Random Fact Sheet #290 – 45 Enigmatic Facts That’ll Baffle the Mind

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1CSI Effect

CSI Effect

Due to popular crime TV shows exaggerating the capabilities and techniques of forensic science in criminal investigations, many jurors have begun to demand a greater amount of evidence from the prosecution during trials, raising the standard of proof needed for a conviction.

2. In the early to mid-1900s, orphaned babies were lent out to college home economics programs where they were taken care of entirely by groups of students in order to learn child-rearing skills. These babies were known as practice babies.

3. Pope John Paul II liked Yoo-hoo. During his visit to Denver, Colorado, he requested a couple of cases be brought back with him. Because popes don't give commercial endorsements, the Vatican was forced to release a statement denying the pope had a preference for American chocolate milk drinks.

4. When France increased the price of cigarettes by 66% over an eight-year period, the smoking rate among French executives and professionals declined. However, the smoking rate among manual laborers remained about the same and among the unemployed, it increased.

5. When Dwayne Johnson was 15 years old, his family was going through a rough period. After losing their apartment, his mother Ata Johnson, stopped their car on a Nashville highway and tried to walk into oncoming traffic. Dwayne grabbed her and pulled her back, saving her life.

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6Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov

Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union, was an avid fisherman in his retirement. When President Eisenhower, who considered him the most instrumental Allied leader in Hitler’s defeat, learned of this, he sent a set of fishing tackle. Zhukov used it exclusively, for the rest of his life.

7. Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard was placed in command of a Navy Ship during World War 2. He wound up being engaged in combat with absolutely nothing for 68 hours and accidentally conducted live-fire exercises on a Mexican Island, which led to him being fired.

8. Robert Frost couldn't read the poem he wrote for John F. Kennedy's inauguration due to the glare on the snow being too strong. So, he instead recited one he knew from memory.

9. There was a special GM program that allowed astronauts to lease up to two Chevys per year for $1 each. Six of the seven original Mercury astronauts took full advantage of the program by leasing both a family wagon and a Corvette.

10. Buffets are called "Vikings" in Japan. This is because a Japanese restaurant manager went to Sweden and liked smörgåsbords so much he copied the idea at his restaurant. This Swedish word was too hard to pronounce in Japanese, so the word "Vikings" was used instead after an employee suggested it.

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11Danny Devito

Danny Devito

Danny Devito often asks for a trampoline in his dressing room and uses it as part of his warm-up routine.

12. King Alexander of Greece died after being bitten by a monkey that had attacked his German shepherd. This significantly impacted Balkan history and Winston Churchill later wrote, "it is perhaps no exaggeration to remark that a quarter of a million persons died of this monkey's bite."

13. "TMZ" stands for the Thirty Mile Zone around Los Angeles within which film crews don't get paid overnight expenses.

14. Mark Hamill auditioned for the role of Mozart in the movie adaptation of 'Amadeus' after playing the role on Broadway, but was rejected after a studio executive said, "I don't want Luke Skywalker in this film." 

15. Japanese Honeybees have adapted to kill Murder Hornets by vibrating together in a ball around the hornet and using their combined body heat to cook it alive.

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16Red wine

Red wine

In 1991, news magazine 60 Minutes suggested red wine was the answer to the "French Paradox" (France enjoys a low incidence of heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fats). Within a year, American consumption of wine increased 40% and some wine sellers began promoting their products as "health food". 

17. In 1978, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was convicted of heroin possession in Canada where he was ordered by the judge to play a benefit concert at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

18. A man in Atlanta confounded doctors and specialists for over a year with a condition that did not respond to any therapies. After he mentioned that he played clarinet in a Dixieland jazz band, researchers examined his instrument and discovered Exophiala fungus inside his mouthpiece.

19. When the FBI went undercover to expose the McDonald's Monopoly promotion scam that occurred between 1989-2001 they posed as a production company that interviewed supposed winners for TV commercials and named it Shamrock Productions with the byline “‘Cause you’re just lucky” printed on their van.

20. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to be accepted at a medical school in the US because the students thought her application was a prank from a rival school and voted to let her attend.

21Fatigue Zone

Fatigue Zone

Some roads in Australia are so long that the Australian government counteracts the risk of fatigue in these ‘Fatigue Zones’ by playing little trivia games on the side of the road.

22. Mozart had Tourette’s syndrome. 11 out of 25 people that were associated with him talked about “his perpetual movements and mannerisms, which were regarded as facial and bodily tics.”

23. Adam Mattocks is the only aviator to bail out of a B-52 cockpit without an ejector seat and survive. The B-52, he jumped out of, was carrying two 3.8-megaton Hydrogen bombs, before it crashed in North Carolina. Upon reaching an Air Force base to explain his story, Mattocks, who was African-American, was arrested for stealing a parachute.

24. American comedian Mike Birbiglia is a diagnosed sleepwalker who once jumped through a second-story window while dreaming that a missile was about to hit his hotel. Birbiglia restrains himself by sleeping in a sleeping bag and wearing mittens at night.

25. One of the worst books ever written is ‘English as She Is spoke’ which is a Portuguese-English phrasebook written by a man who did not speak English. He instead relied on a Portuguese-French phrasebook and a French-English dictionary. The reprinted version of this book now comes with a preface from Mark Twain, essentially espousing that “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”

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