Random Fact Sheet #315 – Curiosity Unleashed: 40 Astonishing Random Facts

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1Augustin Trébuchon

Augustin Trébuchon

Augustin Trébuchon, the last French soldier to die in World War 1 was killed 15 minutes before the ceasefire. He was delivering a message to his unit that soup would be served for lunch.

2. A Brazilian company reverse-engineered the Nintendo Entertainment System and produced a clone that could play official carts since it was never released there. Nintendo asked them to cease but because they designed their own hardware and Nintendo had no presence in Brazil it was totally legal.

3. As US senator, Harry Truman took note of a project receiving funding named “Expediting Production” with no further explanation. He asked the Secretary of War about it who said it was classified. Truman learned about The Manhattan Project when he became president from the same Secretary of War.

4. The CDC is based in Atlanta because it was started to fight malaria in the South. It did this by spraying homes (inside and outside) with DDT and draining wetlands. Starting in 1946, malaria was eradicated in the US till 1951.

5. Dr. Heimlich fought against the Red Cross for 20 years over the practice of giving "5 back slaps" being a better alternative to the Heimlich Maneuver.

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6USS R-14

USS R-14

In 1921, a submarine named USS R-14 ran out of fuel some 190 Km from Hawaii during searching of a lost tug boat. The submarine had a week's worth of ration on board and no radio communication. The crew then made a sail by rigging up blankets. The submarine successfully sailed to Hawaii in a couple of days.

7. In 1982, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was rushed to hospital when a fish bone became stuck in her throat, and she ended up having an operation to remove it. Being a keen fisher, she calmly joked when it was done: "The salmon have got their own back."

8. During the Civil Rights Movement, Louis Armstrong "blew his top" in an interview about the segregationist governor of Arkansas, referring to him as a "motherf*cker" and singing an F-bomb-laced rendition of the national anthem.

9. Busch Beer was created to spite Major League Baseball. STL Cardinals owner August Busch Jr was told by MLB he couldn't name their ballpark Budweiser Stadium. He got approval to name it after his family and then ordered his brewers to create the new beer.

10. Research during 1950s all-male combat aircraft assignments revealed that a woman's voice was more likely to gain the attention of young men in distracting situations. Joan Elms's voice was used for the automated voice warnings for Convair B-58 and was named "Sexy Sally" by the pilots.

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11Darwin's bark spider

Darwin's bark spider

There is a spider called the Darwin's bark spider whose web is 10 times stronger than kevlar. It is the toughest biological material ever studied.

12. North America and the USA in particular have the world's most extreme weather, averaging more than 10,000 severe thunderstorm events per year, with more than 1,000 tornadoes.

13. Al Green has stated that “Take Me to the River” has earned him more royalties from being featured on the animatronic singing fish Big Mouth Billy Bass than from any other recordings of the song.

14. Curtis Mayfield became paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him while he was being introduced at an outdoor concert. He discovered he could continue to sing by lying down and letting gravity pull down on his chest and lungs and went on to record an album in 1996.

15. The clearest lake in the world is the Blue Lake located in Nelson, New Zealand. Visibility in the lake is up to 80 metres meaning the water is considered almost as optically clear as distilled water.

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16SEGA Dreamcast

SEGA Dreamcast

After announcing the discontinuation of the SEGA Dreamcast in 2001, the price was reduced to as low as $49.95. Japanese businessman Isao Okawa forgave SEGA's debt of $500 million prior to his death and returned $695 million worth of SEGA stock helping the company survive.

17. Brenda Lee (best known for her hit "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree") had 47 US chart hits during the 1960s, the most by a woman and surpassed only by Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Ray Charles.

18. When mummification became accessible to middle/lower classes in ancient Egypt, embalmers started secretly cutting out the hearts of the lower classes so the elite wouldn't have to share the afterlife with them. The heart was considered the seat of the soul and vital to access the afterlife.

19. The NY Yankees used to play the Frank Sinatra version of "New York, New York" after wins and the Liza Minnelli version after losses. Minnelli complained and asked them to play her version after wins or not at all. So the Yankees began playing the Sinatra version after every game, win or lose.

20. Dying coral reefs lack the sound to attract new fish. Speakers playing healthy reef noises at dying coral reefs increases species diversity and doubles fish abundance.

21Jeremy Meeks

Jeremy Meeks

American convicted felon Jeremy Meeks’ mugshot gained so much traction online that it got him a modeling contract while he was still in jail. He served 13 months in jail and walked into NY Fashion Week, a year later. He also walked in Milan Fashion Week, helped to launch a fashion line, acted, and more, all within 5 years of his release.

22. Architect Alejandro Echeverri was approached by the mayor of Medellin, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, to revitalize the city. He focused on building in the poorest areas first to bring people and infrastructure into these neighborhoods. Crime dropped substantially.

23. Medical students practice some of the more invasive exams (i.e. rectal, vaginal) on specially trained actors, who guide them through the procedure, as going through real patients from the get-go could damage the confidence of medical students.

24. John F. Kennedy wore a rigid back brace due to his poor health and terrible back which left him sitting upright in the limo after being initially shot by Oswald. This gave Oswald a clear second shot.

25. In World War 2, Germany carried out only one land operation in North America, the installation of a secret weather station (Weather Station Kurt) in Newfoundland. They scattered American cigarette packets and planted a sign saying "Canadian Meteor Service" in case anyone found it, and the site wasn't rediscovered until 1977.

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