Random Fact Sheet #337 – Fact Files: 35 Remarkable Facts That Will Make You Say ‘Wow’

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1Mundane Science Fiction

Mundane Science Fiction

"Mundane Science Fiction" is a sci-fi literary movement driven by creating plausible extensions of existing science and technology; situating stories on Earth or within the Solar System, thereby lacking the use of interstellar or intergalactic travel, and not considering contact with aliens.


2. Carl's Drive-In Barbecue became Carl's Jr. when the owner opened a smaller version of the restaurant geared to faster service, which eventually outsold and replaced the original.


3. A Montana man named Jack Ass sued MTV for $10 million in 2002, claiming that the show was plagiarizing his name. Jack Ass, whose birth name was Bob Craft, changed his name in 1997 to raise awareness for drunk driving after his brother and friend both died in a car accident.


4. After the catastrophic Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, the city was rebuilt with the world's first anti-seismic architecture. All buildings were restricted in height, poles were driven into the riverbed to reinforce, and streets were made into wide boulevards.


5. Giraffes have sky-high blood pressure because of their long necks. 110/70 is the normal blood pressure for a large mammal. Giraffes have a blood pressure of 220/180.


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6Extraterritorial Canadian Hospital

Extraterritorial Canadian Hospital

In 1943, amid the Second World War, part of the maternity ward on the third floor of Ottawa’s Civic Hospital was declared "extraterritorial," i.e., it was no longer part of Canada, to clear the way for the birth of a Dutch princess. She is the only Princess born in North America.


7. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech reached 69 as a single on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.


8. Washington Irving, who authored “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” had a huge impact on American culture. He popularized the name "Gotham" for New York City and is responsible for our perception of Santa Claus as he wrote, in 1812, about Saint Nicholas flying over treetops in a flying wagon.


9. In 1965, painter Roman Opałka had the idea of representing the passing of time by painting numbers. He painted a 1, then a 2, then a 3, etc., and continued for the rest of his life. The last number he painted before he died in 2011 was 5607249.


10. After seeing American rock band ‘The Doors’ performance in 1967, Iggy Pop was inspired to push the boundaries of his stage performance. He was one of the first musicians to stage dive. On several occasions, he took massive amounts of drugs, exposed himself, rolled around in the glass, cut himself, and threw objects.


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11In the limelight

In the limelight

Pre-electricity theatre spotlights produced light by directing a flame at calcium oxide (quicklime). This mineral glows white when heated. These kinds of lights were called limelights and this is the origin of the phrase “in the limelight” to mean “at the centre of attention”.


12. Naming of North and South American continent in honor of Amerigo Vespucci was a result of a mistake by a German cartographer while making a map of the world in 1507. He thought Vespucci rather than Columbus was the explorer who discovered America after reading a document called Mundus Novus.


13. Before bacteria were genetically modified to make insulin, more than 1800 kg of pig parts were required to make just 0.23 kg of insulin for human use.


14. During World War 1, US Army called upon elderly Confederates to teach its recruits the famous "rebel yell" so that they could use it when going over the top.


15. In 1958, the French Army invaded Corsica and planned to attack Paris. There was a crisis in Algeria at the time and French generals wanted Charles de Gaulle to return to power to deal with the issue. The invasion of Paris was canceled when parliament invited de Gaulle to be Prime Minister again.


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16First Librarians

First Librarians

Professional librarians date back to the 8th century B.C. in Assyria. Also, the Romans had libraries but not librarians, with the job performed by nonspecific scholars such as praetors or grammarians.


17. During the Mexican-American War, General Winfield Scott used the highly risky tactic of abandoning his supply lines and foraging for needed supplies to continue his attack. One of his staff officers, William T. Sherman, would later use this tactic in the Civil War in his March to the Sea.


18. "Remittance Men" were young British emigrants paid by their families to live outside of Britain, usually in Canada or the U.S., with the expectation that they did not return home. This practice began in the 1880s and continued well into the early 20th century.


19. Robert Evans is a church minister and an amateur astronomer who holds the record for visual discoveries of a supernova. Utilizing nothing more than modest telescopes situated in his backyard and an astonishing visual memory for star fields and galactic features, Evans has discovered 39 supernovas.


20. Nicholas Owen built "priest holes" which were hidden rooms to protect Catholic priests from persecution in England. After the Gunpowder Plot, Owen was captured, taken to the Tower of London, and tortured to death on the rack. He was canonized as a martyr by Pope Paul VI in 1970.


21Doon

Doon

National Lampoon released a full-length parody of Frank Herbert’s Dune called Doon, the desert planet. Giant pretzels replaced sandworms and the most valuable substance was beer, not spice.


22. The US military developed small nuclear warheads meant to destroy other incoming nuclear warheads. W66 is a small 150 lbs warhead that would send a neutron flux that would disable any other incoming warhead. Essentially, it would nuke its own airspace to prevent another explosion a thousand times larger.


23. In 1975, upon gaining independence, Papua New Guinea extended an invitation to Queen Elizabeth II known there as 'Missis Kwin' to become their head of state, making her an elected Monarch of sorts.


24. United States Postal Service drivers are so reckless that the agency has paid out more than $23 million to settle claims by New Yorkers who have been injured or killed in crashes caused by mail company employees since 2013.


25. King William IV of the United Kingdom had 10 illegitimate children with Irish actress Dorothea Jordan. They were given the last name FitzClarence, as William was the Duke of Clarence at the time of the relationship and Fitz means "Son of."

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