Random #355 – 50 Unbelievable Random Facts

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1Third Man Syndrome

Third Man Syndrome

Many mountain climbers and explorers have talked about the "Third Man Syndrome." This is when an unseen presence talks to the victim and gives them hope and good advice when they are in a dangerous survival situation.

2. Earthquake diplomacy was initiated between Turkey and Greece after successive earthquakes hit both countries in the summer of 1999. Regardless of their relationship, both countries have helped each other in the event of an earthquake since then.

3. Procrastination is not a result of laziness or poor time management. Scientific studies suggest procrastination is due to poor mood management.

4. Many Texans are surprised to learn that no one else eats pickles at the movies.

5. Actor John Candy was paid $414 for his cameo in Home Alone. This was a lower fee than what was paid to the pizza delivery guy. He did it as a favor to the director and improvised all of his dialogue.

Latest FactRepublic Video:
15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

6Confirmed Case of Poisoned Halloween Candy

Confirmed Case of Poisoned Halloween Candy

The sole instance of Halloween candy that was actually poisoned was in 1974, when Ronald O'Bryan gave his son Timothy pixie sticks that were laced with cyanide, killing him so he could get the insurance money.

7. In 1941, the USS New York opened fire on an object, believing it to be a Japanese aircraft. Fire commenced until a navigator realized they were shooting at Venus.

8. Hysterical strength is a display of extreme physical strength by humans beyond what is believed to be normal. Examples include a woman who saved several children by fighting a polar bear and a woman who lifted a car high enough to save a person.

9. The French military has a long history of setting up brothels for its soldiers, especially during the Algerian and Vietnamese conflicts, both at bases and close to the front lines. The last brothel at a French base closed down in 2003.

10. Bountygate was a scandal in the NFL during the 2011 season that involved New Orleans Saints players gambling over the severity of injuries they could inflict on the opposing team's players. The result was that the head coach was suspended for a season as he was found to have condoned the behavior.

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11New Mexico History

New Mexico History

New Mexico is older than regular Mexico by over 250 years. It was not named after the country, but in fact both take their names from the ancient Valley of Mexico, which was the heart of the Aztec civilization.

12. In England, there are "wavy" brick fences. This shape uses fewer bricks than a straight wall. The waves' arch support allows the wavy wall to stand strong, while a straight wall requires at least two layers of bricks to do the same.

13. In the Middle Ages, seniors could buy a place to live at a monastery for the rest of their lives, complete with food, shelter, and clothing.

14. Willie O'Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL, was blind in one eye. He had a ricocheting puck hit him in the face when he was 18 years old, and he kept it a secret for the entire 21 years of his playing career.

15. In 1575, Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes and his brother Rodrigo were captured and enslaved by Barbary pirates. After two years, his family could only afford one ransom, so Rodrigo was freed. Cervantes was freed three years later after a religious charity paid his ransom.

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16Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I required 600 horse carts to carry everything she needed for her summer excursions to the countryside. She'd stay with the local nobles, but if their castle was too small, the nobility would get kicked out to make room for her. Of course, no Noble could refuse her or demand payment for her stay.

17. Many formulas exist to calculate wind chill. The current one that is extensively used was only implemented in 2001. It is calculated for a bare face facing the wind while walking into it at 5.0 km/h, or 3.1 mph. It converts the officially measured wind speed to the wind speed at face height, assuming the person is in an open field.

18. Pekin, Illinois, was named under the mistaken belief that the city is located on the opposite side of the globe from Beijing, China. It was later found out that it was actually located on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean.

19. The feeling of falling while you're asleep happens because your muscles become very relaxed and enter a temporary state of paralysis. The brain thinks that you are falling, so it sends signals to your muscles to make you jump up, which wakes you up.

20. In 1887, inventor Elisha Gray, who lost the patent for the telephone to Alexander Graham Bell, invented the first fax machine, using telegraph lines to transmit handwriting and documents.

21Newborn babies are Partially Blind

Newborn babies are Partially Blind

Newborn babies are partially blind because they can only see the world in black and white with shades of gray, and more than that, they can only see objects that are 8 to 12 inches away from their faces.

22. The familiar music played during Final Jeopardy is called "Think." It was written in 1963 by Merv Griffin, creator of Jeopardy, to help his then 5-year-old son Tony fall asleep. Since its first use in the show in 1964, the song has earned the Griffin estate over $100 million in royalties.

23. Uwe Hohn is the only person in history to have thrown the javelin more than 100 meters. His world record of 104.8 meters was declared an "Eternal World Record" as it will likely never be broken due to the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) redesigning the javelin in 1986 and resetting the world record to coincide with the change.

24. Phosphate mining has harmed the Pacific island nation of Nauru so much that Australia offered to repopulate the entire country on Curtis Island near the Australian coast in 1964. Nauru turned down the offer because it did not want to join Australia and lose its independence.

25. During World War 2, when the Nazis controlled Scandinavia, they set up maternity centers to harvest babies with "Aryan" traits from the north and send them south to "correct" the genes of the German people.


