Random Fact Sheet #145 – 45 Fascinating and Obscure Facts

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In 1667, the Dutch were given the rich, nutmeg-producing island of Run in the Pacific by the British. In return, the British were given a swampy backwater island named Manhattan.

2. General Ulysses S. Grant was once so offended by the mistreatment of a team of horses that he had the perpetrator tied to a tree for 6 hours.

3. A terrier named Igloo traveled to both the North and South Poles in the 1920s as a companion to his human, explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. He chased penguins, picked fights with the sled dogs, and had a camel-hair suit made for him to keep him warm. His headstone is shaped like an iceberg.

4. In 2015, NFL player Tyrann Mathieu filmed a PSA on the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. It was 90 degrees outside and Tyrann gave up after 8 minutes when the inside temperature reached 120 degrees.

5. On Rain Man’s release many airlines showed an edited version on flights, cutting the scene in which Ray highlights crash records for specific airlines. Quantas was the only airline that showed the scene in full due to Ray stating they “never crashed.”

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6Gold donation

Gold donation

It is estimated that 16% of the world's gold and 22% of the world's silver is contained in Japan's electronics alone so much that Japan is asking its citizens to donate old electronics to make the Olympic medals.

7. Frederick the Great ordered executioners to secretly strangle criminals before they were broken on the wheel. This was to keep the illusion of brutality while, at the same time, being merciful.

8. When the Beatles met Elvis, they were amazed by the device he had that could change channels on the TV from across the room.

9. King Louis IX, who died in 1270, is the only French monarch venerated as a saint. He invited beggars to eat with him at his table daily and replaced trial by combat with evidence-based trials.

10. Grateful Dead played the final concert at the iconic Winterland venue in San Francisco on New Years Eve 1978 which lasted over 8 hours. The guests were treated to a hot buffet breakfast at dawn when the show ended.

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11Solar energy

Solar energy

California generates so much solar energy that it has to pay other states to take the excess so that their power lines don't overload.

12. Most people who can touch-type greater than 70 words per minute with greater than 90% accuracy, also can't correctly recite from memory the layout of their keyboard.

13. The median age of people who watch cable news is more than 60 years old.

14. In France, it is illegal for restaurants to offer unlimited free refills of sugary drinks.

15. The official manner of address for the President of the United States could have been "Highness" or "Majesty", if not for George Washington consenting that the final title be simply "Mr. President."

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During a UK tour in 2011, Drake spent an ‘‘obscene amount of money’’ on first editions of children’s classic books ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh’.

17. Jay-Z released "Glory" on January 9, 2012, a song dedicated to his first child, Blue Ivy Carter. Because Blue's cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as "B.I.C", at two days old she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart.

18. Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on the planet, capable of reaching speeds around 200 mph.

19. During the industrial revolution, some children in U.K. were so poor that their schools had to lend them shoes and stamp them with a warning not to pawn them off for money or food.

20. Singer-songwriter Tori Amos received a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of 5. She is the youngest person ever to have been admitted. At the age of 11, she was expelled for what Rolling Stone described as "musical insubordination."

21Amish population

Amish population

With an average of 7 children per family, the Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world.

22. Between 1907 and 1922, American-born women who married non-citizens automatically lost American citizenship. In 1917, hundreds of American women who had married German men were forced to register with the government as 'enemy aliens.'

23. Amethyst was considered one of the five most precious gemstones, alongside diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald. When large deposits were found in Brazil, the value of amethyst plummeted, and today it is considered only semiprecious.

24. The Babylonians actually discovered Trigonometry about 1,500 years before the Greeks. Not only were their tables more accurate because of their base-60 numerical system (which made thirds more accurate), but their approach using ratios is something relatively novel to us even today.

25. In 2015, it was announced that Alexander Hamilton would be replaced on the $10 bill by the portrait of an as yet undecided woman, starting in 2020. However, due to the surging popularity of Hamilton, a hit Broadway musical based on Hamilton's life, in 2016 this decision was reversed and Hamilton will remain on the $10 bill, and instead a woman will appear on the $20 bill.

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