Random Facts Sheet #359 – The Trivia Trove: 45 Unearthing Random Facts That Leave You Awestruck

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1French Court Rejects "Nutella" Name

French Court Rejects

In 2015, a French court stopped a girl from being named "Nutella" and forcibly renamed her Ella in the absence of her parents. The judge said that the name Nutella would "only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts," a complaint not heard by her parents as they did not attend the hearing.

2. Patrick Stewart, a theater actor, was initially hesitant to sign a contract to perform on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) for six years. However, his agent reassured him that the show would likely fail after only one season. So, Stewart agreed, expecting to "make some money, get a suntan, and go home."

3. It is not possible to exceed the weight limit (70 lb) of a US Postal Service small flat rate box, even if you filled it with the densest substance on Earth.

4. Microsoft tried a four-day workweek in Japan as part of a "Work Life Choice Challenge" by shutting down offices every Friday. Productivity, measured by sales per employee, increased by almost 40% compared to the same period the previous year.

5. The neurologist who invented the lobotomy (António Egas Moniz) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this highly invasive procedure, which is widely considered today to be one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.

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6American Airlines' Lifetime AAirpass

American Airlines' Lifetime AAirpass

In 1981, American Airlines offered a "lifetime unlimited AAirpass" for a lifetime of free first-class flights for $250,000. You could get an additional lifetime pass for a companion for an extra $150,000. Two of their most frequent fliers cost the airline $1 million a year and flew over 30 million miles.

7. In the year 2000, $41 million was spent promoting the new Sacagawea golden dollar. Television ads consisted of the head of George Washington superimposed upon a body, voiced by actor Michael Keaton, discussing the merits of the new dollar coin. The coin ended up being a failure.

8. The genetic traits that helped people survive the Black Death in the 14th century are linked to autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease today, showing how a historical pandemic shaped the evolution of human immunity genes.

9. Lanai, Hawaii's sixth-largest island, is 98% owned by the co-founder of Oracle.

10. Brazil discovered that incarcerated populations read nine times as much as the general population. In response, they created a program that allowed prisoners to reduce their sentence by four days for each written book review they submitted.

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11Mite Matricide Madness

Mite Matricide Madness

A female Adactylidium mite is born already carrying fertilized eggs. After a few days, the eggs hatch inside her, and she gives birth to several females and one male. The male mates with all of his sisters inside their mother, and they then consume their mother from the inside out.

12. Sully, the pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson River notified a library about losing the book he borrowed from them about professional ethics, as it had sank with the plane.

13. In the 1920s, future US President Lyndon Johnson taught at an all-Mexican-American school, where he bought an English language book for the Spanish-speaking janitor and tutored him in English during his own time.

14. Despite variations in what technologies are permitted, nearly all Amish people have adopted the use of motorized washing machines.

15. The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals was a short-lived organization, lasting from 1959-1962, with over 50,000 members. It aimed to clothe "indecent" naked animals, but ended after its founder, notorious prankster Alan Abel, was exposed and revealed that the organization was a parody of conservative moralists of the time.

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16Emperor's Circular Escape

Emperor's Circular Escape

In ancient China, emperor Zheng of Qin once evaded an assassination attempt by running in circles around a pillar.

17. During the production of Superman (1978), Gene Hackman initially refused to shave his mustache, only agreeing to do so when director Richard Donner promised to do the same. After Hackman had his mustache shaved, he approached Donner to fulfill his promise, but Donner just tore off his fake moustache instead.

18. The Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa, California, was built entirely from lumber harvested from a single redwood tree. The tree used was 275 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter, producing 78,000 board feet of lumber.

19. The first contract for legendary footballer Lionel Messi was written on a restaurant napkin during a meeting with FC Barcelona executives, and it is now held in a safe at the Credit Andorra bank.

20. The Quaker Oats Company financed the original Willy Wonka movie in exchange for the right to make Wonka brand candy bars.

21Fossilization Odds

Fossilization Odds

Fossilization is so unlikely that scientists estimate that less than one-tenth of 1% of all the animal species that have ever lived have become fossils.

22. The test pilot for the first fighter jet would fly dressed as a gorilla in a hat, allowing US Air Force psychologists to trick other pilots into thinking they hadn't witnessed a "gorilla, wearing a derby hat, waving a stogie at them" flying a fast-moving plane without a propeller.

23. Australian cricketer Dean Jones played a match in India in 1986 while severely ill. Due to the extreme heat, he vomited and urinated several times. Jones lost 7 kgs during the match and has no memory of the game. Despite this, he scored 210 runs, which is considered one of the best performances ever.

24. In the early 1980s, a newspaper accidentally switched the captions for Dennis the Menace and The Far Side comics twice. While some people found it humorous, others found the captioning to be deeply disturbing, and the newspaper apologized for the errors.

25. Match fixing became so rampant in Canadian soccer that one pro match in 2015 ended early after the home team's attempts to score an own-goal were repeatedly thwarted by the away team.

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