Random #368 – 50 Unusual Random Facts

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26 Project A119: Moon Nuke

Project A119: Moon Nuke

Project A119, a highly classified initiative conceived in 1958 by the United States Air Force, aimed to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon as a display of strength against the USSR. Notably, a young Carl Sagan was among those who contributed to the project.

27. Just 72 hours before he tragically passed away in a plane crash, Otis Redding recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”

28. Elephant trunks possess the remarkable strength to lift and securely hold up to 770 pounds of weight, yet they exhibit the precision required to crack peanut shells without damaging the seeds within.

29. Typically, women have a higher white blood cell count and tend to develop fewer infectious diseases.

30. The founder of the Chili’s restaurant chain, Larry Levine, drew inspiration from his father-in-law’s chili cookoffs, aiming to create a restaurant that served chili and burgers while fostering a welcoming atmosphere. Interestingly, Levine’s father-in-law was the renowned racing driver and performance car constructor, Carroll Shelby.

31 Duke’s Dance: Napoleon’s Defeat

Duke's Dance: Napoleon's Defeat

The typically composed and reserved Duke of Wellington spontaneously broke into a flamenco dance in 1814 upon learning of Napoleon’s abdication.

32. During the first attempted flight from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii by the U.S. Navy, one of the two seaplanes ran out of fuel and was forced to land in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from their destination. The resourceful crew fashioned makeshift sails from the plane’s fabric wings and sailed their aircraft to Hawaii.

33. Charles Martinet, the voice actor famous for portraying Mario, endured a nomadic existence for five years. In 2013, he faced eviction from his residence due to a legal dispute with the family of his deceased landlord.

34. Mrs. Watanabe represents a collective of thousands of Japanese housewives who engage in home-based investing. In the early 2000s, they gained international recognition as investment experts by leveraging forex to exchange yen for other currencies, significantly impacting global currency markets.

35. Steven Hill, the original leader in the TV series “Mission: Impossible,” declared upfront that he would not work on the Jewish Sabbath and surprised producers by leaving the set to adhere to his beliefs. Following this and another refusal, he was not invited to return for the second season and did not secure another acting role for a decade.

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36 Jumbo’s Train Tragedy

Jumbo's Train Tragedy

Jumbo was a male African bush elephant featured as an attraction by P.T. Barnum. Sadly, Jumbo met his demise when he was struck by a train in St. Thomas, Ontario. Interestingly, he was not named Jumbo because of his size; we got the word “jumbo” because of his name.

37. Sloths exhibit an astonishing ability to hold their breath for up to 40 minutes underwater, while dolphins, in contrast, can only manage 20 minutes.

38. Tortillas are strictly prohibited items at Sun Devil Stadium (Arizona State University). Possession of tortillas within the stadium premises can result in immediate ejection without a refund.

39. The Curse of the Ninth is a superstition suggesting that composers will perish before completing their tenth symphony. Notably, both Beethoven and Schubert died after composing their ninth symphonies. Gustav Mahler attempted to defy the curse through structural changes but met the same fate before finishing his tenth.

40. Panbabylonism represents the belief that all religions of civilization ultimately trace their origins to Babylonian myths, including narratives like the Genesis creation story and the Genesis flood account.

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41 Tanganyika’s Unique Fish Haven

Tanganyika's Unique Fish Haven

Lake Tanganyika, the oldest and deepest lake in Africa, is home to an impressive array of over 300 fish species. Remarkably, 95 percent of these species are unique to this lake and cannot be found elsewhere.

42. President Nixon maintained such a close relationship with his personal valet, Manolo Sanchez, that the two developed their own constructed language, occasionally using words known only to them.

43. In 1973, food manufacturer Mario Fabbrini conducted “The Great Michigan Pizza Burial” after 40,000 of his frozen pizzas were recalled due to botulism concerns. They were solemnly interred in a grave in Ossineke during a ceremony attended by hundreds, including the state governor, who delivered an eulogy of sorts.

44. Fires that endure beneath snow, persisting through winter and occasionally igniting wildfires in the subsequent spring, are commonly referred to as “zombie fires.”

45. A Wisconsin hacker known as Dr. Chaos served 13 years in federal prison for causing over $2.5 million in damage to power plants by causing 28 power failures and stockpiling drums of cyanide beneath Chicago’s L-line for mysterious reasons. He was released in 2019.

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46 Nutting Stones: Nutcracker Relics

Nutting Stones: Nutcracker Relics

Nutting stones are uniquely shaped rocks featuring shallow dimples that were used by primitive people to crack hard-shelled nuts like walnuts or hickory nuts.

47. Legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery developed his unconventional plucking technique, employing the fleshy part of his thumb, out of necessity. He practiced late at night after long working hours, seeking to avoid disturbing his neighbors or waking his children.

48. Although Vlad Tepes the Impaler served as a loose inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula character, Henry Irving was primarily responsible for his appearance and personality. Irving, an imposing egotist with a distinctive aquiline nose, was under Stoker’s management during the writing of the book.

49. The press frequently stated that the ceremonial uniforms worn by the White House Police during Nixon’s administration resembled band uniforms. Interestingly, a high school band in Iowa ended up using some of these uniforms.

50. In contrast to Western counting methods, where people typically count on their fingers up to 5 or 10, the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea employ a unique counting system that involves various body parts, allowing them to count as high as 35.

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