Random Fact Sheet #244 – Unlocking 35 Facts That’ll Boggle Your Mind

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1Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson

Near the end of filming the movie Matilda, Mara Wilson's mother passed away from breast cancer. Director Danny DeVito was able to show a near-final cut of the film to her so she could see her daughter's performance. The movie is also dedicated to her memory.

2. American comedian Larry David made a “no hugging, no learning” rule for the 1990's hit sitcom Seinfeld scripts. He didn't want the characters to have sentimental revelations. It was a show about four friends, none with particularly active goals, bantering in-between moments of recognizable awkwardness.

3. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer called the post-orgasm feeling “devil's laughter" because it is the realization that we are all slaves to the Will of Life, as it takes precedence over our own happiness.

4. McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and Walt Disney both served as ambulance drivers in the same unit in World War 1, and both had lied about their age to enlist.

5. Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in New York and has never been produced in Philadelphia. Its name was a 1880s marketing strategy, as at that time Philadelphia was known for its high-quality dairy.

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Lottery is not allowed under law in Nevada because the gaming industry in the state does not want competition.

7. The inhabitants of islands that were temporarily occupied during the Pacific War thought they were being visited by gods, and when the soldiers eventually left, they formed rituals that imitate planes, runways, and marches to try to bring them back. Many still do this to this day.

8. The last uncontacted Australian Aboriginal people living a traditional nomadic life were encountered in 1984 in the heart of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. They had been unaware of the arrival of Europeans on the continent, let alone cars - or even clothes.

9. In the past 300,000 years, we overlapped with 6 known human species. All but us are now extinct, though we interbred. We carry the DNA of at least two (Denisovans and Neanderthals). Some Neanderthal skeletons carry our DNA too. Denisovans and Neanderthals mixed separately from us also.

10. In order to appease Persia for killing their ambassadors, Sparta sent two young noblemen volunteers, Bulis and Sperthias, to offer themselves to be executed in the atonement. Xerxes sent the men back, saying that he would not sink to Sparta's level and did not consider Sparta's guilt loosened.

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The Queen band still performed in apartheid South Africa when the majority of bands refused to and was by far the largest band to do so. They were subsequently placed on the United Nations' artist blacklist.

12. Cecil Chubb was the last person to own Stonehenge. Stonehenge was put up for auction in 1915 and Chubb bought it on a whim. It is speculated he bought the stones as a present for his wife and she was less than pleased. Chubb donated Stonehenge to the nation in 1918 and was made a baronet.

13. The tomb of Genghis Khan (died August 18, 1227) has been the object of much speculation and research. To this day, 800 years after his death, the site remains undiscovered.

14. Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine had a dream where cannibals were going to cook him. In the dream, their spears had holes at the tip that they raised up and down. This inspired him for the breakthrough of the machine, putting a hole at the tip instead of the base.

15. In ancient Greece, throwing an apple to a woman was surprisingly normal and it meant a marriage proposal.

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16Rod Serling

Rod Serling

After World War 2, Rod Serling (the creator of The Twilight Zone) made money testing military parachutes. On one occasion, he made $1,000 testing a jet ejection seat that had killed the previous three testers.

17. A gold miner named Burro Schmidt started digging a tunnel through the Mojave Desert mountains to safely transport his ore to the smelter. He completed the tunnel in 38 years, moving 5,800 tons of granite with a pick. In the meantime, a road was built so he never used the tunnel.

18. The ‘Johnson Treatment’ was President Lyndon Johnson’s own particular brand of persuasion. He used to urinate or expose his penis during conversations to establish dominance.

19. The Indonesian flag is nearly the same as the Dutch flag, but with the bottom third and blue strip removed. After 138 years of Dutch rule, youths removed a Dutch flag tore off the blue strip and re-hoisted it as an Indonesian flag in 1945 (War of Independence 1945-1949).

20. In 2016, a forest service officer named Brad Treat took a blind turn while mountain biking at 30 mph. He crashed into a large grizzly bear that was sitting on the trail and was immediately mauled to death in response to the collision.

21Bill Murray

Bill Murray

The first known use of "toast" as a metaphorical term for "you're dead" was in the film Ghostbusters (1984), in which Bill Murray's character declares, "This chick is toast", before attacking the villain. The earliest known printed account is from The St. Petersburg Times of Oct. 1, 1987.

22. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers $100,000 grants to people trying to make better condoms.

23. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas holds the record for most advertisements by one person in history, appearing in over 800 commercials.

24. Born-blind people actually dream of visual content. That's because auditory and tactile inputs can create virtual images in their brain, and that images can be revealed in their dreams.

25. The standard airline practice of pre-boarding (i.e., allowing passengers with small children and those who need extra assistance to board first) actually improves boarding efficiency by 28% and decreases time to takeoff.

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