Random #335 – 50 Interesting Random Facts

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1David Bowie

David Bowie

When David Bowie died in 2016, the German government thanked him for a concert he held in Berlin in 1987, stating it was a major reason Berlin was unified and tore down the Berlin wall.

2. After Lance Armstrong was stripped of his wins due to the doping scandal, seven successive Tour de France races (1999-2005) were officially declared without winners as so many riders who finished behind Armstrong were also associated with doping offenses.

3. During the medieval era, people shared their bed with the entire family and even the occasional overnight visitor. Only the very rich could afford more than one bed and poor people just slept on piles of cloth or hay on the floor.

4. American actor Val Kilmer has lost his voice, quite literally. His throat cancer has destroyed his voice completely. The only way he may ever speak again is through a computer program.

5. The gesture of genteel men resting one hand inside their jacket signals a calm demeanor and good breeding.

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6Snake Venom

Snake Venom

Unlike poison, snake venom is generally not effective when swallowed, since venom is meant to go directly into the bloodstream to cause damage.

7. There is a thriving population of wild parrots in ‘The Bronx.’ These birds are Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus). They were introduced to the area because of the pet trade, but have since called it their home by creating their nests on the warm lights present on baseball fields. They have since spread across the boroughs, and even Manhattan.

8. Dr. Seuss's first book "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" was rejected by 27 publishers. He decided to destroy the book but randomly bumped into an old friend who had just become a children's book editor, who asked to look at it and ended up publishing it.

9. M.B. Skaggs, the founder of Safeway Supermarkets was a preacher who felt credit purchases were evil and named his cash-only stores to promote the "safe way to shop."

10. In 1940, Hitler decided to change the name of the battle cruiser "Deutschland" to "Lützow" recognizing that the sinking of a warship was a propaganda disaster if it bore the name of its country.

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11Blockbuster's Failure in Japan

Blockbuster's Failure in Japan

In the early '90s, Blockbuster video's attempt to enter Japan failed due in part to their business strategy of "Wholesome Home Entertainment" not accounting for the popularity in Japan of extreme horror films, or the fact that adult entertainment accounted for 35% of the Japanese video market.

12. In 1986, divers at the wreck of the Titanic discovered there was no large gash in the hull as originally expected. Instead, it is believed that the iceberg simply loosened or buckled seams in the hull of the "unsinkable" ship.

13. American comedian and actor Tommy Davidson who is popular for his role "In Living Color," was abandoned in a pile of trash when he was just 18 months old. He was rescued and adopted by a white family.

14. In the 1960s, the US government dug a mile-deep hole in the ground and dropped a 40-kiloton atomic bomb to release natural gas. It worked, but the gas was too radioactive to use, and the project was abandoned.

15. The infamous sound German JU-87 dive bombers (Stuka Dive) made while in a dive is due to a siren installed on the plane, and not just the sound of the plane diving on a bomb run.

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16Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon

Actress Susan Sarandon who played a cellist named Jane in the 1987 movie, "The Witches of Eastwick," learned only after being cast that she would have to quickly learn how to play the cello. She was also told that she would be sued if she left the production.

17. The cruise ship MS Oasis of the Seas gets gas mileage of 437 gallons per mile (GPM), or 12 feet per gallon.

18. The Oingo Boingo (Little Girls) song was originally banned in Canada and was named "the creepiest music video of all time" by The Independent.

19. During the 1850s, Ginger ale was invented by an apothecary named Thomas Cantrell in Belfast. In the 1890s, a Canadian chemist and pharmacist named John J. McLaughlin added flavor extracts to his version and so ‘Canada Dry’ was created. It became a hit in the prohibition-era US as a mixer for cocktails.

20. In 1965, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang refused to take part in an Anti-Vietnam War rally in Oakland, CA, and actually wrote to President Johnson offering to serve there as a "crack group of trained guerillas."

21Hedonic Treadmill

Hedonic Treadmill

The hedonic treadmill is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

22. The 1947 classic children’s book "Goodnight Moon" wasn't carried at the New York Public Library for 25 years because it was hated by Anne Carroll Moore, the children’s librarian of the famed institution.

23. USS Red Rover (1859) was a 650-ton Confederate States of America steamer that the United States Navy captured. After refitting the vessel, the Union used it as a hospital ship during the American Civil War.

24. In ancient China, pillows were made out of different materials such as jade, wood, or bamboo. A jade pillow was thought to make one smarter. Hard pillows were also preferred because of this belief. People then also thought soft pillows stole their energy while they were asleep.

25. 'Log Cabin Presidents' were US 7 presidents who had 'humble' origins by virtue of being born in a log cabin. The last of them was James Garfield who was assassinated after 200 days in the office.

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