Random #337 – 50 Interesting Random Facts

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1Shatner's Kidney Stone

Shatner's Kidney Stone

In 2006, William Shatner sold his kidney stone for $25,000 to an online casino. Shatner then donated all the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the needy.

2. In 2013, JCPenney sold a stainless steel tea kettle that attracted controversy due to its perceived resemblance to Adolf Hitler.

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

4. During the Vietnam War, American soldiers often graffitied their helmets as a form of individual expression or protest. "Born to Kill," "War is Hell" and many other phrases were often overlooked by officers even though they were against the military code of conduct and dress code.

5. There is a form of tinnitus that others can hear. It's called objective tinnitus, in contrast to subjective tinnitus, because there is objectively a sound.

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6Princess Mary’s Gift

Princess Mary’s Gift

In 1914, Princess Mary, who was 17 at that time, decided to distribute tin boxes containing small Christmas gifts to British Empire troops at the frontlines in 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.

7. The Coconut Monk was a pacifist mystic who founded the Coconut Religion in Vietnam in 1963. He lived on an island, meditated in a palm tree for hours every day, had a cat and mouse as his companions, made shards of bombs into a gong, and went to prison for his opposition to the Vietnam War.

8. The Experimental Lakes Area in Canada is a research station comprising of 58 formerly pristine freshwater lakes which have been purposely polluted with everything from fertilizers to anti-depressants in order to study their effects on aquatic life. It is the only such site in the world.

9. There is 3,200-year-old Egyptian tablet which is a register of attendance at work. It also recorded excuses for why workers missed work.

10. Around 20% of the population of the Six Nation tribes fought during World War 2. The Choctaw language baffled German code breakers, and Iroquois, who had officially declared war during World War 1 and never made peace, officially declared war on Germany again during World War 2.

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11Otto Frederick Rohwedder

Otto Frederick Rohwedder

It took an Iowa man named Otto Frederick Rohwedder some 16 years to perfect and sell the first bread-slicing machine. A prototype made in 1912 was destroyed in a fire, and he didn't sell his first slicing machine until 1928. Within 5 years, 80% of bread sold in the U.S. was pre-sliced.

12. In 1879, Alabama dissolved the debt-ridden city of Mobile and simultaneously incorporated the 'Port of Mobile,' with most of Mobile's land and population but none of its debt. The Supreme Court ruled in 1886 that the new city was the successor to the old and still owned the debts.

13. "Mundane Science Fiction" is a sci-fi literary movement driven by creating plausible extensions of existing science and technology; situating stories on Earth or within the Solar System, thereby lacking the use of interstellar or intergalactic travel, and not considering contact with aliens.

14. Carl's Drive-In Barbecue became Carl's Jr. when the owner opened a smaller version of the restaurant geared to faster service, which eventually outsold and replaced the original.

15. A Montana man named Jack Ass sued MTV for $10 million in 2002, claiming that the show was plagiarizing his name. Jack Ass, whose birth name was Bob Craft, changed his name in 1997 to raise awareness for drunk driving after his brother and friend both died in a car accident.

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161755 Lisbon Earthquake

1755 Lisbon Earthquake

After the catastrophic Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, the city was rebuilt with the world's first anti-seismic architecture. All buildings were restricted in height, poles were driven into the riverbed to reinforce, and streets were made into wide boulevards.

17. Giraffes have sky-high blood pressure because of their long necks. 110/70 is the normal blood pressure for a large mammal. Giraffes have a blood pressure of 220/180.

18. In 1943, amid the Second World War, part of the maternity ward on the third floor of Ottawa’s Civic Hospital was declared "extraterritorial," i.e., it was no longer part of Canada, to clear the way for the birth of a Dutch princess. She is the only Princess born in North America.

19. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech reached 69 as a single on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

20. Washington Irving, who authored “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” had a huge impact on American culture. He popularized the name "Gotham" for New York City and is responsible for our perception of Santa Claus as he wrote, in 1812, about Saint Nicholas flying over treetops in a flying wagon.

21Roman Opałka

Roman Opałka

In 1965, painter Roman Opałka had the idea of representing the passing of time by painting numbers. He painted a 1, then a 2, then a 3, etc., and continued for the rest of his life. The last number he painted before he died in 2011 was 5607249.

22. After seeing American rock band ‘The Doors’ performance in 1967, Iggy Pop was inspired to push the boundaries of his stage performance. He was one of the first musicians to stage dive. On several occasions, he took massive amounts of drugs, exposed himself, rolled around in the glass, cut himself, and threw objects.

23. Pre-electricity theatre spotlights produced light by directing a flame at calcium oxide (quicklime). This mineral glows white when heated. These kinds of lights were called limelights and this is the origin of the phrase “in the limelight” to mean “at the centre of attention”.

24. Naming of North and South American continent in honor of Amerigo Vespucci was a result of a mistake by a German cartographer while making a map of the world in 1507. He thought Vespucci rather than Columbus was the explorer who discovered America after reading a document called Mundus Novus.

25. Before bacteria were genetically modified to make insulin, more than 1800 kg of pig parts were required to make just 0.23 kg of insulin for human use.

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