Random #354 – 50 Unbelievable Random Facts

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1 Cherokee Writing System

Cherokee Writing System

The Cherokee writing system was made by one man, Sequoyah. It’s one of the only times in history that someone in a non-literate group invented an official script from scratch. Within 25 years, nearly 100% of Cherokee were literate, and it inspired dozens of indigenous scripts around the world.

2. The USA was supposed to adopt the metric system, but the ship carrying the standardized meter and kilogram was hijacked by pirates in 1793, and the measurements never made it to the States.

3. In 1998, part of the hull of the Titanic was recovered and is now displayed at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas. Visitors are given a “boarding pass” with the name of a passenger and find out the fate of their passenger at the end of the exhibition.

4. Warren Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway purely out of spite. In the 1960s, it was a failing textile company in which he wanted to sell his stake. When its president lowballed him, he bought the whole company just to fire him. In 2010, he said it was the biggest investment mistake he ever made.

5. Ken Fritz is an audiophile who has spent close to 30 years developing in his home what he and others consider the world’s greatest stereo sound system and listening room, which boasts 35,000 watts, nine-foot-tall speakers, and a 1,500-pound turntable.

6 RZA’s Ice Cream Truck Jingle

RZA's Ice Cream Truck Jingle

The ice cream truck jingle most Americans grew up with was often used in minstrel shows, so RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan) created a new, publicly available ice cream truck jingle that the ice cream trucks can now use for free.

7. Free divers’ heart rates can drop as low as 11 beats per minute (as low as that of diving seals, whales, and dolphins) in order to preserve blood-oxygen levels.

8. There were 121 witnesses to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and 51 of them thought shots were fired from the grassy knoll. In another study of 64 witnesses, more than half said they heard gunshots coming from the knoll.

9. In 1988, with the 1,390th pick, the Dodgers drafted Mike Piazza because the manager of the team owed a favor to Piazza’s father. Piazza ended up staying in the league for 16 years and is known as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball history.

10. When John F. Kennedy was shot in the head, doctors gave him a blood transfusion in an attempt to save him. This is standard procedure because a gunshot to the head is not always a death sentence. Around 42% of civilians shot in the head survive. Even when the wound causes massive brain trauma, it’s survivable.

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11 Devil’s Hole Pupfish

Devil's Hole Pupfish

Devil’s Hole Pupfish is a critically endangered and rare fish species. They live exclusively in “Devil’s Hole,” a single, tiny pool of water of unknown depth, roughly 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. As of September 2022, only 263 were left in the wild.

12. When bears hibernate, they “hold it in” for almost half a year. This is due to a fecal plug that forms in their lower intestine and prevents them from pooping while hibernating.

13. The first known résumé was written by Leonardo da Vinci when he applied to be a military engineer for the Duke of Milan. It was mainly just a list of his designs for siege weapons (including trebuchets). He briefly also mentioned, “In painting, I can do everything possible.” He got the job.

14. The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was written by Frank Loesser to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at parties to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.

15. Mice don’t actually like cheese and are even repelled by many cheeses due to the smell. If they’re hungry enough, they’ll try to eat anything, but they won’t actively seek out cheese.

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16 Cheryl Gates McFadden

Cheryl Gates McFadden

Cheryl Gates McFadden (who played Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation) was Director of Choreography on The Labyrinth (1986). She goes by Cheryl McFadden when doing choreography, and Gates McFadden when it’s an acting role.

17. Senator William Alden “Watertight” Smith, who led the US investigations into the sinking of the Titanic, famously asked why passengers couldn’t take shelter in watertight compartments.

18. During World War 2, workers at Henry Ford’s Willow Run aircraft factory built an astounding 8,685 B-24 bombers in three years. No one had ever manufactured airplanes on such a scale before. At its peak in 1944, it produced a B-24 every hour.

19. While filming Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Graham Chapman developed delirium tremens (DTs) from a lack of alcohol on set. Even with treatment, DTs can be fatal. They typically affect habitual drinkers who have consumed 0.5 liters of liquor or 7-8 pints of beer per day for at least 10 years.

20. Gilles Garnier was a recluse who lived in a forest in France in the 1500s. Due to his lifestyle, he had trouble finding food, so he began hunting children and eating them raw, like an animal. People initially thought the attacks were done by a werewolf, so he was convicted of lycanthropy and witchcraft and burned at the stake in 1573.

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

21 Michelin Star

Michelin Star

Restaurants can lose their Michelin star(s). If there is an inconsistency and things become less than satisfactory in an awarded restaurant, Michelin stars can be taken away. Gordon Ramsay once equated losing his Michelin stars in 2014 to breaking up with a girlfriend.

22. Thomas Edison tried to discredit Nikola Tesla’s work with AC electricity by killing dogs, cats, cows, horses, and even an elephant with AC electricity.

23. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. When you eat slowly, your brain has plenty of time to send the message that you’re full.

24. After the Titanic sank, one of its crewmen, Herbert Pitman, made an attempt to row his lifeboat over to rescue people in the water but was overruled by the other occupants of the boat, who were worried about people swarming them and duly complied. Pitman said that this haunted him throughout his life.

