Random #338 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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26When Rugby Ruled

Due to rising yearly deaths in American football (18 in 1905, 26 by 1909) colleges in California switched their predominant game to rugby. By 1920 all colleges went back to American football. However, their expertise in Rugby helped the USA win the rugby gold medal in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games.


27. Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib was an 14th century Andalusian polymath who proposed the idea of transmissible diseases. More precisely, he proposed that the Bubonic Plague was transmitted from person to person, centuries before Louis Pasteur and John Snow.


28. In 1925, William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters of a Spanish monastery, had it dismantled brick by brick, and shipped it all to the US. The pieces sat in a Brooklyn warehouse for 26 years until two entrepreneurs bought them and rebuilt the structure in North Miami.


29. On the eve of the Beatles' 1964 World Tour, Ringo Starr was hospitalized with tonsillitis. Instead of canceling the tour, session drummer Jimmie Nicol was hired as a stand-in. Nicol played with the band for the first 7 shows before Ringo recovered and reunited with the band.


30. During the Falklands War, the British Royal Navy killed 3 whales with torpedoes and depth charges after mistaking them for Argentinian submarines.


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31The Truman Show

The Truman Show was originally a dark thriller that took place in a New York-style city. It took many drafts of the script to arrive at the comedy-drama that eventually made it to screen.


32. Franklin D. Roosevelt was 39 years old when he contracted "infantile paralysis," the contemporary name for polio.


33. Dogs can be trained to sniff out electronics. Triphenylphosphine oxide is a chemical used in the manufacturing process of electronics as it prevents overheating and dogs can be trained to sniff this chemical.


34. Cleopatra was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn to read, write, and converse in Egyptian. She could also speak 7 languages.


35. The rusty-spotted cat is a very rare wild cat native to India and Sri Lanka. Referred to as the hummingbird of the cat family, they weigh in at 2-4 pounds and are thought to be the smallest wild cat species.


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36Paul Ramon

The Ramones took their name from Paul Ramon, the fake name Paul McCartney used to check into hotel rooms during the height of The Beatle's fame.


37. Timothy Olyphant was originally offered the role of Dominic Toretto in The Fast and The Furious. Olyphant passed thinking the movie would bomb at the box office and the role was given to Vin Diesel


38. "Guerilla Ontology" is a term coined by Robert Anton Wilson. Its purpose is to expose a dogmatic individual to radically unique ideas, thoughts and words. As a consequence, that person will experience cognitive dissonance and have their beliefs about reality challenged.


39. Until 1929, the legal age of marriage in England and Wales was 14 for males and 12 for females. With ‘The Age of Marriage Act’ released in 1929, it increased to 16 with the consent of the parents or the guardian, and to 21 without that consent.


40. The White House built a vinyl record collection during the administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter from more than 2,000 donated albums. It is a time capsule of 1970s trends. Among others, the collection includes records of Pat Boone, Barry Manilow, John Denver, the Beatles, Isaac Hayes, The Clash, and Elvis Costello.


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41Black Footed Ferrets

In 1979, Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until, in 1981, a Wyoming ranch dog brought home a black-footed ferret. Researchers discovered the last 120 ferrets in Meeteetse, Wyoming.


42. In an effort to keep morale high for World War 2 troops fighting in the Pacific, the British built a floating brewery and dispatched it to the South Seas.


43. Based on fossil evidence, the longest crocodile ever to live was a Sarcosuchus imperator, who measured 40 feet long and weighed 17,600 pounds.


44. Harvard sentences are 720 sample sentences, in sets of 10, which are phonetically balanced and used for testing phone and voice-to-text systems.


45. The Shunganunga boulder is a 23-ton red quartzite rock, which was moved by glaciers from the Dakotas to Kansas hundreds of thousands of years ago. The boulder is sacred to the Kanza tribe (expelled from the state named after them) and the word Shunganunga translates to "Big Red Rock" in their language.


46Green Orchid Bee

Bees come in colors other than yellow. There are green, blue, and gray varieties that also exist, such as the Green Orchid bee, the Blue Calamintha bee, and the Ashy Mining bee.


47. The state of Florida has a Python Elimination Program where they pay by length for individuals to hunt pythons.


48. One of the original titles considered for the first Fast & Furious movie was "Race Wars."


49. The "Inventio Fortunata" is a lost book that described the North Pole as a magnetic island surrounded by a giant whirlpool and four continents. It is believed to be written in the 14th century and its influence on maps of the Arctic region persisted into the 16th and 17th centuries.


50. Peanuts grow through a process called "pegging," in which the "peg" of the plant penetrates the soil.

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