Random Revelations: Article #40 – 41 Startling Random Facts

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1Grocery bags

Grocery bags

Movies have their own style of grocery bags that are silent for better sound recording.


2. The people who falsely claimed the copyright on "Happy Birthday to You" made $2 million a year for decades until a court ruled the song to be public domain in 2016.


3. Newcastle Brown Ale was awarded Geographical Protection by the European Union in 2004 to ensure it could only be brewed in Newcastle. They later decided to move the Brewery to Gateshead but were told they would have to remove "Newcastle" from the brand name. They then had to get their own protection revoked.


4. During the 1970 Aspen's sheriff's election, Hunter S. Thompson shaved his head bald so he could refer to the crew-cut, ex-army, Republican incumbent as "My long-haired opponent."


5. Until 40 years ago scientists believed all life and food chains ultimately depended on the sun for energy. The discovery of deep-sea vents with whole ecosystems driven solely by chemical energy changed this view. Now it's thought that life may have actually originated from such systems.


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6Lord Of The Rings dwarves

Lord Of The Rings dwarves

Lord Of The Rings dwarves are supposed to speak with Arabic or Hebrew accent, resulting in dwarven place names like Khazad-dûm and Moria, not Scottish as per popular culture today.


7. A black New York pastor named Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne in 1947 decided to travel to Alabama in a turban and with a fake accent, posing as a foreign dignitary. His disguise allowed him in white-only areas, and he was treated with little discrimination.


8. Smoking scorpions to get high is a growing problem in South Asia. The high can last from 10 hours to 3 days. The high is said to be so powerful that it outstrips heroin. But the person spends the first six hours in pain while their body adjusts to the toxins, which can possibly lead to death.


9. Johann Tetzel, an indulgence salesman in Martin Luther's time, was asked if an indulgence could be purchased for future sins. When he said yes, he was later beaten and robbed by the buyer, who said the act was the future sin in question.


10. Abolitionist Cassius Clay was shot by Sam Brown during a 1843 debate for the Kentucky House of Representatives. “Despite being shot in the chest, Clay drew his Bowie knife, tackled Brown, cut-out his eyes, and finally threw him over an embankment.” He would later become US Ambassador to Russia.


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11Heart disease

Heart disease

The research behind "Type A and Type B personality traits" was secretly funded by cigarette companies in the 1960's to suggest that smoking cigarettes didn't cause cancer and heart disease, being Type A did.


12. In 2017, a 3-year-old pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro won the title of mayor of a Kentucky town for the 4th time and beat a cat, chicken, donkey and a little boy.


13. Samsung originally sold noodles. It wasn't until 1970 that they started selling electronics.


14. The TI-84/83 calculators have comparably higher profit margins than Apple due to their monopoly on the school system.


15. In the days after the 9/11 attacks, the German warship Lutjens (D185) passed by the US destroyer Winston S. Churchill with the US flag flying at half-mast and the sailors Manning-the-Rails, an honor typically reserved for heads of state.


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16Punk rocker frog

Punk rocker frog

There's a recently discovered fingernail-size frog named Punk rocker frog that can morph its skin texture from spiny to smooth in just minutes and is the first shape-shifting amphibian ever found.


17. Julia Stewart, worked as a waitress for IHOP at 16, then through hard-work became the President at Applebees, and after being passed over as CEO for Applebees became the CEO at IHOP and ultimately acquired Applebees.


18. Ernő-Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik's Cube didn't realize he'd built a puzzle until he scrambled it the first time and tried to restore it.


19. According to unclassified audio tapes of president Johnson, American president Nixon prolonged Vietnam War for political gain and Johnson knew about it.


20. The Aztec Empire was one of the first societies to have mandatory education for all children regardless of gender or rank.


21Geraldo Rivera

Geraldo Rivera

In 2003, an American reporter named Geraldo Rivera was kicked out of Iraq after drawing a map in the sand giving details of US locations and future plans during a live broadcast.


22. 93% of Indians work in informal, off-the-books jobs, and get paid in cash.


23. A single helmet for the Air Force's new F-35 fighter costs over $400,000.


24. Horatio G. Spafford wrote the famous hymn "It is Well With My Soul" after hearing that his four daughters had died in a ship collision. This was two years after his only son died of pneumonia and his entire business was destroyed by the Chicago fire.


25. In 2009, Robert Downey Jr. was detained at a Japanese airport and held for 6 hours after authorities ran his passport and saw he’d failed to mention his previous convictions. He was eventually allowed to attend the ‘Iron Man’ premiere on the terms that he “never returned to Japan again.”

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