25. Movie theater sound quality was greatly improved thanks to Star Wars. The audio quality of “Return of the Jedi” was generally inconsistent or low in movie theaters. George Lucas then co-created THX to fully project the audio quality of the film.

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  1. RE: Fact# 8 – JFK’s Assassination Witnesses: “knoll” is a word that I never read/hear in any context other than the Kennedy assassination.

    • It was one of the eyewitnesses, I believe the woman in the red rain coat (Jean Hill I think) said the shots came from “that grassy knoll over there” she said it while people were still running up the hill to find the shooter like a minute after it happened. The name stuck.

        • No, no smoking guns or any evidence to support the grassy knoll theory. There is even some (not so great) footage of the knoll and it doesn’t really support a shooter being over there.

          My favorite theory of what happened was by a ballistics expert (and a super legit expert not some tin foil hat guy) who determined that the fatal shot was an accidental discharge from the secret service vehicle riding behind the president. The vehicle jerked to accelerate as the service member stood up and was holding the rifle and that was what accounted for the fatal shot on the president. It would explain some of the people thinking the shot came from the grassy knoll as it would be (for many) in the same direction, it also explains why gun powder could be smelled at ground level by many accounts.

          Certainly that shot is one in a million but it’s one of the few conspiracies i believe and things with even incredibly small odds do happen, I believe this was one of them. The reason I personally looked for an alternative theory is the trajectory of the shot through the presidents skull made literally zero sense to have been 6 stories up, like it seemed common sense to me. I guess this ballistics expert thought the same, crunched all the numbers and evidence and came to this conclusion, I agree with it. A few years after the murder ABC did a test to determine whether Oswald could do the shooting alone and they invited several experts, including the ballistics expert who came to the conclusion above, and he was the best performing marksman of all invited. So really, he was not a random dud.

          There will be people that argue against the theory, and rightfully so, but I wish it got more attention as there is almost no discussion about that particular theory on message boards/Reddit/anywhere. The book is called “Mortal Error” and there was a super good documentary about it on YouTube a few years back I think, but I can’t find it anymore (sus).

  2. RE: Fact# 11 – Devil’s Hole Pupfish: They also mysteriously trigger breeding during distant earthquakes and scientists don’t quite know why

  3. RE: Fact# 7 – Free Divers’ Heart Rate: The sensation of needing air is actually from carbon dioxide levels getting too high.

    There is no sensation (comparable to sensation to breath) for oxygen.

    generally speaking people can hold their breath for minutes (meaning without training), however yield to the overwhelming sensation to breath. not from lack of oxygen but from too much CO2.

    • Yes this is also what makes most inert gases so dangerous in large quantities is that your body won’t actually realize something is displacing it’s oxygen supply. It’s also why if you’ve ever been around dry ice, inhaling the gas will almost immediately trigger the response that tells you you can’t breathe

    • It’s also a common reason people black out and drown in pools, even ones shallow enough to stand up in. People who spend enough time swimming figure out pretty quickly that they can hold their breath longer if they first take a bunch of big breaths in and out real quick before they dive. But that doesn’t let you hold more oxygen, it just flushes a lot of carbon dioxide out of your blood stream so it isn’t building up in your lungs as fast and isn’t giving you the sensation of “I need to take a breath now”. So you just happily use up all your oxygen without any idea you’re about to run out of it.

  4. RE: Fact# 11 – Devil’s Hole Pupfish: Cool Story: There’s another hole in Devil’s hole called Owen’s hole with of course an Owens Hole pupfish, and back in the day they retrieved the entire population to attempt captive breeding, as they were hauling them out to the vehicle a fishery scientist famously (in the fish world) said, “I hold extinction in a bucket”.

    • When you breed these fish outside of their pools with more food and better conditions their morphology changes and they get much larger. These fish are all that’s left of an ancient sea that slowly dried up eventually stranding them in these pools. So are we saving them by leaving them where they are or moving them to better conditions because their growth is severely impacted by their living conditions.

      Fun fact: Charlie Manson would take acid and hang out at Devils Hole while living at Spahn ranch which was nearby.

      We don’t know how deep Devils hole is no one has successfully dived to the bottom and it’s now a protected area so no more diving in the future as it disturbs the fish.

  5. RE: Fact# 8 – JFK’s Assassination Witnesses: Dennis McFadden with Center of Perceptual Systems at the University of Texas at Austin summarized:

    “Localizing the origin of a supersonic gunshot is not easy under optimal conditions. On the day of the JFK assassination, the earwitnesses present were startled, surprised, confused, disbelieving, excited, and likely scared, so there is little wonder that their perceptions were inconsistent, and with the passage of time, fluid. Once the confusing acoustics of supersonic bullets and the vagaries of human sound localization are taken into account, the widespread uncertainty amongst the earwitnesses to the assassination becomes more understandable.”

    • Same happened at that awful Vegas shooting, witnesses thought there were multiple shooters but it was just acoustics bouncing off other hotels.

      • I heard that too and that’s a good point.

