Random Fact Sheet #317 – Curious Corner: 30 Unexpected Random Facts

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1Longest Surgery

Longest Surgery

The longest surgery ever recorded was performed in 2001 by a team of 20 doctors. It took 103 hours (more than four days) to complete. The procedure involved the separation of 11-month-old twins conjoined at the heads. The girls’ brains were not merely connected, they were wrapped around each other like a helix, adding to the complexity.

2. Around 6 million Polish citizens (nearly 21.4% of Poland’s population at the time), died between 1939 and 1945 as a result of the German occupation of the country. It is estimated 90% of those deaths were non-military losses, i.e. murder.

3. Toyota only made 2 convertible 2000GTs. They were specially made for use in a James Bond movie because Sean Connery was too tall to fit in the standard model.

4. Of the four recorded deaths by killer whales, three of them were by the same killer whale named Tilikum.

5. For centuries, Kurdish villagers knew an ancient rock relief simply as “Naram-Sin”, but didn’t know who or what it represented. Later, archaeologists discovered it to be a depiction of Naram-Sin of Akkad, King of the Akkadian Empire (the world’s first empire) who ruled over 4200 years ago.

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6Germanwings Flight 9525

Germanwings Flight 9525

The 2015 Germanwings Flight 9525 crash was caused by the co-pilot deliberately crashing the plane into a mountainside after locking the captain out of the cockpit. The co-pilot had hidden the fact that his doctor had been treating him for suicidal tendencies and declared him “unfit to work”. 150 people died.

7. Vermont ambulances stock maple syrup for ‘oral glucose’ administration.

8. Before the advent of refrigerators, Russians would put frogs in milk to keep it from going bad.

9. The natural birth rate of boys to girls is 105 to 100, but it evens out by reproductive age because more boys die in childhood.

10. Kangaroos don’t actually lure predators into the water to drown them. Like many herbivores, when threatened they flee into the water in the hope of not being followed. It’s just that if they're followed, “they’ve got strong arms and big claws and they can drown” a dog-sized pursuer.

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11Concorde Sunrise

Concorde Sunrise

The Concorde airplane flew so fast that if you left London (or Paris) in the evening flying west towards New York, to the passengers in the plane, the sun would actually appear to begin rising again shortly after reaching cruising speed. The plane flew faster than the Earth’s rotation.

12. Tigers are nearly invisible to their prey, who see orange as green. Tigers are orange because mammals can’t produce green fur, and orange was the next best thing.

13. After learning that one of his students had lost both parents to cancer in rapid succession, the dean of Haverford College offered that student a full scholarship. The student was Howard Lutnick, who would go on to make a fortune on Wall Street and donate $65 million to Haverford.

14. There is an FAA regulation called the ‘Sterile Cockpit Rule’, requiring flight crews to abstain from discussing anything other than topics pertinent to the aircraft and the flight below 10,000 feet.

15. In his final tennis match, Joe Hunt won the 1943 US Open. He was unable to obtain leave from the Navy in 1944 in order to defend his title and was killed in February 1945, in an airplane crash.

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The SS established a special Nazi Aryan breeding program in Norway called Lebensborn. Thousands of children born out of the program are still alive today, and one of the most famous of them is ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

17. Vanessa O'Brien, born in 1964, is the first woman to reach Earth’s highest and lowest points, Mt. Everest and the Marianas Trench. She received a Guinness World Record for her accomplishments.

18. The popular pop song 'Barbie Girl' was written after a member of the band Aqua saw an exhibit on kitsch culture in Denmark that featured Barbie dolls. The band said the song was a “social comment” and critic Larry Flick said it “effectively rants about the inherent misogyny of Barbie with a subversive hand.”

19. Humans are the only animals that can blush and perhaps the only animal that can feel embarrassment. Blushing appears to be a unique human expression, ‘the most peculiar and most human of all expressions,’ which happens when blood vessels in the face dilate when embarrassed.

20. Over 20% of all documented serial killers in the world have come from a 200-mile radius around Seattle, Washington. There have been a total of 277 serial killers in Washington State with an average number of serial killings of 7.44 per 1 million people.

21Juana Maria

Juana Maria

Juana Maria was a native Californian woman whose tribe was massacred by fur hunters. The survivors, minus Maria, were taken off the island by missionaries. She remained there alone for 20 years before being taken to the mainland, where she died within 7 weeks from dysentery.

22. Not only are unripe (green) bananas edible, eating them before they’re ripe comes with surprising benefits for your blood sugar and gut health. Green bananas can help keep our blood sugar in check, maintain gut health, and curb excessive eating.

23. A canceled Waffle House contract resulted in the creation of Chik-Fil-A.

24. Italian carmaker Lancia holds the record for having the most Manufacturers' Championships in the World Rally Championship with 10 wins, despite having stopped competing since the end of the 1993 season. The Lancia Delta is the most successful individual model designation ever to compete in rallying.

25. Chia seeds can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water. This interesting property has hospitalized at least one person. Chia seeds have been used for food, medicine, and paint since Aztec civilization.

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