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  1. RE: Fact# 24 – Nauru Nation:

    The phosphate mining peaked in the 1980s, the nation was rich enough from the proceeds of phosphate exports that there were no personal taxes, and still there are none. The people blamed migrants for their problems and forced the government to deport them, which it did. The migrants, seeing no reason to stay and every reason to leave, including a hostile native populace, often left of their own accord. The warnings of labour shortages went unheeded. One right-wing publication proudly proclaimed that “It just means there are lots of jobs for our people”. This then caused an economic crash, as the jobs which migrant labour was doing, weren’t done. There was a population crash. The last holdouts, migrants from Tuvalu and Kiribati, numbered 1,500 and left in 2006.

    Today, Nauru’s ecology is decimated, most native seabirds are extinct, the forest they lived in all cleared. 90% of the population is unemployed, and of the 10% which are employed, 95% of them are employed by the government. Private enterprise doesn’t really exist. Most of Nauru’s income comes from international deals, such as hosting one of Australia’s refugee prison camps. The government lacks the income to be able to carry out its functions, its national bank is insolvent and it is reliant wholly on handouts from the United Nations and Australia.

  2. RE: Fact# 13 – Middle Ages Retirement Homes:

    In the 15th century a John Underwood of Deeping Lincolnshire, paid £100 for a corrody to the abbot and convent of Peterborough Abbey. This guaranteed him “eight monks’ loaves and eight gallons of the better beer” twice a week.

    Party time

    • Yeah, this seems like a common trauma response.. just played out for mountain climbers. Our minds reach out for help, and if there’s not an actual person that can help, then it sort of accesses/creates another mind that thinks differently that can give perspective and guidance.

    • They had a woman on one of these unsolved mysteries type shows claimed that she survived the death camp during the Holocaust because the “ghost” of a dead childhood friend talked them thru various traumatic moments. She really believed a ghost/angel kid was talking to her.

    • Things like these always remind me of the Alien Hand syndrome. There are examples of people having their brain hemisphere split in 2 and then having their hand or leg act entirely on its own at times.

      It’s wild. It’s like there is this subconscious in all of us that occasionally takes over or shows itself in times of trauma. When the hemisphere is split it can take over a hand and have his own autonomy.

      • It’s more than that, they ask questions or requests like “draw a house” in just one ear so the other side can’t hear and a partition so the other side can’t see it and it draws it anyway, whilst the other side can talk and write itself.

        I couldn’t find an answer but I tried to find out what happens if you try to have an actual conversation with the silent half using writing but I couldn’t get any answers on if they even tried, which blows my mind, how could you not try???

        • even creepier, they show an image to the ‘silent half’ of the brain and ask the person to answer with multiple choice buttons what the image was. The person says “uhh, I have no idea” but the silent half’s hand presses the correct answer every time.

  3. RE: Fact# 8 – Hysterical Strength:

    Fascinating that one could tear themselves apart in the right circumstances which temporarily allow their bodies to bypass the usual failsafes. Evolving an autonomic system that allows a person to hulk out in moments of extreme duress and pay the cost in recuperation if they survive the situation is truly wild.

    • I worked in construction and a frame broke down. Metal pipes dropped on a coworker, like 6 meter each and about 10 pipes dropped on him. We normally needed 2 persons to carry 1 pipe. Coworker was screaming and a welder came running to us, he litterly moved all pipes with 1 hand in 1 move and pulled the guy with his other arm. The guy under the pipes broke his leg and was bleeding.

      Everyone was busy with the guy until we looked behind us and the welder was sitting on the floor. He ripped his bicep completely off and it was rolled up under his skin. I never saw anything like that, that was like 500kg pulled away with 1 arm by a normally built guy.

  4. RE: Fact# 35 – Momčilo Gavrić:

    Shocking bit for me was “According to his son Branislav, Momčilo Gavrić had an incident with the law in 1929. He was working in Šabac and Belgrade when he reached the age of conscription, and at the military barracks in Slavonska Požega, he reported that he already had been in the army during the war. He also said that he had been wounded, and had received the Albanian Commemorative Medal. However, an ethnic Croat in the Royal Yugoslav Army tried to push Gavrić into signing a confession that he had told a lie. He refused, and was sent to prison, spending two months there”

  5. RE: Fact# 11 – New Mexico History:

    New Mexico received its name long before the present-day nation of Mexico won independence from Spain and adopted that name in 1821. The name “Mexico” derives from Nahuatl and originally referred to the heartland of the Mexica, the rulers of the Aztec Empire, in the Valley of Mexico. The Classical Nahuatl term Yancuic Mexihco, a new Mexico, was used to describe a mystical empire that rivaled the scale of their own Aztec Empire. These myths had a basis in the trade network of the Pueblos. These stories eventually evolved into the folklore of the Seven Cities of Gold.
    – Wikipedia

  6. RE: Fact# 2 – Earthquake Diplomacy: like how Reagan got the USSR to agree to work together in the event of an attack from Dr Manhattan aliens.