        What concerns me, and I don’t know if the first commenter intended this or not, the post gives off the impression that there is a conspiracy here. I don’t want to say this was intended, I don’t know, but the first thing I though of when I read this post was how this is a good example of how conspiracies start or are continued.

    • I’ve never in my life heard the word/term “earwitness” before and honestly thought it was a typo. I’m surprised to find out it’s real but it makes complete sense since it’s a witness who heard something rather than saw. Always something new to be learned every second.

      • My wife was a witness to a murder, and was both an ear witness and eye witness. My wife’s statement to the police was that she saw someone running and getting into a car and that she was looking that way because she heard something that sounded like a car running over a glass bottle.

        Well the murderer shot the person through the glass window of their car which caused the pop + breaking of glass sound. She then saw the guy fleeing and was able to identify him.

        During the trial I was really surprised at how much time they spent on what she heard and her description of the sound. I just assumed the visual ID was all that mattered but they spent equal amounts outlining the sound she described.

        That dude was so F’d though. My wife’s attention to detail is almost otherworldly and the defense attorney just asked one question, shrugged a little and was done.

  6. RE: Fact# 10 – JFK’s Blood Transfusion: I’m an emergency physician, and I feel like people will take this fact the wrong way. The truth is trauma resuscitation is very algorithmic, and for penetrating head trauma you would be surprised how many patients never experience cardiac death from their trauma. Neuroprognostication in general and brain death diagnosis specifically are never going to be done in a trauma bay. There is no role for it. The patient is going to receive the “standard of care” regardless. That may consist of very little when the patient is in cardiac arrest with obvious, severe injuries and shows no response to intial interventions. In JFK’s case, they basically continued chest compressions, secured his airway surgically, and gave volume rescuscitation (blood transfusion), and then called time of death 12 minutes after he arrived. I’ve seen plenty of patients with gunshot wounds to the head make it out of the hospital alive.

    My point is giving JFK a blood transfusion in that situation is part of the standard of care and is fairly normal. Same with a surgical airway and a few rounds of CPR. After none of those interventions achieved return of spotaneous circulation, they stopped and declared him dead. He received the best and most appropriate trauma care, and I don’t think much would have been different were it John Doe coming to Parkland with the same injuries.

    • Heck, we even have an example of another politician getting shot in the head and making it out. (Gabby Giffords) As a speech therapist, watching her recovery has been pretty amazing. I feel bad for her lingering aphasia, it’s so hard. But DANG she came so far

      • Also James Brady, though when he passed away in 2014 his death was ruled a homicide, due to the bullet he took 33 years earlier.

    • It’s kind of similar to what paramedics have to do when they arrive on site. They need to perform the standard procedure with almost no exceptions, as they cannot declare the person dead. If I remember correctly, at least here, the only exceptions are if the person is decomposing, beheaded, or completely charred.

      This means that they need to do CPR to bodies that barely look like a human, unfortunately. Of with their head cracked open by a fall from the window.

  7. RE: Fact# 13 – First Known Résumé: The letter:

    My Most Illustrious Lord,

    Having now sufficiently seen and considered the achievements of all those who count themselves masters and artificers of instruments of war, and having noted that the invention and performance of the said instruments is in no way different from that in common usage, I shall endeavour, while intending no discredit to anyone else, to make myself understood to Your Excellency for the purpose of unfolding to you my secrets, and thereafter offering them at your complete disposal, and when the time is right bringing into effective operation all those things which are in part briefly listed below:

    1. I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy.
    2. I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain, to remove water from the moats and how to make an infinite number of bridges, mantlets and scaling ladders and other instruments necessary to such an enterprise.
    3. Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by bombardment either because of the height of the glacis or the strength of its situation and location, I have methods for destroying every fortress or other stranglehold unless it has been founded upon a rock or so forth.
    4. I have also types of cannon, most convenient and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon will instil a great fear in the enemy on account of the grave damage and confusion.
    5. Also, I have means of arriving at a designated spot through mines and secret winding passages constructed completely without noise, even if it should be necessary to pass underneath moats or any river.
    6. Also, I will make covered vehicles, safe and unassailable, which will penetrate the enemy and their artillery, and there is no host of armed men so great that they would not break through it. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow, quite uninjured and unimpeded.
    7. Also, should the need arise, I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance of very beautiful and functional design that are quite out of the ordinary.
    8. Where the use of cannon is impracticable, I will assemble catapults, mangonels, trebuckets and other instruments of wonderful efficiency not in general use. In short, as the variety of circumstances dictate, I will make an infinite number of items for attack and defence.
    9. And should a sea battle be occasioned, I have examples of many instruments which are highly suitable either in attack or defence, and craft which will resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon and powder and smoke.
    10. In time of peace I believe I can give as complete satisfaction as any other in the field of architecture, and the construction of both public and private buildings, and in conducting water from one place to another.

      Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be.

      Moreover, work could be undertaken on the bronze horse which will be to the immortal glory and eternal honour of the auspicious memory of His Lordship your father, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

      And if any of the above-mentioned things seem impossible or impracticable to anyone, I am most readily disposed to demonstrate them in your park or in whatsoever place shall please Your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

  8. RE: Fact# 12 – Bear Fecal Plug: They also redirect their metabolism so that they break down and re-absorb urea, so they don’t pee. A scientist found this out by crawling into dens and taking blood samples from sleeping bears.

