Random Fact Sheet #340 – Random Gems of Knowledge: 30 Unbelievable Facts That Will Leave You in Awe

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1Caloric Burns

Caloric Burns

Your body has a relatively constant total daily energy expenditure. It will allow temporarily elevated caloric burns but the more days that you increase your expenditure, it will normalize your daily expenditure by showing or shutting down other processes.

2. Many bird species some purposely get bitten by ants. This releases a kind of venom that kills parasites on the bird's feathers.

3. Praying Mantises have never been an endangered species, and it has always been legal to kill them in the United States. The contrary claim was just an urban legend floating around since the 1950s.

4. In the early 20th century, mother's pensions were used to help poor mothers in the US stay at home so they could take care of their children. During this period, it was common for poor women to give up their kids to orphanages. These cash payments were intended to prevent that.

5. The famous Saigon evacuation helicopter photo at the end of the Vietnam War was not from the US embassy but from the roof of an apartment building that housed senior CIA personnel.

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The 1960's Pink Panther car was custom built on an Oldsmobile Chassis & V8 engine. Instead of a rearview mirror, it had a camera in the back and a black & white television monitor. The 'Panthermobile' cost $100,000 to build (equivalent to $476,000 in 2021).

7. During World War 2, UK’s Special Operations Executive developed super itching powder to demoralize the Germans soldiers. Some resistance laundresses used this on Nazi uniforms and underwear. One intelligence report stated that at least one U-Boat had to return to port due to the powder’s effects. Condoms lined with the powder was also distributed to German soldiers in Norway.

8. The 1904 Baltimore fire got way worse than it could have been because there was no industry standard for fire fighting equipment at that time and therefore the hoses that the fire fighters had did not fit on the hydrants.

9. Vodka can actually save lives. In 2007, a patient arrived at an Australian Hospital having drunk ethylene glycol, a common ingredient in antifreeze, which can cause renal failure. The Vodka drip given to him prevented the toxic effects of the ethylene glycol from killing him.

10. Babe Didrikson was an accomplished track and field, basketball, baseball, and softball star. Babe also competed in the 1932 Olympics and won 7 LPGA major tournaments. In her final years, Babe played and won LPGA tournaments while battling colon cancer and wearing a colostomy bag.

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11British Decoy Sneakers

British Decoy Sneakers

During World War 2, the British made "decoy sneakers" for Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents in the Pacific to disguise their footprints and make them seem like barefoot locals.

12. Elephant seals can hold their breath for over 100 minutes and dive to depths of over 5,000ft below the surface of the ocean.

13. Ephedrine, one of the main ingredients in methamphetamine, is made from ephedra, a plant that has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years.

14. Ordinary ice is called ice Ih because it has hexagonal crystals. But if you cool it below -37 °C, scientists believe it will gradually turn into a cubic form called ice Ic.

15. Precursors to chewing gum date back 5,000 years with the first commercial chewing gum released in 1848. To sweeten these early gums chewers would repeatedly dip the gum in a plate of powdered sugar to reconstitute the sweetness while they chewed.

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16Dippin' Dots

Dippin' Dots

The reason Dippin' Dots is not sold in grocery stores is that it has to be stored at -40°F to maintain its consistency. Generally, supermarket freezers sit around 0 to -5 °F. Dippin' Dots uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the pebbles of ice cream to -320° and store it with dry ice at -40°.

17. Neanderthals sailed the Mediterranean. Stone tools, of the kind made by Neanderthals, were found in areas that were known to be distant islands at the time.

18. Shen Fu Tsong was the first recorded Chinese person to step foot in Britain. Tsong cataloged the Chinese collection in the Bodleian Library, showed the librarian how to hold Chinese books, and explained their contents. King James II had Tsong's portrait painted and hung it in his bed-chamber.

19. Byron Looper is a Tennessee politician known for both changing his middle name to "Low Tax" as a vote-winning stunt and, during a Tennessee state senate race, assassinating his opponent. In the election, held a month later, he still received 1,531 votes.

20. The Citadelle Laferrière is the largest military fortress in the Caribbean. Its gray walls are as thick as 16 feet and as high as 147 feet and were outfitted with more than 365 cannons. Since its construction, the fortress has withstood numerous earthquakes, though a French attack never came.

21Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?

Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?

In 2008, Morgan Spurlock (director of Super Size Me) made a movie called 'Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?'. Later on, the CIA revealed that Osama bin Laden himself had a copy of the film at his hideout in Pakistan.

22. President Risto Ryti of Finland, in exchange for military and food assistance during World War 2, promised Germany he would fight the Soviet Union. Germany provided the supplies, and Ryti resigned, allowing his successor to seek peace with the Soviets.

23. In the 1960s, the ancient Abu Simbel Temple in Egypt was moved brick by brick to a new location to protect it from flood water.

24. Out of some 45,000 known species of spiders, only 23 are considered to be quasi-social, which includes building and maintaining larger webs together. These colonies can grow large enough to even take down birds and bats.

25. A Japanese company named Tokyo Movie Shinsha was behind the animation of a lot of Disney classics like original Duck Tales, Winnie the Pooh, Inspector Gadget, Chip and Dale.

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