    As stupid of a situation as it was, getting them to even agree to that was pretty impressive.

  7. RE: Fact# 24 – Nauru Nation:

    Just by reading the article it sounds like this:

    The UK, Australia, and New Zealand had joint control over Nauru. They mined the fuck out of it using chinese labor. In 1964, Australia felt guilty and said we’ll move all you guys to another island. Nauru said screw that noise and became independent in 1968.

  8. RE: Fact# 47 – Ghosts and UFOs:

    Most poltergeist activity is reported by young women, usually pre teen or just turned teenage.

    I’m not sure if other aspects of high strangeness are reported more often by one sex or the other though.

    • With schizophrenia, men often face negative symptoms (losing audio/ perceiving audio) and women face positive ones (auditory hallucinations).

      I wonder if this is related. Where young boys may miss more details, and young girls often perceive extra ones are there (like a presence in the room.)

      • UFOs and ghosts are likely more from things like ghost hunters and ufo devoted YouTube channels and TV shows than schizophrenia. As someone else said, a schizophrenic break is nowhere near the same as what most people are experiencing. Which is a suspension of belief that these things are possible until genuine belief or simply acceptance of the possibility that they could exist. Similar to how religious beings such as angels and demons are to many Christian’s growing up. And, honestly, not a far leap.

        As for witchcraft, it comes heavily from the fact that so many women feel powerless in a world that has been run by men for centuries. Witchcraft is the opposite of everything they’ve experienced. Instead of being told a list of things they need to do to be considered respectable women, they are told (often for the first time) that they actually have power in this life and that they don’t need to do all of these things to be respected because they should be respected simply for existing, as all people should. It’s not delusion, but finally feeling like a person that matters. And then either going along with the other aspects of it, simply choosing to believe it could be possible, or even not believing in it, but just sticking around for the community that you can turn to that will always say you matter.

  9. RE: Fact# 14 – Willie O’Ree Played As Blind:

    Boxers do this too, Joe Frazier & Willie “The Worm” Monroe both fought a portion of their careers half-blind unbeknownst to anyone but their trainers

  10. RE: Fact# 5 – John Candy’s Cameo:

    The studio, 20th Century Fox, cut Candy a check for $500, the memo of which read “keep the change you filthy animal.”

    That’s legendary.

  11. RE: Fact# 9 – Military Prostitution:

    You can control STD rates in troops if you control the supply of sex workers to ensure health harm reduction. Military dirty little secret. There’s always been “sanctioned” sex workers near large troop concentrations, whether such sanctions are official or unofficial.

    • Yeah the military regulated the brothels in Hawaii during WW2. Limited it to $3. So the girls limited time to 3 minutes. $3 for 3 minutes.

    • Phenix City, Alabama was once described as the most wicked city in the world. Why? Because it was run by the mob, and Ft. Benning was right across the river. I have been told that there would be trucks of prostitutes parked on the bridges when it was payday on the base.

    • Eliot Ness (the Prohibition agent who was famous for working against Al Capone, albeit his case was torpedoed as the tax charges were easier to prosecute) was the director of the Social Protection Division in WW2, where he tried to eradicate prostitution around US Army camps due to STDs reducing combat effectiveness.

  12. RE: Fact# 26 – Pythagoras’ Views on Beans:

    There was a whole cult of Pythagoras. They believed and did other weird stuff too.

    It’s not a story maths teachers would tell you.

    Pythagoras was not, as was told to you in school, the founder and leader of a “mathematics school”.

    He was the founder and leader of a cult, a sect which, among other things, worshipped some forms of mathematics as expressions of divinity.

    They had other beliefs and, globally, it was a cult the same way modern cults are. It was a bunch of crazy people believing in their mystic bullshit, fanatics blindly following dogma.

  13. RE: Fact# 3 – Poor Mood Management:

    People with low self-esteem are more likely to procrastinate as are those with high levels of perfectionism who worry their work will be judged harshly by others.

    My life summarized in one sentence.

    • High level of perfectionism, the lack of skill to follow trough on said perfectionism paired with some low self esteem and the lack of a drive to improve the needed skill, most likely due to the procrastination cause be the previous two points.

      It’s a vicious circle really.

      (Though I have accepted that I’m skilled enough to make something passable, but yea… perfectionism, passable aint good enough)

    • How do we resolve this tho?

      How do we boost self esteem without becoming egotistical while also not being oppressed by our goals of perfection in our work or ideas? Or do we simply accept our current state as flawed imperfect, that something is better than nothing, and better ourselves by accomplishing small tasks one at a time and later find boosts in self esteem in hindsight from the accumulated productivity?

      • I found that by focusing more about the progress than the end goal, makes me achieve more than ever. Just by actually starting something.

        You know… celebrate the little victory along the way makes you appreciate the progress more

      • I have suffered from an extreme case of procrastination for a long time.
        What ultimately helped me was to make every process iterative. I would make small changes step by step and build up on them. Then I would revise these changes after a while when I had the opportunity and while I was already working on some other gradual changes. The best part about this is that you can feed your perfectionism while getting things done at the same time.

