In 1971, a young hacker named John Draper discovered that the toy whistles found in Captain Crunch cereal boxes were capable of mimicking the tones used by phone companies, allowing him to make free phone calls.
2. In January 2015, Marshawn Lynch was threatened with a $500,000 fine by the NFL if he didn't make himself available for Super Bowl Media Day. He showed up, set a timer on his phone, answered 29 questions with some variation of "I'm here so I won't get fined," and left the podium within 5 minutes.
3. Erwin Kreuz was a German tourist who planned to visit San Francisco but accidentally disembarked early, and then spent days looking for the Golden Gate Bridge and other Bay Area landmarks in Bangor, Maine. Amused and touched, Maine residents turned him into a local celebrity.
4. Swearing emerges by age 2 and becomes adult-like by ages 11 or 12. By the time children enter school, they have a working vocabulary of 30-40 offensive words.
5. After the murder of his father, Genghis Khan went into poverty, even being enslaved at one point. It wasn’t until he was in his 50’s did he rise to power and become the Khan of Mongolia
Latest FactRepublic Video:
15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History
Women also competed as gladiators in ancient Rome and there is a marble relief dating to around the 2nd century A.D. depicting fight between two women dubbed “Amazon” and “Achillia,” whom the inscription says fought to an honorable draw.
7. In 2016, the Swedish Tourism Council created a single phone number that connected the caller to a random Swede for you to have a conversation with. In the 79 days it was open, almost 200,000 calls were made with a combined 367 days worth of conversations.
8. Nowe Ateny, the first Polish encyclopedia included such definitions as "Horse: Everyone knows what a horse is", and "Dragon: Dragon is hard to overcome, yet one shall try."
9. Modern Hollywood was started by a group of independent filmmakers who moved to California in the 1910s to get away from Thomas Edison’s total monopoly on all aspects (scripts, cameras, theaters, actors) of the early, east coast film industry.
10. iTunes helped save "The Office" when it reached four of the top 5 slots for downloaded TV shows on the platform. That’s when the people behind the show learned that their audience skewed young, rather than the white-collar workers they thought would be watching.
In stocks, being "short" a stock means you have sold a borrowed share, in hopes that it gets cheaper. You owe a share back, but you are "short" until you buy it back to return to the lender.
12. Rye and oats were originally weeds which grew in wheat fields, over time their seeds evolved to mimic wheat kernels so closely, they inadvertently became a crop themselves.
13. JRR Tolkien's dislike of Snow White led him to prohibit the Disney studio from ever producing his works.
14. In 1983, a Mexican pilot named Ruben Ocana crashed landed in a small town in Ireland and the whole town came together to build a temporary runway for him to take off again and continue his flight.
15. When you see CNN playing in airport terminals you're actually watching a special version of the channel CNN produces just for airports.
Witches are banned from flying above 150 meters in the landlocked African nation of Eswatini. Any witch caught flying their broomstick above the limit faces arrest and a hefty R500,000 fine according to the country’s civil aviation authority. There's no penalty for flying below 150 meters.
17. To clean out the sewer pipes that tended to block, the mayor of the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe instituted a synchronized flush. Residents who did not comply were fined.
18. After most of Manchester United's starting line-up died in a plane crash in 1958, Real Madrid offered to loan out Alfredo Di Stéfano, the world's best player, to Manchester United. All the parties agreed, but England's FA blocked the loan, because "it would halt the progress of a British player."
19. Ninjas often carried with them crickets or cicadas to disguise their sound when they needed.
20. A week after American singer Jim Croce died at the age of 30 in a plane crash, his widow received a letter from him promising to stop performing, get a master's degree, and write short stories and movie scripts. It ended "it's the first sixty years that count and I've got 30 left."
ParkWest is a Detroit-based gallery that only sells art in international waters during cruises. They purport to sell original artworks at steep discounts but in reality, they get bidders drunk to buy reproductions for thousands more than they are worth. Cruise lines are in on the scam.
22. Judith Catchpole, a young maidservant in the colony of Maryland was tried in 1656 for witchcraft and killing her newborn child. The judge summoned an all-female jury, who determined that Judith did not kill her child - in fact, there were no signs that Judith had even been pregnant.
23. Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He is thought to have been the first known European to have set foot on continental North America, approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus.
24. There is an ancient monument in Ireland called Newgrange and every winter solstice its chamber is illuminated for 17 minutes by a beam of light which reveals the mysterious carvings within.
25. Project Gunman discovered primitive keylogging technology installed by the KGB into the IBM Selectric typewriters used in the US Embassy in Moscow, enabling the Soviets to steal US secrets for eight years.