Random Fact Sheet #131 – 40 Offbeat Facts You Won’t Believe

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26Florida Wildfires

Florida Wildfires

When Florida suffered catastrophic wildfires in 1995, Florida’s Division of Forestry discovered that the underlying problem was the cessation of controlled burning, which was stopped at the behest of homeowners.

27. Pacman was designed to be a never-ending game. The variable that holds the level was only an 8-bit integer though, so at level 256, the game goes bonkers, and level 256 is impossible to beat.

28. The Apollo program had a massive effect on the atmosphere of the Moon, with each landing potentially doubling the Moon’s atmospheric mass.

29. The black-footed cat, which is Africa's smallest feline predator, has been known to kill sheep by hanging on to their throats until they have bitten through the jugular. They only grow to a maximum size of roughly 5 lbs.

30. At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on September 11, 2001, made a tape recording that same day describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it.

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31Lefty Snails

Lefty Snails

Left-spiraling snails are generally as rare as left-handed humans, especially because left and right spiraled snails can't mate together easily, but in Japan, snakes gobble up righties easily but can't bite into the lefties, so there are way more lefties.

32. The first cloned pet was a cat and it was aptly named Copy Cat.

33. Professional ballet dancers can go through 4 pairs of pointe shoes in a week.

34. There is a Justice League comic out there in which a superhero assassinates Saddam Hussein in order to end the atrocities of his regime. This ends up actually destabilizing the country, making the quality of life for citizens much worse than it was before. The comic came out in 1999.

35. During a visit to Boeing, Soviet scientists secretly applied adhesive to the bottom of their shoes in order to covertly collect metal samples from the floor.

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Lolita is a killer whale that has been kept in Miami Seaquarium since 1970. The orca is 20 feet long, and her tank measures 60 ft x 80 ft x 20 ft deep. Her only company for 10 years was Hugo, who died after a brain aneurysm caused by repeatedly banging his head on the tank windows.

37. In EverQuest, the sale of valuable items for both in-game platinum and for actual money allows exchange rates to be worked out. The BBC reported in 2002 that EQ was the 77th richest country in the world, between Russia and Bulgaria, with a higher GDP per capita than both China and India.

38. The first ‘moving staircase’ or escalator was built in 1898 at a Harrods store in London. Riders found the escalator ride so nerve wrecking that an employee stood at the top offering brandy so that they could recover from the ordeal.

39. The bobtail Squid stores bioluminescent bacteria in its underbelly that emits the same amount of light that shines on top of it, making its shadow disappear and rendering it invisible to predators below.

40. The Los Zetas cartel was formed by a group of commandos who defected from the Mexican army in the late 1990s. It is considered by the U.S. government to be the “most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico.”

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