  14. RE: Fact# 8 – Hysterical Strength:

    It’s incredible! But also the hardest thing about it is it’s a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water kind of special move that can cause: broken/bruised bones, ripped muscles, burst blood vessels, and will put you at high risk for rabdomyalisis due to the amount of adreneline required to delete pain recognition for however long you need it. I also feel that’s where that Dad Speed comes from too. [You know, when a dad notices imminent danger and suddenly becomes usain bolt to rescue that child, I feel like it should be a thing as well]

    Humans are capable of incredible one-time feats!

  15. RE: Fact# 1 – Third Man Syndrome:

    My cousin lost his father and older brother and almost lost his mother when he was younger. Drunk driver hit their car head on. After he was rescued from the vehicle, he swears he had someone come sit beside him and comfort him. But when he asked the people on the scene no one else saw this person.

    • I know someone who lost his mother when he was a kid and he says someone came into his room and comforted him as well. When that person left the kid went to ask his father who was the man who came over and his father was confused and told him no one was there.
      He’s religious now and claims it was an angel. I always thought it could’ve been a dream or something, didn’t know it was a common experience 😮

  16. RE: Fact# 32 – Novella and Novel Difference:

    The length of a text is just one of many potential criteria that can be used to distinguish between novels, novellas and short stories – it’s not that easy, certainly not in literary criticism but also not in publishing.

      • Publishing: short stories are typically published in collections, cycles or magazines, novels as standalone works. Novellas either way, but aren’t very common, sometimes sold as ‘short novels’. Novels sell much better than short story collections, so publishers may be more inclined to take them on.

        Literary criticism: form, function and meaning all go hand in hand when you da a close reading of a particular text. The form can guide readers’ expectations or allows the author to play with established traditions or to convey something without making it immediately obvious to the reader. The reading experience also differs depending on the medium, e.g. the same short story may either be read in a magazine, surrounded by images and other (factual or fictional) texts or in a collection focused on a particular topic, which influences the reader.

  17. RE: Fact# 50 – King Charles’ Custom Toilet Seat:

    Doesn‘t Madonna do something similar, or have someone use or remove the toilet after she’s used it?

    An interesting thing that I like about young Charles is his propensity for wearing visibly patched clothing – suit jacket bottom right – and shoes (these particular pair of shoes of over 40 yrs old and made from leather found on a 200 yr old shipwreck). I know it‘s a British aristocratic thing but it’s still an interesting flex seen practiced by the now King.

    He has a thing for sustainable clothing

    As he told Vogue last December in its sustainable fashion issue, he is a fan of good wardrobe maintenance: ‘I’m one of those people who hate throwing anything away. Hence I’d rather have them maintained, even patched if necessary.’

    He explained he had a team — presumably a valet, maid and seamstresses — to help with repairs. ‘I’m lucky, because there are kind people who help with these things. But yes, I happen to be one of those people who’d get shoes or any item of clothing repaired if I can, rather than throw it away.’

  18. RE: Fact# 6 – Confirmed Case of Poisoned Halloween Candy:

    Found this interesting, the scumbag gave the laced pixy sticks to his other kids and some of their friends 5 in total, the only kid to consume it was his son, but read the 5th child Holy crap!…

    “Four of the five Pixy Stix O’Bryan claimed to have received were recovered by authorities from the other children, none of whom had consumed the candy.[14] The parents of the fifth child became hysterical when they could not locate the candy after being notified by the police. The parents rushed upstairs to find their son asleep, holding the unconsumed candy. The boy had been unable to open the staples that sealed the wrapper shut.[15] All five of the Pixy Stix had been opened, with the top two inches (51 mm) refilled with cyanide powder and resealed with a staple.[4][16] According to a pathologist who tested the Pixy Stix, the candy consumed by Timothy contained enough cyanide to kill two adults, while the other four candies contained enough to kill three to four adults.[17]”

      • Police never found out for sure where he got the cyanide he used, but he was confirmed to have visited a chemical supply store where he attempted to buy cyanide. They wouldn’t sell him less than five pounds, so he left that store without buying any. Generally, there wasn’t as much attention paid to access to chemicals back then. If he’d been willing to spend the money, he very much could’ve walked in off the street and traded cash for five pounds of cyanide… and before computerization of the justice system, that wouldn’t even have gotten him on a list.

  19. RE: Fact# 28 – Star Wars Title Crawl: A somewhat similar effect was the holograph display used in Escape from New York – even the basic 3D frames of the New York skyline would have been far too expensive for a computer of the time, so they just put glow tape on a model and filmed it.

    • Here’s a fun fact: They wanted to have a giant representation of Bacchus wandering around New York for the opening shot of the 1929 film Broadway, so they built an incredibly-detailed model set of Broadway, right down to the electric signs and vehicles, and had a guy in a Bacchus costume and makeup walk into the scene and spray some champagne around in this incredibly elaborate set.

