Random Revelations: Article #117- 32 Stunningly Strange and True Random Facts

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1Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island

There is an island in Australia named Rottnest Island that is full of miniature kangaroos called ‘quokkas.’

2. Toilets and drains do not rotate differently in the southern and northern hemisphere.

3. During the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a second U2 Spy Plane had strayed into Soviet Airspace. When radioing for directions, an unknown voice told the pilot to turn right 35 degrees which would have taken the plane deeper into the Soviet Union. When asked for an identifying code, there was no response.

4. Estonia is developing the world’s first Digital Nomad Visa that will allow people who do the majority of their work online to work and travel in Estonia for up to 365 days.

5. 71% of 17 to 24 year olds in the U.S. don't qualify for military service.

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6Ruby Bradley

Ruby Bradley

When a US Army nurse named Ruby Bradley was captured during World War 2, she was nicknamed the “Angel in Fatigues”. She helped deliver 13 babies and smuggled food to help starving children inside the prison camp. During the Korean War, she refused to leave her hospital until everyone has left, despite surrounded by 100,000 enemy soldiers.

7. During a famous Berlin performance of 'Mack the Knife', Ella Fitzgerald forgot the words to the song after the first verse and ad-libbed the rest. She won a Grammy for the performance.

8. In 1858, a confectioner in England tried to purchase harmless powdered gypsum from a local pharmacist to make peppermint lozenges, but was accidentally sold 12 pounds of arsenic trioxide. 21 people died and more than 200 others became ill when the poisoned candy was sold to the public.

9. The first recorded weight-loss surgery was performed on D. Sancho the king of Leon, Spain during the 10th century. His morbid obesity made him lose the throne so his grandmother escorted him to Cordoba where a doctor sewed his lips shut. He was then fed with only a straw. He lost half his weight and reclaimed the throne.

10. When American writer Kurt Vonnegut served in World War 2, he was captured by Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was a POW in Dresden and survived the bombing of the city by hiding in a meat locker in a slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. This inspired him to write the anti-war novel Slaughter-House Five.

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11Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

It was only after Mel Gibson personally underwrote Robert Downey Jr.'s liability insurance that his career took off again with Iron Man.

12. Moon rocks are considered a “national treasure” and their sale is illegal in USA.

13. There is rare genetic variation (SNP rs121912617) in humans that allows people affected by it to sleep 2 hours less a night with no ill effects.

14. The New York City Metro Area has a bigger GDP than all of Mexico, Spain, or Australia. Effectively, this means that New York City makes more money than a first-world continent.

15. The first meal eaten on the moon was bacon, peaches, and grapefruit juice.

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16Agatha Christi

Agatha Christi

British author Agatha Christi absolutely detested the fictional Belgium detective Hercule Poirot, a character she created, going as far as to call him, “A detestable, bombastic, egocentric, little creep.” She only kept writing books about his adventures at the behest of her editors, because they sold so well.

17. Jeremiah Hamilton was 19th Century New York's notorious African-American Wall Street millionaire. Blacklisted by the city's insurance firms and Public Stock Exchange, he went on to amass a fortune of $250 million in today’s money and was known as the biggest single rival to the Vanderbilts.

18. There is a population of Polish Haitians descended from Napoleonic soldiers who deserted to join the Haitians after learning they were fighting for their freedom against slavery.

19. Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle, is so territorial that it will attack even helicopters and small planes to defend its nest sites.

20. A horse named Sergeant Reckless was purchased by the Marines as a pack horse in a division. She was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines' tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.

21Barbara Jane Harrison

Barbara Jane Harrison

After her plane went up in flames, flight attendant Barbara Jane Harrison helped passengers out and after the slides were punctured, pushed them out to safety. She was just about to leave when she turned back into the burning plane to help more passengers, which cost her life.

22. In 1815, when Napoleon Bonaparte was thrown overboard due to rough seas, a random fisherman's Newfoundland dog jumped into the water from the fisherman's boat and kept Napoleon afloat until he could reach safety.

23. Before it became male-dominated, computer programming was a promising career choice for women, who were considered "naturals" at it. Computer scientist Dr. Grace Hopper said programming was "like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so it’s ready when you need it."

24. During World War 2, the Allied forces would drop clouds of thin strips of aluminum foil from aircraft to overwhelm enemy radar in a countermeasure known as “Window.”

25. Diphenhydramine, sold under brand names Benadryl, Nytol, ZZZQuil, Unisom, and others can cause extremely realistic hallucinations and confusion at high doses. Most users report hallucinations of spiders, conversations with people that aren't there, and a lingering impending sense of doom.

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