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FASCINATING FACTS: 50 RANDOM FACTS FOR YOU RANDOS

1.  Admiral Ackbar

The crew of ‘Return of the Jedi’ mocked the character design of Admiral Ackbar, deeming it too ugly. Director Richard Marquand refused to alter it, saying, “I think it’s good to tell kids that good people aren’t necessarily good looking people and that bad people aren’t necessarily ugly people.”


2. When he was a child, Stephen King witnessed one of his friends being killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving to go play with the boy, King returned, speechless and in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend’s death.


3. One evening, while rushing for dinner after a long day at the lab, Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist at Johns Hopkins, forgot to wash his hands that had traces of benzoic sulfimide. This compound made his dinner taste sweet, and that’s how he discovered the artificial sweetener Saccharin.


4. Gwen Stefani’s brother Eric Stefani was originally the keyboardist for “No Doubt” but left to become an animator for “The Simpsons.”


5. In 1966, a computer scientist wrote a program, called ELIZA, intended to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between people and machines. Instead, it came to be seen as a therapy program and fooled a remarkable number of people into believing that the computer had feelings.


6.  Steve Madden

When Steve Madden was convicted of fraud and forced to resign as CEO of his company, he created a new position for himself that paid $700,000 per year while he was in prison.


7. In 2015, researchers testing the efficiency of mosquito repellents used Victoria’s Secret perfume because they thought the floral fragrance would attract mosquitoes. To their surprise, they found it repels mosquitoes better than a range of mosquito deterrents.


8. Tooth enamel is harder than steel. It is composed of mineralized calcium phosphate, which is the single hardest substance any living being can produce. Your tooth enamel is harder than a lobster’s shell or a rhino’s horn.


9. The Stevie in Stevie Wonder is not short for Steven or Stephen, but Stevland.


10. Peña, the man who says “Bye, Have a Beautiful Time” at the end of American Dad episodes was the former security officer at the office building where Family Guy and American Dad! were produced.


11.  Bob Graham

Bob Graham’s (38th Governor of Florida) political campaign included performing a full eight-hour workday of the various jobs that Floridian voters held. Starting in 1974, and totaling 408 workdays, jobs he worked included being a teacher, police officer, busboy, and construction worker.


12. Of the 1,213 warships involved in D-Day, only 200 were American and 892 were British. Of the 4,126 landing crafts involved, 805 were American and 3,261 were British.


13. Lego used to bury its used molds in the concrete foundations of buildings to prevent them from being reused.


14. Mexico’s official name is the United Mexican States.


15. Rice farmers often put fish into their water-laden fields in a process called “rice-fish culture.” The fish act as pest control, improve oxygen circulation, and can even fertilize the soil with their droppings. This can increase the crop yield by 10% or more.

 


16.  Hanns Scharff

Hanns Scharff, German Luftwaffe’s “master interrogator,” instead of physical torture on POWs used techniques like nature walks, going out for a pleasant lunch, and swimming where the subject would reveal information on their own. He helped shape US interrogation techniques after the war.


17. Left-handed people’s brains are so different from right-handed that they are often excluded from many psychological research studies.


18. The “whistling” noise used to indicate bombs falling in movies and TV shows is almost always the wrong way round. Anyone underneath a bomb that made such a sound (only specific WW2-era bombs) would hear the pitch increasing as it got closer, not decreasing, due to the Doppler effect.


19. For millennia Autism and other sudden disabilities were explained by the Changeling folklore. A fairy or demon would steal a normal baby and replace them with their own child in disguise. The Changeling would cry, scream, not display social behavior, or just become completely unresponsive.


20. Skilled archers can make shot arrows turn in mid-air, hitting targets behind obstacles.


21.  Dr. Henry Faulds

A Scottish scientist named Dr. Henry Faulds discovered that fingerprints were unique, and asked Charles Darwin to help him promote the idea. Charles Darwin shared this with his nephew, who then claimed the finding as to his own.


22. In the 1930s, residents of Munich would take a small side street so they didn’t need to render the Nazi salute to the shrine of the Nazis who died in the Beer Hall Putsch. This side road came to be called “Drückebergergasse” or “Shirker’s alley.”


23. The band name Smashing Pumpkins doesn’t mean breaking a gord; the “Smashing” in it is an adjective, not a verb. So smashing as in “fantastic.”


24. Female Komodo Dragons can impregnate themselves without a male through a process called parthenogenesis. By forcing the duplication of sex chromosomes they can give birth to male Komodo Dragons and keep their species alive.


25. Speed cameras in Germany take photos of drivers who sit in the left side of the vehicle, so a driver using a British car put a muppet in the passenger seat to hide their identity.

