Random Fact Sheet #264 – 40 Obscure Facts That Will Impress Your Friends

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The word "Walkman" became so popular in the German language as a generic term for a personal stereo that in 2002 the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that any brand, not just Sony, could use that word to describe such a device.

27. Falling asleep during summer or in hot environments is harder because our body temperature lowers 1 to 2 degrees when we sleep. The optimal room temperature for falling asleep is around 18.3°C or 65°F.

28. Orangutans are very gentle and solitary animals. Males live 90% of their long lifespans alone, only spending a few days with a female to mate before going back into seclusion.

29. Background singers in the Beatles' song ‘All You Need Is Love’ included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, and Eric Clapton.

30. One of the reasons the highest rank in the US army is "General of the Army" instead of Field Marshall (as in other countries) was to avoid insulting Gen. George Marshall by calling him Field Marshal Marshall.

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31National Defence Corps incident

National Defence Corps incident

The National Defence Corps Incident was a death march that occurred in the winter of 1951 during the Korean War. The South Korean force of 406,000 suffered 300,000 casualties from starvation, disease, and mass desertion due to High ranking officers embezzling funds earmarked for the purchase of food supplies.

32. “The Lost Chord” was a song composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1877 at the bedside of his dying brother. It was recorded onto Edison's phonograph in 1888, one of the first recordings of music ever made. The piece has endured as one of Sullivan’s best-known songs as it is still performed today.

33. The first ever computer game created was Nim, which was released in April 1940 on a computer called the Nimatron, which weighed over a ton. Its designer was a nuclear physicist and quantum mechanics pioneer who later participated in the Manhattan Project. It was played nearly 100,000 times, with the computer winning ~90% of the time.

34. Jim Corbett was a British hunter, tracker, and naturalist who hunted and killed a number of man-eating tigers and leopards. One tiger he had killed, the Champawat tiger, had killed an estimated 436 people, which is the highest number of people killed by a single tiger.

35. It is illegal to sell products measured in non-metric units in New Zealand, however, a 'pint of beer' is an exception because it is considered a description rather than a volume.

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36The Law of Nations

The Law of Nations

In 1789, George Washington borrowed a book named The Law of Nations by Emer de Vattel from the New York Society Library and never returned it. In 2010, Mount Vernon staff returned the book 221 years late, by which time the overdue fine had reached $300,000, adjusted for inflation. The fine was waived.

37. "Zombies" first appeared on movie screens in a 1919 French film called J’accuse. Director Abel Gance used soldiers on leave from fighting in Verdun to portray “an army of the dead.”

38. Anton’s syndrome is a mental disorder in which people suffering from it believe they can see when in fact they are cortically blind. They can’t be convinced otherwise though and will be very offended if you point their blindness out. They will start confabulating/making things up when asked what exactly they are seeing.

39. Bones produce piezoelectricity when stress is applied and forms electrical dipoles that attract osteoblasts. Osteoblasts deposit calcium and other minerals on the part of the bone that is stressed which increases the density of the bone.

40. Although pandas have switched to a bamboo only diet for 2.4 million years, they have experienced little to no changes in their digestive system and are completely able to eat and digest meat.

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