Random Fact Sheet #332- Random Revelations: 30 Facts To Broaden Your Perspective

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1NASA's Launch Countdown

NASA's Launch Countdown

NASA was inspired by Fritz Lang's film, 'Frau im Mond', to use a countdown for rocket launches. NASA used the countdown to not only help technicians synchronize, but also found that announcing the countdown would build suspense for those watching at home.

2. Tapeworms can live inside humans for up to 30 years and grow up to 80 feet in size.

3. According to a municipal ordinance that was signed in 2001, only white cars are allowed on the island of Boracay in Philippines.

4. Before the 1920s, up to 70% of children in parts of the US had goiters due to iodine deficiency.

5. 60 years ago, about 20% of East Asian young adults were near-sighted. Today that number is 90%. Scientists suspect this is due to decrease in time spent outside during childhood.

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6The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The story of the film, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” was improvised in a meeting. After the Italian director had a meeting with American movie executives, they asked him what film he had in mind, and in the span of a couple of minutes, they quickly improvised the entire story of the film.

7. In 1982, Jerry Lawler slapped Andy Kaufman on David Letterman. This stunt was revealed to be a hoax years later.

8. The left side of the ship was originally called “larboard” or the “loading side” of the ship. The opposite side was called “starboard,” or the “steering side” of the ship. Because they sounded too similar, the left became “port” since left side of the ship was the one that was against the dock for loading.

9. The hymn 'Amazing Grace' was written by John Newton, an ex-slave ship captain and slave trader. After finding Christianity later in life, he turned his back on the trade and became a prominent supporter of abolitionism. He was also once held as a slave before he escaped.

10. Charities which collect ‘Pop Tabs’ from soda or beer cans make their money by recycling them. 23 tabs are worth 1 cent and 1 pound of tabs is worth 50 cents.

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The existence of a Roman Emperor named Silbannacus was completely forgotten until a coin bearing his name was discovered in 1931.

12. An atomic clock created by Jun Ye, a physics professor at the University of Colorado Boulder is currently the world's most accurate clock (as of 2022). Ye’s optical lattice clock is so precise that it will neither gain nor lose a second for 15 billion years.

13. U.S President Lyndon B. Johnson used to give out toothbrushes with the Presidential Seal on them. He said he wanted people to think of him the last thing at night and first thing in the morning.

14. The speed of gold medalists in the men’s 100m freestyle swim has nearly doubled between the first and the most recent Summer Olympics, from 1 minute and 22.2 seconds at the 1896 games in Athens to 47.02 seconds at the 2020 games in Tokyo.

15. In 1964, an employee at General Mills tried cutting up 'Circus Peanuts' candy to add to his Cheerios. This is how ‘Lucky Charms’ was invented.

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16Gordon O'Connor & Carla

Gordon O'Connor & Carla

In 1988, a handyman named Gordon O'Connor alongside his camel, Carla, defeated dysentery, kidney failure, the Australian outback, and the SAS to win the world’s longest animal endurance race.

17. The car chases in the movie “Ronin” used right-hand UK cars with fake steering wheels on the left side for the actors to use. The scene had 300 stunt drivers some of whom were Formula 1 and Rally Car drivers, and all cars were going full speed at over 100 mph.

18. During the Korean War, Ethiopia sent troops to South Korea, making it the only African country to do so.

19. In 2009, a Duke University study showed that hyenas outperformed primates in cooperative problem-solving tests with some subjects teaching inexperienced partners how to perform some tricks.

20. In 1644, Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui was trapped at the Great Wall. Outside the wall was an invading Manchu horde, while behind the wall were peasant rebels who had overthrown the Ming Dynasty. He opened the gates, resulting in the Manchu conquest of China which caused 25 million deaths.

21Exaggerated Livestock Painting

Exaggerated Livestock Painting

During the 19th century, wealthy British farmers commissioned exaggerated paintings of large livestock as a status symbol, juxtaposing that they were somehow superior to other livestock farmers and breeders.

22. The correct way to dispose of a tattered Canadian flag is to unceremoniously burn it (if natural) or respectfully cut it apart color-wise and put it in a garbage bag (if synthetic).

23. World’s oldest human artifacts have been found inside a German cave named Hohle Fels. In 2008, a 35,000-40,000-year-old human figurine and a 42,000-year-old flute were found there.

24. Though Gangster John Gotti was nicknamed ‘The Teflon Don’ for his ability to dodge criminal charges, his violent and public tactics led to the arrests of many Gambino crime family members. In 1992, Gotti was convicted, and by 2000 half of the Gambino men were behind bars.

25. Rainbow Trout and Ocean Trout are the same species but just caught/raised in freshwater and saltwater respectively.

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