Random Fact Sheet #329 – World of Random: 30 Mind-Blowing Facts That Will Expand Your Horizons

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1John of Bohemia, The Brave Blind King

John of Bohemia, The Brave Blind King

On onset of 100 years war, blind King John of Bohemia refused to sit it out and ordered his men to tie their horses to his and guide him into the battle. As battle turned sour, he was advised to flee but he replied "Far be it that King of Bohemia should run away." He died fighting.

2. James Jakob Williams was an African-American marine who after fighting in the Second Barbary War (1815), traveled to Greece where slavery had been abolished. There, he fought for the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman empire. He died in 1829, a free man, in a free Greece.

3. A Seattle born athlete named Rebecca Twigg became a popular cyclist in 1980s. She won 6 world championships, 2 Olympics gold medals, appeared in Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, and numerous commercials. In 1996, however, Twigg abruptly dropped out of the sport, re-entered the workforce, had trouble holding down a desk job, became homeless and has been living on the street for years.

4. Migraines are 3 times more common in women than in men.

5. There is a Polish soup called czernina that's made with duck blood and other ingredients. Traditionally, this soup was served to men who were rejected after asking for permission to wed their significant other.

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6Thriller Music Video

Thriller Music Video

Michael Jackson ordered his music video "Thriller" to be destroyed after being threatened with excommunication from his Jehovah's Witness faith. Michael later apologized and settled for the disclaimer at the start of the video.

7. Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller was an accomplished Olympic swimmer. In 1927, when he and his brother were swimming in Lake Michigan, they saw a boat capsize. They rescued at least 14 people and 11 of those people survived.

8. The Big Ben’s bell has a unique sound because it cracked in 1859, barely two months after its inauguration. The bell has since been oriented in such a way that the hammer doesn’t strike the ‘crack.’

9. During Germany's invasion of Russia, Joseph Goebbels sent a plea to the citizens of Germany to send in their winter clothing for the troops. This resulted in many Nazis on the grim Russian front wearing incongruously festive Christmas outfits.

10. The Tasmanian Devil only appeared in 5 out of the original 1,002 Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon shorts.

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11Dead Red Laws

Dead Red Laws

Some states in the USA have "Dead Red" laws, according to which if you're on a motorcycle or a moped that is too light or not large enough to trip the sensor that changes the light from red to green, you're legally allowed to run the red light after waiting for a reasonable amount of time.

12. During the French occupation of Vietnam, the city of Hanoi had a huge rat problem. The colonial French government wanted the rats exterminated from the sewer system, so they set a bounty for each dead rat tail. So began the Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902. Thousands of tails were submitted per day by the rat catchers, but the rat problem only grew worse. Investigation found that the hunters were breeding, not hunting, rats for their tails.

13. The 2010 Vancouver luge gold medallist Felix Loch had his medal melted into 2 discs and gave one to the parents of a deceased competitor who died in a practice run on the day of the opening ceremony.

14. The US-Canada border is the longest international border in the world. Alaska's border alone contributes to 38% of it.

15. In 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', Steven Spielberg wanted gestapo agent Toht to be a cyborg with a metal arm that could transform into a flamethrower and machine gun. George Lucas rejected these ideas as being too far-fetched.

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16Bowie Bonds

Bowie Bonds

In 1997, David Bowie sold asset-backed securities, dubbed "Bowie bonds", which awarded investors a share in his future royalties for 10 years.

17. Cher is often credited as being the first artist to use auto-tune in a song with her 1998 hit "Believe."

18. Paul McCartney is the only artist to have reached the top of the UK charts as a solo artist, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, and musical ensemble.

19. The term 'patient 0' is based on a misunderstanding. An early HIV patient was named 'patient O', standing for 'patient OUT of California'. People misinterpreted this letter as the numeral 0, leading to its widespread usage today.

20. A grown cat can jump between 5-8 times its height. That would be the equivalent of a human being able to jump from the ground up to the 3rd or 4th floor.

21Human Height

Human Height

Even though humans are on average getting taller for the past several thousand years, we're still not as tall as we used to be pre-civilization.

22. The Mummy (1999) helped Universal studios gross over $1 billion in home video sales.

23. The village of Tryweryn, which is now lost, was a Welsh village and one of the last predominantly Welsh-speaking communities. The village was forcibly vacated, destroyed, and purposely flooded by the British government in 1965 in order to create a reservoir to provide water for the English city of Liverpool.

24. When Charles Darwin was sent some flowers from a friend, he noticed that one of the flowers was extremely long and he bet some kind of moth with a really long mouth must exist to pollinate it. A few years later Morgan's sphinx moth was discovered which had a really long proboscis.

25. Willie O'Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL, was blind in one eye. It was caused by a ricocheting puck that hit him in the face when he was 18 and he kept it a secret for his entire 21-year career.

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