Random Fact Sheet #285 – 45 Remarkable Random Facts That Will Ignite Your Curiosity

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For a while in the 2010s, you could rent the country of Liechtenstein on Airbnb for $70,000 a night. This included hanging out with the monarch, temporary currency, the ability to rename streets, and a key to the country.

2. In 1896, a bubоnіc plаgue epіdеmic struck Bombay, and the government asked Waldemar Haffkine, developer of the first chоlera vаccіne, to help. After 3 months of persistent work (1 assistant had a nervous breakdown and 2 others quit), a vаccіne was ready, with Haffkine tеsting it on himself first.

3. Kyrgyzstan is more distant from the ocean than any other nation. At a minimum of 1620 miles from any ocean, it is the most land-locked state in the world.

4. Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to spacewalk, became in June 2020 the only person to have visited both space and the deepest place on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

5. Zach Galifianakis had a two-week trial run as a writer on “SNL” before being let go. He wrote a sketch with Will Ferrell being the bodyguard of Britney Spears’s belly button that bombed so badly in the writer’s room that Tina Fey put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

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6Tham Luang cave rescue

Tham Luang cave rescue

Ketamine was given to boys trapped in the Tham Luang cave to keep them unconscious and to prevent them from panicking during their six-day rescue.

7. In January 1960, white jazz pianist Dave Brubeck canceled a twenty-five-date tour of colleges and universities across the American South after twenty-two schools had refused to allow his black bassist, Eugene Wright, to perform. He also canceled a tv show where they didn't want to show him.

8. NBC executives hated the script for the Seinfeld episode, 'The Chinese Restaurant', and only agreed to allow it to be filmed after co-creator Larry David threatened to quit. It is now considered a ground-breaking episode of TV, and the best example of Seinfeld's 'show about nothing' premise.

9. American singer-songwriter Janis Joplin's will stipulated that $2500 go to throwing a hard-partying funeral for her. The funeral was held in a popular rock venue she used to have shows at and many of her musician friends performed. The 300 attendees got drunk and partied hard.

10. Eccentric 18th-century American businessman Timothy Dexter authored a book complaining about politicians, the clergy, and his wife. The book contained no punctuation, so in the second edition, he added a page with 11 lines of punctuation marks, for the readers to distribute them as they pleased.

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11Great Bottle hoax

Great Bottle hoax

In 1749, a stage show was advertised where a man would squeeze his body into a wine bottle. It was a bet between the Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield that they could advertise something impossible and get fools to pay for it. The sold-out theatre rioted when no performer showed up.

12. Lillian Brown, the makeup artist of nine US presidents, stopped Richard Nixon's sobbing before he was about to go on national television to announce his resignation by telling him a funny story so that his makeup wouldn't be ruined.

13. Prince’s “Breakfast Can Wait” album cover features Dave Chappelle impersonating Prince. Chappelle said he had to appreciate the way his joke was co-opted. "That's a Prince judo move right there.”

14. Elvis’ autopsy revealed morphine, Demerol, chlorpheniramine, Placidyl, Valium, codeine, Ethinamate, quaaludes; an unidentified barbiturate, Amytal, Nembutal, Carbrital, Sinutab, Elavil, and aventyl in his system.

15. In 1913, The Daily Mail suspected its competitor The Daily Standard was copying its news stories. The Daily Mail published a hoax article claiming the SS Waratah had been discovered in Antarctica. The Daily Standard also published the story and added a statement from the harbourmaster.

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16Electric Worm Getter

Electric Worm Getter

There was a product sold in the '80s and '90s called the "Electric Worm Getter". It was sold to fishermen for the collection of earthworms for bait. It sent an electric shock through the top layer of soil forcing the worms to surface. It had to be recalled in 1993 after 30 people died using it.

17. Socrates suggested a passive solar design for Greek houses. All openings faced south and roofs were angled north. Houses remained cool during summer since the roof provided shade, and there was warmth during winters since the roof deflected cold north winds and sunlight entered through the south openings.

18. During the Black Death, the physician to the Papacy recognized that bloodletting was ineffective, but he continued to prescribe bleeding for members of the Roman Curia, whom he disliked. He also claimed that all true cases of plague were caused by astrological factors, and were incurable.

19. The cottage where Ulysses Grant finished his memoirs is now a historic monument and is kept how it was when he died. On his desk is a large bottle of liquid cocaine. Park rangers check it annually to make sure it is all there.

20. Legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant earned his nickname by agreeing to wrestle a bear for $1 at a carnival when he was 13 years old. The bear bit his ear, and the carnival never paid him $1.

21Peat bog soldiers

Peat bog soldiers

Inmates of a nazi labor camp in northern Germany's marshes were banned from singing political songs, so they wrote a "soldier" hymn to themselves being "peat bog soldiers". When the SS made them perform it at the "concentration camp circus" the anti-nazi song was so catchy, the SS sang along.

22. A book named “death by starvation” was written by Hegesias of Cyrene, a philosopher who believed that life was futile and advocated for suicide. The book became was so influential that it convinced a number of people to kill themselves. Subsequently, Hegesias was banned from teaching in Alexandria.

23. Robert Millikan disliked Einstein's theory that light consisted of particles (photons) and carefully designed experiments to disprove them, but ended up confirming the particle nature of light, and earned a Nobel Prize for that.

24. In a book named ‘Revolt’ (bunt), farm animals revolt and take over their farm in order to introduce equality, with things quickly denigrating into abuse and terror. The story was meant as a metaphor for the Bolshevik Revolution and was published 21 years before George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

25. US Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin wanted the US to ratify the UN Genocide Convention. He gave a speech on the need to ratify it each day the Senate was in session from 1967-1986 (a total of 3,211 times) until the US Senate finally ratified it on Feb. 11th, 1986 in an 83-11 vote.

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