      But then what to do with it? To save costs on future productions, why, reuse it, of course! And so the 1930 two-colour Technicolor musical revue film King of Jazz thus featured chorus girls dancing through that very same set.

  20. RE: Fact# 1 – Third Man Syndrome:

    Many years ago, I remember hearing or reading about a woman who suddenly heard a voice in her head, advising her to go to a doctor. She did so, and a brain tumour was discovered. After the examination, she thought to herself how lucky she was, and the voice apparently responded: “we are glad to have been of service”. I’ve been trying to track down the story for years – it could be something fictional I’ve garbled in my brain – without success.

  21. RE: Fact# 25 – Nazi-occupied Scandinavia:

    “A Norwegian chief medical officer issued a collective certificate for all Lebensborn children, according to which they were “weak-minded and with deviant behavior”. The reason would be that women who fraternized with the occupiers were generally “weakly gifted and antisocial psychopaths, partly highly weak-minded”, and that it could be assumed that the children had inherited these bad tendencies. Some children were exposed to medical experiments with LSD and other drugs.”

      • Eugenics was a big thing in Scandinavia even before WW2, In some sense the nazis actually took inspiration from ‘State Institute of Racial Biology’ in Sweden. We started sterilization in 1906 and kept it up until 1975. Between 1972 and 2013, sterilization was also a condition for gender reassignment surgery.

        “In Norway, the practice of sterilizing mental patients dates back at least to the 1920s. It was made legal in 1934 when parliament passed a law that sanctioned sterilization on eugenic, social and reasonableness grounds”

        Most of the doctors that worked with eugenics, just switched to genetics after the war. Some of those “Test your DNA” services are sponsored or founded by some of the organizations that supported the nazis during the war.

        Look up Adelphi Genetics Forum

        • Norway has a whole thing about skull shapes and how the right shape was important for a true Norwegian.

          With the Norwegian national ideal being the farmers of the South. The physical characteristics common there combined with that form of Norwegian culture.

          This of course led to substantial amounts of oppression towards anyone who wasn’t the right kind of Norwegian. The northerners in particular who were culturally different and had the gall to be racially mixed with Sami.

          It was common in the south to mark things like apartments available for rent with “no northerners” way up into the 1960s.

        • An American friend of mine who moved to Sweden said she was kind of surprised to find that there’s still a pretty big undercurrent of that in popular thought there. Like she’s encountered a fair number of normal, educated people who have said things suggesting that it’s a desirable thing for disabled people to just hurry up and die off and stop being a burden to everyone else, with no hint that they think that’s a controversial opinion. And when she and her husband were trying to get fertility treatments they encountered a lot of people (including medical professionals) with the attitude that if you were having trouble having kids you were just kind of “defective” and shouldn’t be getting help passing your “defective” genes along. Certainly not trying to suggest all Swedish people think like that, and I know there are Americans who ALSO think like that, but from her experience it sounds like it’s a little more mainstream way of thinking there whereas here it would be relatively “fringy.” (Although it was very commonplace in America before WW2 as well, I think there was a big shift here in the 60s and 70s).

  22. RE: Fact# 4 – Pickles at Movie Theatres

    Having grown up in Texas and having zero tolerance for dill pickles, the ubiquity of the things haunted me. It’s not just movie theaters. Sporting events, fairs, any place with a concession stand sells these giant monstrosities. Whole-ass cucumbers brined in vinegar in huge jars like preserved laboratory biomatter. They would dispense the things as treats at school events instead of popcorn or candy. Texas is weird for a lot of reasons, and this is way up there.

    • They are a great way to replenish lost electrolytes.
      Considering Sport events, and fairs are in the open and Texas is hell on earth… maybe they just give a little extra than just popcorn…

  23. RE: Fact# 8 – Hysterical Strength:

    I watched my father bust open a brick chimney with his bare hands after ripping out a section of plaster wall to get my brother who had fallen into the chimney. The chimney was being removed from the top down and my father had barricaded the open holes but my then 18 month old brother climbed over one and down he went. Fell about 1/2 a story and got stuck. All he ended up with was some scratches and bruises.

    He fell from 2nd floor to 1st floor.

    • When my son was less than two he fell backwards off a wall in town. I’m not even sure what happened but I remember moving the quickest I’ve ever done in my life and cradling the back of his head with my palm so it didn’t crack on the concrete. It was such a weird experience and the little bugger had no idea that I’d saved him, he stood up and just smiled at me.

      Meanwhile some random lady saw the whole thing and was just like ‘wow’.

      It’s a very strange thing afterwards

    • I remember that season, I think 1988. They gave the cowboy kicker Efferin Herrera a concussion, and left bleeding from his mouth.

      • There was definitely a bounty but that description is kind of misleading. The kicker injured himself by diving into the legs of the Eagles player. The kicker was actually penalized for it.

        Of course the only reason there was contact to begin with was because they were targeting him.

