Random #346 – 50 Fascinating Random Facts

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1Netherland's Sandite

Netherland's Sandite

Trains have sandboxes which dispense sand immediately in front of the drive wheels to give the locomotive traction on steep or slippery rails. Netherlands however doesn't use sand for their trains, but a mixture called Sandite. It is a gel consisting of sand, anti-freeze, and steel shots. It is often dispensed by the first passenger trains of the day to combat leaf slipperiness.


2. Andromachi Papanikolaou was the wife of the man who invented the Pap smear. She volunteered to have her cervix sampled every day for 21 years to help with his research. Their findings went on to save the lives of millions of women by preventing the development of cervical cancer through early detection.


3. Mount Thor in Canada has the world's longest vertical drop. If you fell off it, you would fall for over a kilometer before you hit anything. This though is not the steepest vertical drop in our solar system. That record belongs to the Verona Rupes cliff on Miranda, a moon of Uranus. Its cliff face is estimated to be 12 miles high.


4. In the movie Arachnophobia, they named the largest spider Big Bob, which was a bird-eating spider. They named it after Robert Zemeckis. Big Bob was adopted by a crew member named Jamie Hyneman, who went on to host Myth busters in the future. The little ones were controlled using a hairdryer and lemon pledge spray.


5. A man named Frank Goldsmith who survived the RMS Titanic disaster, ended up living near a baseball stadium in Detroit. He hated game days because the sound of the cheering crowd reminded him of the screaming people in the water during the Titanic’s sinking.


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6Kollut, The Poisonous Yam

Kollut, The Poisonous Yam

During World War, the Obo Monuvo tribe of the Philippines fought the Japanese invasion by serving them "Kollut." It is a poisonous yam that can only be eaten after being subjected to several tedious processes. The Japanese had no idea about the poison, and they were hacked to death by the tribes after they stopped moving from the poison.


7. The first flight attendant in the world was Heinrich Kubis, who started working as a waiter on a zeppelin in 1912. He was on board during the Hindenburg disaster, and survived.


8. The artist who created Mike Tyson's face tattoo sued Warner Bros because the same design was used on Ed Helms' face in 'Hangover II'. The artist had previously copyrighted the image and Warner Bros ended up settling the lawsuit out of court.


9. The city of Yuma in Arizona is known as the sunniest city on earth. It has sunlight for more than 4000 hours a year, meaning at least 90% of their year consists of sunny days.


10. Members of Black Sabbath once almost killed their drummer Bill Ward, by painting him in gold paint and lacquer when he passed out after a night of drinking.


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11Franja Partisan Hospital

Franja Partisan Hospital

During World War 2, there was a secret hospital for 120 patients in Slovenia that was hidden in a forest. It remained secret for over 2 years, despite fervent attempts by Nazi forces to find it. It was never discovered. Now it's a museum candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


12. In the early '70s, a cannabis strain named "Acapulco Gold" was so popular at Columbia University that the college had a dedicated smuggling route via Austin, Texas.


13. The Bodhi fig tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is the oldest tree on Earth with a known planting date. It was planted in 288 B.C. by an Indian Princess. The sapling was taken from the original tree where Buddha found enlightenment. This tree is honored every year on December's full moon.


14. The term "Seeing Eye Dog" only applies if the dog was trained by the non-profit group "The Seeing Eye" of Morristown, New Jersey. If the dog wasn't trained there, it is simply referred to as a "guide dog".


15. Kevin Peter Hall who played 'Predator' opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Predator movie, could not see out of the predator mask. He had to rehearse his scenes with it off and memorize where everything was.


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16Welcome Stranger, Golden Nugget

Welcome Stranger, Golden Nugget

Largest gold nugget ever to be found was a 97-kilogram nugget which was discovered in Australia in 1869. The nugget which became known as the ‘Welcome Stranger’ wasn’t discovered deep beneath the earth in a mine. It was discovered only 3 cm below the surface.


17. Consumption of the Australian aquatic fern called Nardoo can cause you to starve if improperly prepared. The plant contains vast quantities of an enzyme that obliterates thiamine (vitamin B1), making your body unable to unlock energy from food, even if eating a full nutritious diet.


18. Air Conditioning was invented in 1902 to dry printing ink, but it became popular after installation in a movie theatre in New York 20 years later.


19. The Cities of Tampa and Miami have a rivalry over where the Cuban Sandwich was first invented and Tampa passed a resolution in 2012 naming it the official sandwich of the city.


20. Special effects had to be employed in Martin Scorsese's documentary film “The Last Waltz.” It was about “The Band's” farewell concert and special effects had to be employed due to the visible amount of cocaine being present on Neil Young's nose during his performance.


21Baby Freckles

Baby Freckles

No babies are born with freckles because they haven't been in the sun long enough for specks to develop.


22. The McDonald Observatory in Texas has 7 bullet holes in it its primary mirror, which was shot by a newly hired employee who was apparently very dissatisfied with his new job. The damage it caused however only reduced its effectiveness by 1% approximately.


23. Mary Louvestre was an African-American Civil War spy, who delivered details about the construction of the Confederacy's first ironclad into Union hands. Using her seamstress skills, she traced plans her employer had.


24. In the 20th century there was a female criminal gang called the Forty Elephants. Due to conventional ideas of femininity that women were weaker than men, courts believed it was impossible for women to be orchestrators of crime. Most of the women in the gang were assumed to have played supporting roles and received lesser sentences.


25. If you bought a lottery ticket in 16th century England it came with the added bonus of getting a 'get out of jail free card.' Every participant was granted immunity from one arrest, as long as the crime wasn't extremely serious, like murder or treason.

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