Random Fact Sheet #232 – Mastering Trivia: 45 Random Facts You Need to Know

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1Akita Dog

Akita Dog

The famous deaf-blind writer Hellen Keller received a gift from a Japanese police officer who gave her an Akita dog named Kamikaze-Go as a present. After the dog’s death, Japan’s government gifted another Akita, making her the first person to bring the dog breed to the U.S. in 1948.

2. Garrett Morgan was the inventor of the smoke hood. Because he was black, he hired a white actor to pose as the real inventor during presentations and marketing of his device. His secret was exposed after he used his invention in an emergency to rescue several people from a collapsed tunnel. His sales then dropped sharply.

3. A man named Timothy Evans was wrongfully convicted and hanged for murdering his wife and infant. Evans asserted that his downstairs neighbor, John Christie, was the real culprit. Three years later, Christie was discovered to be a serial killer, having killed at least 8 people and he later admitted to killing his neighbor’s family.

4. In 2013, while walking their dog in their back yard, a married couple in California came across several rusty buckets sticking out of their land. The buckets were found to be full of gold coins minted from 1847 to 1894. The total value of all the coins was about $11 million.

5. In 1995, the Blockbuster video rental chain had more than 4,500 stores. The company made $785 million in profits on $2.4 billion in revenues: a profit margin of over 30%. Much of this profit came from “late fees” on overdue rentals.

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6Cat Pawsitive

Cat Pawsitive

“Cat Pawsitive” is a program that encourages cat shelters to teach orphan cats to do a “high-five” with humans, making cats more attractive for adoption. Over 400 cats who participated were adopted during the first two semesters of the program.

7. After returning from World War 2, over 1 million Black Americans were denied the benefits of the GI bill for free education and low rate home loans.

8. Tom Kenny, the voice actor for SpongeBob, has been married to the voice actor for Plankton’s computer wife Karen, Jill Talley, since 1995.

9. There is no “missing link” in Human Evolution. The term “missing link” has fallen out of favor with biologists because it implies the evolutionary process is a linear phenomenon and that forms originate consecutively in a chain. Instead, the term ‘Last Common Ancestor’ is preferred.

10. An “okta” is a unit equal to 1/8 of the sky. Cloud conditions are measured in oktas, so the scientific difference between “partly sunny” and “mostly cloudy” is 1 okta.

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11Bolanji Badejo

Bolanji Badejo

The guy who played the Xenomorph in ‘Alien’ was a 7’2” man from Nigeria named Bolanji Badejo. He was discovered by a member of Ridley Scott’s casting team by chance in a pub in Soho. His role as the Xenomorph was his only film credit ever.

12. David Letterman created a scholarship for the “academically average”, like himself. In order to be considered, students must submit a creative project, such as writing, research or interactive media.

13. European dragons are mostly featured as evil creatures, greedily hoarding gold, breathing fire on innocents, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Asian dragons, however, are benevolent creatures, bringing good luck and prosperity wherever it goes.

14. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was originally planned to end with a massive battle between Arthur’s forces, the French knights, and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. This was scrapped because the movie didn’t have a big enough budget for it.

15. In 2017, a group of travel influencers called ‘High on Life’ were banned from all U.S. public lands. Their violations included driving an RV across the Bonneville Salt Flats, walking on Yellowstone’s hot springs, and affixing a rope swing to the Corona Arch. A year later, they fell off a waterfall in British Columbia and died.

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16Neil Degrasse Tyson

Neil Degrasse Tyson

As a teenager, Neil Degrasse Tyson walked people’s dogs and earned 50 cents per dog, per walk, two or three times a day. He saved up $200 and bought his first serious telescope at the age of 14.

17. A Canadian lawyer named Charles Vance Millar used his will for practical jokes. He gave a house to 3 men who hated each other, stocks in a brewery to preachers, shares of a racetrack to each ministers “except Spracklin, who shot a hotelkeeper”, and gave the rest to whoever had the most kids in 10 years.

18. Some of the founding fathers of the USA were deists. They believed there was a God who created our universe, but they also believed that he hasn’t interfered with it since its creation.

19. In Hiroshima, Japan, the Peace Flame has been burning continuously since it was lit in 1964 and will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed.

20. There is a Canadian TV anchor who translates all the English news into Inuktitut live on air. Igalaaq is the only Inuktitut supper hour TV program in the whole country where unilingual Inuktitut speakers have this one chance, for 30 minutes, to see someone speaking their language.

21Hitler's Bunker Survivor

Hitler's Bunker Survivor

When the Red Army captured Hitler’s bunker on 2 May 1945, the only person they found alive was a mechanic named Johannes Hentschel. He had stayed behind after everyone else had either fled or committed suicide, to keep the field hospital in the building above supplied with water and electricity.

22. Godwin's law asserts that if an online discussion (regardless of topic) goes on for long enough, someone will inevitably compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or his deeds, at which point the discussion often ends.

23. Once the Civil War began, Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s plantation outside Washington DC was repurposed by the Lincoln administration to house a camp for escaped slaves. It contained a school, hospital, and cemetery, and it is now the site of Arlington National Cemetery.

24. Warner Bros canceled Home Alone because they didn’t want to spend $14.7 million on it. 21st Century Fox then continued its production and the film grossed $476 million worldwide.

25. As a joke, the Apple II release of “Karateka” had a full version of the game on the reverse side of the disk that rendered the game upside down prompting users to call support and ask why the game was upside down. They were told to “take the disk out, insert it right-side up, and reboot.”

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