Random Revelations: Article #113- 34 Wonderfully Unexpected Random Facts That Surprise

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1Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe

Astronaut Christa McAuliffe was gifted with a $1 million life insurance policy a week before the Challenger disaster in honor of her being the first teacher in space.

2. Playing "pink noise" - the sound of uniform static - while sleeping has been found to improve sleep quality and also help memory.

3. There was a pigment used in early days of wallpaper making called Scheele's Green. If the wallpaper got moldy or damp, it released poisonous arsenic into the air. It is speculated that this was the cause of Napoleon's death as green was his favorite color and his walls were lined with green wallpaper.

4. Helen Keller wrote in favor of refusing life-saving medical procedures to infants with severe mental impairments or physical deformities, stating that their lives were not worthwhile and they would likely become criminals.

5. During the Winter War, the Finns used mannequins posing as officers to draw fire from Soviet snipers. The Finns would then return fire with the Lahti L-39, a 20 mm anti-tank rifle.

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6Black Bart

Black Bart

Black Bart was an outlaw of the 1800s who successfully robbed 28 stagecoaches and left this poem in one of them: “I’ve labored long and hard for bread / For honor, and for riches / But on my corns too long you've tread / You fine-haired sons of b*tches.”

7. Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical studies were completely illegal. During his time, dissection was completely outlawed unless one was a physician, which da Vinci was not.

8. Irish monks invented spacing between written words.

9. When the Malaysian Exploding Ant’s head explodes during its suicide attack, it spreads a poisonous and corrosive glue like liquid that entangles and immobilizes any nearby victims.

10. To pep herself up, Queen Victoria was addicted to cocaine infused chewing gum.

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11Mexican and Danish workers

Mexican and Danish workers

The average Mexican citizen works an average of 2,255 hours a year, while the average Danish citizen works only 1,410 hours per year.

12. American actor George Burns bought new Cadillacs every year and drove until the age of 93, when he stopped due to becoming so short that he couldn't see over the steering wheel.

13. Mirror image twins are perfect reflections of each other. One is right-handed, while the other is left-handed. They have birthmarks exactly on opposite sides of their body and have hair whorls that swirl in opposite directions.

14. Bookkeeper (or bookkeeping) is the only English word with 3 consecutive double letters.

15. The word 'avocado' comes from an Aztec word that means testicle.

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16Victory over Japan photo

Victory over Japan photo

In 1945, the nurse being kissed by the sailor in the iconic Victory over Japan photo went unidentified for 20 years, when she self-identified and explained she "had stepped outside to see what the commotion was when I suddenly found myself in a sailor's embrace." The two had never met, and the photo was caught by luck.

17. The Apollo 11 crew Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins didn't add their names to the mission patch because they wanted the patch to represent everyone involved with the mission.

18. Grand Central Terminal in New York City is radioactive due to the massive amount of granite used in its construction. Full-time workers at the terminus are exposed to more radiation than what is permitted for nuclear plant workers.

19. The average time between a girl's first period and when she got married was 5 years in the 19th century, but in the 21st century it has grown to 15 years.

20. Fire fighters and anyone else who inhaled the toxic air from ground zero in the aftermath of 9/11 essentially lost 12 years of lung function.

21Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Walt Disney was a confidential informant for the FBI for the last 26 years of his life.

22. In 1958, Canada set off one of the largest intentional non-nuclear explosions in history to remove a rock in the middle of a shipping lane between Vancouver Island and the mainland. A tunnel half a mile long was dug out under the ocean and filled with 2.75 million pounds of explosive.

23. Domesticated and wild dogs scavenge human remains in different ways: pet dogs tend to eat their owners' faces, while wild dogs prefer to eat the nutrient rich organs located in the abdomen.

24. There is an ongoing public art project in Germany called the Time Pyramid (Zeitpyramide). It is supposed to consist of 120 concrete blocks, but only one block is placed every 10 years. So far, 3 blocks have been placed. It is scheduled to be completed in the year 3183.

25. A nuclear weapons accident occurred on March 10, 1956, when a B-47 Stratojet carrying two plutonium cores was lost over the Mediterranean Sea. Despite an extensive search, the plane and its cargo were never located and its fate remains unknown even today.

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