Random #336 – 50 Lesser Known Random Facts

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1Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse was founded in Tampa, Florida by 4 Americans who had never visited Australia. They simply saw an opportunity to ride the wave of popularity of all things Australian following the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee. Their concept was "American food and Australian fun."

2. Alan Turing, the cryptographer who was responsible for breaking the Nazi Enigma code during World War 2 was also an Olympic-level runner and he developed a new field of biology out of his fascination with daisies.

3. Harry Houdini had skepticism of anything mystical and had intense anger at miracle workers, spiritualists, and mediums that preyed on vulnerable people.

4. Dave Thomas, who was a mentee of Colonel Sanders, came up with the idea for the rotating bucket sign and having the Colonel appear on TV. Later in life, he later sold his stake in four of his franchises back to Sanders for $1.5 million and went on to establish a chain of restaurants called Wendy's.

5. Cats are neither nocturnal nor diurnal. They are crepuscular. They have a circadian rhythm such that they are most active during dusk and dawn (low-light hours).

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6Queen's Shoe Breaker

Queen's Shoe Breaker

Queen Elizabeth has an official shoe-wearer who breaks in her shoes so that they won’t give her blisters.

7. Virgin Atlantic found that they had a problem where their passengers kept stealing their popular salt and pepper shakers. Instead of removing them from the plane, they placed the words "pinched from Virgin Atlantic" at the bottom. The shakers then became dinner table conversation pieces and free advertisements.

8. Weezer's #1 hit, a cover of Africa by Toto, came to be because of a persistent 14-year-old who created a Twitter account and wouldn't stop asking the band to cover the song.

9. In 1714, the British government offered £20,000 (~£2 million today) to solve the longitude problem, which had cost thousands of lives due to a lack of ship positioning. A carpenter named John Harrison took up on the challenge, but it took him 40 years to make the perfect clock. His final version of the clock only lost 39.2 seconds over a voyage of 47 days.

10. The Mapuche of South America was one of the very tribes who successfully resisting Spanish control, staying independent for over 300 years. They called the Spaniards "New Incas," because they successfully resisted the Incan Empire as well. They were only subjugated in 1883.

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11Children's Television Act

Children's Television Act

The reason why many 90s cartoons had a shoehorned educational message for kids is because of the introduction of the 1991 "Children's Television Act" which required kid's TV programs to serve the "educational and informational" needs of children.

12. Geronimo was a prominent Apache leader and medicine man. Before he ever learned how to properly use a rifle, he would run at armed enemies in a zig-zag pattern until he was close enough to use his knife. He claimed that the mountain spirits spoke to him and said, "You will never die in battle, nor... by gun. I will guide your arrows."

13. In the '70s and '80s, dead acidic lakes were fairly common in the US, Europe, and Canada because of acid rain. The acidity in lakes killed all microbes and aquatic life, resulting in crystal clear water that allowed the lake bottom to be visible.

14. Batman: The Animated Series was drawn on black paper to make the city and its atmosphere feel dark.

15. Research has found that wearing glasses increases a political candidate's electoral success. Despite this, many politicians avoid them as they think it makes them look less attractive.

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16Lucile Carter (Titanic Survivor)

Lucile Carter (Titanic Survivor)

During the Titanic's sinking, Lucile Carter and her children were separated from her husband William Ernest Carter (an extremely wealthy American). When she met him again on the rescue ship Carpathia all he said was that he had a jolly good breakfast and that he never thought she would make it. They divorced less than two years later.

17. Global shark population was wiped out by up to 90% around 19 million years ago, even though there were no signs of sudden climatic or environmental changes.

18. Tapeworms can live inside you for up to 30 years and grow up to 80 feet long.

19. In 1914, a 17-year-old Princess Mary decided to distribute tin boxes containing small Christmas gifts to British Empire troops at the frontlines of World War 1. After trying to finance it from her allowance, she set up a fund, appealed to the public, and raised the equivalent of £17 million today.

20. The 1st Minnesota Infantry lost 82% of its fighting strength on July 2nd, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg. This is the largest loss by any surviving US military unit in a single day's engagement.

21Terminal Lucidity

Terminal Lucidity

"Terminal Lucidity" describes the phenomenon of brief return of mental clarity or memory, right before death, in people who suffer from severe dementia and other neurological disorders.

22. Due to the intense heat experienced while flying at 1350 mph, the Concorde's fuselage would expand by up to 12 inches. It was painted white to help dissipate heat.

23. Songwriter Joni Mitchell only released a greatest hits album, "Hits," on the condition that she released a "Misses" album to go with it.

24. Chuck E. Cheese was created by Nolan Bushnell, the Co-Founder of Atari Video Games as a way to open up arcade games to younger children.

25. In the late 1960s, the Lorillard Tobacco Company was successfully sued for sending company vans into housing projects to give out free Newport cigarettes to black children.

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