Random Fact Sheet #166 – 45 Facts That Will Leave You Awestruck

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In North Korea, there is little stigma attached to using meth. "If you go to somebody's house it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff," says one North Korean.

2. Colorado switched mile marker "420" to "419.99" in order to stop people from stealing it.

3. As a child raised in South Carolina, US political comedian Stephen Colbert observed that Southerners were often depicted as being less intelligent than other characters on scripted television. To avoid that stereotype, he taught himself to imitate the speech of American news anchors.

4. Two students named Steven Pera and Allan Schwander were arrested in 1972 for a plan to poison Chicago's water supply with typhoid, anthrax, and various other pathogens. Released on bond, they hijacked a plane and forced it to go to Cuba. One died in a prison and the other one eventually made it home, getting 5 years of probation.

5. The Wright Brothers hated the first director of the Smithsonian Institution, who claimed that he flew before them. If the Smithsonian ever gives credit to earlier claims of controlled and powered manned flight, the Wright Brothers' plane must be returned to Orville's estate.

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6George Washington University

George Washington University

In 2006, police at George Washington University used Facebook to learn about college parties and bust them. To fight back, students set up a beer blast event on Facebook. When the cops showed up, there was no alcohol, but cookies with "Beer" written on them and games of "Cake-pong".

7. The Soviets had made a prototype laser pistol (Soviet laser pistol) for use by their astronauts. The pistol was designed to burn a hole through the spacesuits of enemy astronauts, killing them via suffocation and/or explosive decompression.

8. During the Spanish-American war (1898), a warship named USS Charleston was sent by the USA to capture Guam. It fired 13 shots at the harbor fort without receiving return fire. The Spanish sent an officer out to apologize for not returning the 'salute' as they were out of gunpowder. They hadn't been informed that they were at war.

9. In 2000, Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the Pokémon franchise, saying the games did not have "any harmful moral side effects" and were based on "ties of intense friendship".

10. In the film 'Thank You for Smoking', none of the characters are ever seen smoking.

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11Lulu the kangaroo

Lulu the kangaroo

Lulu the kangaroo was rescued as a joey and hand-reared by an Australian farmer and his family. When a branch knocked the farmer unconscious, Lulu stayed with him and 'barked' until the man's family came, likely saving his life.

12. After betraying their mission and informing the FBI about Nazi agents on U.S. soil, the two men who saved America from Nazi infiltration were greeted with life imprisonment, the threat of execution, and deportation.

13. A "dash" is 1/8 of a teaspoon, a "pinch" is 1/16 of a teaspoon, and a "smidgen" is 1/32 of a teaspoon.

14. Before the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther confessed for hours at a time. Annoyed, the priest told him "If you're going to confess so much, why don't you go do something worth confessing? Kill your mother or father! Commit adultery! Quit coming in here with such flummery and fake sins."

15. The last native Prince of Wales (Owain Glyndŵr) disappeared at the end of his rebellion in 1412 and managed to remain hidden despite a large bounty and an eventual pardon. His fate and location have remained a closely guarded family secret for over 600 years.

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16Gerhard Domagk

Gerhard Domagk

A German scientist named Gerhard Domagk, developed the antibacterial agent Prontosil, a sulfonamide. He used this agent to treat his own daughter, preventing her from an arm amputation. He won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1939.

17. Seth Rogen paid the bills and was the main wage earner of the family by the age of 16.

18. Author Ian McEwan helped his son write his A-level essay about one of his own novels, Enduring Love. The teacher disagreed with his interpretation.

19. Andre Geim won the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work on using magnetism to levitate a frog. About 10 years later, his experiments regarding graphene won him the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. This makes him the only ever recipient of both the Ig Nobel and Nobel Prizes.

20. There is a German word "Bulimielernen" [= bulimia learning]. It describes the brainless activity of having to learn a lot of useless stuff in a short time, and "puking" the knowledge into an exam, so it is gone afterward.

21John Howard Griffin

John Howard Griffin

In the 1950s, a Texas white man named John Howard Griffin went through extensive physical changes to become a black man and traveled for 6 weeks on buses through the segregated south. After publishing his experiences, hostility and threats forced him to move to Mexico.

22. The Hercules beetle, despite weighing only 100 grams, can lift 8 kilograms, making it one of the proportionally strongest animals in the world.

23. In 1984, five Argentinians crossed the Atlantic. The boat was a raft of 13.6 meters long by 5.8 meters wide, built of logs, rudderless and with only one sail. The aim was to prove that 3500 years before Christopher Columbus, African sailors may have accidentally reached the shores of America.

24. When the leading emergency asthma medication Albuterol's patent expired, the patent-holding pharmaceutical companies lobbied to have their own inhalers banned based on environmental issues, allowing them to file a new patent, and continue to monopolize the market.

25. Allie Brosh's (of Hyperbole and a Half) comic on depression is considered "one of the best contemporary portraits of the condition" by psychologists.

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