Random Fact Sheet #278 – 35 Surprising Facts to Expand Your Knowledge

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1Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes (voice of Chef) didn’t quit South Park willingly. In 2006, he had a stroke and lost the ability to speak and someone involved in Scientology quit on his behalf.

2. The red stuff dropped from airplanes to put out forest fires is named Phos-Chek and it also acts as a fertilizer.

3. 44% of adults have held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and as many as 34% of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night.

4. Samoset, the first Native American who met the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony walked into their encampment and greeted them in English. He had begun to learn English from fishermen frequenting the waters of Maine. Supposedly, he greeted them then asked if they had beer.

5. The USS Arizona, sunk during the Pearl Harbor attack, had the guns of her number 2 turret salvaged. They were straightened, relined, and installed on the USS Nevada during a refit of that ship, and were later fired at the Japanese at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

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6Air conditioning

Air conditioning

Air conditioning wasn't invented for human comfort whatsoever, rather it was a solution to decrease humidity at a printing company having issues with too much moisture impacting the paper and ink. 

7. On a visit to Constantinople, American inventor Samuel Colt gave a custom gold inlaid revolver to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and informed him that the Russians were buying his pistols. The Turkish ordered 5,000 pistols. Colt neglected to tell the Sultan that he had used the same tactic with the Russians.

8. llamas that spend too much time around humans are prone to Berserk llama syndrome. Such llamas believe that humans are fellow llamas, and sneak up behind them to attack.

9. In the early 1900s, school bathrooms were invented to help teach children to bathe regularly and to promote the idea of regular bathing to their parents. During this time period, people usually only bathed once a week.

10. During the reign of Tsar Peter the Great, it was customary for foreign dignitaries to drink from the “Cup of the White Eagle”, a chalice containing 1.5 liters of vodka. Therefore many nations’ ambassadors traveled in pairs, with one official drinking the vodka, and the other discussing state issues.

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11Desk lamps

Desk lamps

A 1949 BBC memo forbade employees to use desk lamps unless the main room light was on. The head of the Variety department believed that a man working at a desk in a confined space with only the light from a low-wattage lamp would nurture furtive ideas and produce degenerate programme material.

12. Clink Restaurants are a chain of restaurants in UK where your meals are cooked and served by prisoners who are training towards gaining their accredited qualifications. Their aim is to increase future prospects of the prisoners who want to turn their lives around and reduce reoffending.

13. In 2016, the writer of Dragonball Evolution formally apologized to fans of the franchise. He said that he approached the project with no passion and only wanted the money. He accepted full responsibility for the quality of the film and viewed it as a learning experience.

14. Steve Bartman, the fan who in 2003 infamously but inadvertently interfered with a foul ball contributing to the Chicago Cubs’ loss in playoffs that year, received a World Series ring when the Cubs won in 2016.

15. As British taxes only applied to lumber on a ship, and not the lumber that made up the ship, Canadian loggers began building large, barely seaworthy disposable ships that would be broken up for timber once they reached British shores.

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16Venus atmosphere

Venus atmosphere

While the Americans sent space probes to Mars, the Soviets sent many probes to Venus, of which 8 of them successfully landed on the Venusian surface and took the first measurements and pictures of the planet’s surface, showing Venus to be a hot, hellish wasteland.

17. Chevy Chase escaped the military draft by "falsely claiming, among other things, that he had homosexual tendencies."

18. In 2012, a bullied girl named Whitney Kropp was nominated for homecoming queen by her bullies as a prank. It backfired when the whole town in Michigan rallied around her and supported her nomination. She ended up winning.

19. Spock was originally going to have red skin, but the idea was scrapped because the makeup looked like blackface on a monochrome television.

20. In 2012, a “lost” ancient city in Mexico named Angamuco was uncovered. It had more buildings than Manhattan. It was built by a civilization that were rivals to the Aztecs and it remained buried under vegetation for centuries.

21Newman's Own

Newman's Own

Newman's Own company started out as an inside joke between Paul Newman and friend and writer AE Hotchner, who would tease Newman for calling late at night just to 'talk about salad dressing'. They began making batches for holiday gifts. To date, over $500 million has gone to charities. 

22. In 1973, General Motors decided it was worth it to keep paying lawsuits than to spend $6 per car to make them safer.

23. The loris is the only known venomous primate. They create the venom using a secretion from glands in their elbows, which becomes venomous when mixed with their saliva. The mother will coat the babies in this venom to deter predators so that she can forage for food.

24. Despite its popular use at weddings, "Here Comes The Bride," derives from Wagner's opera Lohengrin, in which the groom (a Knight of the Holy Grail) murders someone in the bridal chamber and subsequently leaves his wife, causing her to collapse, grief-stricken, and die. 

25. International building code originated from King Hammurabi of Babylon in 1758 B.C. Hammurabi's Code stated, “If a builder has built a house for a man and his work is not strong, and if the house he has built falls in and kills the householder, that builder shall be slain.”

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