Random Fact Sheet #348 – Quirks of Knowledge: 35 Offbeat Facts That Will Make You Think

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1Sonya Thomas

Sonya Thomas

Sonya Thomas is a competitive eater who in 2005 held 22 world eating titles with a bodyweight of just 99 pounds. She even defeated elite male and female competitors twice her size or more.

2. In the 1950s, there used to be a bus route from London in England to Calcutta in India. It took about 50 days for the bus to reach Calcutta from London.

3. During World War 2, a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri D'Aquino (Tokyo Rose) used double entendres to make farce of Japanese propaganda on her Radio Tokyo show “The Zero Hour” which was broadcasted to Allied troops in the South Pacific. She also used part of her $7 a month paycheck to smuggle food to American POWs. She was named a traitor by the USA and arrested for treason. It took her 30 years for her to prove her innocence.

4. Christian Bale had dental work done to make his teeth more perfect for American Psycho (2000) to match the superficial appearance of his character Patrick Bateman.

5. During the Battle of the Little Bighorn with American troops led by General Custer, Chief Sitting Bull moved within rifle range, methodically filled his pipe, encouraged others to join him, slowly smoked as bullets flew by, and returned unscathed as a display of contempt and courage.

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6Indigenous People

Indigenous People

The average Mexican is genetically 50% indigenous with evidence of native ancestry being significantly higher on the X chromosome.

7. Socrates wrote nothing. All that is known about him has been inferred from accounts by members of his circle, primarily Plato and Xenophon, as well as by Plato's student Aristotle, who acquired his knowledge of Socrates through his teacher.

8. In ancient Rome, actors had a very low social status and were seen as little better than prostitutes.

9. Measured by its longevity and popularity, Cessna 172 is the most successful aircraft in history. First produced in 1956, more than 44,000 were made as of 2015. It also holds the world record for the longest manned non-stop flight of 65 days, which was set way back in 1959.

10. Onions have sucrose, a natural sugar, trapped in their cells. The longer you cook an onion the more sucrose is released and the heat converts the sucrose into glucose and fructose which are sweeter sugars. This process is called caramelization and it creates very sweet-tasting onions.

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11Glass Recycling

Glass Recycling

Using recycled glass to make new glass requires 40% less energy than making it from all new materials. It saves energy because crushed glass melts at a lower temp than the raw materials. Glass is sometimes recycled into "Glassphalt" or is used as a landfill covering over waste materials.

12. John F. Kennedy suffered from chronic back pain. He underwent 4 back operations, including a discectomy, instrumentation, and fusion, and 2 minor surgeries, all of which failed to improve his pain.

13. The reason why Wine Coolers dropped in popularity in the USA after the 80s was because, in 1991, the US excise tax on wine was raised from $0.17 per gallon to $1.07, making it uneconomical for Wine Cooler makers to produce at a palatable price for buyers.

14. The first Nascar race on the pavement was won by a margin of 9 laps because Johnny Mantz elected to put more durable truck tires on his car instead of racing tires.

15. In 1516, Germany passed the Reinheitsgebot Law stating that only water, barley, and hops were to be used to make beer. This was due to sanitation reasons and because unscrupulous brewers sometimes added hallucinogenic plants to their brew.

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16Eruption Of Mt. Vesuvius

Eruption Of Mt. Vesuvius

The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 C.E. was so hot it turned one victim’s brain into glass.

17. A woman named Carrie Nation fought against widespread alcohol consumption in the USA before the prohibition, by attacking saloons with a hatchet.

18. In 1989, scientists at IBM succeeded in arranging 35 individual xenon atoms on a substrate of chilled crystal of nickel to spell out the initials "IBM". It was the first time atoms had been precisely positioned on a flat surface.

19. Major League Baseball pitcher Ed Porray is the only player in league history to not be born in a country. He was born on a fishing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on December 5th, 1888. His birth certificate lists "At sea, on the Atlantic Ocean" as his birthplace.

20. Certain species of wild oats can walk. They have a pair of 'legs' called awns which flex and make the seeds crawl around, to find an ideal place to plant themselves.

21La California Voting

La California Voting

Since 2004 the residents of La California, a town in Italy, have held farcical ballots for the United States presidential elections. Although votes cast by La California residents do not count, they still send the result of each election to the nearby US consulate in Florence.

22. Leonardo Davinci was famed for buying caged birds at markets and setting them free.

23. Dolphins actually have names for one another, using a unique whistle to distinguish between different members within their pod.

24. In 1667, the Dutch traded the island of New Amsterdam in the USA to the British for the island of Banda Run in Indonesia to gain control over the nutmeg spice trade. The British then renamed New Amsterdam as New York.

25. In 1999, Martin Lawrence collapsed from heat exhaustion while jogging in heavy clothing and a plastic suit in preparation for Big Momma's House. He recovered in the hospital after entering a three-day near-fatal coma due to a body temperature of 107 °F, his breathing assisted by a ventilator.

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