Random Fact Sheet #302 – Awe-Inspiring Discovery: 30 Mind-Blowing Random Facts

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1Dogs and Cats

Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats circle around before bedding down as a throwback to their wild ancestors. Their survival instincts provoked them to position themselves in the direction of the wind to pick up predator scents and choose the best angle for keeping an eye on the environment.

2. A young Tina Fey provided voices for a pinball machine called Medieval Madness in 1997 as two princesses. The dialogue for the game was written by her future 30 Rock co-star Scott Adsit.

3. Beverly Hills, California is named after Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, which was named after the town Beverley in Yorkshire England, which came from the name "Beverlac" in the 10th century, meaning "beaver lake," because of all the beavers in the nearby river.

4. British breweries donated free beer to soldiers during World War 2, but after D-Day, there was no room for it on the ships going across the English Channel. Spitfire mechanics and pilots worked together to modify pylons to carry beer kegs and deliver brews to the troops. Flying high enough chilled it.

5. REM's song "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" is about the mugging of Dan Rather. His attacker kept repeating "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" as he kicked Rather. The case was solved when the attacker stormed NBC studios 11 years later to find out the frequency used to "beam signals to his brain."

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6Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky hated to conduct by his own admission. He became obsessed with the fear that his head was going to fall off while he conducted. In 1868, when Tchaikovsky conducted his own Dances of the Hay Maidens, he held his head in place with his left hand while he conducted with his right.

7. Early sections of San Francisco were built upon ships abandoned by prospectors during the California Gold Rush. Many were intentionally run aground to become bars and hotels. Now, hundreds of wooden ships lay beneath the city streets and a portion of their subway goes through the hull of one.

8. Nine months after Stu Sutcliffe left the Beatles to pursue a career in painting, he died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 21.

9. Pennantia baylisiana a.k.a. the world’s rarest tree, native to New Zealand, has been rescued from extinction after 40 years of trying to get the very last female tree in the world to fruit again.

10. All Formula 1 cars must be fitted with a wood plank on their undercarriage prior to each race. The plank enforces a minimum clearance on the cars and is examined following the race for excessive wearing, which would indicate a violation of clearance rules.

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11William Wrigley

William Wrigley

William Wrigley, the founder of Wrigley’s Gum, invented direct mail marketing. In 1915, he mailed a pack of gum to every person in the phone directory in the United States.

12. Back when the NYC subway system used tokens, people called “token suckers” would jam token slots with paper and suck out the tokens with their mouth. To prevent this, some attendants would sprinkle chili powder in the slots.

13. During World War 2, Ernest Hemingway used his fishing boat named after his ex-wife (Pilar) to hunt German U-boats in the Caribbean armed only with Thomson machine guns and hand grenades. He was given unlimited gasoline by the US government.

14. In 1985, Takahashi Meijin (real name Takahashi Toshiyuki) became a celebrity in Japan when he managed the feat of pressing a button on a video game controller 16 times in one second on television. It's still a world record.

15. In 2009, Muammar Gadaffi invited 500 Italian models to a party, only to give them an hour lecture on Islam and a copy of the Quran each.

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Over the last decade, there have been at least 15 cases of athletes who have died from over-hydration during sporting events. Too much fluid consumption can cause serious health issues by diluting the sodium in the blood, which creates a swelling of the brain and lungs.

17. Henry VIII was sometimes called "Old Coppernose." He issued debased coins to fund wars and one coin was mostly copper with a thin layer of silver on top. The coin had a portrait of Henry and his projecting nose caused the silver to wear off first exposing the copper underneath.

18. In 1978, Alice Cooper donated $27,000 to help restore the famous HOLLYWOOD sign. He sponsored an "O" in memory of his friend, Groucho Marx.

19. The vocal effect used in the song Zombie by The Cranberries is known as 'keening'. This is a wailing sound used in Ireland to mourn the dead at funerals.

20. The lyrics to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" was inspired by the CPR doll Resusci Anne, a dummy that is used to teach people how to properly perform CPR. Trainees are taught to ask "Annie, are you OK?" while performing CPR on the dummy.

21Hand on Knees Posture

Hand on Knees Posture

Research has found that after intense workout or exhaustion, the “hand on knees” posture resulted in superior heart rate recovery and greater tidal volume (the amount of air inhaled into the lungs with each breath) compared to the “hands on head” posture.

22. The role of U.S. First Lady does not need to go to the president's wife. Prior First Ladies include nieces and daughters-in-law of the sitting president.

23. Not everyone can unfocus their eyes whenever they want to. It's accomplished by having the ability to relax the ciliary muscles in your eyes, which causes them to lose their focusing powers.

24. Limping was a fad in Victorian England. Young women admired the genuine limp of Alexandra of Denmark, the bride of the Prince of Wales. So, women went around fake limping, dubbed the "Alexandra Limp." Shopkeepers at the time sold pairs of shoes with one high heel and one low.

25. Our stomach has to constantly secrete mucus to stop itself from being digested by our own stomach acid. Without that mucus, our stomach acid would eat through our stomach’s lining.

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