Random Fact Sheet #126 – 45 Whimsical Facts to Add Some Magic to Your Day

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1Left-handed tools

Left-handed tools

10% of ancient tools uncovered are designed for being left-handed, indicating that in the last 10,000 years the proportion of the population that is left-handed has remained consistent at 10%.

2. Clowns paint their faces onto eggs to copyright them so that other clowns can't use the same face. There is a registry of egg faces in both Europe and in the United States.

3. Helping people in poor neighborhoods plant flowers and spruce up empty lots can reduce crime. One experiment in Flint, Michigan reduced crime by over 50% in the neighborhood.

4. Peter Benchley, the author of the classic novel Jaws, has come to regret writing his shark thriller. He feels responsible for the mistaken view of sharks as evil creatures. He is now one of the world's most dedicated shark conservation activists.

5. During the 1962 World Cup, the Chilean team ate Swiss cheese before beating Switzerland, spaghetti before beating Italy, and drank vodka before beating USSR, but finally they lost against Brazil because they drank coffee before their match.

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6Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams came up with the title for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy while lying drunk in a field near Innsbruck with a copy of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to Europe. Looking up at the stars, he thought it would be a good idea for someone to write a hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy as well.

7. A Danish comedian and actor named Jacob Haugaard ran for parliament as a joke and actually won in 1994. Some of his outrageous campaign promises were: Nutella in field rations, more tailwind on bike paths, and better weather. Nutella in field rations was actually implemented.

8. Crested Black macaques are the most affectionate monkeys in the world, due to living in a forest full of food where they all want nothing else. They love to hug, blow kisses, share, and make friends.

9. A Mormon missionary named Arnold Potter in the 1850s declared himself to be the second coming of Christ and started a new religious movement. His movement ended when he attempted to "ascend into Heaven" by jumping off of a cliff in front of all his followers.

10. To understand a pun, the brain's left and right hemispheres have to work together due to the unique structure of the joke.

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11Bette Graham

Bette Graham

Bette Graham became a typist to support herself and her son Michael in 1951. She was a poor typist and invented a white tempera paint to cover her mistakes. This led to her business Liquid Paper Co. which she sold 25 years later for $48 million. Michael went on to become a member of The Monkees.

12. Blueberries and raspberries have the same pigment compounds, anthocyanins. Blueberries are blue because they are less acidic. If you add an acid like vinegar to crushed blueberries, they will turn red. Adding a base like baking soda will return them to blue.

13. A medical examiner named Judy Melinek identified hundreds of bodies from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, many of which were merely scraps of flesh or pieces of the limb. She was called in mid-August 2002 because they had found a foot bone on top of another skyscraper 1/5 mile away.

14. When 5 experts were given fingerprints that, unbeknownst to them, they had deemed a “match” earlier in their career, and told that these were from a suspect of the Madrid train bombings, 4 of the 5 experts now said that they didn't match, suggesting their judgment is affected by the context.

15. In 2009, a drunk New Zealander lost a poker bet and had his name changed to "Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova". He found out that it was accepted 5 years later after receiving a confirmation letter.

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16Semantic satiation

Semantic satiation

Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

17. Oranges are sold in bright red net bags because the color of the net deepens the perceived color of the fruits. This is called Munker's illusion.

18. The Sand Octopus lacks color changing organs (chromatophores) so they shoot jets of water to create quicksand and then blast almost a foot into the ground. They then secrete mucus to reinforce the walls of their predator proof bunker and use one arm to create a ventilation “chimney.”

19. Oxygen masks in airplanes aren't connected to an oxygen tank. Instead, they use a chemical reaction to generate it on the spot.

20. When cowboy/actor Slim Pickens (Blazing Saddles/Dr. Strangelove) joined the military during World War 2 he stated his profession as “rodeo”. The recruiter heard “radio” and therefore Slim spent the entire war as a radio operator.

21The Brave Little Toaster

The Brave Little Toaster

American animated comedy film 'The Brave Little Toaster', nearly took home the top award at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival, but the judges were afraid that the festival would lose respect by picking a cartoon.

22. Dogs that served with the US Army in Afghanistan from 2010 - 2014 were poorly treated upon discharge, some were left in kennels for many months and not cared for, while others remain unaccounted. Several soldiers later searched for and rescued their ex-partners.

23. The day after Memorial Day starts the "100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers, where fatal accidents involving teen drivers increase by 15% compared to the rest of the year.

24. An ant mega-colony exists across 3 continents and is thought to contain billions of ants, all of which recognize each other to be from the same colony. The largest part of the colony is in Europe and is thought to spread 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast.

25. Retta, Parks and Recreation's Donna Meagle, is the niece of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's first female President and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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