Random Fact Sheet #330 – Fact Fever: 35 Engaging Facts That Will Leave You Wanting More

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1George Hensley

George Hensley

An American Pentecostal minister named George Hensley traveled throughout the Southern USA in the mid-20th century to spread the religious idea of the divine healing through snake bites. He died in 1955 as a result of a snake bite. The state of Kentucky subsequently passed laws prohibiting snakes from being used for religious purposes.

2. The Phil Collins album ‘No Jacket Required’ is named after an incident at a Chicago restaurant where Collins was denied admittance. Collins later appeared on TV denouncing the restaurant, who in turn, sent him a sport coat and an apology, saying he could come back wearing whatever he wanted.

3. A woman named Nancy Kerlin Barnett who died in 1831 was a descendant of Pocahontas. She was buried on a small hilltop in Indiana. When her grandson heard there were plans of demolishing her grave to build a road, he camped out with a shotgun for weeks to protect it. Authorities ended up building the road around her grave, which to this day remains there.

4. The blue jay can be beneficial to other birds, as it may chase predatory birds and will scream if it sees a predator within its territory. It has also been known to sound an alarm call when hawks or other dangers are near, and smaller birds often recognize it and hide.

5. Many things were named after President Hoover during the Great Depression. There were many shanty towns named ‘Hoovervilles’, an empty out-turned pocket was called a ‘Hoover flag’, worn-out shoes were patched with cardboard known as ‘Hoover leather’, and a horse-drawn automobile was called a ‘Hoover wagon.’

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6Caffè sospeso

Caffè sospeso

Caffè sospeso is a tradition, which originated in Naples, whereby someone pays for two coffees, but only receives one, leaving a coffee to be given to anyone who walks in and inquires whether a caffè sospeso is available.

7. The regional hospital in Sundsvall, Sweden is cooled year-round with stored snow from the winter months, reducing energy consumption for cooling by over 90%.

8. The Palace of Justice in Belgium has been under renovation continuously since 1984. This is so long that even the scaffolding that has been in use for the renovation is now in need of renovation since it is dangerously rusty.

9. Princess Märtha Louise, the King of Norway's firstborn is a self-described 'clairvoyant'. She has started a school for communicating with angels and dead souls and is currently dating a self-described shaman.

10. Both the Department of Justice and the Library of Congress have tried to count the total number of Federal criminal laws in the United States. They were both unable to arrive at a definitive number.

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11Phantom Kangaroo

Phantom Kangaroo

There is a phenomenon called "Phantom Kangaroo" where people report seeing kangaroos, wallabies, and/or their footprints where there is no native population, such as France or the United States.

12. The B-29 Superfortress, which dropped the atomic bombs, cost $3 billion to develop. The entire Manhattan Project cost $1.9 billion. So making these planes was about 50% more expensive than the bombs themselves.

13. Babe Ruth got his nickname because Jack Dunn, the owner of the Orioles, was forced to legally adopt him at the age of 19 to remove him from a Jesuit school so he could sign his first professional contract. This led to his teammates calling him "Dunn's baby", which became "Babe."

14. The Ancient Greek politician Hyperbolus put forward a motion for ostracism (exile) in an attempt to have one of the two more popular politicians ostracized. Instead, the two factions put aside their differences and voted to ostracize Hyperbolus. He was the last Athenian to be ostracized.

15. Only a quarter of the Sahara desert is sandy. It also has salt flats, gravel plains, plateaus, and mountains that have snow.

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16Shortest International Bridge

Shortest International Bridge

The world's shortest international bridge is in Esperança, Portugal. Though it measures only 10.4 feet long (3.2 meters), this bridge spans the border river between Portugal and Spain.

17. Dawn, the preferred detergent for cleaning oil spills, ironically derives its grease-fighting power from petroleum-derived chemicals.

18. In 1910, the Brazilian Navy's Black sailors mutinied (Revolt of the Lash) over unequal punishments for Black Sailors (such as lashings). They seized 3 battleships and threatened to level Rio de Janeiro unless egalitarian reforms were made in the navy. The Government even gave amnesty to the mutineers as a compromise.

19. The substance that forms the outer shell of plant spores and pollen, Sporopollenin is one of the toughest, most stable biopolymers in the world. It's so resistant that it can't be studied using normal enzymes or chemical reagents, and it can stay intact in sediment for more than 500 million years.

20. Simeon Stylites was a Syrian Christian ascetic who achieved notability by climbing a pillar in Syria in 423 A.D. and remaining there until his death 37 years later.

21Life on Mars Song

Life on Mars Song

David Bowie wrote 'Life on Mars' because he was pissed at Frank Sinatra and the success of 'My Way.'

22. The term log comes from determining the speed of a ship. A log was put into water tied to a rope and they measured “knots” to see how far they traveled. A person who timed this procedure would then write down the ship’s speed in a book which was called a “log” book.

23. In 1898, the United States and Spain fought a mock battle in the Philippines in order to prevent Filipinos from taking the city of Manila. The two countries managed to lose a total of 68 soldiers in the fake battle.

24. In London, there is a group of 61 nationally recognized and protected trees called "The Great Trees of London.” In the aftermath of the Great Storm of 1987, in which an estimated 15 million British trees were felled, Londoners were asked to nominate their favorite trees. 41 were chosen then and further 20 were added in 2008.

25. There are only about 30 Ancient Egyptian obelisks left standing worldwide and Italy has more than Egypt.

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