Random Fact Sheet #324 – Mind-Boggling Miscellany: 40 Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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1Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was written by composer Frank Loesser in 1944 for him and his wife to sing at the end of their housewarming party as a way to tell guests it was time to leave. Afterward, they were invited to tons of parties with the expectation of the song being the closing act.

2. In 1381, over 70,000 peasants from across England revolted against their lords, led by a farmer named Wat Tyler. The 'Peasant Army' marched into London, sacking parts of the city and killing any wealthy elites they found.

3. A man named Daniel Kish who is blind since the age of 13 months has taught himself to navigate by clicking his tongue and listening for echoes, similar to echolocation in bats. Kish and other researchers believe that echolocation produces images similar to sight.

4. Due to falling hamburger sales on Fridays, a McDonald’s franchise owner created the Filet-O-Fish sandwich to meet the demands of Western Christians who observed a “No Meat” Friday.

5. As of 2010, Paul McCartney was making $400,000 to $600,000 a year from "Wonderful Christmas time."

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6Black Doormat

Black Doormat

People with dementia think that stuff like a black doormat isn’t a doormat, but a deep hole in the floor. Due to these visual perception problems, people with dementia avoid stepping on these kind of doormats, and this is sometimes used to keep them from leaving their care facilities.

7. “Old people house smell” is caused by our bodies releasing more of the chemical 2-nonenal as we age.

8. Tonsil Stones are deposits that grow in your tonsils up to several cm in size. A 2007 study found 75% of participants with bad breath (halitosis) had tonsil stones. They can cause throat and ear infections and a persistent bad taste in the mouth.

9. During the Great Depression, banker Mark Welch Munroe convinced struggling families in Quincy, Florida to buy Coca-Cola shares that traded at 19 dollars. Later, the town became the single richest town per capita in the US with at least 67 millionaires.

10. En Passant is a move in chess where you can capture a pawn that has moved two squares from its starting square as if it had advanced only one square.

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11Harriet Tubman Retirement Home

Harriet Tubman Retirement Home

In 1908, Harriet Tubman opened the 'Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly', a retirement home for indigent and aged African-Americans. Among the residents was Tubman herself, who was admitted in 1911, and would remain there until her death in 1913.

12. The main accusers of The Salem Witch Trials were a group of girls and young women from Salem Village who are often referred to as the “afflicted girls” because they claimed that witches were afflicting them by attacking them and making them ill.

13. Dissecting human bodies was taboo in antiquity up to the 16th century. The only people to systematically do it before then were Erasistratus and Herophilus from Alexandria. Their work pioneered medicine and anatomy but was criticized by contemporaries, especially their practice of vivisections.

14. Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt was a heavy smoker. He was well known for lighting up during TV interviews and talk shows. He was also charged with defying smoking bans. In 1981, he got a pacemaker. Despite these facts, he was the longest living chancellor, dying at the age of 96.

15. Alaska used to belong to Russia. It was sold to the United States in 1867. Russia governed Alaska as a colony for almost as long as the U.S. has now governed Alaska as a territory and state.

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16Super Weaners

Super Weaners

Super weaners are elephant seal pups who, in an attempt to slow their weaning, will steal milk from nursing female elephant seals ("milk thieves"), or be adopted by another nursing mother elephant seal ("double mother-sucklers"). Super weaners are usually male and may weigh up to 600 lbs.

17. Whale vomit is actually used in perfumes to make scents last longer. It’s called ambergris and is a product of whale bile duct juices and undigested squid beaks. The hard waxy solid that’s regurgitated floats to the surface and if you are lucky enough to find one, it can fetch you tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram.

18. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre a.k.a. the Amritsar Incident took place in 1919 when the British Imperial army opened fire, without warning, on a peaceful gathering protesting the inhumanities of the colonialist British government. Hundreds of unarmed men, women and children died.

19. During World War 2, Dick Best led a dive bomber attack during the pivotal battle of Midway. The attack's success was led by the fact they showed up late. Because of this, the Japanese defense planes were engaged elsewhere leaving Best's forces free to sink 3 Japanese carriers and turn the tide of the war.

20. World War 2 German pilot Erich Hartmann is the most successful fighter ace of all time. He was tried and convicted by the USSR after World War 2 for destroying “expensive” Soviet aircrafts and was sentenced to hard labor, which he refused to do. He was later exonerated of all charges by Russia.

21Duff Beer Logo

Duff Beer Logo

The Duff Beer logo is censored in French broadcasts of The Simpsons due to France’s strict laws regarding alcohol product placement. A German brewery makes Duff Beer using the logo from The Simpsons, making it retroactive product placement.

22. Nature has evolved different species into crabs at least 5 separate times, a phenomenon known as Carcinisation.

23. German-born soldiers made up about 10% of Union forces during the Civil War. Some of them were exiled supporters of the 1848 revolutions that swept Europe. After the war, the Forty-Eighters supported improved labor laws, and also advanced development in education, medicine, and journalism.

24. Japanese bread is so soft because it included cooked-flour dough in the bread mixture. The Japanese realized that by cooking the flour, the dough absorbs all the water. This cooked dough is added into the rest of the bread mixture, which gives it a moister feel in the mouth.

25. Ketchup is a non-newtonian fluid. Unlike “magic mud,” its viscosity actually lowers when a force is applied to it. This is why ketchup will often pour out in such large unintended quantities after a little shake.

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