Random Fact Sheet #281 – 40 Surprising Facts That’ll Ignite Your Curiosity

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26Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

From November 1969 to June 1971, a Native American group occupied and held Alcatraz Island, claiming that, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie between the U.S. and the Lakota tribe, all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal land was returned to the Indians who once occupied it.

27. The common cold leads to almost $10 billion in doctor's visits and drugs per year. It is also responsible for almost 315 million sick days from school and work, costing over $20 billion and accounting for 40% of time lost from work.

28. A moment was a medieval unit of time. The movement of a shadow on a sundial covered 40 moments in a solar hour, a twelfth of the period between sunrise and sun. Although the length of a moment in modern seconds was therefore not fixed, on average, a moment corresponded to 90 seconds.

29. The world's largest film studio is Hengdian Studios, in China. It is basically a city of permanent full-scale replicas of palaces, fortresses, and towns from various periods of China's history. Whole populations of nearby towns are often employed to be extras for period dramas and fantasy movies.

30. Jimmy Carter had a cat during his presidency named Misty Malarky Ying Yang.

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Trading onion options is illegal. In the 1950s, two traders in Chicago cornered the market by crashing the price of a 50lb bag of onions to lower than the cost of the bag that carried them, leading to a shortage of onions in the U.S.

32. Two weeks after the 1972 democratic convention, vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton had to withdraw from the race because of a media campaign targeting his rumored history of depression and shock therapy. 77% of voters polled at the time, said that his medical record would not affect their vote.

33. In one Simpsons episode, Homer Simpson coats his mouth in hot wax in order to eat hot peppers. Fox censors sent a note to writers, asking that he scream in pain to stop kids watching from copying him. No scream was added; instead, dialogue from Ralph Wiggum questioning Homer on his action was used.

34. During the American Revolution at the Siege of Boston as winter approached the Americans were so short on gunpowder that soldiers were given spears to fight with, in the event of a British attack.

35. Following his resignation as U.S. President in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon forged a successful post-presidency as an author and elder statesman, meeting many foreign leaders such as Gorbachev. In 1986 he was ranked by Gallup as one of the ten most admired men in the world.

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36Caribbean sperm whales

Caribbean sperm whales

Caribbean sperm whales have a distinct culture. They are known to interact only with other whales with their own unique dialects and 'accents' which are variations of clicks unique to that area.

37. Nancy Dupree, an American-born woman who became known as the 'grandmother of Afghanistan.' Moving there in 1962 as a diplomat's wife, she spent the rest of her life in and around the country, collecting and saving documents and eventually founding a new library of Afghan history.

38. Sally was the canine mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. She accompanied the regiment through nearly the entire war until being mortally wounded in February 1865.

39. On the French island of Ile de ré, the donkeys wear trousers. Because the marshes were thick with mosquitoes and other bugs, locals sewed pants to keep insects off the donkey's legs.

40. When George Foreman won the heavyweight championship at the age of 45 against Michael Moorer, he wore the same trunks he wore when he lost the title to Muhammad Ali 20 years prior.

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