Random Fact Sheet #246 – 45 Facts That Will Make You a Trivia Master


26Captain James Martin Stag

Captain James Martin Stag

Captain James Martin Stag, President Eisenhower's Chief Meteorologist, whose defiant decision to delay the Allies' invasion of Normandy from June 5th to June 6th due to weather conditions was dubbed "The most important weather forecast of all time."

27. Alan Turing volunteered during the war and in the application form he answered a question that asked the applicant if they understood that by signing up they place themselves liable to military law as "No". No one noticed, he became a fine marksman and then got out by citing this technicality.

28. Nathan “Nearest” Green was an African-American who was born into slavery and was emancipated after the American Civil War. He was the master distiller who taught distilling techniques to Jack Daniel of the Jack Daniel Tennessee Whiskey.

29. The Gilmore Car Museum in Michigan offers a driver's training class to teach people of any age how to drive a Ford Model T that was built between 1908 and 1927.

30. McDonald's used to use an ingredient known as beef tallow — the rendered form of beef fat that's solid at room temperature — that gave McDonald's fries their signature rich and buttery flavor. However, this was replaced with 100% vegetable oil over concerns of high-cholesterol menu items.

31Al Capone

Al Capone

Al Capone set up an empty storefront with a bookshelf, a broken piano and old tables and chairs to look like an antique store. With advice from a friend, Capone learned to carry himself with the air of a legitimate businessman. Capone printed cards that read: Second Hand Furniture Dealer.

32. There is no practical way to draw our solar system to a visible scale. With Earth reduced to pea diameter, Pluto would be the size of a bacterium, 1.5 miles from Jupiter. With Jupiter the size of a period, Pluto would still be 35 feet away from it, and reduced to the size of a molecule.

33. In 2009, three New Zealand blue ducks - two males and a female - were kept in a breeding program in England. However, the program was derailed (despite the efforts of the breeders and even the female duck) when the two male ducks hooked up with each other instead of with the female.

34. A bottlenose dolphin named Moko became famous when he rescued two Pygmy whales in March 2008. Moko swam up to the stranded whales who were trapped between a sandbar and a beach, and led them through a channel out into the open sea.

35. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For example, Microsoft has noted that by fixing the top 20% of the most-reported bugs, 80% of the related errors in a given system would be eliminated.

36Great Smog of London

Great Smog of London

The 1952 Great Smog of London was so bad that the smog came indoors and movie screenings and concerts had to be canceled because it was more difficult to see inside a large room like a movie theater. 

37. Most people in the ancient city of Rome lived in apartment buildings that lacked kitchens. Thus most people relied on prepared food that was sold at pubs, inns, and food stalls. Some establishments had countertops fitted with openings for pots that may have kept food warm for extended serving.

38. In order to enforce the "one-child policy", 324 million Chinese women were subjected to mandatory IUD insertions between 1980 and 2014, usually with a type that couldn’t be removed without major surgery.

39. Walt Disney almost died during the 1918 influenza pandemic. He became so sick he was released from the Army to go home so his parents could take care of him.

40. John R. Morales, the man who played McGruff the crime dog was sentenced to 16 years in jail for drugs in 2014.

41Gemini 6

Gemini 6

NASA as a practical joke played Hello Dolly to wake the Gemini 6 crew in 1965. The astronauts loved it and a tradition was born. Until 2011, families were allowed to choose a favorite song to wake up their loved ones in space.

42. There is a rare condition called Spatio-temporal synesthesia where people can visualize time within space.

43. During the 1937 Fox vault fire, 40,000 films were destroyed. 75% of all 20th Century Fox films from before 1930 were lost. There are actors for whom not a single copy of a single one of their films survived.

44. Codex Gigas, the largest manuscript in the world was the work of a single scribe. According to legend, he added devil’s picture out of gratitude for his aid. It is estimated it would have taken twenty years of non-stop writing to produce the work without the illustrations or embellishments. It was created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia.

45. The reason allied forces had nets on their helmets during World War 2 was to reduce the helmet’s ‘shine’ and it would also allow soldiers to place bits of foliage to increase their camouflage.