Random Fact Sheet #303 – Unveiling the Unknown: 45 Captivating Random Facts

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1Steel Recycling

Steel Recycling

Nearly 70% of the steel used in the US is recycled from scrap. The steel used in construction has a 90% recycling rate.

2. In 1918, the federal government tried to find the geographical center of the United States by balancing a US-shaped cardboard cutout on the head of a pin. They were accurate to within 20 miles.

3. All beaches in Mexico are property of the federal government. There are no privately owned beaches in the whole country, all of them are open to public use.

4. The band UB40 is named after Unemployment Benefit, Form 40, a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits. The name was suggested by a friend of the band because all the members were unemployed.

5. Keith Flint (of The Prodigy) became a popular pub owner in Essex following his music career. Flint eventually brought in a jar to collect one-pound fines from customers who referenced the song "Firestarter" as he tended to the pub's fireplace.

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6George de Hevesy

George de Hevesy

In 1911, physicist George de Hevesy suspected his landlady was bulking up his meals with leftovers. He proved it by sprinkling radioactive material over his dinner and detecting it in the next day’s portion.

7. After Salvador Dalí and Harpo Marx met and expressed mutual admiration, Dalí sent Harpo a Christmas present: a harp with barbed wire for strings and spoons for tuning knobs, wrapped in cellophane. Harpo was delighted and sent Dalí a photo of himself sitting at the harp with bandaged fingers.

8. German lawyer George Remus after being released from jail for bootlegging murdered his estranged wife in broad daylight. She had stolen his fortune and attempted to have him killed after running off with a corrupt federal agent. He was acquitted by a jury after only 19 minutes of deliberation.

9. NASA has designed a $23 million toilet for deep space missions. With odor control being a serious issue, NASA pays certified sniffers to smell the toilets after they have been used to evaluate odor-control measures. The lead engineer calls them the “unsung heroes of the space program.”

10. English Parliament was conducted entirely in French until the 1400s. Even today, bills are formally passed into law with a French phrase: "Le Reyne le veult", meaning "The queen wills it."

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11Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning stopped smoking cigars at the age of 103 because they became too expensive. At the age of 108, he began smoking cigars again after receiving lots of cigars as gifts. He ultimately ended up living to the age of 114.5 and was the second-last verified surviving man born in the 1800s.

12. Introduced in 1997, Auto-Tune uses a proprietary device to measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances. It was named one of the 50 worst inventions by Time magazine.

13. Friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992, swearing if either one won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings. Well, the power of friendship and a handshake has paid off and 28 years later, in 2020, Tom won €22 million and split the winnings with his friend.

14. In 1977, the FBI started to build a tunnel under the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C to eavesdrop on the Soviets. The construction took years, was riddled with complications, and worse yet, the Soviets knew about the tunnel because of a tip-off.

15. In 1992, Barqs rootbeer ran a promotion giving away USSR memorabilia with proof of purchase as a Communism is going out of the business sale, resulting in a 30% increase in sales.

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Avocados evolved alongside extinct megafauna like giant ground sloths whose digestive system could pass the intact pit. When these giant creatures went extinct, human cultivation saved the avocado.

17. French soldier of fortune and mercenary Bob Denard was hired in 1975 to overthrow Ahmed Abdallah, president of the Comoros. 3 years later Abdallah hired Denard to kick out his replacement, mad dictator Ali Soilih. 10 years later Soilih's half-brother paid Denard to remove Abdallah again. All coups succeeded.

18. An English man named Mark Roberts has streaked at more than 565 international events. He has his own set of 'rules' for streaking: don't interrupt the play of a game, be prepared to spend an evening in jail, have a good lawyer on hand, and don't eat spicy food the night before a streak.

19. In 2012, American singer Demi Lovato did an MTV documentary about her sobriety and how she overcame addiction. 5 years later, she admitted she was on cocaine while filming it.

20. Because of Calibri's status as the default font in MS Office, there have been many instances of forged documents being identified because this font was used. A Canadian business owner facing bankruptcy typed 2 trust documents dated before Calibri's release in 2007, exposing them as forged.

21Del Oro

Del Oro

A juice company named Del Oro dumped 12,000 tonnes of orange peels on virtually lifeless soil and 16 years later, it turned into a lush forest.

22. In Rwanda, people go to milk bars to socialize and drink milk.

23. Three-quarters of the animated film “A Goofy Movie” had to be refilmed due to a single dead pixel on a faulty monitor, leading to Disney delaying the release of the film from Thanksgiving 1994 to April 7, 1995.

24. In 2001, when the space station Mir was set to return to earth, Taco Bell set up a floating target in the Pacific Ocean, promising free tacos to everyone in the US if the space station hit it.

25. NASA's longest-serving female employee since January 1958, Sue Finley, has been an engineer and programmer for space missions since Explorer 1, for missions to the Moon, Sun, all the planets and many other solar system bodies, and recipient of NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal.

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