Random Fact Sheet #268 – 40 Unique Facts That Will Make You a Trivia Master

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1Ray Kassar

Ray Kassar

Atari programmers met with Atari CEO Ray Kassar in May 1979 to demand that the company treat developers as record labels treated musicians, with royalties and their names on game boxes. Kassar said no and that "anyone can do a cartridge." So the programmers left Atari and founded Activision.

2. In order to convince Robin Williams to play the Genie in Aladdin (1992), Disney hired an animator to draw and lip-sync the Genie performing Williams’ own stand-up comedy. Williams was so impressed that he signed on immediately.

3. Despite Christians making up only 1.5% of the population of Japan, the majority of Japanese people are married in a Christian ceremony. By contrast, the traditional Shinto ceremony makes up only 1 in 6 Japanese weddings.

4. Linda Burfield Hazzard a.k.a the “Starvation Doctor” who wrote the book, “Fasting for the Cure of Disease,” was convicted of manslaughter in 1912 for a patient’s death by starvation. At least 15 deaths are attributed to her “care.” While doing a fasting cure on herself in 1938, she died of starvation.

5. There is a psychological state called “helper’s high” whereby giving produces endorphins in the brain that provide a mild version of a morphine high. Research has shown that helping others lights up the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure.

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6The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ isn’t a celebration of choice and individuality. It’s actually the opposite. He wrote it sarcastically to make fun of an indecisive friend, and the poem actually asserts that the choice between the “two paths” doesn’t really make a difference at all.

7. Alexander the Great once suffered an arrow wound that pierced his lung. He fought on as long as he could but eventually collapsed on his shield. His army was able to protect him long enough to win the battle and to escape. They cut the arrow out of his chest and amazingly he fully recovered.

8. Open-plan offices can lead to increases in health problems in office workers. The design increases noise pollution and removes privacy which increases stress. Ultimately the design is related to lower job satisfaction and higher staff turnover.

9. The United States Navy Pre-Flight School created a routine to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. It took pilots about 6 weeks of practice, but it worked — even after drinking coffee and with gunfire noises in the background.

10. In 1963, Barbie introduced a teenaged “babysitter” Barbie which was sold with a doll-sized book titled "How To Lose Weight," and read “Don’t Eat.” Babysitter Barbie also came with a pink scale, with the weight permanently reading 110, 35 pounds less than a woman her height should weigh.

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11Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor's character in Black Hawk Down is fictionally named because the real person was convicted of child molestation in 1999. The Pentagon gave permission to use actual Army Black Hawks in the movie if the producers agreed to change the name from John Stebbins to 'John Grimes.'

12. The oldest federal enforcement agency in America is the United States Postal Inspection Service, a fact-finding, investigative agency of fully sworn-in federal agents. Founded in 1772 by Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin, it predates both the Declaration of Independence and the USA.

13. A Japanese Emergency Worker named Miki Endo saved thousands of lives during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami by warning the people of Minamisanriku city via the Emergency Broadcast System. She did not leave her spot and was eventually killed in the subsequent disaster.

14. Humans are 99.9% genetically identical to each other. The 0.1% difference accounts for the various differences, like skin color, hair color, eyes, and even diseases.

15. Ultramarathoner Jasmin Paris won the 268-mile Spine Race in 2019 in a record-setting 83 hours 12 minutes, while stopping at aid stations to express milk for her daughter.

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16Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese military leader who unified Japan and became the de facto leader of Japan, was never granted the title of Shogun because he had no traceable samurai lineage, and his father was an ashigaru – a peasant employed by the samurai as a foot soldier.

17. Christopher Walken first trained as a dancer and has danced in over 50 of his films, also starring in a music video which won a Grammy for Best Music Video of 2002.

18. The reason Jonathan Frakes has a distinctive way of sitting (known as the Riker maneuver) on The Next Generation is because he injured his back working as a furniture mover. This is also why he leans on chairs and consoles or has one leg propped up on something.

19. Researchers documented elephants exhibiting contagious yawning in response to yawns by humans familiar to them. While spontaneous yawning is common across all vertebrate classes, contagious yawning is less common and has been observed only in a few species of social animals.

20. The year 536 A.D. is considered by some scholars to be the worst year ever to be alive due to volcanos, extreme weather, and famine throughout Europe and Asia.

21Christopher Roberts

Christopher Roberts

In the 1980s, a classical bassist named Christopher Roberts hiked into Papua New Guinea's jungles with his bass and tape recorder. By doing so, he preserved a tribe’s rich musical heritage and history, which were being lost because of mining and missionaries.

22. Jean Mill was a cat breeder and conservationist who worked to protect the Asian leopard cat. She disliked the fur trade so much that she successfully crossed an Asian leopard with a domestic cat, creating the Bengal Cat breed, so that people can own cats with the same style of fur.

23. In 1888, Edward Bellamy predicted the credit card. He wrote a book called "looking backwards" in which everyone uses a mechanical device to monitor and use their money/credit. The device he describes is almost identical to the credit card we use today.

24. In feudal Japan, merchants were at/near the bottom of the social hierarchy because they didn't produce goods. Artisans were a step above them because they produced non-essential goods and peasants were above artisans because they produced food.

25. Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan played the same character on the ‘All My Children’ soap opera. Jordan landed the role of Reggie Porter after Boseman was fired from it for Refusing to Play a Racial Stereotype.

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