Random #341 – 50 Amazing Random Facts

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1Einstein's Most Iconic Photo

Einstein’s iconic photo, in which he is sticking his tongue out, was his annoyed reaction to the paparazzi goading him to smile on his 72nd birthday. It achieved cult status mostly because Einstein himself asked for a cropped version, ordered many prints, and proceeded to send them to friends.


2. There are over 350 recognized pasta types in Italy today, but in the 13th century, there were 4 main types: spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni, and gnocchi.


3. A high percentage of NASA astronauts were once Boy Scouts. Of the 312 selected as astronauts, at least 207 have been active in scouting. Of the 24 to travel to the moon, 20 were scouts, including 11 of the 12 moonwalkers, and all three members of the crew of Apollo 13.


4. Because Pillsbury forced "The Great British Bake Off" to be called "The Great British Baking Show" in the US, a lot of creative editing had to be done to obscure the logo in the show, including using computer-assisted VFX to change the text on the trophy.


5. In France it is illegal to disinherit one's children. This means that a particular share of the deceased’s estate is legally required to be inherited by their children.


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6Madagascar

Approximately 1200 years ago, Madagascar was settled by a small population of no more than 30 women, most of whom were of Indonesian descent. These 30 women are the ancestors of all native Malagasy people today.


7. The feeling of "impending doom" is an official symptom of a wrong blood type transfusion. In fact, an unexplainable sense of impending doom is regarded as a symptom for many life-threatening medical crises such as anaphylaxis and heart attack, and can present before any physical symptoms are detectable.


8. A 1982 Harvard study confirmed that Tibetan monks can raise their body temperature with their minds. Practitioners of "g-tummo" yoga demonstrated the ability to raise the temperature of different parts of their bodies through meditation alone.


9. Julie Andrews was snubbed for the starring role in the film ‘My Fair Lady’, yet took home the Oscar for the same year for Mary Poppins, while Audrey Hepburn wasn't nominated.


10. The Mapogo Lion Coalition was a brutal pack of 6 lions who feasted across Africa and took over 170,000 acres of land in 2006. They killed 100 lions and cubs in a year, split up briefly after arguments, and died protecting each other in a final battle.


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11Evil Grimace

The character of Grimace who has featured in many McDonald's commercials was originally introduced as "Evil Grimace," who had four arms and would steal milkshakes.


12. The fictional tequila ‘Zafiro Añejo’ which was featured in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul was created by the writers because they couldn't get a real brand to do product placement due to a scene where several people die after drinking it.


13. A man named Alexis St. Martin did not properly heal after being shot in the stomach. He then participated in experiments for 12 years as doctors could view his digestion in real-time through his wound. He went on to live for another 58 years.


14. The largest structure in the universe is the Hercules - Corona Borealis Great Wall (10 billion light-years). It would take light 72.4% of the time which has elapsed since the big bang to traverse this structure.


15. Rod Stewart had such terrible stage fright during his first concert in America that he hid behind the amplifiers while singing. It took a shot of brandy to get him out. Decades later, he set the record for playing at the largest free rock concert in history, in front of 3.5 million people.


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16Varangians, Men of Oath

Vikings served as the personal bodyguard of the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. They were known as the "Varangians, Men of Oath."


17. Dr. Seuss studied English at the University of Oxford, with a plan to eventually become a professor there but dropped out when he realized drawing was his only passion. He then moved back to the US to become a cartoonist.


18. The white stringy stuff on citrus fruit is called 'pith' and it is healthy to eat as it contains as much Vitamin C as the actual fruit.


19. The earliest Sony Walkman models had two separate headphone jacks labeled "guys" and "gals" so you could share your music with others and not come off as being antisocial.


20. "True History" is a short satirical novel which was written in the 2nd century A.D. by Greek author Lucian of Samosata and it is considered by some to be the oldest Sci-fi novel in history. It features Lucian traveling to the moon, getting embroiled in a war between the moon and sun, and meeting the heroes of the Illiad.


21Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson and his wife Eliza were married by Mordecai Lincoln. Mordecai Lincoln was first cousins with Thomas Lincoln, the father of future President Abraham Lincoln. Johnson went on to become Abraham Lincoln's Vice President, succeeding him as President after his assassination.


22. During the Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt started construction of tidal dams in Passamaquoddy and Cobscook bays, on Maine’s border with New Brunswick, to generate electricity using the gigantic tides from the Bay of Fundy called the Quoddy Tidal Power Project. It was supposed to produce enough electricity to power much of Maine. After the initial funding dried up, the project was abandoned.


23. More than 250 houses in England have roofs which have base coats of thatch that were applied over 500 years ago. Almost all of these roofs are thatched with wheat or rye, which produced durable straw for the roof and grain for baking bread.


24. The Lilliput effect refers to the hypothesis that the body size of an animal species decreases after it survives a major extinction.


25. During the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, soldiers had to rely on tourist maps with grid lines hand-drawn on them, and use copies of 'The Economist' magazine for intelligence as the invasion was ordered on such short notice.

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