    • Scientist: ‘I think I’m gonna crawl into a cave full of bears and stab them with a sharp needle, cuz there are things I simply must know.
      Lab Assistant: ‘can I have your PS5?’

      • This. I have this same insanity. I want to know things! I recently got to “real” science and even working in a lab, the casual dangers are insane.

        Centrifuges are very common and are in many labs. You use them to separate things in a tube by density. You put them in a rotor and they spin very very very very fast (1000s of rpms) – but it’s fine because the tubes are balanced perfectly in the rotors in certain patterns, with each tube the same mass +/- very small tolerances at times (supposed to make water blanks). If you’re wrong? You basically made a bomb, the tube will shoot out of the centrifuge (and through multiple walls probably) before you realize what happened (sort of – I was told if you start it up and “it doesn’t sound right”, just immediately press off).

        A chemical I worked with (POCl3), if it gets in contact with any water molecules (or skin) it forms a virgorous reaction in which, let’s say, 1 molecule of POCl3 and 1 molecule of water make 6 molecules of HCl. 6M HCl is a very very strong acid, which will immediately eat away at your skin exposing more water molecules and making exponentially more acid. But it’s fine, you just.. avoid that..

  9. RE: Fact# 34 – Unpainted WW2 American Planes: Typical paint job on a 747 weighs about 2,000 pounds, or so I have been told. So, if paints weighs 8 pounds to the gallon, that would work out to 250 gallons, which is not hard to believe.

    • Legendary Alaskan bush pilot Don Sheldon ordered all his planes unpainted for the same reason. He needed every pound of lift capacity he could get for those high altitude glacier landings and the weight of the paint was substantial (forget the exact figure).

  10. RE: Fact# 9 – Mike Piazza: If baseball had a Mr Irrelevant Award, he would have received it. He was the last person drafted. At the end of the 62nd round. I’m pretty sure he’s the lowest drafted person to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

      • Another fun hocket fact: In the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, legendary GM Punch Imlach of the Buffalo Sabres selected in the 11th round, 183rd overall, Taro Tsujimoto who played for the Tokyo Kitanas of the Japanese Ice Hockey League.

        Taro likely would have been the best NHL player ever drafted in the 11th round, had he existed. Imlach made him up as a prank.

    • Fun fact, Mike Piazza, the lowest draft pick ever to be elected into the BBHOF and Ken Griffey Jr., the first ever 1st overall (highest) pick to be elected into the BBHOF, were elected into the HOF in the same year (2016). How can you not be romantic about baseball?

      As a side note two other 1st overall picks have since been enshrined into the BBHOF.

    • Tom Brady wasn’t first choice either, he was 199th pick in the sixth round. Six quarterbacks were drafted ahead of him, which shows that even the experts can get it wrong.

  11. RE: Fact# 38 – Lunatic Word Origin: Full moon nights still do have a mental effect on people. My wife works in the emergency department and they talk about how a full moon stirs the mentally unstable. It’s probably just coincidence.

    • I’m in law enforcement, and it certainly seems that a full moon cranks up the unstable folk. Probably confirmation bias though.

      • I work in customer service phone help desk, it’s 100% true. I had a day from hell so bad I checked the lunar cycle and sure enough it was a full moon.

    • Every person I know with hospital experience agrees. Old doctors, young doctors, nurses, everybody. It gets weird in hospitals during the full moon.

  12. RE: Fact# 18 – Record B-24 Bomber Production: Henry Ford also turned down building engines for bombers and fighters earlier in the war due to his support of hitler. it ended up going to Packard who built the Merlin engines.

    Ford only built the planes later once ordered to do so

  13. RE: Fact# 20 – Gilles Garnier: It was 1500s so here are a few conclusions
    1. He was tortured or otherwise coerced into confessing or
    2. He actually was a werewolf or
    3. He did something much worse than just eat the children and happily decided to go with the “I’m a werewolf” defense once caught.

  14. RE: Fact# 18 – Record B-24 Bomber Production: The amount of corner cutting to achieve this level of wartime production was immense.

    Companies such as GM and Packard that had never produced planes or aircraft engines before were given huge contracts because they had the manufacturing capacity. The resulting retooling and production achievements were indeed impressive, but came at a cost. Many planes were put into use without proper testing, and in many cases even when design flaws were known, there was no time to investigate and take corrective action. Engine failures and on-board fires were common.

    The crews knew what they were dealing with. The B-24 bomber was nicknamed the “flying coffin” due to its many problems. Not surprisingly, more trainees died in B-24s than any other plane.

    15 000 US airmen died in training accidents alone, that is an average of 8 per day, every day, for the entirety of WWII.


