Random #361 – 50 Spellbinding Random Facts

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1Hypnotic Driving State

Hypnotic Driving State

Highway hypnosis, also known as white line fever, is an altered mental state in which a person can drive a car, truck, or any other automobile for great distances, responding to external events in the expected, safe, and correct manner, with no recollection of having consciously done so.

2. Daniel J. Morrell was a Great Lakes freighter that sank in Lake Huron in 1966. As the ship was sinking, the crew members believed they were moments away from being rescued, only to discover in horror that the lights they saw were from the stern section of their own severed ship, still under power and barreling towards them.

3. Three years after winning gold at the 2004 Olympics, wrestler Rulon Gardner and two friends' plane crashed into Lake Powell, Utah. The three men swam for an hour through 44°F (7°C) water to the shore and waited all night without shelter for rescue. All three men survived.

4. When Captain Francesco Schettino was asked why he abandoned the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2012 while the ship's passengers were either dying or trying to escape, his excuse was that he accidentally fell into a lifeboat. He received 16 years in prison for his role in the incident.

5. In 2002, members of a simulated Mars mission in Utah uncovered an actual dinosaur fossil during a mock spacewalk.

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6Surprising Animal Inactivity

Surprising Animal Inactivity

Many animals spend much of their time doing nothing, even those we think of as particularly busy. "If you look at a colony of ants, bees, or any social insect, really, maybe a little less than half of them are just standing around doing what looks like nothing."

7. John Stith Pemberton was a Confederate officer who became addicted to morphine after receiving a saber wound. Pemberton made a series of concoctions in an attempt to cure his addiction. Pemberton's experiments with coca and kola resulted in Pemberton's French Wine Coca and, later, Coca-Cola.

8. The Woolworth Company (aka Woolworth's) did not go out of business but rather changed its name to that of its most profitable division: Foot Locker.

9. James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher never met until they made cameo appearances in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

10. A pop-up restaurant named "The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders" in Japan hired only elderly people with dementia to reduce the stigma attached to it. The customers still ate the food they were served, even if the waiters got it wrong.

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11Jean Baptiste Charbonneau's Life

Jean Baptiste Charbonneau's Life

The baby Sacajawea carried for 2000 miles was Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. He was delivered by Meriwether Lewis, raised by William Clark, lived in a German castle for six years, spoke four languages, served as a military scout, fur trapper, and gold miner. He is buried in an Oregon ghost town.

12. If a member of the French Foreign Legion is wounded in battle, they can immediately apply for French citizenship under a provision known as "Français par le sang versé" ("French by spilled blood").

13. Japan's Tobe Zoo conducts lion escape drills using a human in a lion costume. Due to Japan's earthquake-prone location, these elaborate drills are crucial for emergency preparedness.

14. During the first days of a baby deer's (fawn's) life, they lie still and are mostly alone, apart from brief visits by their mother. However, this early stage is when they are safest from predators.

15. Piso Firme is a project that replaces dirt floors with concrete floors in Mexican slums. By changing the flooring, not only do residents' health and happiness improve, but also their children's communication skills and vocabulary.

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16Silent World of Sharks

Silent World of Sharks

Sharks don't make sounds. Across 400-500 species, no one has ever found an organ capable of producing sound.

17. The Magna Carta was annulled by Pope Innocent III and reinstated multiple times by different English kings. While perceived as a constitution, the Magna Carta was limited to 25 barons and the King, and the document has been almost entirely repealed or replaced with new laws over the centuries.

18. A cat named Room 8 lived in a public school for 16 years. During his time there, he would disappear during the summer and return, like clockwork, on the first day of school. He became so well-known that poems and songs were composed about him.

19. An Icelandic man named Felix Gretarsson lost both his arms in a work accident. He received a double arm and shoulder transplant, which was the first of its kind in the world.

20. Boogers contain salivary mucins, which form a barrier on your teeth against bacteria that can cause cavities.

21Elusive Paradoxical Insomnia

Elusive Paradoxical Insomnia

The feeling of being awake when you're actually sleeping is a disorder called paradoxical insomnia, and the reason for it is unclear.

22. Jack Parsons, a renowned rocket scientist and occultist, had connections with notable figures such as Aleister Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard. He played a pivotal role in establishing the Jet Propulsion Laboratory but tragically met his demise in an explosion.

23. American musician Trent Reznor was the final resident of 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles, the site of the Manson family murders. However, he moved out after a chance encounter with Sharon Tate's sister, who questioned him about potentially exploiting her sister's death by living in the house.

24. Al Green earned more royalties from the Big Mouth Milly Bass toy than any other for his song "Take Me to the River."

25. Poundbury is a town in England that was constructed according to the principles of King Charles III. Construction began in 1993, and currently, 80% of the town has been built (as of 2023). Approximately 4,600 people currently reside there.

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