Random Fact Sheet #213 – Get Ready to Learn: 30 Uncommon Facts

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1Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage was arrested in 2011 for public intoxication and was bailed out by a fan who was a bail bondsman. That bail bondsman was none other than Dog The Bounty Hunter.

2. Doctor Min Chiu Li was fired from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the 1950s because he gave chemotherapy to patients even after their tumors appeared to be gone. After firing him, the NIH discovered the long-term survival rates for his patients were far superior to conventional treatments.

3. "Weird Al" Yankovic did not intend his song "Albuquerque" to be well-received as he wrote it as a joke specifically to "annoy people for 12 minutes." It ended up becoming one of his most popular songs.

4. During the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, many black citizens, widely believed to be immune to the disease, volunteered to deal with the dead and dying as white citizens fled the city. The immunity seems to have not actually existed, and blacks died at the same rates as whites.

5. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon wore off-brand shoes. To combat the robberies and killings for shoes that were common at the time, he even released his own signature shoe with Spalding, for $34.95.

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6Olympic competitors

Olympic competitors

In the Ancient Greek Olympics, competitors found cheating were fined. The money would pay for a statue of Zeus with a plaque shaming the offender, and placed on the road to the stadium.

7. 4G LTE isn't actually 4G. It stands for 'Long Term Evolution', and was invented so that companies can market their networks as 4G without meeting its specifications. Actual 4G speeds are 100 Mb/s for moving devices (in a train/car) and 1 Gb/s for stationary devices.

8. In the same year Einstein introduced general relativity, Karl Schwarzschild provided the first exact mathematical solution to general relativity whilst on the front lines of World War 1.

9. When billionaire Steve Fossett went missing during a solo plane flight where it was ultimately discovered he perished, the CAP, National Guard, and thousand of AMT volunteers found many other plane crash sites lost to time. Most (at the time) were not investigated further.

10. During surgery on a 60-year-old woman, Italian doctors discovered one of the first heart prostheses - an artificial mitral valve - which was implanted almost 50 years ago when the patient was 10, by Christiaan Barnard, the surgeon who performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant.

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11Death kits

Death kits

In the Philippines, for the bargain price of roughly £350, you can purchase "death kits" which is made up of documents that prove your death. The process involves obtaining a fake death certificate and buying an unclaimed corpse from one of the many morgues in the Philippines.

12. Harry Houdini started a tradition of stage magicians seeking out and debunking fraudulent psychics, mystics, and spiritualists who claim to possess real supernatural powers.

13. Paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a phrase is surprising in a way that causes the reader or listener to reinterpret the first part. An example would be Mitch Hedberg's famous one-liner “I haven’t slept for ten days because that would be too long.”

14. In 1962, John F. Kennedy wanted to create a nuclear economy which would have made viable massive desalination plants. Getting freshwater from saltwater “would really dwarf any other scientific accomplishments.”

15. Mice can sing, but we can't hear them. Male mice can produce complex songs, similar to songbirds, in the ultrasonic range when they spend time with females.

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Squirrels' brains grow in size during the fall to help them remember where they bury their nuts. Their brains are smaller for the rest of the year.

17. It was only in 1968 that the Navajo Code Talker program was declassified, and until then the US and not even the Code Talkers’ own family members had any idea what a big contribution they had made to victory in the Pacific theater during World War 2.

18. Ne Win, the dictator of Burma (Myanmar) was obsessed with numerology. He removed 50 Kyat and 100 Kyat banknotes from circulation. Replaced them with 45 Kyat and 90 Kyat banknotes. The economic instability which followed led to a coup d'êtát in 1988.

19. During the American Civil War, the workers of Manchester, England voted to support the blockade, meaning they’d get no cotton for their cloth factories. Abraham Lincoln sent an eloquent Thank You letter to them.

20. Between 1964 and 1973, USA dropped 260 million bombs in Laos, a country smaller than Michigan. The number of bombs dropped there is larger than bombs dropped on Europe during the whole of World War 2.

21Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian, the naturalist who discovered the life cycle of butterflies and insects, painted them in breathtakingly accurate watercolors and braved the jungles of Africa with her daughter to greatly advance the science of entomology.

22. Queen was competing with Wham! to become the first Western pop group to perform in China. Wham!'s manager made 2 brochures - one featuring Wham! fans as pleasant middle-class youngsters, and one portraying Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in typically flamboyant poses. The Chinese opted for Wham!.

23. Pillow fights are banned at West Point after one pillow fight left 30 freshmen cadets injured, including 24 diagnosed with concussions.

24. Snakes have forked tongues to be able to smell in three dimensions. By picking up odors from slightly different locations they are able to tell the direction and source of the smell.

25. Whitesnake changed the word "hobo" to "drifter" in the re-recording of "Here I Go Again" to ensure that it would not be misheard as "homo."

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