Random Fact Sheet #299 – Curiosity Chronicles: 35 Fascinating Facts

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1Saturn devouring his son

Saturn devouring his son

Saturn devouring his son and the 13 other Black Paintings were never meant for public display. In 1819, Francisco Goya went into near isolation and painted the works directly onto the walls of his house. The haunting pictures reflect Goya's internal demons and civil strife occurring in Spain.

2. Faced with a severe pilot shortage during World War 2, the USA started a program called WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to train women to be pilots. 1100 women volunteered to fly military aircraft. They were finally granted military status in the 1970s and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

3. Ireland has the oldest average age at first marriage of any country. The average Irish citizen gets married for the first time at the age of 35.

4. Hockey player Stan Mikita went from being one of the most penalized players to winning the Lady Byng Trophy twice for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with excellence all because his daughter asked, "Mommy, why does Daddy spend so much time sitting down [in the penalty box]?"

5. A 2004 Study found that pregnant women who ate lots of chocolate had reduced prenatal stress, and their babies at 6 months old had a more agreeable temperament than pregnant women who ate no chocolate.

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6Leaf sheep

Leaf sheep

The 'leaf sheep,' a sea slug native to Japan, is an animal that can photosynthesize. It eats algae and retains the chloroplasts that plants use for photosynthesis and can live for months on photosynthesis alone.

7. Carmel, a city in Indiana, has the highest number of traffic roundabouts in the US. Since the late 1990s, the city has built 125 roundabouts.

8. Prior to establishing an acting career, Harrison Ford worked as a roadie for The Doors. He stated that after the job was done he “was one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery” and that he “couldn't keep up with those guys. It was too much.”

9. The beef scraps that become hamburger meat are mixed communally during processing, and according to a study done in 1998, the average fast-food burger contains meat from 55 different cows.

10. Planet Earth was not always the Blue Planet we know today. It used to be purple once. 250 million years ago, the oceans lost all their oxygen and one of the only things to survive was a purple algae/bacteria which would have given the seas an iridescent violet hue. Geologists have found remnants of this purple bacteria embedded in ancient rock.

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11Spirit of Troy

Spirit of Troy

The University of Southern California's Spirit of Troy is the only collegiate band to have two platinum records. They have performed at the Oscars, the Grammys, on Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk", for five U.S. Presidents, and at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

12. The song '(She's a) Brick House' was written after the band (The Commodores) couldn't come up with lyrics to the funky riff. The wife of the record's producer wrote the lyrics one night and the band loved it. She never got official credit but the band has publicly acknowledged her as the writer.

13. In the USA, 30% to 40% of the entire food supply is thrown away, which was worth $161 billion (or 133 billion pounds of food) in 2010. Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills.

14. There are “witch camps” in Ghana where women accused of witchcraft can flee for their lives. They live in squalid conditions for the rest of their lives unless a priest determines their innocence by killing a chicken and watching how it dies.

15. Oldest known boat was found in the Netherlands. It was constructed during the early Mesolithic period between 8040 B.C.E. and 7510 B.C.E.

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16Operation Torpedo

Operation Torpedo

In the aptly named “Operation Torpedo” FBI compromised 3 dark web pages by exploiting a flaw in the Tor browser and caught 19 owners of child pornography.

17. Clan McDuck, of 'DuckTales' and the old Carl Barks Disney comics, has a tartan registered with the official Scottish Register of Tartans. It was created in 1942 and used to sell war bonds.

18. Notorious gangster Al Capone had the mental age of a 12 year old at the time of his death despite being 48 years old. This was caused by mental illness due to untreated neurosyphilis.

19. In Cuba, picking up hitchhikers is mandatory for government vehicles, if passenger space is available.

20. During the Great Depression, Clifton’s Cafeteria eateries boasted the slogan “Dine free unless delighted.” In the original restaurant’s first three months of business, ten thousand customers took him up on the offer. Enough customers paid their bills to make them a success.

21Creation Evidence Museum

Creation Evidence Museum

The Creation Evidence Museum is a museum in Texas that’s dedicated to the display of evidence related to creationism. One of their main exhibits is found on the second floor balcony of the museum and features prominently a 12 feet high statue of Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry.

22. France had a referendum on the direct election of the President in 1962. It was approved by 62.3% of voters and abolished the electoral college in favor of direct suffrage. As a result, Charles de Gaulle remains the only French president elected by an electoral college.

23. There was a mega-tsunami in Alaska in 2015. It was triggered by a landslide and the resulting wave was almost 200 meters tall at its highest. It struck an uninhabited area with no people present and went unnoticed for several hours until scientists in New York noticed it on seismograph readings.

24. The Amondawa language has no word for "time", or time periods such as "month" or "year". The people do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different stages of their lives or as they achieve different statuses within the community.

25. Telling other people about your goals can impede you accomplishing them, because it makes you feel like you are already closer to your goal.

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