Random Fact Sheet #226 – 35 Surprising Facts You Won’t Forget

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1Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was told to move to the back of a bus but stopped when a white child reached out to grab his tie, before being scolded by its mom. He thought, “I owe it to that child that it should be educated to know that blacks do not want to sit in the back”. He was then arrested and beaten.

2. White mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are all the same mushroom but at different stages of growth.

3. Ablaut Reduplication is an unwritten English rule that makes “tick-tock” sound normal, but not “tock-tick”. When repeating words, the first vowel is always an I, then A or O. “Chit chat” not “chat chit”; “ping pong” not “pong ping”, etc. It's unclear why this rule exists, but it’s never broken.

4. Disney was planning to buy Twitter but then decided to cancel the deal because of the “nastiness” on the social media platform.

5. Sex traffickers have been known to implant their victims with RFID chips similar to the RFID chips implanted in pets that help identify pets if they are lost.

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6Atari Urban Legend

Atari Urban Legend

The urban legend of Atari burying hundreds of thousands of ET cartridges in a New Mexico landfill actually happened. An excavation found them in 2014.

7. In 1956 two young girls Patricia and Barbara Grimes who were obsessed with Elvis Presley went missing after going to see “Love Me Tender” for the 15th time. Elvis was so concerned that he issued a public appeal over the radio pleading with them to be “good Presley fans and go home and ease their mother’s worries.” Their bodies were found a couple of months later and this crime remains unsolved to this day.

8. The Windscale Fire, UK's worst nuclear accident, would have been much more severe, were it not for “Cockroft’s Folly” - chimney filters installed at great expense, and labeled as a waste of time and money.

9. In 2013, instead of donating money, Toyota helped Food Bank (country’s largest anti-hunger charity) by improving the serving system at Food Bank. They cut down the wait time for dinner to 18 minutes from as long as 90. Toyota used “Kaizen” (Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement) instead of just giving a check.

10. Switzerland is mostly Lutheran because Lutheran priests allowed the population to eat sausages during the fasting period.

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11False Memory

False Memory

Two MIT scientists have been able to successfully plant a false memory into a mouse. When set in a certain box, the mouse freezes in terror, recalling that it receives a shock in this box, when this never happened. This research may lead to new treatments for Depression or Alzheimer’s, etc.

12. Jon Bon Jovi’s first professional recording was singing backup vocals on the 1980 Star Wars tie-in Christmas album “Christmas In The Stars.” The only reason he got the gig was that his cousin Tony managed the studio where the album was recorded and had hired him as a janitor.

13. Joseph Beyrle, an American Paratrooper, fought for both the US and the Soviet Union in WW2. He was captured in Normandy, sent to a POW Camp, escaped, joined the Red Army and liberated the camp he had just escaped from. He later met Marshal Zhukov and won the Purple Heart for his Service.

14. In 1900, when submarines were being introduced to navies, Admiral Arthur Wilson called them underhanded, threatening to hang enemy sub crews as pirates. So, in 1914, when Max Horton commanded Britain's first sub engagement against the Germans, he ordered his crew to fly a Jolly Roger.

15. In 1955 the famous, white DJ Alan Freed “accidentally” played the single, Only You (And You Alone) by The Platters, on-air during a prime time that was traditionally reserved for only white artists. It became an instant hit and pioneered the “new sound” of rock ’n’ roll as we know it today.

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16Superhallucinogen BZ

Superhallucinogen BZ

Superhallucinogen BZ is a chemical weapon that overwhelms the victim for 5 days. After 12 hours of a mild coma and primitive crawling and spasms, for another 48 to 60 hours they experience extreme hallucinations, psychosis, and cognitive impairment, with after-effects that last for weeks.

17. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for 3871 years until it was beaten by a cathedral in a town called Lincoln in the UK.

18. If graffiti covers the identification numbers on a railcar the company has to repaint it. Artists have since stopped painting over them as a way to preserve their art longer.

19. Senator John Ashcroft is the only Senator to lose reelection to a dead person. His opponent died in a plane crash 2 weeks before the vote and his name was unable to be taken off the ballot.

20. We don’t get all of our drinking water from the ocean because it costs $1-2 dollars per cubic meter (264 gallons) to desalinate ocean water, while only costing 10-20 cents to purify freshwater.

21The Long Peace

The Long Peace

We are currently living in an era called “The Long Peace”, a period of peace that has not been seen since the Roman Empire. There are now less than 10 reported deaths per million each year due to war.

22. In 1996, David Bowie released the first downloadable song by a major artist (it took 11 minutes to download). He later launched an ISP (BowieNet) to compete with AOL. Subscribers to the dial-up service were offered exclusive content, as well as an email address and “uncensored” Internet access.

23. As early as 1915 an African-American film industry ran parallel to the Hollywood mainstream, catering to the community’s segregated filmgoers. ‘Race movies’ had their own Black-owned studios, directors and popular stars, though the majority of these early film reels are lost or damaged today.

24. Thomas Jefferson had a copy of a 1734 edition of the Quran in his private library. Historians believe he bought the book while studying law to better understand Islam’s influence on some of the world’s legal systems.

25. The Tamaskan dogs are a Finnish crossbreed made to resemble wolfs, with their thick coats, straight bushy tails, and gray wolf fur color. Despite their lupine appearance, they are a recognized dog breed and can be trained as therapy dogs.

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