  24. RE: Fact# 16 – Queen Elizabeth I: It wasn’t simply a case of Queen Elizabeth insisting on royal privilege, in fact, it was a brilliant bit of statesmanship on her part. When she took the throne in 1558 the War of the Roses, a decades-long civil war between the rival York and Lancaster houses, had only ended when her father, Henry VIII, ascended the throne. Though the war had officially ended decades earlier, there was still long-simmering resentment from many of the nobles, especially the Yorks (Elizabeth and Henry were allied with the Lancasters). Plotting and scheming were a way of life for the aristocrats in this era, so to forestall any attempts to usurp the throne Elizabeth would simply pack up her belongings and retinue and go visit them. After spending several months residing at the York estate… who were responsible for keeping her and her entire entourage fed and entertained… they were so thoroughly bankrupted it kept them hobbled for the better part of a century.

    Problem solved. 🙂

    • Henry VII was the Henry Tudor who ended the wars of the roses. Elizabeth I was his granddaughter and didn’t ascend to the throne until 70 years after the war had ended.

      The reformation and break with Rome that happened during those years was a much bigger deal.

    • I don’t know why I remember this little tidbit from school, but this was almost exactly the same thing the Tokugawa Shogunate did in Japan after the Warring States period, but vice-versa.

      The requirement was that the daimyōs of every han move periodically between Edo and his fief, typically spending alternate years in each place. His wife and heir were required to remain in Edo as hostages while he was away. The expenditures necessary to maintain lavish residences in both places, and for the procession to and from Edo, placed financial strains on the daimyo, making them unable to wage war.

      • Versailles was a similar strategy, to keep the French nobility away from their regional power bases and spending money on extravagant entertainment and costumes.

  25. RE: Fact# 24 – Nauru Nation: And then they spent most of their nation’s wealth on a West End musical about Leonardo Da Vinci falling in love with the Mona Lisa, but he’s actually gay and it is one of the biggest bombs in theater history.

    • He thinks so lmao

      We set a fuse to go off at an estimated altitude. We started out at 5,000 feet and could see that it was coming up short, so we raised to about 7,500 feet and could see that it was short, too. So, we raised it up to the maximum of 10,000 feet.

      Pretty soon, word came down from the navigator. It was determined that this was the planet Venus. It turned out that we had fired 300 rounds at the planet Venus. Recently, I’ve seen satellite pictures of the planet Venus, and I noticed pockmarks so maybe we did hit our target.

  26. RE: Fact# 31 – Shirley Temple Drink:

    It’s hard to imagine that Shirley Temple died as an old lady relatively recently.

    • It’s hard to believe that Henry Kissinger is not only still alive, but occasionally in the news for political commentary.

      Kissinger was the the US Secretary of State during the Nixon era, and had a hand in Shirley Temple’s foray into politics and diplomacy. He’s also probably the most famous (arguably infamous) person to hold that office due to his role in 20th century US foreign policy, which I’m not even going to try to summarize here.

  27. RE: Fact# 9 – Military Prostitution:

    I recall reading in The Long Road Home about the experiences of a Canadian fighting in Italy in WWII about STD rates being so high in some towns, soldiers were not allowed to enter them. There was one city which had a sanctioned brothel, with medical tents set up at the entrance and the exit. In the entrance tent, you dropped your pants and a doctor examined you for any signs of STDs. In the exit tent, you dropped your pants again and a medic injected a sulfate solution up your urethra. Ouch.

    • It was sulfate solution. Probably copper sulfate solution guaranteed to kill any pathogen… And Im sure it wrecked their reproductive organs too if they just rammed a needle full of that up your urethra.

  28. RE: Fact# 1 – Third Man Syndrome:

    I was in a really terrible car accident a few years ago and I was stuck in the car, they had to cut me out. During it I came to and there was a woman who had climbed into the rear seat behind me and was holding my shoulders telling me I was going to be okay and that help was coming, I thought she stayed with me until I blacked out and woke up to a fireman cutting the door off and pulling me out. The firemen, paramedics, and my mother who had gotten there quickly all said there was no woman at all, that traffic had gone around and no one had stopped because the fire department was only a few blocks down the road. I can still hear her voice, I know she was touching me, but no one saw her. Freaks me out still.

  29. RE: Fact# 15 – Miguel de Cervantes: Miguel’s mother had to slip a pious lie so the Trinitarian Order would cover part of the ransom.

    In the order’s documents concerning Miguel de Cervantes’ rescue (Archivo Histórico Nacional, Códices, 118), we can read that the ransom was paid by Cervantes’ mother Leonor de Cortinas, who is mentioned as “widow”. Leonor de Cortinas was not a widow then, her husband Rodrigo de Cervantes was very much alive, but the trinitarians would be more willing to cover part of the expenses in the case of a widow.

