50 Random Facts List #169

26Ramanujan's lost notebook

Ramanujan's lost notebook

Ramanujan’s lost notebook which was discovered 56 years after his death, contained the mock theta functions that have been found to be useful for calculating the entropy of black holes. The unordered sheets contained over 600 mathematical formulas listed consecutively without proofs.

27. The green color of the Matrix films wasn't simply from a color filter. The costume designer (Kym Barrett) had all light colored fabrics put in a green dye wash to give everything a touch of green. The clothing actually did have a green hue in many cases.

28. Lightning hasn’t brought down a plane since 1967 because modern planes possess a fuselage that acts as a Faraday cage, which is a container that blocks electromagnetic fields. The charge instead runs around the outside of the craft and disperses from the tail.

29. In 2009 in a ‘David vs Goliath’ lawsuit, a small-time inventor won a $23 million lawsuit against Ford auto company for patent infringement.

30. The first public iPhone call was a prank call made by Steve Jobs himself. He called Starbucks and ordered 4,000 lattes then said just kidding and hung up.

31Al Hirschfeld

Al Hirschfeld

For decades, artist Al Hirschfeld hid the name of his daughter Nina in his drawings for The New York Times and elsewhere. He'd add the number of times her name appeared to his signature, creating a game for readers, who would try and find each appearance.

32. Before settling with the name, British Comedy group Monty Python considered other names such as “Vaseline Review”, “The Toad Elevating Moment”, and “A Horse, a Spoon, and a Bucket”. Eric Idle proposed the name Monty, a stereotypically drunk Brit, while Python was chosen simply because it sounded slippery.

33. There was a species of dinosaur with extremely large leg muscles named Brontomerus, which literally means "thunder thighs."

34. In 1969, an experimental book named The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson was published. It shipped as a 'book in a box' consisting of 27 unbound sections with the first and last chapter specified. The remaining sections range from a single paragraph to 12 pages in length and are designed to be read in any order.

35. Creme Puff was the oldest living cat ever recorded having lived 38 years and 3 days (1967-2005). She had a usual diet. Among other things, she ate bacon and eggs, asparagus, broccoli, and coffee with heavy cream.



Kiyomizu-dera is a temple where people used to jump off its 43 feet stage due to a belief that those who survived the fall would have their wish granted. Of the 234 jumps recorded during the Edo period, 85.4% survived.

37. Even though Keanu Reeves was highly criticized for his English accent in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola claims partial responsibility and considers Reeves to be the nicest person you’ll ever want to meet.

38. Frederick the Great of Prussia was gay. At one point in his life, his father had his lover beheaded and made him watch the whole execution because his father considered him to be effeminate and not manly. Frederick went on to become one of the greatest generals of all time.

39. In the UK, a White Christmas is defined by as “one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December somewhere in the UK.”

40. During an annual toad migration in Germany, volunteers set up a “toad fence” along the sides of the road to protect the amphibians from getting run over. The animals are trapped in a bucket and carried to the other side of the road each day. More than half a million are saved each year.

41Rayanne House Guesthouse

Rayanne House Guesthouse

There is a guest house named Rayanne House Guesthouse in Belfast that serves the same 9-course dinner that was offered to first-class passengers of the Titanic.

42. Laika, the first Soviet Space Dog died within hours due to overheating. This fact was not made public until 2002. It was widely reported that she died when her oxygen ran out on day six or, as the Soviet government initially claimed, she was euthanized prior to oxygen depletion.

43. The 'Turn-about Ranch' which is frequently recommended by Dr. Phil for troubled children has many reported cases of children being severely abused and humiliated.

44. Pluto is still a planet in New Mexico since the man who discovered it was from New Mexico.

45. Scotland's (unofficial) national anthem, "Flower of Scotland", can't be played properly on the bagpipes because it contains a note - a flattened seventh - that the pipes cannot produce.

46Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega

In 1989, President Bush sent troops to Panama to capture Dictator Manuel Noriega. When the troops approached he managed to flee to The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, so the troops couldn't get in. But they surrounded the place and blasted Rock n' Roll music for days until he gave up.

47. The eruption of Eyjafjallaj√∂kull in 2010 caused enough economic difficulties that aircraft manufacturers were forced to define specific limits on how much ash is considered acceptable for a jet engine to ingest without damage.

48. The Overjustification effect is a psychological phenomenon in which being rewarded to do something diminishes the motivation to perform the action. For example, playing an instrument for a reward is not as motivating as playing an instrument just for fun.

49. Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for his dorky dancing Carlton character in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, started his career as a highly trained dancer. Before Carleton, he had tap danced on Broadway, danced in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson, and released a break dancing instructional video.

50. Jono Lancaster who was born with Treacher-Collins syndrome travels to meet children with the same disorder in hopes of inspiring them to embrace their features and live their lives to the fullest.