Random Fact Sheet #157 – 35 Fact to Help You Open the Doors to the Unknown:

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1Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck challenged a scientist named Rudolf Virchow to a duel but backed out after learning that his opponent chose to fight with two pork sausages, one infected with roundworm.

2. In the United States, if you are not found guilty of a crime by reason of insanity, you can be involuntarily confined in a mental institution indefinitely, regardless of what the maximum sentence would have been had you been found guilty.

3. In 2005, the Australian Government banned the use of the word 'Mate' in Parliament. However, the ban lasted all of 24 hours before it was repealed after being described 'absurd and ridiculous' by the Prime Minister.

4. In the 1st century A.D. in Rome, the lead actor in the play, 'Laureolus," would be switched out in the end with a condemned criminal and actually crucified on stage.

5. Mississippi didn't ratify the 13th Amendment until 2013 when a college professor decided to do some research after watching the film 'Lincoln' and noticed that Mississippi had never officially ratified it.

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15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History



For free, the US Treasury Department provides blind US citizens with a machine that can read their currency for them. iBill is compact enough to slip into a side pocket. It can identify all US currency. They have also developed free apps to read currency with a smartphone.

7. When famed troll and philosopher Diogenes the Cynic was being sold as a slave, he listed his specialty as "ruling men." He subsequently pointed to Xeniades, a wealthy Corinthian and said, “Sell me to this man; he needs a master.” He was sold on the spot and became a tutor to Xeniades' sons.

8. Canadian musician Chad Kroeger took a $4000 loan from his stepfather so his band, Nickelback, could record their first EP. In truth, only half went towards recording the EP; the other half went to buying magic mushrooms.

9. The longest Filibuster in American History was a 24-hour speech by Senator Strom Thurmond, with the intention of stalling the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He successfully spoke from 8:54 pm to 9:12 pm the next day, but the bill was still passed.

10. An escaped slave of George Washington named Oney Judge lived her life as a fugitive in New Hampshire and provided historians with the most detailed account of slavery at Mount Vernon.

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11Campbell's Green Bean Casserole

Campbell's Green Bean Casserole

Campbell's Green Bean Casserole is so popular that Campbell's estimates 40% of their Cream of Mushroom Soup is used to make the dish.

12. A major tobacco company named Newport cigarette was sued for allegedly using company vans in the 1960s to make trips to housing projects where free Newport cigarettes were given to children. A jury ruled against the tobacco company, which was ordered to pay over $35 million in damages.

13. When you cool helium to about 2 Kelvin it will literally have zero viscosity and so will be able to flow through solid ceramics and up walls.

14. In 1920, during US Prohibition, a Johns Hopkins psychologist named John Watson conducted a study to see whether or not people are better at playing Darts while drunk. The government allowed him to purchase 34 gallons of whiskey, as scientific research was a valid exception to Prohibition.

15. An Antarctic explorer named Captain Oates died during the Terra Nova Expedition. Oates struggling with the journey back walked from his tent into a blizzard. He committed suicide in an act of self-sacrifice when his ill health was compromising his three companions’ chances of survival.

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16Treehouse of Horror

Treehouse of Horror

While recording the original Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror", James Earl Jones chewed on a cookie close to his microphone in order to get the alien drooling sounds just right for Alien Chief Serak.

17. While peanut allergies are a common high-risk allergy in the United States, Central Europe deals with Celery allergies. Celery is such a danger to certain individuals that the European Union had to enact labeling laws for products containing celery derived ingredients.

18. Due to ADA requirements, elevator chimes must sound once when it's going up, or twice if it's going down. This is to assist those who are unable to see.

19. There is a reason behind voting taking place on a Tuesday in USA. In 1845, it could take rural farmers up to a day of traveling by horse and cart to get to a voting station. Wednesday was typically market day and Sunday was the Biblical Sabbath, so Tuesday was chosen to allow ample travel time.

20. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara, intending to show how statistics can be used misleadingly, received statistically significant results when scanning a salmon with fMRI to show that its brain responded differently to photos of different social situations. The salmon was dead.

21Third Whale

Third Whale

Gray Whale couples need a 3rd Whale to act as a brace while they mate so they don't float apart midway through.

22. At Billy Mays' funeral, the pallbearers wore blue shirts and khaki pants, much like what Mays wore when he advertised products.

23. 26 kids were found after being featured in the video for the song "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum in 1993. The version shown in Australia showed a number of young backpacking tourists. Several of them turned out to be victims of Ivan Milat, the Backpacker Murderer.

24. A Greek World War 2 pilot named Marinos Mitralexis downed an Italian bomber by ramming when out of ammo, made an emergency landing and arrested the surviving bomber crew with his pistol.

25. American economist Richard Thaler, upon finding out he won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on irrational decision-making, said he would spend the prize money as "irrationally as possible."

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