  30. RE: Fact# 42 – Ubasute Mythical Practice: “And fu*king stay there, this time!”


    -parents start tiptoeing back down-

  31. RE: Fact# 1 – Third Man Syndrome:

    I experienced something similar when I was 16. I had been in a car accident and the car was totaled (I was wearing my seat belt and uninjured). During the crash, I “heard” a voice coming from the empty back seat yelling for me to duck, which saved me from getting crushed by the roof as I rolled over. Then it was a series of instructions on how to safely get out of the car and how to get help. I know it was my brain doing all of this but it really felt like someone else was there telling me what to do, like I was wearing an earpiece or something.

    • As a hospice nurse, I’ll tell you that strange things happen near death. I don’t know where they come from, but things get awfully strange.

      There is always the classic, wife holds her dieing husband and says, “I’ll be ok when your gone. I’ll be alright. I love you.” And the man dies right there, in her arms.

      I got a phone call from a family member telling me the patient died. I went over and declared, gave my condolences and was about to leave. The son pulled me aside and said, “This morning before I called, I sat next to her in bed. I swear I kept seeing someone at the doorway, out the corner of my eye.” He said he wasn’t scared of it, it was just there. Sometime after, he left the room to get something from the kitchen and when he returned, she had died.

      One of my favorites is this one. Often people have hallucinations of friends/family/pets that have died before them. These can start up to a year before death. One of my dementia patients told me her dead husband visited her. He walked to her bedroom doorway and she told him to go away. As time went on, he kept walking further into the room. First, just inside the doorway, then standing beside her, and then sitting on the bed. She died not too long after telling her daughter that dream.

      Anyone can explain any of this. I just tell the stories and people can do with them what they will.

  32. RE: Fact# 9 – Military Prostitution:

    The French had a brothel at Dien Bien Phu during the First Indochina War. Seven Vietnamese women and 11 Algerian females served 16,000 soldiers, although as the situation got worse for the French these women worked as nurses. Often the women were seen in the water of a trench up to their hips, waiting to help the wounded. In one case, a shell-shocked soldier had developed a fixation that he was a small child and had to be fed by his mother; one of the Vietnamese prostitutes came to this dugout every day to feed him. Of the 11 Algerian prostitutes, four were killed during the battle. It’s not known what happened to the Vietnamese women. Some reports say they were executed for collaboration with the enemy but there are no eyewitness reports of their fate.

  33. RE: Fact# 36 – Tacit Collusion:

    I can’t prove it, but I’m nearly certain the grocery store I work at flat out copies walmarts prices.

  34. RE: Fact# 47 – Ghosts and UFOs:

    UFO, unidentified flying objects, are absolutely a thing. That isnt even contested. The military at least sees all sorts of things. Some are prolly foreign military hardware, some is ours, some is probably swamp lightening or heat gas. People see things, radar techs see things, they cannot identify. Its a UFO.

    • The US military has released several footages of unidentified flying objects performing manoeuvres thought impossible with our current technology. If those object are foreign military hardware, that country is way, way more advanced that the US. Could also be a faulty radar or something, but the fact that pilots/techs have seen the objects with their eyes and across multiple detection systems make it unlikely imo.

      Comparing believing in UFO and believing in ghosts and witchcraft is a little ridiculous. We don’t have any footage even suggesting those things could be real.

  35. RE: Fact# 46 – Lucille Guitar: Wasn’t a burning drum of fuel knocked over during the scuffle?

    (trawls internet)

    It was!

    In the winter of 1949, King played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. The hall was heated by a barrel half-filled with burning kerosene set in the middle of the dance floor, a fairly common practice at the time. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over the barrel and sending the burning fuel across the floor. The hall burst into flames and was evacuated.[1]

    Once outside however, King realized that he had left his guitar inside so he went back into the burning building to retrieve his beloved $30 Gibson guitar. King learned the next day that the two men who started the fire had been fighting over a woman who worked at the hall named Lucille. King did not know Lucille but named that guitar, and every guitar he subsequently owned, Lucille, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over a woman.[2]

  36. RE: Fact# 37 – The Dip Solution:

    Fun Fact: Because lead acetate tastes sweet and can be dissolved in water it was used for millennia as an artificial sweetener known as Sugar of Lead.

    • Yep, it was the stuff that gave late romans the lead-poisoning too. And not like many believe their OG-plmbing (plumbum = lead). They sweetened their wine, hippocras (spiced wine) and posca (a lower-class vinegar-drink) with it. Also they had some make-up containing lead but it was mostly lead acetate that wrecked their teeth and brains.

  37. RE: Fact# 48 – Deceptive Container Filling:

    The exception is when doing so protects the product from damage. But if the protection needed to protect the product increases, I assume the manufacturer must show how damage has been avoided?

  38. RE: Fact# 19 – Hypnic Jerk:

    There’s a theory that it’s vaguely connected to humans evolving from small tree monkeys, they had to jump upright with a surge of fight or flight adrenaline every time they fell to the ground from the safety of the trees during sleep. It was compared to the instinct that makes dogs spin in a circle a few times before laying down because their ancestors had to flatten tall grass for visibility

  39. RE: Fact# 45 – Tsunami Word Origin:

    For those who don’t understand how the waves act in the ocean, the waves move 300-500 mph but have a peak to peak distance of hundreds of miles and a height of maybe 1-2 ft, so you literally can’t notice it even if you looked for it. It would be masked by the regular ocean waves. You would need a precision altimeter and only then you might notice a very gentle lift.

