Random Fact Sheet #180 – 40 Wackiest Facts You Didn’t Know

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1Della Porta

Della Porta

An Italian scholar named Della Porta (1563) invented a method of writing secret messages inside eggs. He found that ink automatically transferred from the shell to the boiled egg inside and the message could only be revealed when it was cracked and peeled.

2. On Valentine's Day of 1884, just 36 hours after the birth of their only daughter, Alice, future U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt held his wife as she passed away from undiagnosed Bright's disease. Just hours before, in the same house, he had already said a final goodbye to his mother, Martha.

3. American tv series To Catch a Predator was canceled because a Texas District Attorney committed suicide after being caught exchanging photos with an underage boy.

4. Isaac Woodard was an African-American World War 2 veteran who was badly beaten at a bus stop in 1946 for asking the driver to stop at a bathroom, blinding him in both eyes. His case brought the treating of veterans to light and the beginnings of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.

5. An analysis based on insurance industry data concluded that without aging or disease, people would live an average of nearly 9,000 years before accident, murder, or disaster got them.

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6Rebel Wilson

Rebel Wilson

Rebel Wilson decided to pursue acting because of a malaria-induced hallucination in which she saw herself winning an Oscar. She contracted malaria while working as a Youth Ambassador for Rotary International in South Africa.

7. Male fruit flies seek out alcohol when sexually rejected.

8. There is a theme park in Lithuania named Lithuania's Soviet Bunker visitor attraction which recreates life as a USSR citizen. The visitors have their belongings confiscated, have to wear moldy overcoats, experience interrogation, and must learn the Soviet anthem.

9. Pistachios are expensive because the trees take up to 20 years to reach peak production, and are "biennial-bearing", meaning a light harvest every other year. The nuts used to be dyed red to hide stains caused by hand picking. Most pistachios are now machine picked and dying is unnecessary.

10. A 24-year-old man named Richard Vega took part in a "Hands on a Hard Body" contest in 2005 to win a Nissan Pickup by keeping a hand on the truck. In the third day, after consuming as many as 6 energy drinks, he took his hand off the truck, went to K-Mart across the street, stole a gun and ammo, and shot himself.

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11Piss Strike

Piss Strike

London Underground workers once gained concessions from management through a 'piss strike,' meaning they followed safety rules so exactly that workers going to the toilet one after the other essentially shut down any work being done.

12. Tut Ankh Amun's tomb is the only tomb to date to be discovered intact and complete. All others were looted sometime in the past. The tomb door’s seal remained unbroken since it was closed 3,341 years ago.

13. US soldiers in Vietnam saw 6 times more combat than US soldiers in previous wars because helicopter deliveries drastically cut downtime spent waiting for supplies.

14. American violinist Joshua Bell sat at a metro station in Washington DC and played the violin of worth $3.5 million. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes, and collected $32 from people passing by.

15. In 2017, a Chinese man named Zhan did not want to pay for a ticket to get into the zoo. Instead of buying a ticket, like his family did, he decided to scale a wall to get in. He ended up in a tiger enclosure and was promptly mauled to death while onlookers watched and recorded video of it.

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16Copper Scroll

Copper Scroll

There was a copper scroll found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1952 that is not a literary work like the others. Instead, it lists the locations of valuable treasures such as silver and gold that have been buried or hidden.

17. John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy had an older brother named Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. who had aspirations to become president. However, Joe Jr. was killed during a top-secret mission at the age of 29 during World War 2.

18. The Netherlands is a leader when it comes to food production due to innovations in agricultural techniques which drastically improve efficiency. Growing a kg of tomatoes in the Netherlands uses 9.1 liters of water (1.1 gallons/lb). The global average is over 210 liters of water per kg (25.6 gallons/lb)

19. When Queen Elizabeth delivers a speech in Parliament, a member of the House of Commons is kept hostage at Buckingham Palace. The hostage is released when the Queen safely returns.

20. In 1946, a Scottish scientist named John Boyd Orr proposed the creation of a World Food Board to repel world hunger and protect global peace. The proposal was rejected as the United Kingdom and the United States of America refused to support it. As he resigned from his role in the United Nations, he warned that “food is more than a commodity."

21False uniqueness bias

False uniqueness bias

"False uniqueness bias," refers to people underestimating the number of others who share their positive traits ("unlike most people, I exercise") and overestimating the number of people who share their negative traits ("everybody smokes").

22. The Tulsa Center of the Universe is an acoustic anomaly located in Oklahoma. When one stands in the center of the circle and makes a noise, that noise is echoed back several times louder than it was made, but no one standing outside the circle can hear a thing.

23. At the age of 16 slave/abolitionist Frederick Douglass fought back against his brutal master. Edward Covey, a man who had a reputation as a "slave-breaker," whipped Douglas regularly and almost broke him until one day, Douglass fought and came out victorious. Covey never tried to beat him again.

24. During his life, John Quincy Adams was an Ambassador to Prussia, Portugal, The Netherlands, and The United Kingdom, a Senator, Secretary of State, unanimously confirmed to the Supreme Court (declined), President, and finally served 9 terms as a congressman.

25. In 1994, radio shock jock Howard Stern talked a suicidal caller out of jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York. He was live on air conversing and making jokes with him until he was able to be restrained and sent to a hospital.

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