Random Fact Sheet #78 – 45 Facts to Enlighten and Entertain

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26Black swan

Black swan

Up until the 1600s, “black swan” was a metaphor for something that did not exist. Then a group of Dutch explorers became the first Europeans to see black swans in Western Australia in 1697, and the phrase was amended to mean “a perceived impossibility that might later be disproven.”

27. On the tiny island nation of Tuvalu, every day for about two hours before sunset hundreds of Tuvaluans, young and old, meet on the international airport runway to just hang out.

28. The TI-83 Plus Calculator could run Doom and Tetris.

29. Broccoli is man-made. It was made over 2000 years ago by farmers breeding different types of cabbages.

30. Spiral staircases in medieval castles were deliberately made clockwise because it diminished the ability of attackers to properly swing their swords since right-handed fighters would have had to contend with the walls while making their striking motions.

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31Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge actually helped fund the discovery of a gene linked to the cause of ALS. The gene, NEK1, and its variants held clues to understanding and treating the disease.

32. After being threatened by the KKK for releasing the R&B track "What a man" in 1968, Linda Lyndell didn't perform again for 35 years, only making a comeback after Salt-N-Pepa sampled the song in their hit "Whatta Man".

33. Fatal Familial Insomnia is an inherited brain disease that eventually causes one to be incapable of sleep. It has no known cure. It involves progressively worsening insomnia, which leads to hallucinations, confusional states like that of dementia, and eventually death.

34. In 1996, Dave Chappelle was in a spin-off from Home Improvement, called "Buddies". It premiered on March 5, 1996, and was canceled on April 3, 1996, after just five episodes.

35. The creators of ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ ended up with so much footage after production that they actually made a second 90-minute film called ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Film,’ which investigated a group of unprofessional bank-robbing thieves called “The Alarm Clock.”

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36Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin recorded her most famous song Me and Bobby McGee only 3 days before she died.

37. Studies show that cats understand human commands, but don't care to follow them.

38. Derek Paraviccini is an autistic musical savant. Although born blind and barely able to care for himself, he plays piano with superhuman clarity and accuracy.

39. Multimillionaire Richard B. Mellon and his brother Andrew had a game of Tag going. This game of Tag lasted for nearly seven decades. When Richard was on his deathbed, he called his brother over and whispered, “Last tag.” Poor Andrew remained “It” for four years until he died.

40. There is a "Robot Scientist" named Adam. In 2009, "Adam became the first machine in history to have discovered new scientific knowledge independently of its human creators."

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41British Airways Flight 9

British Airways Flight 9

After a British Airways 747 had all 4 engines disabled, the pilot announced it by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.".

42. Mary Babnik Brown donated her hair during World War 2 and later received a personal letter of thanks from Ronald Reagan explaining that her hair had been the perfect fit for complex bombsight called a Norden sight. Both wire and spider silk had been used beforehand, and neither worked as well.

43. When hungry bears tear into a beehive, they are actually looking for tasty bee larvae, which they much prefer over the plentiful honey inside.

44. Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the legendary bluesman best known for his song "I put a spell on you", is estimated to have between 57 and 75 illegitimate children.

45. Hawaii is not protected by NATO. An attack on any of the 49 other states would have to be considered by each NATO member as an attack on their own territory, but not Hawaii.

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