Random #343 – 50 Lesser-Known Random Facts

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1How Bob Kane Stole Batman

Batman's suit, arsenal of awesome gadgets, and the even his secret identity was not created by Bob Kane. Gotham City was not even created by him. All these creations belong to Bill Finger, who died penniless while Kane did everything he could to suppress Finger's involvement in creating the character.


2. Robin Williams was offered and accepted the role of The Joker in the 1989 film, "Batman." Warner Brothers had only made the offer to bait their first choice, Jack Nicholson, into signing on, which he eventually did. Williams was furious and demanded an apology from the film studio.


3. After basketball player Zion Williamson's foot ripped through his Nike shoe during a game, causing him to slip and sprain his knee, Nike's stock valuation dropped by $1.1 Billion the next day.


4. Pythagoras who postulated the ‘Pythagoras Theorem’ was a cult leader who claimed he could speak with animals, time travel and had an extreme hatred for fava beans.


5. Back in 1910, Citibank took over the national bank of Haiti, which besides being the sole commercial bank also served as the Haitian treasury. Then in 1915 after both withholding Haitian funds and paying rebels to destabilize the country, Citibank pressured the US Government to occupy Haiti.


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6Joseph Leidy

In 1846, Joseph Leidy was the first person to solve a crime using a microscope. A farmer claimed the blood on his clothes was chicken blood. Joseph Leidy showed that it was not chicken blood using a microscope.


7. Fairy dust was not mentioned in the original version of Peter Pan, but the author added it as a necessity to enable the children to fly because after reading his book, many children tried to fly from their beds and needed surgical attention.


8. Commercially produced Mayonnaise has a high enough acidity that bacterial growth associated with food-borne illnesses is slowed and the product doesn’t need to be refrigerated.


9. Before the Hoover Dam was built, there used to be a town where Lake Mead is now, called St. Thomas. The entire town was purchased by the federal government and abandoned. The water level of Lake Mead has fallen so much in recent years that parts of the town can be now be seen and explored (as of August 2022).


10. There are several “harbinger zip codes” in USA which are inhabited by people who tend to buy unpopular products that fail and tend to choose losing political candidates. Their home values also rise slower than surrounding zip codes. Many companies use these areas to predict market failures. This is a yet to be explained phenomena where people are "out of sync" with the rest of the population.


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11Mary Anning

A woman named Mary Anning discovered the first ichthyosaur fossil at the age of 12 with her brother. She would go on to discover many more fossils and revolutionize the science of paleontology. However, due to being a woman in the early 1800s, she rarely received full credit for her discoveries.


12. Born a slave, a Texas man named Bob Lemmons was an expert "Mustanger" in the 1800s. Freed from the Civil War, he learned to tame horses. Usually, herds of wild mustangs were run down by groups, but Lemmons worked alone. Riding with the herd for several weeks, he'd gradually take over, mount the stallion and lead the horses into a corral.


13. The city of Srivijaya was situated on Sumatra and ruled over Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia for over 600 years, but disappeared without a trace. Its location was recently uncovered when a fisherman on the River Musi discovered golden artifacts from the city caught in their nets.


14. Arthur Wharton, born in Ghana, in 1865, held the world record in the 100-yard track race for 30 years. He went on to be the world's first professional black soccer player, a cycling champion, a professional cricketer, and then a professional rugby player. He died penniless in 1930 and was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave.


15. Mongolian beef found in Chinese restaurants isn't Mongolian in origin. It comes from Mongolian BBQ shops in Taiwan. Mongolian BBQ-style restaurants were created by a Taiwanese entrepreneur in the 1950s.


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16Extra Edition

Extra Editions referred to a special paper which was issued outside the normal publishing schedule. It reported on important or sensational news which arrived too late for the regular edition.


17. After the Shah of Iran was overthrown, he was reluctantly given medical treatment in Panama. He was charged $21,000 a month for rent in Panama and they assigned to him a "militantly Marxist sociology professor" as a chief bodyguard who spent much of his time lecturing the Shah on how he deserved his fate.


18. Icebreaker ships don't crack ice with a sharp bow, rather they break it by first riding the bow up on top of the ice, and then crushing it to pieces underneath the ship's immense weight.


19. In 1893, financier J.P. Morgan and the Rothschilds bailed out the U.S. Treasury with 3.5 million ounces of gold, saving it from default. Over 100 years later, Morgan's bank was bailed out by the federal government during the 2008 financial crisis.


20. The “Woman in Gold” painting was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owners in 1941 and displayed at the Galerie Belvedere in Austria. The gallery refused to return the art to its original owners and in 2006 after 7 years of legal claim which included a hearing in front of Supreme Court of the United States, it was returned.


21Jimmy Eat World Song

The Jimmy Eat World song 'Hear You Me' was in tribute to Mykel and Carli Allan, arguably the biggest Weezer fans of all time. Often they would take in upcoming bands, including Jimmy Eat World. Sadly they died in a car accident, along with their sister, after leaving a Weezer concert.


22. When female manta rays are ready to mate they release pheromones that attract males. This leads to a "manta train" which consists of multiple male mantas following behind a female in hopes of mating with her. This can last for weeks until the final male mantas remain.


23. Polonium-210 in tobacco contributes to many cases of lung cancer worldwide.


24. Marion Franklin Tinsley once defeated a checkers playing program named Chinook by analyzing 64 moves into the future and picking the only available winning strategy, after Chinook made a fatal error during gameplay. Tinsley is considered to be the greatest checkers player who ever lived.


25. In car racing, there is a very dangerous fire called an “invisible fire” that’s caused by methanol fuel igniting. It usually gets all over the pit crew and is very hard to put out because it’s so hard to see the flames.

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