Random Fact Sheet #95 – 45 Facts to Expand Your Knowledge

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1Despecialized Edition

Despecialized Edition

A Star Wars fan has recreated the original three movie releases in high definition and without the special edition additions. This version is called the Despecialized Edition.

2. Racial segregation in the American South didn't begin right after the Civil War. It was imposed in the 1890s when rich whites in the South feared the Populist movement bringing poor whites and blacks together. Segregation literally stopped the two sides from legally gathering together.

3. The Department of Homeland Security ran an experiment to see if government employees and contractors would use CDs and USB drives they secretly dropped in parking lots where they worked. 60% of the time they did, with that figure jumping to 90% when an official logo was visible.

4. In the late 1990s, a man studying the underground chambers of the Colosseum found patterns of holes, notches, and grooves in the walls. By connecting the dots of the negative space, he discovered that a system of elevators had been used to transport wild animals and scenery to the main floor.

5. In 1946, the “Battle of Athens” was fought in the small town of Athens in Tennessee. In the face of a corrupt political machine taking over the local government, a group of citizens mostly consisting of World War 2 veterans took up arms and overthrew the government officials, reinstating free elections.

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Some telemarketers keep 85% to 90% of the funds they raise for veterans' charities.

7. The tale of Hansel and Gretel might have originated during the Great Famine of Europe between 1315-1317. Food was in such short supplies that people abandoned their kids (probably why Hansel and Gretel are lost in a forest) and that people even resorted to cannibalism (explains the cannibalistic witch).

8. Due to elephants with tusks getting poached, humans are literally causing natural selection from more elephants being born tuskless over the past decades.

9. The actual yeti may just be the extremely rare Tibetan blue bear. It is one of the rarest subspecies of a bear in the world. It is only known to exist through a small number of fur and bone samples.

10. Actor Noah Wyle, after simulating the procedure for over a decade as a television doctor, successfully inserted a working Intravenous injection into a fallen crew member on set.

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11Henry A. Wallace

Henry A. Wallace

Henry A. Wallace ran for President with the promise of an equal wage for women and African-Americans in 1944. He was cheated by party politics despite being more popular than any other candidate at the time. He wanted to end the tensions with Russia. As a kid, he was taught farming by George Washington Carver.

12. When the Mets beat the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, many Yankee fans attended the parade celebrating the Mets' win, saying that "anyone who beats Boston is worth coming down for."

13. Michael Dorn has appeared more times as a regular cast member than any other Star Trek actor in the franchise's history, spanning 5 films and 272 television episodes.

14. Ulysses S. Grant's autobiography was sold by 10,000 agents, many of whom were former Union soldiers who canvassed the northern states while wearing their old uniforms. It was a method devised by Mark Twain, the publisher. It made a fortune for Grant's widow, who received a 75% royalty.

15. Hand soap doesn't actually kill the germs. Instead, it weakens the structure they are holding onto so that you can wash them right off.

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16Elliot Handler and Ruth Handler

Elliot Handler and Ruth Handler

The inventors of Hot Wheels (Elliot Handler) and the Barbie dolls (Ruth Handler) were married for over two decades before either toy was invented. Barbie and Ken were named after their children.

17. In 2010, a papyrus document featuring Cleopatra's handwriting went on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. The document refers to a tax break for a friend of her husband Mark Antony. Cleopatra signed it with a Greek word meaning "make it happen".

18. A condemned ship filled with animals sailed over Niagara Falls as part of a tourism stunt. In 1827, William Forsyth, an investor in the Falls, concocted the idea to draw in more tourism. The ship held Buffalo, bears, raccoons, a dog, and a goose. Some 10,000 people watched it sail over the edge.

19. When James Robert Ringrose, one of FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, was arrested in 1966, he presented the FBI agents with a "Get out of jail free" card from Monopoly.

20. The sharks built for the movie Jaws were collectively named "Bruce," a tribute to Steven Spielberg's lawyer. Bruce the Fish Friendly Shark from Finding Nemo was also a reference to Jaws.

21John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

During the Cuban missile crisis, John F. Kennedy said: “Why does he put these in there, though? … It’s just as if we suddenly began to put a major number of MRBMs (Medium-range ballistic missile) in Turkey. Now that’d be goddamned dangerous, I would think.” His advisor immediately pointed out: “Well we did it, Mr. President.”

22. The Atacama Desert in South America is the driest nonpolar place in the world. Some weather stations there have never received rain and evidence suggests that the Atacama may not have had any significant rainfall from 1570 to 1971.

23. American actor Harold Ramis took meth right before his military draft physical to get out of the Vietnam war.

24. The father of modern policing (Eugène François Vidocq) was a former criminal turned detective who refused to arrest anyone who stole out of necessity.

25. The United States invaded Canada in 1812. Former President Thomas Jefferson predicted that the "acquisition of Canada (..) will be a mere matter of marching". However, it went terribly. After a few months, the entire Michigan territory had fallen.

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