    • My grandfather was a mechanic who worked on B-24s during the war in Pueblo, Colorado. They had had issues with one of the planes so he tried to make repairs and then they ran a test flight on the field after he had worked on it. He watched 9 of his friends go up and then watched the plane crash and burn on the runway. He was raked with guilt and told his CO that he wanted to go overseas. CO pushed back that if he stayed in Pueblo he would rise in the ranks faster, but he felt an obligation to serve where his friends would have, to fulfill their duty. They shipped him to Italy for a few months where a friend of his was inside the wheel compartment of a plane making repairs when he watched the front of the plane collapse and kill his friend instantly. Not long after he was shipped out to Casablanca where he remained for the last 19 months of the war. To my knowledge he never saw any front line or real action, but he was no stranger to how ugly war was and it haunted him his whole life.

  15. RE: Fact# 15 – Do Mice Like Cheese?: The myth that mice like cheese comes from old days when cheese was often left out at night. It became the easiest thing for mice to get so people would constantly see mice eating it

  16. RE: Fact# 19 – Graham Chapman: Despite being an accomplished mountain climber he was too unsteady on his feet to walk across the bridge of death and a double was used. He says that’s when he realized he had to quit drinking.

  17. RE: Fact# 17 – William Alden Smith: The fact is a little inaccurate. He didn’t ask why passengers couldn’t shelter in watertight compartments, he asked if watertight compartments were intended for passengers to shelter in. Still not bright though.

  18. RE: Fact# 3 – Titanic Hull Exhibition: They toured the world with this. The piece is say 20ft x 15ft and contains the original entry door. I did this experience in Melbourne Australia and it was really good. They had so much stuff that had been recovered including a dining room, all made up with plates, glasses cutlery and menus, made up accomodation for each class etc, and at the end you find out if you survived. I did not.

    • I remember seeing this exhibit when it came to visit the city I lived in back then. I didn’t have to wait until the end to find out if I survived. My boarding pass said “Edward Smith, Captain”.

    • including a dining room, all made up with plates, glasses cutlery and menus

      The new National Air and Space Museum has a complete dining set from the Hindenburg. I was pretty blown away by that exhibit. I didn’t know that it was basically a flying cruise ship. And the fact that they were able to recover the plates and forks and stuff was amazing.

  19. RE: Fact# 1 – Cherokee Writing System: Here’s more interesting info (including some of the stories):

    Technically, it’s not an alphabet, it’s a syllabary; that means each symbol doesn’t represent a sound, but a whole syllable (i.e. a combination of consonants & vowels).
    Despite having 85 symbols to learn, the Cherokee system is immensely easier to adopt (for speakers of the language) than most alphabets, since all possible sounds are represented clearly.
    “The Cherokee student could accomplish in a few weeks what students of English writing might require two years to achieve” Wikipedia
    The design of the symbols (called syllabograms) was influenced by the shapes of letters in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic, and Glagolitic (the oldest Slavic alphabet). But the sounds are completely unrelated — Sequoyah didn’t know how to read any language (before his own).
    After working for over a decade, Sequoyah finished this system in 1821. In 1825 it was adopted as the official Cherokee script. By 1830, 90% of Cherokee were literate, and by the 1850s it was nearly 100%.
    In 1828, the Cherokee got a printing press and launched the Cherokee Phoenix, printed in both English & Cherokee. This was the first bilingual newspaper in the US NatGeo, and it was free for any Cherokee Wikipedia. It’s still around today!
    Story time (tenuous evidence): Sequoyah traveled across the land, teaching the system to Cherokee everywhere. Most tribes were doubtful, so Sequoyah would ask each leader to say a word, which he wrote down, and then called his daughter in to read the words back. He was then allowed to teach it to a few students — they were still suspected of witchcraft until the students demonstrated the same reading ability. This took months, but the language soon spread widely.
    After the syllabary was officially adopted by the Cherokee in 1825, Sequoyah set up a blacksmith shop. He still taught the writing system to anyone who asked.
    His work inspired the development of at least 21 scripts around the world, used to write more than 65 languages — from Cree, to other indigenous groups in Canada, to Bassa in Liberia, to other West African languages, and even one in China.
    The Sequoia tree was possibly named after him. Some people question this, but the person who named the tree (Stephan Endlicher) was also a linguist, so he probably knew about Sequoyah, who was famous in linguist circles.

    • Pretty much in the course of a single decade the Cherokee nation in GA created a written language, started a free press, ratified a constitution, established a capitol and were more literate than surrounding poor whites

    • I’d never seen Cherokee script until today. Very interesting. I’m sure it’s coincidence, but many of the symbols resemble Armenian letters.

    • Is that song really a minstrel song? I mostly know it as a bluegrass fiddle tune. I feel like singling out “Turkey in the Straw” for its connection to minstrelsy is kind of overlooking a lot of musicological nuance. But, if that’s what we’re doing, we should definitely get rid of “Oh Susanna”, which is straight-up about minstrels.

  20. RE: Fact# 2 – Metric System in USA: This is kind of misleading. The US has de jure adopted SI standards starting in the 70s. We use it in medicine and engineering. Its taught in schools. The military uses it. It isn’t like you come to the US and no one knows anything about SI measurements. I guess if you’re looking for some sort of legal mandate to use SI, then you’re probably right. But SI measurements are very much used here.

