Random Facts Sheet #350 – 45 Fact Nuggets: Bite-sized Pieces of Surprising Information

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1Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries

Since its debut in 1987, Unsolved Mysteries has reunited over 100 lost lovers, helped find half of the wanted fugitives it has chronicled, and released seven inmates who were wrongfully imprisoned. They also helped solve 260 other murders, cases of missing people, and cases of fraud.

2. Although commonly acknowledged as the National Park Man, Teddy Roosevelt was actually the National Forest Man. He established five of the 63 US national parks when he was president. In terms of national forests, he started 150 of the 154 in the US. In addition to national forests, the authorization of the Antiquities Act in 1906 by him helped successive presidents to designate historic sites, ancient buildings, and other items of historical or scientific importance that were under government control as national monuments.

3. Charles Schulz was hesitant to add a black character to the Peanuts comics out of concern that he would come across as condescending. After the passing of Martin Luther King Jr. and receiving a letter from a teacher, he changed his mind. Franklin visits Charlie Brown at the beach in his introductory comic.

4. A geologist named Michel Siffre spent two months deep underground without any indication of time in order to research how his biological clock evolved. He extended the experiment and performed it on himself and more people, finding that their bodies tended to convert to a 48-hour clock. One person even slept for 34 hours.

5. Before visiting Somalia, the US State Department officially recommends that you "draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries." Further, they advise to "be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers" and to "review the Live Piracy Report," among other things.

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6Recycled Old Texts

Recycled Old Texts

Thousands of ancient manuscripts were "recycled" when the printing machine first appeared in Europe in the 15th century, to be used as the binding for newer volumes. Leiden University researchers began utilizing an x-ray method to uncover these inscriptions in 2015. Some of these are as old as 1,300 years.

7. There is a "Fleet Admiral" rank in the US Navy, although only four people have ever attained it. It provides the special perk of lifelong active-duty pay. During World War 2  United States operated with allies who had positions higher than American ones, such as Field Marshal and Fleet Admiral. America created the positions of Fleet Admiral and General of the Army, both at the 5-star level, because we did not want our top commanders to be outranked. A total of nine people held these titles.

8. In order to help buy a ship that is employed in anti-whaling and anti-illegal fishing activities, Bob Barker (of Price Is Right fame) contributed $5 million. The ship was christened the MY Bob Barker.

9. Despite widespread opinion to the contrary, farmers were among the most vocal opponents of instituting Daylight Savings Time in the United States.

10. British politician John Bell often stated that his oiled shoulders made him better at flying than any bird. In spite of his mental condition, he served as a member of Parliament until his death in 1851.

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11Sleep Latency

Sleep Latency

The average sleep latency (the time it takes to go from being awake to asleep) of a healthy individual is just about 10 to 20 minutes.

12. Although the Fairey Swordfish biplane was obsolete by 1939, it served its purpose during World War 2. The Swordfish was the most successful enemy aircraft destroyer, sinking more planes than any other, including multiple U-boats and the German battleship Bismarck, and served until 1945.

13. As a token of their appreciation for Queen Victoria, British soldiers stole a Pekingese puppy from the Chinese royal palace towards the conclusion of the Second Opium War and presented it to her. She named it "Looty."

14. The night before Emperor Hirohito's surrender during World War 2, broadcast army officers launched a coup. Officers took over the Imperial Palace in an attempt to erase all records of the emperor's surrender and eliminate any remaining officials who stood in their way. The coup was thwarted when the record was leaked to the press and the armed forces refused to support the coup.

15. The Women's United Soccer Association was the first women's soccer league in the world to treat its players like professionals and pay them a salary. After losing almost $100 million over its first several years of operation, the league shut down in 2003.

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16Gnarls Barley song "Crazy"

Gnarls Barley song

Lyrics and vocals for "Crazy" (2006) by Gnarls Barkley were performed in a single take. That wasn't all: it was CeeLo Green's first time trying to sing the lyrics. The song climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a huge success in many other countries.

17. Sometimes people who have trouble sleeping can experience what's known as "sleep misperception," when they believe they were up all night while in reality they slept for hours.

18. Queen Sophie of the Netherlands was buried in her wedding attire because she considered her life to have ended on the day she married King William. Their marriage had been very turbulent.

19. On his deathbed, Pope Innocent VIII (Papacy 1484–1492) was administered breast milk since he was unable to digest anything else. In fact, it was fairly common for doctors back then to prescribe breastfeeding for sick adults.

20. In dog agility competitions, the dogs don't practice the course in advance. At each tournament, the courses are different, and the handlers (without their dogs) only get to study the layout the day before. The dog literally sees the course for the first time as they run it.

21Hayabusa Itokawa

Hayabusa Itokawa

More than 1,500 grains of asteroid dust were carried back to Earth in 2010 by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa after it traveled more than a billion miles. A solar flare knocked out its solar panels, two reaction wheels failed, two engines lost power, the mini-lander was lost, the planned sample system didn't deploy, and the spacecraft lost touch with Earth for a month, yet it still managed to succeed. This was the first occasion that asteroid material (from Itokawa) was brought back to Earth.

22. The other Nobel Prizes are given out in Sweden; however, it remains a mystery as to why the Peace Prize is presented in Norway. In his will, Alfred Nobel, whose name is attached to the prizes, stated that this was how things should be. He did not elaborate on his reasoning.

23. During the War of 1812, Laura Secord trekked 20 miles across American territory to alert the British and Canadian soldiers about an impending American attack. The forewarned British and Canadians successfully repelled the onslaught and captured 500 attacking Americans.

24. Lunch lady Nansi Williams, in the Welsh community of Aberfan in 1966, witnessed a coal waste pile fall and threw herself on top of five students to protect them from the avalanche. While all five kids made it through, Nansi did not. The school's deputy headmaster, David Beynon, also lost his life while trying to protect five students by holding them in his arms. Unfortunately, all of them perished.

25. Singer Dexter Holland's time spent working in a biological lab inspired the lyric "You must keep 'em divided" in The Offspring's song "Come Out and Play." He realized he needed to keep the two flasks of liquid apart since they were both boiling and wouldn't cool down if they were placed close to one another.

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