Random Fact Sheet #344 – Curious Encounters: 35 Intriguing Facts That Will Expand Your Horizons

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1Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

The Ignalina nuclear power plant located in eastern Lithuania is identical to the Chernobyl plant in Pripyat. The plant remained operational until 2009 and was used as the set for the HBO Chernobyl miniseries.

2. Anticipatory Grief is the grief you experience before a person dies. It is common for children to feel anticipatory grief about their parents or other family members with terminal illness.

3. A mile was defined by ancient Roman armies marching one thousand paces (mille passus). Nautical mile however is based on the size of the earth.

4. Roughly 2.5 billion people watched Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. At its height, the queue to reach the book of condolences took 6.5 hours. The queen gave her first live broadcast in 50 years.

5. The packaging color for air-dropped humanitarian ration packs had to be changed from yellow to salmon after someone realized that the same shade of yellow was also used for air-dropped cluster bombs.

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6Action Office II

Action Office II

The office cubicle was created by designer Robert Propst for Herman Miller and released in 1968 under the name "Action Office II." It was meant to encourage spontaneous conversation and idea sharing.

7. In 1961, Thomas Monaghan got half-ownership of "Domino's," now one of the largest pizza companies in the world. All he had to give in return was his used Volkswagen Beetle car.

8. In 1983, Hasbro executives traveled to the Tokyo Toy Show to look for new toys they could release in the United States. After finding a series of transforming robot toys, they teamed with Marvel Comics to create a comic book and animated series "Transformers" to sell the toys.

9. The title "Triple Ace in a Day" refers to pilots who shot down 15 enemy aircrafts in a single day. There have only been 5 such pilots, all of whom flew for the German Luftwaffe in World War 2.

10. Cold Reading is a technique used by mediums and psychics in which the reader, through strategic questioning, gets the subject to reveal information, and through clever psychology convinces them the information came from the reader rather than themselves.

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11Price Tag

Price Tag

Quakers invented the price tag. They were invented because Quakers viewed haggling as immoral since different people paid different prices for the same item. This innovation actually made retail more efficient because employees needed less training and were able to serve more customers.

12. Crisis Apparition is a term used to explain when someone is contacted by a person they were close to, usually after death. In the aftermath of 9/11, many people claim to have been contacted by loved ones who had died that day.

13. Disney doesn't own the copyright to their theme tune, "When You Wish Upon a Star" from 1940's Pinocchio. The rights to that song, as well as several other Disney songs, were sold in 1933 to a music publisher because Disney "had no means of commercially exploiting" them at the time.

14. Prince Philip's 'affectionate' nickname for queen Elizabeth was 'cabbage.'

15. Upon finishing the sci-fi film "Devil Girls From Mars," a 12-year-old Octavia Butler concluded that she could write a better story. Butler went on to win multiple Hugo and Nebula awards and became the first sci-fi writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.

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16Beavis and Butt-Head

Beavis and Butt-Head

In 2008, Johnny Depp told Beavis & Butt-head creator Mike Judge he was interested in playing Beavis for a live-action film. Depp and Marlon Brando would riff on the B&B characters while filming Don Juan DeMarco. Mike judge said he considered the idea of a live-action B&B, but nothing came of it.

17. In 1969, American destroyer USS Frank E. Evans collided with an Australian aircraft carrier in the South China Sea at 3:00 am because the commanding officer was asleep and left two inexperienced lieutenants in charge. The ship turned the wrong way, collided, and sank, killing 74 people.

18. The song "Tubular Bells" which is famous for being the theme to "The Exorcist," was written and recorded by a 19-year-old Mike Oldfield in 1973. He played almost the entire instruments on the song. The full song is over twenty minutes long and is featured on an album of the same name.

19. Elephantine Colossus was a 200-foot-tall elephant-shaped hotel, which was built on Coney Island in 1885. It housed a concert hall, museum, observatory, and more. It later became a brothel but burnt down on September 27, 1896 following a mysterious incident.

20. During the American Civil War, the Union regularly cracked the Confederacy's coded messages because the Confederacy relied on a limited number of key phrases for encrypting their messages, one of which was "Complete Victory."

21Farallon Islands

Farallon Islands

The Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Francisco, California, has the highest rodent density of any island in the world, with over a thousand mice per acre. Visitors to the islands can, at times, see the ground moving when the mice are burrowing in their underground tunnels.

22. Director Michael Mann directed Heat twice, once in 1989 as a low-budget TV movie and again in 1995 as a big-budget box office hit. Both have the same plot and scenes, but Robert De Niro and Al Pacino star in the remake. Today Heat is recognized as one of the best crime films of all time.

23. US Colonel John Stopp conducted a series of G-Force tests in the late '40s and early '50s. He holds the world record for most G's pulled on land, after traveling 632mph (1017 km/h) on a sled track in New Mexico on Dec 10, 1954. Stopping in 1.4 seconds, he experienced 46.2 Gs.

24. The world's longest golf course is in the scrubland of Australia. It is 848 miles long and has many unique hazards.

25. Leon Lederman, recipient of a Nobel Prize in Physics and author of 'The God Particle,' faced overwhelming medical debt near the end of his life and was forced to sell his Nobel Prize to pay it off.

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