    • Also in Canada we use lots of imperial measurements like height, weight, temperature and volume for baking. We’re still part of the Commonwealth, but then again the UK weigh themselves in stone lol

    • Not only that, but the US Customary Units are Metric converted into Imperial. Every measurement in the USA is done through the metric system in some way. So even then, it isn’t like it’s not used.

      Further, the reason it wasn’t adopted at the time was because the expense to do so would have been too great. You would have to replace almost every sign in the United States twice at a minimum, once for dual units and once more after. The cost for highway signs is something like 80k per sign after design, planning, and labor.

  21. RE: Fact# 5 – Ken Fritz: He died last year. It’s crazy to see 30 years of work reduced to two sentences.

    He was a born audiophile and built his first set of speakers at the age of 15. His passion continued for 65 years while he continued to fulfill his dream and goal of building the best audio system with no holds barred.

    I wonder what happened to his system.

  22. RE: Fact# 7 – Free Divers’ Heart Rate: Though this is amazing, it does come with big risks. Free divers essentially have trained their brains not to panic with low blood oxygen levels. The problem is that the most common cause of death for free divers is drowning because they just black out instantly under water when blood oxygen gets too low. It’s really dangerous and they always need a line and someone to watch them when they go down.

    • Never ever dive alone, free or not. Doesn’t matter if you think you’re the world’s best free diver with a room full of trophies or a book full of records, or you think you’re a top class swimmer with the same.


    • We don’t train our brains, we train our lungs to tolerate co2 using o2 and co2 tables. This stops the hurting in the lungs and now a spasming diaphragm tells us we need to surface ASAP.

      Shallow water blackout is the biggest risk, but only if you push yourself past your limit, we have dive computers to help us not do that.

      It’s not overly dangerous unless you push past your abilities. I only do one down and one up with a buddy on particularly deep dives, but then again spearfishermen like me and those super deep and straight back up types are different. I’m hunting, they are just pressing as deep as they can.

      • Just to add:

        A good portion of the freediving community is very against a more modern trend of seeing shallow water blackout (SWB) as a “normal” thing that happens occasionally. It is absolutely not normal; it’s people not listening to their bodies and pushing dangerously past their limits. There are various reasons it happens but they are almost always preventable.

        Martin Stepanek–a 13 time freediving record holder and creator of FII–states that he has never had a SWB. He’s had minor barotrauma twice (that he recalls). He credits knowing his body and not pushing too hard for the sake of it.

  23. RE: Fact# 1 – Cherokee Writing System: There was initial pushback when Hangul was introduced because there were other already more established alphabets. But Hangul was easier to learn and ultimately won out because of its simple design

    • Hangul is so easy to learn. I took two Korean electives in college, and I can still remember the alphabet all these years later. A friend of mine likes to joke even if I can’t speak it, I could still read a newspaper to a blind man.

    • It’s actually a lot more complicated than that. I have a video in my profile the goes over the history of writing systems in Korea and Japan.

      But the gist of it for Korean is that even after Hangul was invented, Idu and Classical Chinese were still the official scripts used in government. It wasn’t until the 1890’s/1900’s that Korea switched from Classical Chinese and Idu to a mixed script Hangul Hanja system, where any Sino-Korean word was written in Hanja, and the rest in Hangul.

      It wasn’t until after WWII, with Korean liberation, that Hangul only became a thing due to Nationalist sentiment. Now the idea of writing Hangul only in Korea existed before the Japanese occupation, but became so much stronger after due to Hanja, and mixed script in general, became associated with Japanese influence. So that nationalist drive to “purify” the language, plus much the of the people being illiterate, meaning they didn’t have a close attachment to Hanja, leads us to today, where Korean is written in Hangul. Though Hanja still exists, and there are people advocating bringing back a mixed script.

  24. RE: Fact# 4 – Warren Buffett’s Blunder: A part of the story that is often missed, is that Buffett was having a bad year personally. His dad died around that time. When Berkshire tried to dick him around, his angry reaction was a combination of wanting to assert himself as a fund manager, and taking his personal frustrations out on the world.

    That’s probably the main reason he calls it a mistake, because he let himself make business decisions based on emotions. And even though he still made profit, he had to commit more funds than he wanted to and it ended up costing him returns elsewhere.

    Moral of the story: don’t dick people around. You never know what’s going on in their world.

    • The dicking around wasn’t just a low ball offer, it was that the guy agreed to a price and then slightly changed it in his favor in the final paperwork. If I had the money, I might have been just as spiteful in my reaction.

  25. RE: Fact# 21 – Michelin Star: Some chefs have also willingly relinquished them to step away from the whole snobbish affair (or, critics will say, as a marketing stunt).

  26. RE: Fact# 21 – Michelin Star: Sukiyabashi Jiro, the sushi restaurant made famous in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, lost its stars because after the movie they got so many reservations with people not showing up that they ceased taking reservations all together. You couldn’t just walk in, or make a reservation to eat there. The only way to get a seat was if a concierge at a one of the nearby high end hotels vouched for you. Because it wasn’t accessible for the public anymore, Michelin revoked their rating.

