Random Fact Sheet #235 – Unearthing 40 Uncommon Facts

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1John Aaron

John Aaron

John Aaron, the man who is credited with saving both Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 was forced to resign years later while serving as the Chief of NASA when Texas Senator Robert Krueger blamed him for $500 million of overspending on Space Station Freedom, which later evolved into the International Space Station (ISS).

2. The popular sleep-aid Ambien has been shown to make paralyzed and brain-damaged people, who have been well past the point of recovery, spontaneously move and talk again because it can reconstruct neurons and make new connections in the brain.

3. The human brain remains half-awake when sleeping in a new environment for the first time.

4. A former Michelin Guide inspector said an inspector’s life is lonely, underpaid drudgery, driving around France for weeks on end, dining alone, under intense pressure to file detailed reports on strict deadlines, the guide had become lax in its standards, and that some famous chefs are “untouchables.”

5. ‘Married With Children’ never had canned laughter. They used only original laughter, applause, shouts, etc. that came from the viewers while the series was filmed in front of them. Sometimes the audience had to be shut down for the show to continue.

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6OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson has paid less than 1% of the $33.5 million civil judgment against him for the wrongful death of Ron Goldman.

7. A Russian eagle named ‘Min’ and 3 other eagles being tracked by scientists unexpectedly flew into Iran/Pakistan. The sim card which was used to track the bird then started to rack up so many out-of-network data roaming charges on SMS text transmissions that scientists had to take out a loan and ask for help on social media to pay off the phone bill.

8. Salvador Dali once conned Yoko Ono out of $10,000. Instead of sending her a hair from his mustache he sent her a piece of dried grass.

9. Charlie Chaplin was one of the planned assassination targets during a May 15, 1932 coup attempt by Japanese naval officers. While the prime minister was killed at home, Chaplin survived as he was at a sumo event with the prime minister's son.

10. Princess Leia’s hair in Star Wars was inspired by women of the Mexican revolution.

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11Guide Dog

Guide Dog

In 2015, a guide dog in New York was awarded the ASPCA’s “Dog of the Year” award for running in front of an oncoming bus to protect his blind owner and didn’t leave her side until she received medical attention even though he suffered a broken leg.

12. Pilot fish can form a sort of symbiotic relationship with sharks to the point where if their shark is caught, the pilot fish will follow the boat that took it and become distressed when it can’t find it or isn't near its “host” shark.

13. In 1911, Wyoming State Penitentiary All Stars was a baseball team that was made up of death row inmates who had been told that as long as they kept winning games, their executions would be delayed. Their fourth victory, by a score of 15-10, was also their last.

14. Some farmers in Bangladesh are now raising ducks instead of chicken because ducks can float during floods.

15. According to the United States Flag Code, the flag “should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.” This includes paper napkins or plates printed with the design.

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16Super Soaker

Super Soaker

While experimenting on a jet pump project for NASA in his bathroom in 1982, Lonnie Johnson shot a stream of water across the room and thought, “This would make a great gun.” The Super Soaker went on to make him some $73 million in royalties.⁠ ⁠

17. In Toy Story 4 instead of creating all of the individual cobwebs by hand, Pixar created AI spiders that were programmed to spin the webs wherever the cobwebs needed to be.

18. When the medieval scholar Rhazes was tasked with choosing the location of a new hospital in Baghdad, he hung meat at points around the city, and chose the location where it rotted the slowest.

19. Alan Turing once bought 150 pounds of silver but didn’t trust banks so he buried it in the woods instead. After the price of silver had almost doubled, he went to dig it up, but could no longer find it.

20. King Charlemagne kept his daughters at home with him and refused to allow them to get sacramentally married. However, he accepted their extramarital relationships. He rewarded their common-law husbands and treasured his illegitimate grandchildren.

21Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Mark Twain once wrote an essay entitled ‘Concerning the Jews.’ He claimed Jews didn’t do their part of fighting in America’s military. In response, the War Department revealed that Jewish Americans were represented in the military in a larger percentage than their share of the population.

22. Two men led a team of 80 people to collect over 1.2 million golden orb spiders, milk them for their silk, and create the rarest textile on earth: a golden silk cape.

23. One of the 'unwritten rules' of the Tour de France: if the Tour is passing through where one of the riders grew up, everyone will slow down to let that rider lead the whole Tour through his hometown. Also, if the race leader needs to stop to take a pee break, everyone else slows down/stops too.

24. Adam Walker was protected from a great white shark by a pod of dolphins while swimming to raise money for dolphin conservation. About 10 dolphins surrounded him for about 1 hour in Cook Strait, 6th leg of the Oceans Seven: a marathon of 7 long-distance open water channel swims around the world.

25. An Irish Titanic passenger named Jeremiah Burke sent a goodbye message in a bottle during the sinking. It subsequently washed up near his home, where his handwriting was recognized by his mother.

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