Random #345 – 50 Awesome Random Facts

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1Lawn History

Traditional grass lawns originated as a status symbol for the wealthy. Neatly cut lawns used solely for aesthetics became a status symbol as it demonstrated that the owner could afford to maintain grass that didn't serve food production purposes.


2. At a 1915 auction, a man named Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge as a gift for his wife, but she hated it because she had sent him to buy a set of curtains. 3 years later, he gave it to his country on the conditions that the entrance fee would never cost more than a shilling and the locals could have free access.


3. During World War II, the United States published a spy manual urging middle managers in enemy territory to sabotage their employers by bringing up irrelevant issues, promoting bad workers, haggling over petty details, and holding unnecessary meetings.


4. George Washington lost as many battles as he won, but was the master of the Tactical Retreat. He accepted tactical defeats while working towards the strategic victory of the defeat of the British Armies in the Thirteen Colonies.


5. Programing the PC game Roller Coaster Tycoon in late 1990s required significant optimization of PC power and memory constraints at that time. As per designer Chris Sawyer, letting guests drown was simply easier than programming the alternative of allowing them to swim to shore.


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6Ostrich Breeding Problems

Ostrich farms routinely have difficulties getting male ostriches to breed, because they often find their human caretakers more attractive than female ostriches.


7. In 1898, a surgeon named August Bier tested a new form of anesthesia on his own assistant. He injected cocaine directly into the spine of his assistant, and to check how effective it was, he stuck a needle in his leg, hit him in the shins with a hammer, ripped off his pubic hair and even squeezed his testicles.


8. Airport runway numbers aren't sequential. They are based on compass bearings. Runway 9 would be 90 degrees, runway 27 is 270 degrees.


9. Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phone was so prone to exploding that Samsung released an update to brick any unreturned devices in 2016.


10. A robot fish was invented by the Researchers at University of Western Australia to mimic the natural predator of the 'mosquitofish.' It was so effective that it altered their behavior, physiology, and fertility, effectively "scaring them to death."


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11Smelly Paris Streets

There was so much excrement in the streets of 14th century Paris that multiple roads had names which originated from the French word for sh*t. To name a few, "merde": rue Merdeux, rue Merdelet, rue Merdusson, rue des Merdons, and rue Merdiere. There was also a rue de Pipi, or "Urine Street."


12. Male Goats urinate on their heads to smell more attractive to females.


13. The Tolkien Estate sued the creators of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ for using the words dragon, dwarf, elf, ent, goblin, hobbit, orc, balrog, and warg. As a result, all but hobbit, ent, and balrog were ruled as public domain.


14. When corn plants release water into the air, it is known as corn sweat. One acre of corn can release 3,000-4,000 gallons of water per day and can raise the humidity level by up to 10%.


15. A 2019 study showed that evening primrose plants can "hear" the sound of a buzzing bee nearby and produce sweeter nectar in response to it.


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16Washington's Tomb

The Capitol was designed to have George Washington's tomb on public display. Both houses passed bills saying he should be buried there, and his wife consented, but due to various delays, it took until 1830 for it to be viable. After an attempted theft of his head, the project was canceled.


17. After the death of ancient Greek athlete Theagenes, his rival athlete who held a grudge against him, beat his statue. The statue fell on his rival, killing him. The statue was then put on trial, convicted of murder, and exiled by being thrown into the sea.


18. There is no difference between "salt water taffy" and "regular taffy." It is simply a marketing gimmick in coastal regions with origins in Atlantic City.


19. Rowan Atkinson first tested his character Mr. Bean in front of a French-speaking audience at the Canadian ‘Just For Laughs’ festival in 1987. Atkinson insisted on performing for local French Canadians to see if Mr. Bean was funny to a non-English audience and people who didn't know him.


20. The Great Binge is the period in history covering roughly 1870 to 1914. It is so known because of the widespread use and availability of narcotics such as opium, heroin, cocaine, morphine, and absinthe.


21Nickname For Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philip's 'affectionate' nickname for queen Elizabeth was 'cabbage.'


22. Famed baseball player Al "The Hebrew Hammer" Rosen was also an amateur boxer and was known for challenging anyone who insulted his heritage or used anti-Semitic slurs, to fight. His preferred method for dealing with anti-Semitism was to 'Flatten them.'


23. The first documented mention of adults playing cricket came from 1611 when two men were fined 12d each for failing to attend church on Easter Sunday because they were playing cricket.


24. French secret service agents bombed the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" to stop Greenpeace from disrupting underwater nuclear testing in 1985.


25. During the filming of the Sopranos, when James Gandolfini needed to make Tony Soprano angry, he'd put a stone in his shoe to irritate him, which would then be displayed in his acting scene.

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