Random #358 – 50 Really Good Random Facts

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26Canada's Bread Price Fixing

Canada's Bread Price Fixing

For 15 years (2001-2015), several of Canada's largest grocery chains, including Loblaws, conspired to keep bread prices artificially high. During that time, bread prices rose by 96%, compared to overall food inflation of only 45%.

27. For over two centuries, Columbia personified the United States and was even an alternate name for the country. She gave rise to names like the District of Columbia and British Columbia. After World War I, Lady Liberty replaced her, and Columbia gradually faded from public memory.

28. William Bligh, who was overthrown as captain in the famous mutiny on the HMS Bounty, was also overthrown as governor of New South Wales in Australia's only military coup.

29. In the 1960s, benzodiazepines were first sold as a way to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia. At the time, mostly women used them. The gendered cultural meanings of Valium, a well-known benzodiazepine, were cemented in the 1966 Rolling Stones' song "Mother's Little Helper."

30. Duck sauce was created in the US when Chinese restaurateurs realized that Americans preferred a sweeter sauce than the traditional Tianmian (sweet bean) sauce served with Peking duck.

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31Instant Ramen Burns

Instant Ramen Burns

According to a 10-year retrospective study at the University of Chicago Burn Center, over 30% of pediatric scald burns are caused by accidents involving instant ramen.

32. Margaret Knight (1838-1914) invented a machine for mass-producing flat-bottomed paper bags. After winning a lawsuit against a fraudster who copied her design, the patent was issued in 1871. Her first invention was created when she was only 12 years old and began working in a factory. In total, she had 87 patents.

33. Musician and songwriter D'Angelo not only recorded a song for Red Dead Redemption 2 called "Unshaken," but he also served as a playtester during the video game's development due to his love of the series.

34. Honeycombs start out circular, and the surface tension of the beeswax pulls them into hexagons as it solidifies because it is the most energetically favorable conformation.

35. During the 17th century, coffeehouses were so popular in England that they were often referred to as "Penny Universities." For the price of a penny, one could buy a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation on a wide range of topics, from politics to literature.

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36Pipedown Campaign

Pipedown Campaign

Pipedown is a British campaign group dedicated to removing piped music from public spaces.

37. In 1965-1966, a Scottish man named Agostino "Angus" Giuseppe A. Barbieri fasted for over a year (382 days) under medical supervision and lost 276 pounds. During that time, he only consumed vitamins, electrolytes, and yeast, as well as zero-calorie drinks. The only exceptions were small amounts of milk and sugar with his tea.

38. Disney World had its own airport with a runway featuring a set of grooves, similar to rumble strips on the side of a highway, that played "When You Wish Upon a Star" when driven over at roughly 45 miles per hour, much to the surprise of airplane passengers.

39. Early drones were developed during the First World War. These radio-controlled planes were primarily for target practice, but by 1942, a drone with a built-in TV camera was capable of delivering a torpedo to a ship 20 miles from the controller.

40. John Langdon Down believed that disorders such as Down syndrome (or "mongolism") made people look like a different race and considered this evidence that humans are a single species.

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41Stomach Rumbling Science

Stomach Rumbling Science

The rumbling sound your stomach makes when hungry is called "borborygmus." It happens when the muscles in your digestive system move food, liquid, and gas through your stomach and small intestine, producing a rumbling sound.

42. The May 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack was propagated using EternalBlue, an exploit developed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), which was stolen and leaked a month prior in April 2017.

43. William Duell, a criminal who was hanged in 1740, had his body sent for dissection for medical purposes but was revived by the staff when he started breathing. His sentence was then commuted, and he was exiled to North America, where he eventually died at an old age.

44. L'Anse aux Meadows is the oldest known European settlement in North America. Discovered in 1960 in present-day Newfoundland, its origin was confirmed to be Viking from the 11th century based on artifacts and evidence consistent with other known Norse examples in Greenland and Iceland.

45. Mattiedna Johnson was born to Mississippi sharecroppers in 1918. She used techniques she learned on her childhood farm (like making butter, jam, and soap) to capture and preserve molds for research. Her work eventually helped in the development of drugs to fight scarlet fever.

46Dangerous Tree Wells

Dangerous Tree Wells

The void that forms under certain trees when it snows is called a tree well. The upper branches of the tree prevent snow from falling below them, creating a pocket that is a serious peril for skiers and snowboarders. Several people die every year from falling headfirst into these voids.

47. After the Great Flood of 1862, which killed thousands and devastated the economy, California legislators and state employees worked unpaid for a year and a half.

48. A Florida woman named Lillan Bloodworth donated blood every 56 days for nearly 50 years. By the time she stopped at age 85, she had donated 23 gallons. The average person's body contains about 1.5 gallons.

49. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel accidentally got a tan and helped inspire the trend of sunbathing. Soon, "sunlight therapy" was prescribed for almost every ailment, from fatigue to tuberculosis. Before this, tanned skin was associated with the lower classes who worked outside, and fair skin was revered.

50. There is an art installation in Burlington, Vermont, that is called the world's tallest filing cabinet. Its name is "File Under So. Co., Waiting for..." and it was built in 2002 in response to years of delays building the Interstate 189 bypass into downtown Burlington.

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