Random Fact Sheet #288 – Kaleidoscope of Facts: 40 Unconventional Facts

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1The Diary of A Young Girl

The Diary of A Young Girl

The copyright for Anne Frank's diary (The Diary of A Young Girl) was due to expire in 2016. To prevent it from falling into the public domain, in 2015 the Anne Frank foundation added her father Otto Frank as a co-author.

2. Billy Bob Thornton did get drunk for some scenes in Bad Santa. In the escalator fall scene, Thornton actually passed out after drinking 3 glasses of red wine for breakfast followed by vodkas and cranberry juice then a few Bud Lights.

3. “Foldering” is a form of covert communication technique which uses emails saved as drafts in an account accessed by multiple people. It poses an extra challenge to detect because the messages are never sent. It has been used by Al Qaeda and drug cartels, amongst others.

4. Frederick the Great, Prussian Monarch from 1740 to 1786, known for his tactical genius on the battlefield, is considered by historians to be primarily homosexual in orientation. Following a demoralizing defeat, he wrote “Fortune has it in for me; she is a woman, and I am not that way inclined.”

5. Overcome with grief after the death of his wife, famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Francis Butler refused to eat and died of starvation 18 days later at the age of 78.

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6Animal shelters

Animal shelters

After the holidays, there is a spike of pets being returned to animal shelters due to them being gifted with little thought to the long term responsibilities of pet ownership.

7. Psychology research shows that people love to hate do-gooders (especially at work). Highly co-operative and generous people can attract hatred and social punishment, especially in competitive circumstances.

8. The Parental Advisory label was created in part because a mom caught her 11-year-old daughter singing the sexually explicit lyrics to “Darling Nikki" by Prince. The Recording Industry Association of America responded by introducing a content warning label.

9. Australia has the world's largest herd of wild camels. The population is estimated to be about 3 million, spread across 37% of the Australian mainland.

10. In 1963, a VW Beetle donated by the manufacturer became the first car in the Antarctic. It was so good for Antarctic use, being able to withstand temperatures below -50°C and winds above 150 km/h, that it was nicknamed "Red Terror" by the users.

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11Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls

There were “copper” scrolls also found along with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Besides being metal, this scroll is different from the others in that it is not a religious work. It claims to list the locations where various items of gold and silver were buried or hidden. Attempts to find hidden treasures have been unsuccessful.

12. Psychology research demonstrates the psychological benefits of working less. Working fewer hours was associated with improved psychological and health benefits. It also helps with productivity.

13. In 2003, there was a £4 million art heist in Manchester which included a Van Gogh painting. It is believed that the culprit tipped off the police and revealed the location of the stolen artwork stating that his intentions were not to steal, but to highlight woeful security.

14. Asphalt is the most recycled material on the planet, with 80% of North American asphalt being recycled annually.

15. The little town of Ytterby in Sweden has 4 elements in the Periodic table named after it - yttrium(Y), erbium(Er), terbium(Tb), and ytterbium(Yb). In addition, 4 other elements, Scandium, Holmium, Thulium, Gadolinium, too can trace their discovery back to this quarry.

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16Green M&M

Green M&M

The "seductive nature" of the Green M&M is a reference to an urban legend during the 1970s that green M&Ms were aphrodisiacs.

17. The main cause of “soft errors” in computer memory is cosmic rays. Systems buried in caves have a negligible rate of cosmic-ray induced soft errors. Computers on mountains have a far higher error rate than at sea level, and the rate of errors in aircraft can be over 300 times the sea level rate.

18. Cymburga was a 15th Century Polish princess who became the female ancestor of all later Habsburgs. She was “renowned both for her beauty and for her ability to drive nails into oak planks with her bare fists.”

19. Lions don't eat hyenas after killing them. Some biologists believe that lions do not like the taste of hyena meat while some say it is because hyenas aren’t a nutritious diet for them.

20. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration derives from a Norse myth. Norse god, Balder's only weakness was the mistletoe plant. On learning this, Loki, the god of mischief carved arrows from the branches of plant which were used to kill Odin’s son.

21Carob seed

Carob seed

The unit “carat” for the jewelry comes from the carob seed, which was used to measure their weight in ancient times. A carat, or 0.2g, is equivalent to the weight of a carob seed.

22. In 1323, the Mexica, founders of the Aztec Empire - asked the King of Culhuacan for his daughter. The Mexica sacrificed her, believing that would make the princess into a deity. During a festival dinner, a priest came out wearing her flayed skin. Upon seeing this, the King expelled the Mexica.

23. Baileys was invented in 1973 by a South African man, David Gluckman, working for a London marketing agency designing drinks for an Irish company. The name was inspired by a local restaurant, Baileys Bistro.

24. Since India has more than 400 million vegetarians, every packaged food or toothpaste in India must have a mark to distinguish whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The vegetarian symbol is a green square with a green dot in the center while the non-vegetarian is the same in red.

25. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer had a development plan he wanted to keep secret, so the architect jokingly labeled the block of land as "dinosaur park". After newspapers worldwide reported that they were planning to clone dinosaurs, 500 scientists applied to be involved in the process.

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