater was under 20 years.


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6Nancy Bentley

A 6-year-old girl named Nancy Bentley was the first and youngest female ever to be enlisted in the Australian Navy. In 1920, the captain of the HMAS Sydney enlisted Nancy with the rank of Ship's Mascot so that the Navy could treat her for a poisonous snake bite. She was returned to her family and discharged 8 days later.


7. During World War 2, Gillette assisted the U.S. Army in military intelligence by producing copies of German razor blades for secret agents venturing behind German lines. They also manufactured razors that concealed money and escape maps in their handles and magnetic double-edge blades that were used as a compass.


8. Operation Meetinghouse was the single deadliest bombing raid in human history, even more, destructive than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. On 10 March 1945, United States bombers dropped incendiaries on Tokyo. It killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed 267,171 buildings.


9. Though illegal, sheep fighting is a popular sport in Algeria. No gambling is involved, but the loser is sentenced to slaughter while the winner has its value increased. They are even given names that inspire fear, like Hitler, Ebola, or Lawyer.


10. In 2009, Elton John's production company was developing a film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that would feature the Predator. It was going to be called Pride & Predator.


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11Mabel Fairbanks

Figure skater Mabel Fairbanks was banned from rinks as a child due to her African American and Native American ancestry. She went on to coach skating greats like Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Debi Thomas, and was the first African American in the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.


12. Poppy flowers became associated with the military after a Canadian poet was inspired by a field of poppies near a mass grave in Belgium following World War 1. The poppies grew there after the bombing and trench warfare churned up the soil, exposing dormant poppy seeds to the sunlight.


13. An American Pentecostal minister named George Hensley traveled throughout the Southern USA in the mid-20th century to spread the religious idea of the divine healing through snake bites. He died in 1955 as a result of a snake bite. The state of Kentucky subsequently passed laws prohibiting snakes from being used for religious purposes.


14. The Phil Collins album ‘No Jacket Required’ is named after an incident at a Chicago restaurant where Collins was denied admittance. Collins later appeared on TV denouncing the restaurant, who in turn, sent him a sport coat and an apology, saying he could come back wearing whatever he wanted.


15. A woman named Nancy Kerlin Barnett who died in 1831 was a descendant of Pocahontas. She was buried on a small hilltop in Indiana. When her grandson heard there were plans of demolishing her grave to build a road, he camped out with a shotgun for weeks to protect it. Authorities ended up building the road around her grave, which to this day remains there.


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16Blue Jay

The blue jay can be beneficial to other birds, as it may chase predatory birds and will scream if it sees a predator within its territory. It has also been known to sound an alarm call when hawks or other dangers are near, and smaller birds often recognize it and hide.


17. Many things were named after President Hoover during the Great Depression. There were many shanty towns named ‘Hoovervilles’, an empty out-turned pocket was called a ‘Hoover flag’, worn-out shoes were patched with cardboard known as ‘Hoover leather’, and a horse-drawn automobile was called a ‘Hoover wagon.’


18. Caffè sospeso is a tradition, which originated in Naples, whereby someone pays for two coffees, but only receives one, leaving a coffee to be given to anyone who walks in and inquires whether a caffè sospeso is available.


19. The regional hospital in Sundsvall, Sweden is cooled year-round with stored snow from the winter months, reducing energy consumption for cooling by over 90%.


20. The Palace of Justice in Belgium has been under renovation continuously since 1984. This is so long that even the scaffolding that has been in use for the renovation is now in need of renovation since it is dangerously rusty.


21Princess Märtha Louise

Princess Märtha Louise, the King of Norway's firstborn is a self-described 'clairvoyant'. She has started a school for communicating with angels and dead souls and is currently dating a self-described shaman.


22. Both the Department of Justice and the Library of Congress have tried to count the total number of Federal criminal laws in the United States. They were both unable to arrive at a definitive number.


23. There is a phenomenon called "Phantom Kangaroo" where people report seeing kangaroos, wallabies, and/or their footprints where there is no native population, such as France or the United States.


24. The B-29 Superfortress, which dropped the atomic bombs, cost $3 billion to develop. The entire Manhattan Project cost $1.9 billion. So making these planes was about 50% more expensive than the bombs themselves.


25. Babe Ruth got his nickname because Jack Dunn, the owner of the Orioles, was forced to legally adopt him at the age of 19 to remove him from a Jesuit school so he could sign his first professional contract. This led to his teammates calling him "Dunn's baby", which became "Babe."

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