Random Fact Sheet #40 – 35 Facts to Make Your Brain Hurt (in a good way)

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1Food chains

Food chains

Until 40 years ago scientists believed all life and food chains ultimately depended on the sun for energy. The discovery of deep-sea vents with whole ecosystems driven solely by chemical energy changed this view. Now it's thought that life may have actually originated from such systems.


2. Lord Of The Rings dwarves are supposed to speak with Arabic or Hebrew accent, resulting in dwarven place names like Khazad-dûm and Moria, not Scottish as per popular culture today.


3. A black New York pastor named Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne in 1947 decided to travel to Alabama in a turban and with a fake accent, posing as a foreign dignitary. His disguise allowed him in white-only areas, and he was treated with little discrimination.


4. Smoking scorpions to get high is a growing problem in South Asia. The high can last from 10 hours to 3 days. The high is said to be so powerful that it outstrips heroin. But the person spends the first six hours in pain while their body adjusts to the toxins, which can possibly lead to death.


5. Johann Tetzel, an indulgence salesman in Martin Luther's time, was asked if an indulgence could be purchased for future sins. When he said yes, he was later beaten and robbed by the buyer, who said the act was the future sin in question.


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6Cassius Clay

Cassius Clay

Abolitionist Cassius Clay was shot by Sam Brown during a 1843 debate for the Kentucky House of Representatives. “Despite being shot in the chest, Clay drew his Bowie knife, tackled Brown, cut-out his eyes, and finally threw him over an embankment.” He would later become US Ambassador to Russia.


7. The research behind "Type A and Type B personality traits" was secretly funded by cigarette companies in the 1960's to suggest that smoking cigarettes didn't cause cancer and heart disease, being Type A did.


8. In 2017, a 3-year-old pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro won the title of mayor of a Kentucky town for the 4th time and beat a cat, chicken, donkey and a little boy.


9. Samsung originally sold noodles. It wasn't until 1970 that they started selling electronics.


10. The TI-84/83 calculators have comparably higher profit margins than Apple due to their monopoly on the school system.


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11Warship Lutjens

Warship Lutjens

In the days after the 9/11 attacks, the German warship Lutjens (D185) passed by the US destroyer Winston S. Churchill with the US flag flying at half-mast and the sailors Manning-the-Rails, an honor typically reserved for heads of state.


12. There's a recently discovered fingernail-size frog named Punk rocker frog that can morph its skin texture from spiny to smooth in just minutes and is the first shape-shifting amphibian ever found.


13. Julia Stewart, worked as a waitress for IHOP at 16, then through hard-work became the President at Applebees, and after being passed over as CEO for Applebees became the CEO at IHOP and ultimately acquired Applebees.


14. Ernő-Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik's Cube didn't realize he'd built a puzzle until he scrambled it the first time and tried to restore it.


15. According to unclassified audio tapes of president Johnson, American president Nixon prolonged Vietnam War for political gain and Johnson knew about it.


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16Aztec Empire education

Aztec Empire education

The Aztec Empire was one of the first societies to have mandatory education for all children regardless of gender or rank.


17. In 2003, an American reporter named Geraldo Rivera was kicked out of Iraq after drawing a map in the sand giving details of US locations and future plans during a live broadcast.


18. 93% of Indians work in informal, off-the-books jobs, and get paid in cash.


19. A single helmet for the Air Force's new F-35 fighter costs over $400,000.


20. Horatio G. Spafford wrote the famous hymn "It is Well With My Soul" after hearing that his four daughters had died in a ship collision. This was two years after his only son died of pneumonia and his entire business was destroyed by the Chicago fire.


21Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.

In 2009, Robert Downey Jr. was detained at a Japanese airport and held for 6 hours after authorities ran his passport and saw he’d failed to mention his previous convictions. He was eventually allowed to attend the ‘Iron Man’ premiere on the terms that he “never returned to Japan again.”


22. Carl King, with no prior background in law, took it upon himself to prove his friend was innocent after being jailed for 21 years. The jury convicted Colin Warner on charges of second-degree murder based solely on the eyewitness testimony from a 14-year-old boy who admitted to lying on the stand.


23. About Schmidt won Jack Nicholson the 2003 Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Upon accepting his award, Nicholson quipped: "I'm a little surprised. I thought we made a comedy."


24. In the late 1990s, certain digital cameras used 3.5-inch floppy disks for picture storage.


25. Women often go into labor during storms because of the change in barometric pressure, hence why "storm babies" happen.

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