Random Fact Sheet #259 – 30 Unconventional Facts That Will Broaden Your Mind

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1Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan would write personal checks to individuals with financial struggles. He was known to drop $4,000 or $5,000 checks into the mail for certain people. He was also known to call upon the Air Force to aid in the transport of children who were experiencing medical emergencies.

2. Sarah Hyland, of Modern Family fame, was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia when she was young, received two kidney transplants from her father and her brother and has undergone 16 surgeries, even during the shooting of Modern Family

3. Pink Floyd musician David Gilmour CBE auctioned his guitars for charity. His Black Strat sold for $3,975,000 making it the most expensive guitar sold at auction. Proceeds of the auction, which raised $21,490,750, were donated to ClientEarth environmental charity.

4. Aluminum was once so valuable that Napoleon III served dinner to his most honored guests on aluminum plates, while the less distinguished was served on gold and silver plates.

5. The song "Sultans of Swing" was inspired by Mark Knopfler witnessing a shoddy pub band playing to a small, drunken crowd. At the end of their set, the singer finished with “Goodnight and thank you. We are the Sultans Of Swing.”

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The Japanese word for “brown” is 茶色 (cha-iro). The first character means “tea”, and the second one means “color”. Thus, literally translated, it means “tea color.”

7. The term “Green Thumb” comes from the fact that algae growing on the outside of earthenware pots will stain a person's thumb (and fingers) if he or she handles enough pots. Hence, a person who is always working with flowerpots has a green thumb.

8. "Glomar response" ( the 'neither confirm nor deny' response) was created by the CIA in reaction to media inquiries about a covert agency program. When the CIA opened its Twitter account for the first time, they tweeted: 'We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.'

9. When he was young, boxer Manny Pacquiao ran away from home and lived in a cardboard box after his drunk father ate his dog.

10. The name of the mid-90s fad, "Pogs" was actually an acronym for Passion/Orange/Guava, which was the type of juice that kids used the caps of when it was first invented in Hawaii.

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11Longest domestic flight

Longest domestic flight

As of 2020, the world's longest domestic flight (and the world's longest flight by distance) is a 15728 km flight between Paris and the city of Papeete in the Pacific territory of French Polynesia, which takes between 16-17 hours.

12. Angela Morley, the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Academy Award, was John Williams’ primary orchestrator throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She helped write and arrange the scores for Star Wars, ET, The Empire Strikes Back, Home Alone, Superman, and Schindler’s List.

13. A zookeeper secretly grew a cannabis plantation inside the rhino enclosure at an Austrian zoo for years. He was the only one who had access to the enclosure and police made the discovery after a tip from a drug user.

14. Venus could have had habitable conditions for billions of years in the past, long enough for life to have developed.

15. Georgian swimming is a swimming style where swimmer's hands and feet are bound together. It was re-discovered in the '60s after a swimming enthusiast decided to fact-check a legend about ancient warriors training by swimming in this manner.

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16Swimming lessons

Swimming lessons

Iceland in 1940 passed a law that made swimming lessons mandatory in schools starting at grade 1 (age 6) to grade 10 (age 16). Lessons are held once a week. Historically, a lot of Icelandic seamen had met a tragic end because of the harsh sea and this law was an attempt at saving lives.

17. Each episode of A.L.F. (Alien Life Form) took 20-25 hours to shoot and was extremely demanding on the crew. Max Wright, the dad in the show, despised supporting a demanding inanimate object and at one time become "crazed", physically attacking the puppet.

18. The phrase “Until the bitter end” doesn’t refer to feelings of bitterness, but instead it is a nautical term referring to the end of an Anchor, known as “The Bitter.”

19. Pizza Hut restaurants in China stopped offering one trip salad bars due to customers creating elaborately engineered “salad towers” carefully balanced on one plate.

20. Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 26,300 square miles, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. Latest satellite images reveal that it is completely gone. The rivers feeding it were diverted to grow cotton in Uzbekistan. They use lots of chemicals in agriculture there. The runoff into what is now known as the Aralkum Desert is so polluted that the dust blowing off the dry lake bed is toxic. Birth defects are a huge problem in the area.

21Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was already trying to develop the iPad in 1983, saying what they want to do is "put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes" and that he hoped to sell it for under $1,000 within the decade.

22. Solitary bees can pollinate exponentially more flowers than honey bees and there are many important bees that live alone and aren’t part of a colony.

23. A Pakistani judge told a convicted serial killer (Javed Iqbal); “You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed, Your body will then be cut into 100 pieces and put in acid, the same way you killed the children.” The killer died before that happened.

24. Afghanistan shares a 46-mile border with China. Venetian explorer Marco Polo used it in his Silk Road travels. It's rumored to have a fort Alexander the Great was not able to conquer, and it has one of the largest untouched copper mines in the world.

25. Charles Darwin was invited on the voyage of HMS Beagle not as a biologist but for his interest in geology. The ship’s primary mission wasn’t even on zoology, it was to conduct hydrographic surveys and test new chronometers.

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