  27. RE: Fact# 21 – Michelin Star: Didn’t a chef in France committed suicide because he couldn’t handle the thought of losing the star for his restaurant? The pressure must be immense.

    • All because a tire company liked their food slightly less than another restaurant. Says a lot about the importance of marketing in the food industry.

      • Michelin doesn’t compare restaurants to one another – any star rating is a reflection of that restaurant and that restaurant only. They don’t have a quota or anything, so some new restaurant popping up and earning stars doesn’t affect your rating, provided you keep up the standards.

        Loiseau was super stressed at the time – he was deeply in debt, his classical French cooking was being superseded by new fusion trends, and he was suffering from severe depression. All of that was slipping into his work and causing the standards of his restaurant to dip – and Michelin is notoriously picky about standards. Several of the other major French guides had already dropped him a few points in their own systems when he finally snapped.

  28. RE: Fact# 23 – Signals of Fullness: Eating more slow helped me lose weight. My family and I (at least the men in the family) eat like savages. We will eat like primitive apes; like we don’t know where or when our next meal will be. So a lot can be eatenin, before the brain realize you’re full.

    We cook for an hour or more, eat in 5 minutes and then do dishes for 15. Holiday meals are usually 3+ hours and we’re exited to eat amazing food.. 5 minutes after..

    • The general health benefits and reduction in problems from other illnesses that you get from losing weight are pretty amazing. How to eat healthy and basic household economics should be mandatory classes all through school.

      On average, adults gained 29 pounds during the lockdown and a significant number of people were overweight to begin with. Getting obesity under control should be a national priority, it causes more deaths and increases healthcare costs for everyone. The US was able to virtually eliminate littering, eliminating fat is more difficult but more important.

  29. RE: Fact# 27 – Black Widow Antivenom: Just to note, the horses “being bled” doesn’t seem to harm them. It’s arranged with veterinarians, like donating blood at Red Cross every couple months. The horse just stands there eating hay and barely twitches when they place the needle. The rest of their days are just spent doing normal horse things.

    • Horses getting bled? Simple, easy, horse doesn’t really care.

      Horses getting their teeth maintained? Industrial tools, horse tranquilizer, puke bucket, horse is likely to hold it against you for a while

  30. RE: Fact# 29 – Ocular Immune Privilege: Which is how I found out I had Ankylosing Spondylitis.

    A few years back during one allergy season, one of my eyes became red and painful with pressure (iritis/uveitis). Went to an eye doctor, who prescribed me with like 8 pills/eyedrops to just hit it from all angles. The inflammation went away.

    Then the next allergy season it came back the same as before. Same doctor prescribed me just the eyedrops. It went away. Next allergy season same thing again. He gave me fewer drops, and after a week or so he said my eye was better (even though it was still red) and to stop taking the drops.

    The very next day it rebounded really badly and I went back to his office, but he wasn’t in that day, so they asked if it was okay for me to see a different doctor in his office that doesn’t necessarily work with patients, and I said anything will help. She saw it, asked if I’d ever had any bad back pain and I said yes. She prescribed a drop for me, in which while waiting for it to be filled at the pharmacy no more than an hour after talking to me, I went blind in the problem eye. Not like “legally blind” while I can still make things out but it’s blurry, but like all I see is a dull yellow color from light, as if I am looking at the world with a dull yellow thinning t-shirt over my head. But within 5 minutes of taking the drop, my vision came back.

    She also sent me to a rheumatologist where I got asked questions, had tests done, and turned out I had an immunity disorder called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is slowly causing my spine to fuse together (x-rays showed that).

    Basically during allergy season, my immune system started attacking me, and my eyes were a weak point. It’s why the flare ups happened only during that time of year. My rheumatologist put me on Humira and I haven’t had a single flare-up since then and it’s been 3 or 4 years now. I have been waiting for this year specifically for generics to Humira to finally start being made, because Humira is stupidly expensive.

  31. RE: Fact# 36 – Queue Hairstyle: For context, the Qing enforced this under penalty of death. The slogan was something like “Chop the queue, chop the head. Keep the queue, keep the head.”

    • Can confirm, if you were to go for a more direct translation it’d be something ’round the lines of, “keep your hair, or keep your head”

  32. RE: Fact# 25 – Invention of THX: Star Wars really was the catalyst for modern movies. From ILM to THX Lucas and Team innovated/created things we take for granted now.

    • Star Wars is arguably the most successful movie franchise of all time, and it wasn’t even George Lucas’s greatest accomplishment. His greatest accomplishment was singlehandedly inventing modern special effects twice — once with models and robotic cameras in the 1970s/80s, and again with digital technology in the 1990s/2000s.

  33. RE: Fact# 30 – Hocker Album: Just looking at that picture is infuriating. Those people look like they are just having a grand time at a party while people are starving to death, being gassed and burned, or experimented upon.

    Evil incarnate.

    • I visited Stutthof camp in northern Poland a couple of years back. The villa of the camp commandant was just outside the camp. A nice-looking house, still standing. I can’t even imagine the dude just living there with his family, while overlooking one of the worst places of death and suffering. It’s just surreal.

