Random Fact Sheet #223 – 30 Unique Facts About the World We Live In

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1Airplane Joyride

Airplane Joyride

Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once snuck out of a White House event, commandeered an airplane, and went on a joyride to Baltimore.

2. When Dan Aykroyd was developing Crystal Head Vodka, he thought there would be a trademark conflict with “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. A meeting between Aykroyd and director Steven Spielberg resulted in the drink being served at the movie’s premiere.

3. Although buttons are about 5,000 years old, functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening clothes only appeared in the 13th century. For millennia, they had only been used ornamentally, or as seals.

4. In 1944, about 22 Americans fought off 500 Nazi paratroopers for almost an entire day. After the war, they learned that they'd put an entire Panzer Division hours behind schedule during the Battle of the Bulge.

5. In Canada, there is a prisoner known as “the Unknown Person” who has been imprisoned since 2013 because he refuses to identify himself. This puts him in a bizarre state of limbo: Until Canadian officials know his identity and nationality, they cannot deport him; until they can deport him, they don’t want to release him.

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6Pork Rinds

Pork Rinds

Though they’re associated with unhealthy foods, pork rinds are actually a healthy alternative to chips. They are low in carb, high in protein and have good fats - 43% of the fat is oleic oil, which is the same fat found in olive oil and 13% of it is Stearic acid, a cholesterol neutral saturated fat.

7. The individual animal with the most human kills ever was a tiger (named Champawat Tiger) from Northern India, which adjusted its hunting strategy to kill people after a tooth injury left it unable to hunt normal prey and was shot after an estimated 436 kills.

8. On December 16, 1965, NASA received a transmission from two astronauts: “We have an object, probably in polar orbit... I see a command module and … and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” Then transmission automatically started playing, “Jingle Bells.” The astronauts had pranked the mission control.

9. Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies, gave a woman who was dying of kidney disease $20,000 to get a banned stem cell treatment outside the US that could save her life. He only met her once, when he was lost and she gave him directions in a parking lot.

10. In 1933, Adolf Hitler made friends with a young Jewish girl, Rosa Nienau, whilst he was staying at his mountain retreat. After the meeting, they became pen pals and their correspondences carried on right until 1938 when Hitler’s secretary told her to cease contact. She died of polio at the age of 17.

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11Prince Pedro

Prince Pedro

Prince Pedro of Portugal fell in love with his wife’s maid, Inês de Castro. After his wife died, his father, King Afonso IV, desired he remarry but not to Inês. Pedro refused; so, the King had Inês killed. Pedro captured two of her killers and publicly executed them by tearing out their hearts.

12. Jim le Blanc was exposed to near-vacuum for 15 seconds when his spacesuit sprung a leak in a test chamber. The last thing he noticed before he passed out was bubbling on his tongue. It was the moisture in his tongue that started to boil.

13. In 2011, a Russian Black widow bomber who planned to detonate explosives in central Moscow, blew herself up when her phone company sent her a spam text message, causing her explosive device to explode prematurely.

14. Life inside the Movile Cave in Romania has been separated from the outside world for the past 5.5 million years. It is notable for its unique groundwater ecosystem rich in hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide but low in oxygen. Life there is based completely on chemosynthesis. More than 30 of the species found inside cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.

15. The reason why driving long distances makes you tired is because your body is constantly fighting the small vibrations from your car.

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The term masterpiece was not used to describe an artist’s greatest work but was used by guilds to describe the piece submitted to them by artists and craftsmen to attain the rank of a Master.

17. The thief of America’s first bank robbery who stole the sum of $162,821, was caught because he deposited the money back into the same bank.

18. It’s impossible to die of skin suffocation. The filmmakers of the James Bond films believed it was a real risk. For Goldfinger, which features a scene of someone dying of skin suffocation due to being painted gold, they had a physician present and cleaned the person as quickly as possible.

19. Pythagoras cannot have been the first to discover the Pythagorean Theorem because it was known and used by the Babylonians over a millennium before he was born.

20. In 1825, a British geologist went to Sicily and examined the remains of a female saint named Saint Rosalia. He concluded that they weren’t human and likely belonged to a goat. He told the priests, who kicked him out and then placed the bones into a casket to prevent future study.

21Studio Theaters

Studio Theaters

In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that film studios can't own movie theaters, thus breaking up their oligopoly. Before its ruling, Hollywood studios owned movie theaters to hold exclusive rights of showing their films, angering independent producers including Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin.

22. “The Drinking Man’s Diet” was the 1960s ancestor to Atkins and paleo. It was based on the observation that alcoholics drank thousands of calories per day and actually lost weight. It became one of the most popular diets of the decade, selling 2.4 million copies. The author lived to 98 years.

23. Legendary pickpocket Apollo Robbins once stripped Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service detail of their watches, badges, keys, and the presidential itinerary. He once stole a man’s driver’s license and made it turn up inside a sealed bag of M&M’s in his wife’s purse.

24. The earliest form of smallpox immunization was used in China in the 1500s. Doctors would take ground-up scabs from people with mild cases of the disease, and blow the material into their nostrils. This lead to a mild version of the disease which had a mortality rate of ~2% (20-30% if untreated).

25. In 1932, a man who is now known as ‘The Mad Trapper of Canada’ opened fire on policemen, fled 85 miles in -50 degree weather in 3 days, climbed a 7,000-foot mountain during a blizzard, and was finally shot dead by a WWI ace. The only sound he ever made was laughter as he killed a policeman. His identity is still unknown.

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