Random Fact Sheet #322 – Random Treasures: 40 Facts That Will Leave You Grinning with Amazement

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1Teenage Factor

Teenage Factor

Teenagers take more risk not only due to an undeveloped frontal cortex but also due to a higher dopamine response that provides greater rewards for novel activities.


2. Women in Viking Age Scandinavia did enjoy an unusual degree of freedom for their day. They could own property, request a divorce, and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.


3. In the last four years of Elvis Presley’s life, he had been prescribed 19,000 doses of drugs. In 1977 alone (the year of his death), Dr. Nicholpoulous had written 199 prescriptions totaling more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics to Elvis.


4. In 1990, a man in California named Peter Maxwell owned a manufacturing company and employed himself. He had a serious accident on the job. He then hired 2 lawyers for the company and himself and sued his own company. He won $122,000 and then wrote off the $122,000 from his company accounts. This was then refuted and fined by the IRS for fraud, which he then managed to win back on appeal.


5. The 2006 movie Idiocracy was released in only 7 cities and expanded to 130 theaters rather than the typical 600. The film’s distributor was entirely absent in promoting it, and while posters were released to theaters, no movie trailers, no ads, no press kits, and only two stills were released.


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6Dr. Charles R. Drew

Dr. Charles R. Drew

Dr. Charles R. Drew, an African-American, developed improved techniques for blood storage, which saved thousands of Allied forces’ lives during World War 2. In 1942, however, he resigned as director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank because of their exclusion of African-Americans’ blood.


7. In 2016, a 27-year-old Chinese man named Tong Aonan declared his affection for his next-door neighbor by solving 840 Rubik’s cubes and using them to create a portrait of her. She said no.


8. Author Lee Child was inspired to name his character Jack Reacher after a shopping trip. An old lady asked for his help in reaching for a can of pears. Child’s wife, when seeing this, commented that if his writing career didn’t work out, he could ‘always get a job as a reacher.’


9. Antoine Walker had earned $108 million throughout his NBA career and filed for bankruptcy in 2010, just two years after his retirement.


10. Ancient Romans had a type of warranty on purchased slaves, i.e., if a slave committed suicide within 6 months after purchase, then the owner had the right to claim a full refund from the previous owner.


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11Italians in Argentina

Italians in Argentina

Two-thirds of Argentina’s population is of Italian heritage. They fled there for economic opportunities and to escape devastating wars. It is the only other country besides Italy with an Italian heritage majority population.


12. In 1944, a 21-year-old tail gunner named Nicholas Alkemade of Lancaster Bomber jumped from his aircraft after being shot down over Germany. He fell 18,000 feet without a parachute and survived with a sprained leg as his only injury.


13. About 3 days before D-Day, a 21-year-old Irish woman named Maureen Flavin took her hourly barometer reading and sent it to Dublin. She had no idea that this single data point would be sent directly to Eisenhower and averted disaster by delaying D-Day due to an incoming storm.


14. Brian Jacques, the author of the Redwall Series, was originally a milkman that volunteered to read to blind students along his route. Dissatisfied with the selection of children’s books available, he decided to write his own and became a best-selling author.


15. In 2007, Warren Buffett bet a hedge-fund manager that the S&P 500 would beat a portfolio of hedge funds. After 10 years, the S&P had returned 85% and the hedge funds just 22%.


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1612th Amendment

12th Amendment

Before the 12th Amendment, the Vice President was the Presidential candidate who won the second most votes, instead of a running mate.


17. On July 21, 1972, George Carlin was arrested and charged with violating obscenity laws after performing his famous “Seven Dirty Words” routine at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. He would go on to be arrested a total of seven times for reciting that same routine.


18. In 1924, a tunnel network was discovered underneath Washington D.C. Speculation behind the network’s origins included a Confederate hideout or a liquor depot for bootleggers. They ended discovering that it was actually dug by the Smithsonian Institute's entomologist Harrison G. Dyar, who ‘did it for exercise.’


19. A town in Spain named Trasmoz was excommunicated for witchcraft in the 13th century, with Pope Julius II also cursing the village in 1511. Neither the ex-communication nor the curse has ever been lifted. Every June, during the Feria de Brujeria festival that the town celebrates, one person is named as ‘Witch of the Year.’


20. Because pendulum clocks are unreliable at sea, the first attempt at a marine chronometer was undertaken in 1673 utilizing a balance wheel and spring for regulation instead of a pendulum. This opened the way for the first modern pocket watches and wristwatches.


21Pumpkin Pie Resistance

Pumpkin Pie Resistance

After the civil war, the pumpkin pie was resisted in southern states as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on the south, where there was no tradition of eating pumpkin pie.


22. In order to promote Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Ubisoft funded the exhumation, DNA testing, and facial reconstruction of famous 18th-century pirate Amaro Pargo.


23. The US Government passed the Stolen Valor Act in 2005. The Act made it illegal to wear or falsely claim to have received any military medal or decoration without authorization, including the Medal of Honor. However, the Act was later ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court.


24. Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers is a 1934 mystery novel printed with its 100 pages out of order. To solve the puzzle, readers must determine the correct page order as well as the names of both the six murderers and six victims. The mystery has only ever been solved by three people.


25. When Niccolo Tartaglia found a formula to solve certain types of cubic equations, he did not publish his findings. However, Tartaglia wrote a 25 line poem explaining the formula and shared it with another mathematician, Girolama Cardano, who went ahead and published it himself.

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