    • Yeah… that’s Death’s Head SS. They were specifically responsible for literally everything Holocaust related. Sure, they used Wehrmacht trains but they had no idea what Himmler and the SS were doing.

      But yeah anyone with the skull and crossbones on their hat was probably a piece of sh*t. They knew all about everything they were doing and specifically recruited people who would most likely be seen doing the shit you see above.

      “Relocation” yeah, sure. They sent that Red Cross propaganda bullshit to everyone.

      • “no idea” is a bit disingenuous. They certainly had an idea what was going on. The Wehrmacht wasn’t exactly a clean and uncorrupted organ of the Nazi machine. Though the myth of the “clean Wehrmacht” is pervasive as hell. Crazy how basically they completely understood that they would have insane logistical demands and breakdowns, so the preemptive plan was just for the soldiers to grab all of the food they came across in a region, like some roman legion, or a member of the Russian armed forces, today.

        It’s not entirely uncommon for a military to “acquire” supplies from the local environment, but the Wehrmacht went into Russia absolutely reliant on the idea that they would need to rob food and other supplies from whatever people they came across, whenever they came across them, if they were going to hope to cope with the crazy logistical nightmare that so many people predicted would be a disaster.

        The guidelines for the Conduct of the Troops in Russia touches on what I was just talking about, also clearly showing that the whermacht was just as much a part of the ideological struggle between the Nazis and the soviets, as any other part of the Nazi war machine, contrary to what some people have tried to claim in the years since ww2.

  34. RE: Fact# 36 – Queue Hairstyle: I can’t remember exactly, but there was a brief period of time when the Qing weren’t in power so men shaved their queues off, and then the Qing came back into power so they had to buy false queues to glue onto their heads or risk execution.

  35. RE: Fact# 47 – Orson Welles’ Fake Nose:

    Leaming wrote, “Orson seemed far more worried about the supply of false noses he had inadvertently left in Hollywood than about his unfinished picture [MacBeth]. Until he received a package of noses from home he would somehow have to conserve the ones he had.”

    “And that is what happened. He put the nose on himself every day. Only when scenes were cut together did we find out what we had let ourselves in for. Some shots had the nose tilting upwards; others had it tilting downwards. Occasionally it went sideways and in one shot it was suddenly big and hooked. In the meantime, on set, Orson was still finding ways to play up. He decided that having applied the false nose he would now stuff his cheeks with cotton wool. As a result he was unable to talk properly and produced the most extraordinary sound.”

  36. RE: Fact# 43 – Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell: “However, the cannon bears traces of at least one firing”

    It says so right there in the first paragraph in the source.

    Otherwise yea, it’s a cool fact.

    • Realistic response. Many of the lifeboats were only filled to half capacity and only 2 of the 18 lifeboats returned to rescue passengers in the water and I haven’t seen any report that either were swamped.

      A googled figure puts the first class survival rate at 62%, the second class at 41% and third class at 25%. There is a obvious skew towards women and children however the survival rate of first class men is 2-3 times as high as second and third class men.

      They weren’t going to risk their lives for poor people IMO.

  37. RE: Fact# 48 – World War 2 Spitfires: This is true of most WWII fighters to one degree or another. The p-51 mustang had 21 seconds of ammo. 380 rounds for the inboard guns, 270 rounds for the outboard guns. The Browning AN/M2 fired @ 750-850 rounds/min.

    • Honestly it seems like quite a lot if you sit and count out 20 seconds. Obviously up there in the heat of battle I’d imagine it didn’t feel quite so generous, but I’d guess even a second or two of gunfire would do a lot of damage to anything in its way.

      A three-second burst from eight .303s produced 13 pounds of projectiles downrange while the 109’s combined cannon/MG battery yielded 18 pounds. But undoubtedly far less than 10 percent of all rounds fired connected with a target, which is why so few pilots became aces.

      I guess you have to keep in mind the distances they would be firing from, and in a dog-fight the movement necessitating the huge amount of ammunition to increase the chances of a single hit.

      I’m trying to find out how many rounds per second they’d put out, but still, 20 seconds of something that can put out nearly 5 pounds (2.2 kilos) of metal at supersonic speeds per second… I’m seeing about 20 rounds per second from each .303 gun, with eight guns on a Spitfire, so 160 rounds per second. Though there’s a lot of variation across different types of aircraft and model.

      I’d be morbidly curious about how much damage you could do if you could line up a Spitfire (or any WWII fighter) and unload all 20 seconds of ammunition onto a test target, if the guns could sustain 20 seconds. Even if not you could fire in burst rounds and see a similar effect.

      My main point was that 20 seconds seems like a long time given just how much these guns put out but I ended up rambling. 20 seconds of watching a sunset is a lot different to 20 seconds of noise and fury.

  38. RE: Fact# 48 – World War 2 Spitfires: Top Gun Maverick did a great job showing just how quickly an F-14 runs out of ammo for its Vulcan cannon. You’re not gonna be up there all day blasting away, you’re gonna get a few good squirts and hope it did the trick. It shoots like 6,000 rounds per minute and an F-14 typically carries like 600.



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