Random Fact Sheet #335 – Fact Blitz: 30 Intriguing Facts to Impress Your Friends

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1MS Oasis

MS Oasis

The cruise ship MS Oasis of the Seas gets gas mileage of 437 gallons per mile (GPM), or 12 feet per gallon.

2. The Oingo Boingo (Little Girls) song was originally banned in Canada and was named "the creepiest music video of all time" by The Independent.

3. During the 1850s, Ginger ale was invented by an apothecary named Thomas Cantrell in Belfast. In the 1890s, a Canadian chemist and pharmacist named John J. McLaughlin added flavor extracts to his version and so ‘Canada Dry’ was created. It became a hit in the prohibition-era US as a mixer for cocktails.

4. In 1965, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang refused to take part in an Anti-Vietnam War rally in Oakland, CA, and actually wrote to President Johnson offering to serve there as a "crack group of trained guerillas."

5. The hedonic treadmill is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

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6Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

The 1947 classic children’s book "Goodnight Moon" wasn't carried at the New York Public Library for 25 years because it was hated by Anne Carroll Moore, the children’s librarian of the famed institution.

7. USS Red Rover (1859) was a 650-ton Confederate States of America steamer that the United States Navy captured. After refitting the vessel, the Union used it as a hospital ship during the American Civil War.

8. In ancient China, pillows were made out of different materials such as jade, wood, or bamboo. A jade pillow was thought to make one smarter. Hard pillows were also preferred because of this belief. People then also thought soft pillows stole their energy while they were asleep.

9. 'Log Cabin Presidents' were US 7 presidents who had 'humble' origins by virtue of being born in a log cabin. The last of them was James Garfield who was assassinated after 200 days in the office.

10. The Hall & Oates song "I Can't Go For That" is not about a relationship between two lovers, but about the way the music industry treats artists. John Oates said that the song is really about "not being pushed around by big labels, managers, and agents."

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11Ducks, Newburyport

Ducks, Newburyport

An author named Lucy Ellmann created a 1000-page book (Ducks, Newburyport) that is made up of a single run-on sentence.

12. The Cheetah Conservation Fund imports Turkish Kangal dogs to Namibia and Kenya to help protect livestock, which in turn decreases the killing of cheetahs by farmers by reducing the number of animals they lose to cheetahs.

13. During World War 2, the US Navy had two aircraft carriers operating in Lake Michigan as part of the Corn Belt Fleet. They were converted from 1920s paddle steamers and served as floating runways to train pilots away from the battlefield. In total, 17,820 pilots were trained on them including George H. W. Bush.

14. There are more non-human cells in your body than there are human cells. In a human body there are around 30 trillion human cells, but the microbiome (bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live on and in us) has an estimated 39 trillion cells.

15. During the 1930 Indianapolis 500, Chet Miller's car had suffered a suspension failure and was not allowed to continue until it was fixed. With no parts on hand, mechanics went to a spectator's car in the infield and took parts off of it. They then replaced them post-race without the owner knowing.

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16Cat Gap

Cat Gap

The Cat Gap is a 7-million-year period from 18.5 million to 25 million years ago when cats became rare or nonexistent in the fossil record in North America.

17. The Potato Park is a seed bank in Peru that is managed by Indigenous communities and focuses on Andean crops and plants. It specializes in potatoes and houses samples of 2300 of the 4000 varieties in the world.

18. The Channel Tunnel between Britain and France was originally proposed in 1802 and its construction was attempted in 1880. Two tunnels were dug but the project was scrapped due to fears of invasion. The tunnels and the boring machine still exist under the English Channel.

19. In honor of his mother, Former President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov abolished the Turkmen word for bread, for it to be replaced with "Gurbansoltan", his mother's first name.

20. In an attempt to make his spy novels feel more authentic, author John Le Carré is credited with coining a number of terms for his fictional intelligence agency (terms like a mole, honey trap, pavement artist, asset babysitter) which have become common terms used in real intelligence agencies.

21Poor Richard's Almanack

Poor Richard's Almanack

Benjamin Franklin published a yearly almanac called Poor Richard's Almanack. The publication was extremely popular, selling 10,000 copies per year, making Franklin rich. In 1735, upon the death of his brother, Franklin sent 500 copies to his widow so she could make money selling them.

22. A beer mile is a 1-mile drinking race where runners must drink a pint of beer for every quarter-mile run. Other variations of this sport includes a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream for 4 miles, as well as a variation in which runners must solve a Rubik's cube along with each beer for their mile.

23. President Rutherford B. Hayes is remembered in the US mostly for being the first president to lose the popular vote and win the electoral vote. He is remembered very fondly in Paraguay for his help in settling a territorial dispute that ensured "its survival as a country."

24. In 1998, the Gibson Guitar Corporation produced 200 limited-edition guitars which were made from wood from fallen trees on Andrew Jackson's "Hermitage" estate. The trees had been toppled by a tornado that hit Tennessee in April of that same year.

25. In 1981, Janet Cooke, a reporter for the Washington Post, won a Pulitzer Prize after she published a story named "Jimmy's World," which was about an 8-year-old heroin addict. It was later found out that she fabricated the whole story and had to give back her Pulitzer Prize.

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