Random Fact Sheet #298 – Jewels of Trivia: 40 Alluring Facts

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1The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges were Jewish, often used Yiddish in place of gibberish, and were the first in Hollywood to satirize Hitler in 1940, which was 9 months before Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator.”

2. Leonard Nimoy came up with the Vulcan neck pinch because he was tired of fight scenes. His Vulcan salute was also inspired from his Jewish background which is done when a Jewish priest blesses a congregation.

3. In 2013, the United States bombed the island of Guam with 2,000 dead mice stuffed with painkillers to kill the Brown Tree Snake which is an invasive species on the island. The snake got there by accident in the 1950s on a shipping vessel.

4. The Soviet Union was the first and only country to explore the surface of Venus.

5. When Luciano Pavarotti suddenly fell ill and was unable to sing Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" at the 1998 Grammys, Aretha Franklin filled in for him at “literally a moment’s notice" and sang an acclaimed rendition of the Aria.

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6Troy city

Troy city

For centuries the city of Troy was considered a myth until it was re-discovered in 1871 in present-day Turkey. The area had been excavated before but the ruins of Troy were beneath newer excavations and had gone untouched for millennia even though the site had people living on top of it.

7. In 1996, the Argentine branch of Coca Cola announced they would give away free tickets to a Ramones concert in exchange for ten bottle caps. Massively underestimating the band’s appeal in Argentina, Coca-Cola didn’t have enough tickets available, resulting in riots and looting.

8. A house cat's genome is around 95.6% tiger. They diverged in the evolutionary tree around 10.8 million years ago.

9. Michelangelo's statue "David" has a bulging vein in his neck that only appears during certain types of heart disease or during extreme stress or excitement.

10. While the Kilogram is defined in terms of three fundamental physical constants, the imperial equivalent, the pound is legally defined as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms.

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11Purple Rain

Purple Rain

The Prince hit “Purple Rain” was actually recorded in front of an audience at a charity event and that guitarist Wendy Melvoin was only 19 at the time and playing the song live for the very first time.

12. Sea urchins will place rocks and other small objects on their bodies for protection from UV rays, inspiring aquarium enthusiast Wilson Souza to give his urchins tiny hats. 

13. In 2010, Weezer began to perform Wheatus's song "Teenage Dirtbag" during their shows because so many people believed that it was a Weezer song and they didn't have the heart to tell them that they were wrong.

14. Country singer Loretta Lynn had more songs banned from radio than every other male country artist combined in the 20th century.

15. Physicist Brian Schmidt once made a bet with his colleague Sean Carroll that humans won’t figure out the value of the cosmological density parameter within 20 years. Brian lost the bet by figuring it out himself, which earned him a Nobel Prize.

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16Octopus punch

Octopus punch

Octopuses sometimes punch fish. A hypothesis is that the octopus is punching out of spite to punish the fish. Research suggests that the octopus brain, though drastically different than ours, is capable of complex behavior and cognition.

17. Most indigenous communities who paint their bodies live in areas where there is an abundance of bloodsucking horseflies, mosquitoes, or tsetse flies - and a 2019 study showed that white, painted stripes on the body protect skin from insect bites, hence protecting them from airborne diseases.

18. While studying Madagascar periwinkle leaves used as a folk remedy for diabetes in the 1950s, scientists found plummeting white blood cells instead and isolated out vinblastine and vincristine — effective chemotherapy drugs which have dramatically improved survival in leukemia patients.

19. Skywriting was invented by the Royal Air Force in World War 1 to send messages to troops on the ground. After the war, Pepsi built a fleet of skywriting biplanes.

20. In 400s B.C.E., Athens would herd citizens into a town hall assembly with red-stained ropes to get them to participate in the local democracy. There was a fine if they got any red die on their clothes.

21California gold rush

California gold rush

During the height of the California gold rush, an egg would cost the equivalent of $25 in today’s money, coffee went for $100/pound, and a pair of boots would set you back more than $2,500.

22. The Pan-American Coffee Bureau coined the phrase 'coffee break' in 1952, and ran a $2 million advertising campaign with the message that a 'coffee break' would give workers 'a needed moment of relaxation along with a caffeine jolt.'

23. The average body temperature of a “healthy” human has actually dropped from 98.6 degrees (in Fahrenheit) to 97.5 degrees over the past 150 years.

24. Attorney Richard Luthmann who is a Game of Thrones fan once asked a court for a trial by combat with sword and shield, arguing it had never been outlawed in the U.S. and that historically, people with debt collection disputes would settle them by beating them each other with a bat. The court was not persuaded.

25. Despite never going to Japan, Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker's studies on Seaweed resulted in a massive growth in Japanese Nori, and a local festival was made in her honor.

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