Random Fact Sheet #319 – Fact Fever: 40 Surprising Facts You Never Knew

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1Saccorhytus Coronarius

Saccorhytus Coronarius

Saccorhytus coronarius is a 535-million-year-old sea creature that is also the earliest known ancestor of humans.

2. In 1457, golf was banned in Scotland by King James II, because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing archery. It remained banned until 1502 when James IV became a golfer. Football was banned in England in the 14th Century for the same reason. The same was true for bowling. King Edward III banned it in 1366. Archery was a huge deal in late medieval Britain

3. Smarties candy was originally made with machines that were built to make gunpowder pellets for ammunition during World War I.

4. The US Army tradition of naming helicopters after Native American Tribes (something that was once an official regulation) dates back to 1947 and General Hamilton Howze who felt that helicopters were meant to attack the flank and fade away, in the tradition of the Plains Indian tribes.

5. In the 18th & 19th centuries, garden hermits were people who were encouraged to dress as druids and live in caves and grottoes on the estates of rich people effectively as decoration. They usually received room and board as payment. One such hermit was fired three weeks into a 7-year term after being found drinking at a local pub.

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6James Blunt

James Blunt

Singer James Blunt once developed scurvy while studying in university because he only ate meat for two months ‘out of principle’ to annoy his vegetarian classmates.

7. The west coast of the U.S. does have fireflies. We don’t notice them because they just prefer to be active during the day.

8. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a challenge to write the worst opening paragraph to a novel possible. It is named after the author of the 1830 novel Paul Clifford, which began with “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents.”

9. Stalin struggled with depression and summoned renowned Russian psychiatrist Vladimir Bekhterev to examine him. After the examination, Bekhterev said only one word, “paranoiac.” He died on the very next day from what most believed was poisoning.

10. James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, developed a new proof for the Pythagorean Theorem while discussing math with some members of Congress. His proof was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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11Bruce Springsteen’s Guitars

Bruce Springsteen’s Guitars

Bruce Springsteen’s mother would rent him guitars for $6 a week in 1957. Springsteen bought his first guitar as a teenager in 1964 for $18.95. Later on, his mother would take out a loan to buy him a $60 Kent guitar.

12. Kamikaze pilots weren’t 100% volunteers. Pilots were asked to put their hand up in a big group if they didn’t want to volunteer. Amid peer pressure, hardly anyone was able to say no to the mission.

13. Filipino churches built during Spain’s colonial period used millions of egg whites in the concrete to make it more durable. This is also why Filipino desserts often use lots of egg yolks. Many of these desserts were developed to use up all the extra yolks from construction projects.

14. David Vogel, the then-president of production at Disney, was fired from his position for buying the rights to the script for Sixth Sense for $3 million because he bought it without permission.

15. Hospitals throughout New York City area were bracing for maximum capacity on 9/11, only to slowly realize that there were very few survivors from the World Trade Center’s collapse.

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While alcohol made from apples is called cider, alcohol made from pears is called “Perry.”

17. A group of engineering students from Purdue University reported that its licking machine, modeled after a human tongue, took an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

18. The FTC actually recommends against organizations using regular password changing policies as it only encourages users to use simple, easy-to-remember passwords that they then only alter in predictable ways.

19. Before 9/11, FAA regulations allowed small knives to be carried aboard aircraft by passengers. So even if screeners had found the hijackers’ knives they would have still been allowed to board Flights 11, 77, 175, and 93 with them.

20. In 2011, two fishermen from Kiribati went adrift for 33 days before landing in the Marshall Islands. They then found out that their hitherto thought to be dead uncle, who went missing 25 years earlier after also going adrift, had landed in the Marshall Islands as well and married there.

21Breaking Bad's Machine Gun

Breaking Bad's Machine Gun

Vince Gilligan strongly regretted introducing the machine gun to Breaking Bad’s last season and found writing a convincing explanation for it so difficult that he nearly abandoned the plot device out of frustration.

22. It only takes the average person 10-20 minutes to fall asleep.

23. The sex of alligator hatchlings is based purely on temperature while incubating. At 86F or lower, the babies will all be female and at 93F or higher, they will all be male. The mother can sense these changes in temperature and will alter the nest to maintain an optimum temperature.

24. Screensavers were originally created to save CRT screens from burning an image into the display due to prolonged, unchanged use.

25. Brazilian butt lifts have a higher mortality rate than any other type of cosmetic surgery. Recovery from the procedure takes 10 to 14 days and patients can’t lie down on their backs or sit on their behinds for around 3 weeks.

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