Random Fact Sheet #181 – The Ultimate Trivia List: 30 Surprising Facts

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1White Day

White Day

In Japan, on Valentine's Day girls buy chocolates and other gifts for boys they like. A month later, on March 14th, White Day is celebrated. On this day, boys buy gifts to give back to the girls who bought them gifts on the Valentine's Day.

2. Burrito means 'little donkey' in Spanish. It is named this way because burritos can carry many things, much like a donkey can.

3. Civilian Public Service (CPS) was a US government program that provided conscientious objectors with an alternative to military service during World War 2. CPS draftees fought forest fires, helped reform an abusive mental health system, and even acted as test subjects in medical experiments.

4. Any day of the year has a 1 in 7 chance of being celebrated as Independence Day from the British. 61 colonies have gained independence from the United Kingdom with 52 unique Independence Days.

5. Russell Crowe commissioned Nick Cave to write a sequel to Gladiator. When Cave asked "didn't you die at the end of gladiator" Crowe responded, "yeah, but you sort that out."

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In 2008, an Australian court case costing over a million dollars had to be aborted when it was realized that five out of the twelve jurors were playing Sudoku instead of paying attention.

7. In 2013, Belgium printed half a million postage stamps that smelled and tasted like chocolate as a celebration of the country’s chocolatiers.

8. A Brazilian man named Chiquinho Scarpa announced he would be burying his $500,000 Bentley so he could use it in the afterlife. After a lot of critique about him wasting money, it turned out that it was a PR stunt for organ donations.

9. Studies have shown that feeling awed by something makes one feel healthier. It also makes people feel more generous, decreases aggressive attitudes and makes them feel more satisfied with their lives.

10. Harriet Tubman had narcolepsy. She developed it after getting hit in the head with a 2lb weight and suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury. Wanted ads used to describe her as having “a habit of abruptly falling asleep.”

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11Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner

In February 1939, Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner described a groundbreaking nuclear phenomenon in a letter to Nature editor and called it Nuclear Fission. Five years later, a Nobel prize was awarded to Otto Hahn for the discovery of fission; a word he never used in his original paper.

12. Art Babbitt, the creator of Goofy, became the face of the Disney animators' strike in 1941. He would scream at Walt Disney through a bullhorn when he rolled into work and the two nearly got into a fistfight in the parking lot.

13. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the son of the famous president, was the only General to land in the first wave of the D-Day landings, despite having a heart condition that forced him to walk with a cane. He succumbed to a heart attack a month later and was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. 

14. Struggling black model Amylia Dorsey kept getting rejected because she didn't fit the prototypical body type for models. This enraged her rapper boyfriend Sir Mix-A-Lot to write "Baby Got Back" and asked Amylia to be the "OMG Becky" voice we hear in the song.

15. A 7-year-old girl named Alexis Goggins once took 6 bullets meant for her mother. The perpetrator, her mom's ex, fired several shots in her body, but she still managed to survive.

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16Female Darwin's Bark Spider

Female Darwin's Bark Spider

Despite being no larger than 4cm, the female Darwin's Bark Spider can create a web bridge spanning up to 75 feet across rivers by releasing several strands of silk which the wind carries to the other side. She then reinforces it, allowing her to hunt for insects flying over the river.

17. Most huskies in the US are descended from the sled dog team that completed the most grueling part of the 1925 Great Race of Mercy. They saved many children's lives by transporting diphtheria antitoxin when no one else could. Afterward, the team was sold to a kennel in Poland Spring, Maine.

18. Union artillery officer Alonzo Cushing was killed after being wounded twice during the Battle of Gettysburg, refusing evacuation from his position atop Cemetery Ridge during Pickett’s Charge. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor 151 years later, the longest wait for any recipient.

19. In the months after the 2011 quake in northeastern Japan, taxi drivers reported picking up “ghosts” in the coastal town of Ishinomaki where nearly 6,000 people died in the tsunami.

20. In 1914, a 9-year-old Irish boy wrote to the British army, requesting to be sent to the front because he was good at riding his bicycle and because he would often win fights with lads twice as big.

21Douglas Munro

Douglas Munro

Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro is the only Coast Guard Medal of Honor Recipient and helped save 500 Marines at Guadalcanal. He died while getting the last Marines out. His last words were “Did they get off?” referring to the last of the Marines.

22. Ann Druyan, a member of the team that assembled the Golden Record for the Voyager, recorded her brainwaves to put on it. A few days before, she and Carl Sagan professed their love to each other. So somewhere in space is a golden disc with the recorded brainwaves of someone madly in love.

23. Julia Tuttle was the only woman to found a major American city, having owned and developed the land that would eventually become Miami.

24. The Great Dismal Swamp (at the border of North Carolina and Virginia) held the largest "Maroon" colony (escaped slaves and their descendants) in the United States. Most managed to stay hidden despite militia invasions that aimed to capture them, and only left the swamp after the civil war.

25. Lethal White syndrome is an autosomal genetic disorder that is most common in horse breed of American Paint Horses where foals are born all white with blue eyes and appear to be normal but internally they have a non-functioning colon which results in a very painful death after only a few days.

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