Random Facts Sheet #354: Whimsical Wonders: 40 Random Facts that Will Amaze You

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1Warren Buffett's Blunder

Warren Buffett's Blunder

Warren Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway purely out of spite. In the 1960s, it was a failing textile company in which he wanted to sell his stake. When its president lowballed him, he bought the whole company just to fire him. In 2010, he said it was the biggest investment mistake he ever made.

2. Ken Fritz is an audiophile who has spent close to 30 years developing in his home what he and others consider the world's greatest stereo sound system and listening room, which boasts 35,000 watts, nine-foot-tall speakers, and a 1,500-pound turntable.

3. The ice cream truck jingle most Americans grew up with was often used in minstrel shows, so RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan) created a new, publicly available ice cream truck jingle that the ice cream trucks can now use for free.

4. Free divers' heart rates can drop as low as 11 beats per minute (as low as that of diving seals, whales, and dolphins) in order to preserve blood-oxygen levels.

5. There were 121 witnesses to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and 51 of them thought shots were fired from the grassy knoll. In another study of 64 witnesses, more than half said they heard gunshots coming from the knoll.

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6Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza

In 1988, with the 1,390th pick, the Dodgers drafted Mike Piazza because the manager of the team owed a favor to Piazza's father. Piazza ended up staying in the league for 16 years and is known as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball history.

7. When John F. Kennedy was shot in the head, doctors gave him a blood transfusion in an attempt to save him. This is standard procedure because a gunshot to the head is not always a death sentence. Around 42% of civilians shot in the head survive. Even when the wound causes massive brain trauma, it's survivable.

8. Devil's Hole Pupfish is a critically endangered and rare fish species. They live exclusively in "Devil's Hole," a single, tiny pool of water of unknown depth, roughly 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. As of September 2022, only 263 were left in the wild.

9. When bears hibernate, they "hold it in" for almost half a year. This is due to a fecal plug that forms in their lower intestine and prevents them from pooping while hibernating.

10. The first known résumé was written by Leonardo da Vinci when he applied to be a military engineer for the Duke of Milan. It was mainly just a list of his designs for siege weapons (including trebuchets). He briefly also mentioned, "In painting, I can do everything possible." He got the job.

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11Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written by Frank Loesser to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at parties to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.

12. Mice don't actually like cheese and are even repelled by many cheeses due to the smell. If they're hungry enough, they'll try to eat anything, but they won't actively seek out cheese.

13. Cheryl Gates McFadden (who played Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation) was Director of Choreography on The Labyrinth (1986). She goes by Cheryl McFadden when doing choreography, and Gates McFadden when it's an acting role.

14. Senator William Alden "Watertight" Smith, who led the US investigations into the sinking of the Titanic, famously asked why passengers couldn't take shelter in watertight compartments.

15. During World War 2, workers at Henry Ford's Willow Run aircraft factory built an astounding 8,685 B-24 bombers in three years. No one had ever manufactured airplanes on such a scale before. At its peak in 1944, it produced a B-24 every hour.

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16Graham Chapman

Graham Chapman

While filming Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Graham Chapman developed delirium tremens (DTs) from a lack of alcohol on set. Even with treatment, DTs can be fatal. They typically affect habitual drinkers who have consumed 0.5 liters of liquor or 7-8 pints of beer per day for at least 10 years.

17. Gilles Garnier was a recluse who lived in a forest in France in the 1500s. Due to his lifestyle, he had trouble finding food, so he began hunting children and eating them raw, like an animal. People initially thought the attacks were done by a werewolf, so he was convicted of lycanthropy and witchcraft and burned at the stake in 1573.

18. Restaurants can lose their Michelin star(s). If there is an inconsistency and things become less than satisfactory in an awarded restaurant, Michelin stars can be taken away. Gordon Ramsay once equated losing his Michelin stars in 2014 to breaking up with a girlfriend.

19. Thomas Edison tried to discredit Nikola Tesla's work with AC electricity by killing dogs, cats, cows, horses, and even an elephant with AC electricity.

20. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. When you eat slowly, your brain has plenty of time to send the message that you're full.

21Herbert Pitman

Herbert Pitman

After the Titanic sank, one of its crewmen, Herbert Pitman, made an attempt to row his lifeboat over to rescue people in the water but was overruled by the other occupants of the boat, who were worried about people swarming them and duly complied. Pitman said that this haunted him throughout his life.

22. Movie theater sound quality was greatly improved thanks to Star Wars. The audio quality of "Return of the Jedi" was generally inconsistent or low in movie theaters. George Lucas then co-created THX to fully project the audio quality of the film.

23. When we need to find an address, we often turn the radio down or off so that our brains can focus on the most important task, i.e., finding the place we want to go.

24. Black Widow antivenom is made by injecting horses with the venom over a period of time. The horse develops antibodies against the venom. Then the horse is bled, and its antibodies are purified for later use.

25. There is a reason for the loop we see on most modern seatbelts. During an accident, when the seatbelt is put under extreme pressure, the threading in the loops can rip, and the loop unfolds. This action adds a few extra inches to the belt and can absorb more energy to keep you safer and decrease the risk of injury.

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