Random Fact Sheet #279 – 40 Tidbits to Impress Your Friends at Parties

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1German fairytales

German fairytales

Instead of “They lived happily ever after”, German fairytales end with “if they haven’t died, then they are still living today.”

2. Yoyoy Villame, a Filipino singer once made a song with Chinese-sounding gibberish. Some of the Chinese community in the Filipino province of Cebu wanted it removed from jukeboxes. According to the singer, a plan to bring it to court failed because no one could find a single Chinese lyric in the song.

3. The lyrics for Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do" were adapted from a poem from a poetry book her producer found in a used bookstore. The book only had an initial print run of 500 copies, but the song paved the way for multiple reprints and earned its author Wyn Cooper substantial royalties.

4. The cone snail is one of the most venomous animals on earth. It releases a cloud of insulin when a fish swims by, causing it to go into hypoglycemic shock, immobilizing it so it can inject the fish with a cocktail of up to 200 toxins.

5. The Can-Can was a particularly scandalous dance in the 19th century because women wore pantalettes, which had an open crotch, and the high kicks were intentionally revealing.

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6Judit Polgar

Judit Polgar

Judit Polgar was the only female chess player to reach the top 50. She was the product of an educational experiment by her father, who wanted to prove that "geniuses are made, not born". As such, he decided to vigorously train his daughters for chess from a young age.

7. The reason for the Netherlands not being underwater is due to its complex network of dikes, ditches, canals, and pumping stations that have been built through the course of its history. It is so intricate that controlled flooding can create a ring of fortification around Amsterdam, it's capital.

8. A serial killer named Carroll Cole was responsible for the deaths of at least 15 women. He killed his first victim at just 8 years of age, drowning a classmate in a lake. The death was thought to have been an accident until he confessed about it in an autobiography he wrote in prison.

9. The oldest ever archaeological site on earth was found in 2011. It was named Lomekwi 3 and was dated to be 3.3 million years old, which is 700,000 years older than previous stone tools discovered and predates the genus Homo by 500,000 years. Around 150 artifacts found.

10. A woman named Margaret Corbin fought in the American Revolutionary War. During the Battle of Fort Washington, when her husband fell in action, she took control of the cannon and fired well-aimed shots at the enemy before being seriously wounded. She later became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service.

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11Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco was a Colombian drug lord of the Medellín Cartel. She pioneered the Miami cocaine drug trade and underworld during the 1980s through the early 2000s. It has been estimated that she was responsible for up to 2000 murders while transporting cocaine. She was shot and killed in 2012.

12. “Kaizen” is a Japanese work philosophy where people constantly seek to find ways to improve methods instead of just doing it the same way.

13. In 1971, the Robertson family set sail round the world on their boat Lucette. In the middle of the Pacific ocean, a school of killer whales capsized them. They survived by taking enemas of turtle blood and rainwater collected in the bottom of their lifeboat. Drinking the mixture orally would have been poisonous and led to their deaths. They were rescued after 37 days.

14. In the past few years, at the same time that the NFL's "Super Bowl" is being played, the Aquarium of the Pacific (in the Californian city of Long Beach) holds the "Otter Bowl", with the otters playing with footballs made from frozen clams.

15. The Canadian province of Alberta basically has no permanent Norway Rat (a species of rat) population because they have an incredibly aggressive rat control program. It includes a hotline to call if you ever actually see a rat in the province.

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16Sam Elliott

Sam Elliott

Actor Sam Elliott -- known for his full mustache, and deep, resonant voice -- voices Smokey the Bear in the iconic character's public service announcements, and that the two share the same birthday: Smokey was first introduced on August 9, 1944, the same day Elliott was born.

17. "Women and children first" when evacuating a sinking ship has never been maritime law. It is more common for men to survive shipwrecks than women, and children have the lowest chances of survival. The Titanic is an exception; 75% of women survived compared to only 17% of men.

18. The great Renaissance artist Michelangelo was also a poet. A great number of his poems were written to another man, Tommaso dei Cavalieri. After his death, his grand-nephew published his poems and changed the pronouns of the person addressed from masculine to feminine.

19. On April Fools Day 1965, the BBC aired an interview with the supposed inventor of "SmelloVision" who cut onions and brewed coffee to prove he could transmit scents through a television screen. Viewers called and confirmed that they had received the smells.

20. The Missouri Bar has produced coloring books to inform children about the functions of the government and the function of lawyers and judges and made them available for free.

21Wanda Stopa

Wanda Stopa

Wanda Stopa became Chicago’s youngest and first woman assistant U.S. district attorney. Her career was cut short when she tried to shoot her lover's wife but accidentally shot and killed a 65-year old gardener.

22. When Peter the Great became Czar as a child, a hole was cut in the back of his throne and the regent hid inside and whispered orders into his ear so it could appear he was coming up with them on his own.

23. Kurt Lee was the first Asian (US) Marine Corps officer. When fighting in the Korean War he used his Mandarin language skills to confuse the enemy soldiers and infiltrate their positions during the battles around Inchon.

24. The Song “It’s Raining Men” was rejected by Donna Summer, Barbara Streisand, Cher and Diana Ross. Backing singers Martha Wash and Izora Armstead then recorded it, with the duo now named ‘The Weather Girls.’

25. There were two pandemics running together during World War 1. ”Encephalitis Lethargica” affected 5 million and killed over 1.5 million. The patients were conscious – yet not fully awake; they would sit motionless, totally lacking initiative, affect, or desire. They registered the inputs with profound indifference.

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