 


26.  Trojan Horse


There is a Native American version of a Trojan Horse. In 1763 Native Americans played an early version of Lacrosse outside a British fortress during the Pontiac’s Rebellion. They hit the ball through the open gate and both teams chased after the ball. Once inside, they killed the soldiers.


27. Marilyn Bell, at the age of 16, became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in 1954. Her 32-mile route was greatly lengthened by high wind and high waves. Fanged lamprey eels attacked her in 65-degree water. She accomplished this feat in 21 hours.


28. Sea turtles are among the most ancient animals still in existence today with the oldest fossil dating back 215 million years – older than the oldest dinosaur.


29. There is only 1 reported death from radiation at Fukushima, but over 1600 reported deaths from “evacuation stress” such as suicide and health access.


30. Scientists in Tel Aviv have found that soon after a bee flies past an Evening Primrose, the flower increases the sugar content of its nectar by 30%. Playing bee sounds has a similar effect, but there is no effect on the flower when other vibrations are emitted.


31.  Fake iPhones


In 2013, fraudsters in China cost Apple over $2 billion by returning fake iPhones for refunds.


32. McDonald’s used to have a mascot named Captain Crook who stole Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, as opposed to the Hamburglar’s hamburger thievery.


33. Dietary Iron is required for production of sleep monoamine neurotransmitters, so lack of Iron will cause severe sleep disturbance. A study showed that those who were Iron deficient also had a significant increase in anxiety and depression.


34. Story Musgrave is the most formally educated astronaut with six academic degrees. He is a consultant to both Disney’s Imagineering group and Applied Minds in California, and is the only astronaut to fly on all 5 Space Shuttles.


35. The PS3 launched in 2006 at $599 making it one of the most expensive consoles of all-time. But despite its high price, Sony continued to lose money on every PS3 sold until 2010.


36.  Martin Frobisher

The streets of London were once paved in gold called fool’s gold. Martin Frobisher shipped over a thousand tons of fool’s gold from what’s now Canada to London under the impression that he was shipping gold ore. It was later discovered that it was iron pyrite and it was used for road metalling.


37. In the midst of the messy divorce, Charles Dickens referred to his wife as “dearest darling, Pig” and attempted to have her committed to an insane asylum so he could live with his 18-year-old mistress.


38. The Matrix wanted Sandra Bullock as ‘Neo’ before Keanu Reeves took the role. The producers had such a hard time finding the right man for the role that they briefly considered changing Neo into a female character. She was also considered for the part of Trinity and regretted not taking it.


39. John Laurens was an officer in the Continental Army who strongly opposed slavery, and tried unsuccessfully multiple times to institute black regiments in the struggle for independence. His abolitionist views were admirable, considering his South Carolina birth and father’s ownership of slaves.


40. President Coolidge and his wife had a pet raccoon named Rebecca who lived with them in the White House. Rebecca was supposed to be eaten for the 1926 Thanksgiving dinner, but they adopted her instead.

 


41.  Bergy bits


The smaller chunks that break off of icebergs are officially called “bergy bits.”


42. In 1846, a species of land snail named the eremina desertorum was collected and glued to a museum index card, presumed dead. 4 years later, the specimen was being looked at with warm water, when it suddenly awoke and looked around to see what was going on.


43. Tar and Feathering wasn’t fatal because it was done with pine tar not the asphalt tar used in modern times.


44. In 1942 BBC issued an appeal for postcards and photographs of the coast of Europe from Norway to the Pyrenees. It was actually an intelligence-gathering exercise. They were sent to the War Office to help determine a suitable location (Normandy) for the eventual D-Day landings of 1944.


45. A man named Robert Shields wrote the longest diary in history – 37.5 million words written over a 25 year period until he was disabled by a stroke. He spent hours every day chronically the most minute details of his daily life and even limited sleep to 2 hours at a time to record his dreams.


46.  Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein never received a Nobel Prize for relativity and he did not attend his prize giving, despite being informed that he was about to receive the prize. He chose to continue with a lecture tour of Japan because he simply no longer valued it.


47. James Avery (Uncle Phil) served in the US Navy in Vietnam from 1968-69. He then moved to San Diego to write poetry and TV scripts for PBS and won an Emmy for his effort. He got a scholarship from UC San Diego and graduated there with a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and Literature in 1976.


48. When Batman TV show of the 60s was canceled by ABC after 3 seasons, it was on the verge of being rescued by NBC for a fourth season but it was discovered that the sets of the TV show were already destroyed. NBC rescinded the offer not wanting to spend hundreds of thousands building the set.


49. The word quarantine comes from an Italian variant ‘Quaranta giorni’, meaning 40 days, the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague.


50. On February 14, 1990, Michael Jordan wore a nameless no. 12 jersey because his no. 23 jersey had been stolen. He scored 49 points, setting a franchise record for players wearing that jersey number.

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