Random Fact Sheet #240 – 45 Enigmatic Facts That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head

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1Georgia inmates

Georgia inmates

Six Georgia inmates out on work detail saved a Deputy Sheriff who collapsed unconscious. They could have taken his gun and fled with the work van but used the Deputy's phone to call 911. The Sheriff's Office gave the men a pizza party with a homemade dessert and recommended reduced sentences.

2. Patch Adams only agreed to the 1999 film of his namesake because they promised to help build his hospital. None of the profits from the film was ever given to his foundation, and the film was heavily criticized by Patch Adams himself, saying: "I hate that movie."

3. A principal once punished a mischievous student by making him read the U.S. Constitution in a basement until he could recite it. The student, Thurgood Marshall, would go on to become the first black associate justice of the Supreme Court.

4. Less than a quarter of U.S. workers report using math any more complicated than basic fractions and percentages during the course of their jobs. Blue-collar workers generally do more advanced math than their white-collar friends.

5. The TV show 'The Voice' heavily promotes the fact that the winner gets a free record deal. However, many of them get dropped shortly after signing. The winner of season 7 even admits none of the label executives knew who he was when he first entered the office shortly after winning.

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Acacias whose leaves are eaten by giraffes, release an airborne chemical called ethylene. Ethylene alerts nearby acacia trees to produce tannin, a toxin that makes the leaves poisonous, and lethal if over-consumed. Giraffes try avoiding this by eating trees downwind from another. 

7. American secretary Nan Britton claimed to have had an affair with US President Warren Harding and gave birth to his daughter. She was ridiculed in court when she tried to sue for child support. In 2015, Ancestry.com confirmed that Britton was telling the truth.

8. The American Rock Band ‘The Postal Service’ was sent a cease and desist letter by the United States Postal Service for trademark infringement of their name. After negotiations, the USPS allowed the band to use their name in exchange for playing a free show at their national conference.

9. An increasing number of elderly Japanese people are committing small crimes so they can live in prison for free. People aged more than 65 now make up more than a quarter of the prison population in Japan.

10. Matt Groening named his show The Simpsons because he thought it was funny to have the word simp (short for simpleton) in their name.

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TBS sped up Seinfeld by 7.5% so they could add 2 more minutes of commercials.

12. A 9-year-old Pakistani girl named Arfa Karim was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) until 2008. When she suffered cardiac arrest in 2011, Bill Gates assembled an international panel of doctors to advise the local physicians treating her and offered to pay for treatment in the U.S.

13. A cat in New Zealand tricked two different women into owning him. Neither knew they had the same cat until after he went to the vet for stitches. The cat got to keep both names as well as both owners through a shared custody agreement.

14. In 1990, Dr. Mary-Claire King discovered the human gene BRCA1 which is linked to breast cancer. Soon after, Myriad Genetics cloned and patented it. She was sent a cease-and-desist letter to stop researching it. Finally, in 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented.

15. In 2008, a bear was sued for stealing honey by a Macedonian beekeeper. The bear was found guilty, and the beekeeper received 1,700 euros from the state for the damages.

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16Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall came down by mistake. When the East Germans planned to slowly open the border they announced it at a press conference without including a plan. When a reporter asked when it would be opened, the party official mistakenly said "Immediately, without delay" causing a run on the wall.

17. Botanical Sexism is a process by which urban landscapers, in an effort to keep streets clear of seeds and flowers, plant only male trees. The male trees lack the seeds of their female counterparts and as the trees get bigger, their pollen counts increase which can worsen seasonal allergies.

18. The "Holbrook Holiday" is a creative punishment invented by an Ohio judge. Instead of a standard jail term, he takes a holiday away from the criminal for the next several years by making them report to jail for the holiday.

19. A scientist named Emilie du Châtelet in 1749 feared that bearing a child at the age of 42 would be the last thing she did. She worked furiously on a magnum opus that would eventually change the world of physics. Within days of completing her work, she gave birth to a daughter and died soon after.

20. Scientists have been able to track the history of the AIDS virus. Through research, they believe 'patient zero' lived in Cameroon in Africa, and contracted the disease around 1908, after hunting a chimp and being infected with SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus).

21Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo

In 1963, the Bronx Zoo had an exhibit called "The Most Dangerous Animal in the World". It was a mirror.

22. The 1992, Rage Against the Machine track "Killing In The Name" was the 2009 UK Christmas #1 song thanks to a campaign set to prevent a song from "The X Factor" from accomplishing the feat for a 5th straight year. The band would then perform a free concert in London thanking fans for the campaign.

23. In 1994, a country music singer named Alan Jackson was asked to use a pre-recorded version of his song 'Gone Country' when performing live at the award show. He protested by having his drummer perform with no drum sticks in his hand the whole performance.

24. Pomato is a grafted plant that is part tomato and part potato. The resulting plant has cherry tomatoes on the vine and white potatoes in the soil, resulting in plants with double crops. Grafting can also boost natural resilience and improve biodiversity by supporting different pollinators.

25. In the US in the late 19th Century it was briefly fashionable for people to form "13 Clubs" where they would dine in groups of 13, walk under ladders, spill salt at the table, etc. to demonstrate their lack of superstition. Several future US Presidents participated.

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