Random Fact Sheet #142 – Dash of Bizarre, a Pinch of Unusual – 40 Facts

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1German government officials

German government officials

In the 1950s more than 77% of all German government officials and judges were (former) Nazis, which is an even higher percentage than during the actual Third Reich itself.

2. American actor Tom Cruise himself actually created the character (and the dance) for Les Grossman, suggesting "What about some greedy pig studio executive who really represents the gross part of Hollywood?” because of how much he enjoyed the script of Tropic Thunder and wanted to be in the movie.

3. In 2012, when a documentary was being filmed in a Swissair flight, an engine failed. The film crew was able to capture the calm and cool of the pilots while they turned the engine off, informed passengers, dumped fuel, ate chocolate and took a coffee break.

4. In 2012, scientists at the Hadron Collider formed a quark-gluon plasma and subsequently recorded the hottest temperature created by humans, which was about 5.5 trillion degrees Celsius.

5. When people faint at the sight of blood, it's because their body is actually trying to calm them down because they are overly-excited. It overshoots and the person passes out. It's called vasovagal syncope.

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NASA took Nefertiti the jumping Porscha spider to the ISS to see if she could learn to hunt in zero gravity. She did, and when she returned to earth 110 days later, she successfully retrained her jumps again for 1G.

7. Venice, Italy is held up by millions of ancient tree poles driven into the mud. They never rot due to the lack of oxygen.

8. In 1884, a 40-year-old mother of 8 named Jane Whyte was walking on the beach in Aberdeenshire when she saw the SS William Hope drifting towards rocks. She waded into the sea, caught a rope flung by the crew, wrapped it around her waist, dragged it back to shore, and created a lifeline saving 15 sailors.

9. In 2003, a 17-year-old transplant patient died after receiving organs with the wrong blood type. The error occurred because everyone assumed that someone else checked the blood type.

10. The rap/male vocals in Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life" was added because radio stations thought the song was "too feminine." You can listen to Amy Lee's version of the song on the band's 2017 album "Synthesis."

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11Take Me to Church

Take Me to Church

The vocals for Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” weren't recorded in the studio. He recorded a demo in his parents' attic and the record label found the vocals to be so powerful, they left them alone.

12. Death sentence with reprieve is a punishment in which the criminal is given a two-year suspended sentence before execution. By abstaining from additional crimes during the two years, the criminal can reduce the sentence to life imprisonment, or, by committing good deeds, a fixed-term sentence.

13. Up to 25% of cowboys in the West during the later 19th century were black. Former slaves or born into a formerly enslaved family, they worked in an industry that despite facing inevitable racism was a generally less discriminatory than other industries at the time.

14. The paper toilet seat covers, found in public restrooms, pretty much do nothing and do not actually have any health benefits.

15. In languages where spelling is highly phonetic (e.g. Italian) often lack an equivalent verb for "to spell". To clarify, one will often ask "how is it written?" and the response will be a careful pronunciation of the word since this is sufficient to spell it.

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16Criminal justice system

Criminal justice system

Japan's criminal justice system has a conviction rate of over 99%. For Japanese citizens and police, the arrest itself already creates the presumption of guilt which needs only to be verified via a confession.

17. Cows can have best friends and are significantly less stressed out when they get to hang out with them.

18. The Indiana State Prison system usually gives condemned inmates their last meal about two days early because "they typically aren't as hungry on the day they are to die."

19. “The Great Filter” is a theoretical point in evolution that only a minuscule fraction of species could evolve past. This may explain why we have never contacted other high functioning species. Also, we do not know if humans have yet to reach it, or have already passed it.

20. Inspired by the Black Mirror episode "Be Right Back," a software developer gathered over 8,000 lines of text from friends and family of her recently deceased best friend (Roman Mazurenko from left) and used it to create an artificially intelligent simulation of him.

21Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg

Composer Arnold Schoenberg had a morbid fear of the number 13. On his 76th birthday, an astrologer wrote him a letter of warning which only read “7 + 6 = 13”, which caused him to fall into deep depression and illness, from which he died on Friday the 13th.

22. Home Depot stocked shelves with empty boxes instead of actual merchandise in its early days. Home Depot persuaded the vendors to give them empty boxes after the vendors were afraid that Home Depot could not pay them for all the merchandise.

23. The blue Java banana is a hardy, cold-tolerant banana that is said to have the consistency of an ice cream and a flavor similar to vanilla.

24. If any crimes occur at the McMurdo station in Antarctica, the US attorney in the district of Hawaii handles the case.

25. Michael Connor Humphreys, who played Forest Gump as a teenager, was initially supposed to learn how to talk like Tom Hanks. Hearing this, Hanks sat down with Humphreys and decided that he would talk in Humphreys’ Mississippi accent instead. He still has tapes of him and Humphreys practicing.

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