With Aliens (1986), Sigourney Weaver received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and although she did not win, it was considered a landmark nomination for an actress to be considered for a science-fiction/horror film, a genre which previously was given little recognition.
2. Sarah Rector was an impoverished black girl who became a millionaire oil baron when oil was discovered on the land allotted to her by the government. She became so wealthy that Oklahoma legislature declared her to be a white person.
3. Every then-living ex-President of the United States - Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan – were offered a guest role in The Simpsons episode Krusty Gets Kancelled. Only Ronald Reagan responded to the offer by politely declining.
4. A restaurant named Wattana Panich in Bangkok has been constantly cooking and serving from the same soup for 45 years, which is a form of “perpetual stew.”
5. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is in such a strategic position that it has been destroyed in wars 44 times, and battled over in 115 different wars.
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The blue whale’s heart rate was measured for the first time in 2019. It gets as low as 2 beats per minute, raising up to 37 when it resurfaces (more oxygen access). It works at physiological extremes and explains why the whale never evolved to be even bigger.
7. The DNA tests of 39 of Adolf Hitler's living relatives suggest that he had both Jewish and African ancestors.
8. There was a two-week-long lion-hyena war over disputed territory in Ethiopia in 1999, where lions killed 35 hyenas, and hyenas managed to kill 6 lions, with the lions eventually taking over the territory.
9. The city of Philadelphia, which was where George Washington had to live when he was president, had laws in place that said any slave that lived there for more than 6 months would be freed. So, Washington set up a rotational schedule exchanging his slaves between states to prevent their freedom.
10. Yawning and stretching at the same time is called "pandiculation." It's apparently very important in waking up our nervous system.
Tsar Bomba (most powerful explosive ever detonated by mankind; 4000 times Hiroshima; 59-mile high mushroom cloud, 10 times the height of Mt. Everest) was dropped with a parachute so that the release plane could fly 28 miles away, giving the crew a 50% chance of survival.
12. Within 10 years of graduation, most people work in careers that aren't directly related to their majors.
13. American comedian Henry Winkler is an honorary OBE (Order of the British Empire) awarded to him by Queen Elizabeth II for services to children with special educational needs and dyslexia in the UK.
14. When Chinese diplomat Ho Feng-Shan was consul-general in Vienna during World War 2, he risked his life and career to save "perhaps tens of thousands" Jews by issuing them visas, disobeying the instruction of his superiors.
15. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev pressured writer Boris Pasternak to decline a Nobel Prize for Literature, after publishing his banned novel Doctor Zhivago. After retirement, Khrushchev obtained a copy of the novel and stated, "We shouldn't have banned it. I should have read it myself."
An octopus named Otto once caused a power outage by shooting water at the 2000 watt spotlight over his tank which was seemingly annoying him. Otto is an interesting octopus who has also been caught juggling hermit crabs, throwing rocks at the glass, and re-arranging the contents of his tank.
17. When it gets too hot in Australia, the nectar in certain flowers will ferment and turn into alcohol. These bees get "drunk" and are not allowed back into the hive before they sober up.
18. Archaeologists have discovered a 1,000-year-old ritual bundle in the Bolivian Andes that had traces of at least 5 psychoactive compounds including the ingredients for ayahuasca: cocaine, benzoylecgonine, harmine, bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as wood tablets to grind substances and a wooden snuffing tube.
19. The earliest record of a named cat is from over 3400 years in Egypt. His name was “Nedjem” which means sweet or pleasant.
20. In 1990, Rick James sued MC Hammer for copyright when Hammer sampled his song “Super Freak” in Hammer’s hit “Can’t Touch This” without permission. They agreed to settle out of court and Hammer credited James as a co-composer. James won his first and only Grammy from “Can’t Touch This.”
Actress Fay McKenzie’s movie career lasted 100 years. She was in a silent movie in 1918 as an infant and was in over 50 films ending with a cameo in 2018. She lived to be 101.
22. In the 1700s, you could get admission to the London Zoo by bringing a dog or cat to feed to the lions.
23. Charles Darwin lost his faith in God after witnessing parasitic wasp larvae devour a caterpillar from the inside out.
24. The “Cinnamon Challenge” is dangerous. Cinnamon powder, when inhaled, can cause inflammation and permanent scarring in the lungs, leading to conditions like emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis.
25. The Nazis focused on climbing the mountain Nanga Parbat first because they couldn’t access Everest and Kanchenjunga was too difficult. They never succeeded, but in 1953, after 31 already died on Nanga Parbat, Austrian Hermann Buhl finally climbed it partially solo, under the influence of coca and meth.