Random Fact Sheet #176 – Unleash Your Curiosity With These 45 Facts

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The scientists who first discovered the platypus thought it was fake. Although indigenous Aboriginal people already knew of the creature, European scientists assumed an egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, venomous mammal had to be an elaborate hoax.

2. A priest named Chad Varah started the first suicide hotline in 1953. He did so after the first funeral he conducted early in his career, which was for a 14-year-old girl who took her own life because she had no one to talk to when her first period came and believed she had contracted an STD.

3. A retired Navy Seal named Don Shipley has spent much of his post-service life exposing individuals who falsely claim to be SEALs. According to the FBI, there are over 300 times more impostor Navy SEALs than actual SEALs.

4. Teddy Roosevelt regularly staged boxing matches in the White House, taking on anyone he could - including professional boxers. He only stopped boxing when his eyesight was permanently damaged by a punch from his military aide, Colonel Daniel T. Moore.

5. In 1833, Britain used 40% of its national budget to free all slaves in the Empire. The loan for the Slavery Abolition Act was so large that it was not paid off until 2015.

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6Helmet law

Helmet law

Florida repealed its helmet law in 2000. In the 30-months after, helmet use in Florida dropped from 99% to 53%. The number of riders under 21 who were killed (despite still being legally required to wear a helmet) nearly tripled, from 35 to 101. Hospitalizations increased by 40%.

7. Dukes of Hazzard was destroying '68-'70 Dodge Chargers at such a rate that planes had to be used for the aerial search for replacement cars among the populace.

8. The "fresh is best" culture led consumers to wrongly see frozen produce as lower quality. It turns out frozen fruit and vegetables are equally nutritious. The freezing process slows nutrient loss which occurs after harvesting. Researchers found no real nutritional differences overall.

9. Measles can wipe out the body's immune system "memory" of other diseases for years.

10. “Schnapsidee” is the German word for a ridiculous idea that only sounds good when you are drunk.

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11Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe's parents initially turned him down for the role of Harry Potter in 'The Philosopher's Stone' because the initial plan was to shoot 6 films in Los Angeles. They accepted the role after filming was moved to the United Kingdom and the contract reduced to 2 movies.

12. “Jaywalking” was invented by car companies in the early 1900s to shift blame for accidents from motorists to pedestrians.

13. Nirvana's album cover on “Nevermind” was almost rejected by the label because you could see the babies’ penis. Kurt Cobain then said the only compromise he would take is placing a sticker over the penis saying “If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile.”

14. Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell his telephone patent to Western Union for $100,000 in 1876. The committee appointed to investigate the offer concluded the telephone was "hardly more than a toy" and "inherently of no use to us."

15. Pregnancy physically changes a woman's brain structure. Grey matter volume is decreased in certain areas, giving mothers a higher capacity for empathy to help better understand their baby.

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16Fyre festival

Fyre festival

After Fyre festival failing miserably and facing a class action lawsuit of $100 million, the company actually threatened legal action against attendees for tweeting negative comments about it.

17. A toilet cleaner in the Netherlands was advertised using the slogan "We, the people at Toilet Duck, recommend Toilet Duck." The slogan is still being used as today a general saying to dispute the independence of an expert when his statements align with his self-interest.

18. 25% of Spongebob Squarepants viewers are adults with no children.

19. George Lucas was fined $250,000 and "The Empire Strikes Back" was nearly pulled from theatres because he put screen credits at the end of the movie (which was rare) to preserve the dramatic opening sequences.

20. Olympic and professional figure skater Brian Boitano went to the South Park movie alone, had never met Stone or Parker and felt surreal when the theater reacted with appreciative laughter to the question of What Would Brian Boitano Do and the song along with it. It has since become a big part of his life that he seems to embrace it.

21Rory McCann

Rory McCann

Rory McCann ('The Hound', Game of Thrones) was incredibly anti-social until he learned that fellow actors in the show's group, the 'Brotherhood Without Banners' (Thoros, Lord Beric) were musicians, and formed a band called 'Brotherhood Without Banjos' with them.

22. London based study in 2018 discovered that 70% of women are bullied by "Queen Bees" in the workplace. "Queen Bees" have been characterized as women who adopt socially aggressive behaviors such as gossiping, exclusion, alienation and stealing friends/partners due to insecurity.

23. The plagues of the Middle Ages have made around 10% of Europeans resistant to HIV. These individuals carry a genetic mutation (known as CCR5-Ä32) that prevents the virus from entering the cells of the immune system. The plagues of the Middle Ages played a part in creating these mutations.

24. Egypt is building a new capital city as a replacement for Cairo. The city is being developed to have a "smart traffic" system and a green space larger than New York's Central Park. They haven't picked a name yet.

25. The song Iron Man by Black Sabbath is unrelated to the Marvel character. It’s about a time traveler seeing an apocalyptic future. Back to the present, he is turned into steel by a magnetic storm rendering him mute. He warns people about the apocalypse but when they can't understand him, he causes the apocalypse.

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