    Once it gets in shallow waters the propagation speed is traded for reduced peak to peak distance and higher wave height, so it compresses down and gets squeezed. By the time it moves into a harbor the peak to peak distance is only a mile or two and the wave height grows to 10-20 ft, while the speed slows from 300 mph to 30 mph or less.

    That famous footage on a boat off Japan in 2011 here was probably taken in coastal waters maybe a few miles from the coast, pointing out to sea.

    Sorry units aren’t in metric but you get the idea.

  40. RE: Fact# 35 – Momčilo Gavrić:

    Branislav Gavrić further told that during the Second World War, Momčilo was imprisoned twice by the German occupying forces. After the war, in 1947, OZNA arrested him for claiming that the Albanians were no brothers to Serbs and saying how he “felt that brotherhood of theirs in 1915, when they were killing us”, during a time when the presidents of Yugoslavia and Albania (Josip Broz Tito and Enver Hoxha) were great friends.


  41. RE: Fact# 37 – The Dip Solution:

    I’m a lifelong gun owner and the following information should be more available…

    Clinical investigators, utilizing Connecticut Department of Public Health data, report a rise in elevated blood-lead levels associated with the use and maintenance of firearms in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.


    Recent studies of older adults suggest that lead exposure in adulthood is associated with impaired cognitive function and accelerated cognitive decline in late life.


    Young children living in Massachusetts communities with higher rates of firearm licensure were significantly more likely to have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood compared to children living in communities with fewer gun licenses


    The authors speculated that firearm-related tracking may be driving the high pediatric blood lead levels. Tracking occurs when someone uses a firearm, gets lead particles on their skin or clothes, then inadvertently tracks the particles into their car or their home.


    Lead tracking from owning and using firearms has been well-documented for nearly two decades.

    All easy to find with a simple Google search. Gun use. Lead exposure.

    And it seems pretty obvious that the more one shoots, the more exposure one might experience.

    Just throwing it out there….

  42. RE: Fact# 20 – Inventor Elisha Gray:

    The first fax machine was basically just a really heavy paperweight until the second fax machine was made.

  43. RE: Fact# 37 – The Dip Solution:

    Or you can just use commercially available bore scrubber, but still clean in well ventilated area, wear gloves and eye-pro.

    The “dip” solution is effective. If used, should follow up with an acid neutralizer like a baking powder solution. I’ve been informed (unsure of the accuracy, so take w/grain-o-salt) that the acid can work into barrel’s imperfections and make them worse, sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the acid before it does more harm than good.

    • If used, should follow up with an acid neutralizer like a baking powder solution.

      Rather than baking soda, I would recommend a base such as ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) or something that will offgas leaving no residue, rather than something like baking soda which would leave a hydrophilic solid residue in crevices that would attract water vapor and promote rust.

  44. RE: Fact# 41 – Donation Dollar:

    In my city in Canada, we had a “blue dollar coin” that was designed to be given to the homeless. In exchange for the coin, the person was given access to a hot shower, a free warm meal, and a change of clothes.

    Sadly it was discontinued after a change in our city’s leadership (mayoral race.) This was in the late 90s-early 2000s. We sure could use those today.

  45. RE: Fact# 49 – Providence Canyon State Park:

    In the California motherlode, there are several enormous man-made canyons caused by hydraulic mining — a technique where high-pressure water was used to wash away literal tons of soil (which were then sluiced for gold). Malakoff Diggins State Park is one example. It created one of the U.S.’s first ecological crises in the late 1800s; all the soil and rocks washed downstream devastated huge areas of fertile farmland in the Sacramento Valley, leading to the outlawing of the practice.

  46. RE: Fact# 49 – Providence Canyon State Park:

    Oh wow, we have one of these too in Ontario! They’re called the Cheltenham Badlands

    It looks like the cool, natural formations where you would normally find dinosaur bones – and geologically, it totally is. But it used to be buried under a good load of topsoil, forest and natural erosion-protecting plant life that has been completely eroded due to equally poor farming practices in the early 1900s.

    • Yeah, that’s not unfounded at all. He’s also there are hundreds of gullies along the Lake Huron shore from the Bruce Peninsula to Sarnia that were caused by poor farming practices and the original creation of drainage ditches. I’ve worked on stabilizing a few and they can be extremely distructive.

      I saw one that was a small ditch between two cottages then someone decided do some unauthorized work on the roadside ditch that had the unintended consequence of redirecting a bunch of water to the ditch between the cottages. A big rain storm came through and washed the ditch into a gully and took both cottages down to the beach and the gully almost took out one of the next cottages over too. Happened over night, thankfully no one was in either cottage.



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