When George Washington passed away in 1799, the British Royal Navy lowered its flags at half-mast. The London Morning Chronicle stated that ‘The whole range of history does not present to our view a character upon which we can dwell with such entire and unmixed admiration.’
2. The notion that NASA astronauts carry suicide pills for use in case they are marooned in outer space is untrue. Exposure to outer space results in a much faster and smoother demise compared to a suicide pill.
3. Comedian Demetri Martin incorporated music into his act to prevent Comedy Central from rearranging his performance for TV.
4. Sailors aboard submarines work 6-hour shifts so that it is easier for them to give their undivided attention to the equipment they operate during a shorter shift. The military also switched submarines from an 18-hour work day to a traditional 24-hour one, improving morale significantly.
5. Most Germans sing "Happy Birthday" in English but with a German accent, rather than singing it in German.
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Benjamin Franklin had an abusive older brother named James Franklin who forced him to sign an indenture which bounded him until he turned 21. His brother was abusive partly because Benjamin showed talent. At the age of 17, Benjamin ran away penniless to Philadelphia, gained connections and jump-started his political career.
7. The ‘Sacred Band of Thebes’ were a force of 300 elite soldiers of the Theban army in 4th Century B.C. The force was made up of 150 pairs of male lovers. During the Battle of Chaeronea, they stood and fought to the death while their comrades ran. They were buried side by side.
8. In the final stages of hypothermia, humans exhibit two strange behaviors; paradoxical undressing, in which a person will remove all their clothes despite being dangerously close to death, and a completely autonomous, instinctual burrowing behavior.
9. Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs mortgaged his home to buy a virtual asteroid for $100,000. In 2005, this was the most valuable virtual item ever sold. This landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records for owning the most expensive virtual item, which he later sold for $635,000.
10. Celebrity chef Alton Brown worked as a cinematographer and video director before he became a food star. He was director of photography for R.E.M.'s music video "The One I Love" and spent all of his time between takes on the set watching cooking shows, feeling that he could do a better job.
American psychologist Julian Jaynes's "Bicameral Mind Theory" suggests that ancient humans were not self-aware and that the right hemisphere communicated with the left via auditory hallucinations. These voices may have been interpreted as "Gods" by early humans.
12. The University of Colorado has named their cafeteria grill ‘Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill’ after the infamous cannibal, Alferd G. Packer. The cafeteria’s slogan is “Have a friend for lunch!”
13. Cheating on your spouse is a crime in New York, carrying a possible sentence of up to 6 months in jail.
14. A fan of George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ guessed that “Hodor” meant “Hold the Door”, to which Martin answered, “you don't know how close to the truth you are.”
15. Bulimia is so rare outside of western countries that the first recorded case in India resulted in a scientific publication.
The Pentagon has twice as many toilet facilities needed for a building of its size because it had to conform to the Commonwealth of Virginia's racial segregation laws during construction.
17. All arcade games imported into North America from 1989 to 2000 had the following FBI slogan included into their attract mode: “Winners Don't Use Drugs.”
18. Lemurs get high off large red millipedes by gently biting into them and making the millipede release a defensive toxin. They then spread this toxin through their fur and, thanks to the small concentration of cyanide within it, the lemurs enter a state of intoxication and salivate profusely.
19. After British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died, a campaign was started to bring "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" from "The Wizard of Oz" to the top of the music charts. It sold over 50,000 copies and entered at Number Two.
20. When a shark is flipped on its back, it enters a state of paralysis that lasts for up to 15 minutes. The phenomenon is known as “Tonic Immobility.” In some cases, orcas have been seen maneuvering a shark upside down to induce this paralyzed state.
Every purple heart awarded by the military since 1945 is one of the 500,000 purple hearts manufactured in anticipation of U.S. casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan during World War 2. There are 120,000 still left.
22. As the HMS Sheffield was sinking off the Falklands in 1982, the crew gathered around and started singing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' from Monty Python.
23. Douglas Adams, the creator of the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” series, wanted “Slartibartfast's” name to sound very rude. He was originally called "Phartiphukborlz" and changed it gradually until BBC accepted it for radio broadcast.
24. Robert Hooke, despite pioneering the experimental method and discovering many elements of gravitational theory first, was almost entirely erased from history by Sir Isaac Newton because they did not like each other and Newton lived 25 years longer, allowing him to edit history to his favor.
25. Arizona and Hawaii don't observe daylight savings time.