Random Fact Sheet #294 – Delicate Threads of Knowledge: 45 Facts 2


26Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

In the 1930s, bridge construction projects expected one fatality for every $1 million in cost. So, the Chief Engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge enacted the most stringent safety measures in history. He even formulated diets to help fight dizziness and sauerkraut juice “cures” for hangovers.

27. There is still a passenger ocean liner in operation. The Queen Mary 2 offers a regular service from New York City and Southampton, England. It is the only passenger ocean liner in service designed primarily for travel, rather than the leisure of a cruise ship.

28. DMSO is an organic solvent which has a really unusual property in that you can "taste" it by just touching it. In reality, it directly triggers the nerves that normally react to taste.

29. There is an upscale Mcdonald's restaurant in Hong Kong called “Next” that has table service. It has a “create your own” menu with fresher and higher quality ingredients than any other Mcdonald's.

30. Mountain Goats are not actually in the same genus as other goats (Capra). Mountain Goats are the last surviving species of the genus Oreamnos.

31Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford

After Gerald Ford left the White House in 1977, he privately justified his pardon of Richard Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a Supreme Court decision which states that a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and that acceptance carries a confession of guilt

32. In 1950, a 20-year-old amateur herpetologist named Kevin Budden was bitten by the taipan snake he captured for antivenom research and died. News of Budden’s death inspired others to capture additional snake species, resulting in the development of five new antivenoms within 12 years of Budden’s death.

33. After the Salem Witch Trials, the town realized that they had made a mistake and compensated the families of the people they had convicted. More than 200 people had been accused of witchcraft, and 20 of them had been executed.

34. Surya Bonaly, a French figure skater, landed a backflip on one blade in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. This was banned in 1976 and Bonaly did it despite knowing that it would negatively affect her score. It has not been repeated in the Olympics since.

35. In 1905, 19 people died playing football. Ten of those killed were aged 17 or younger. People, including President Teddy Roosevelt, called for changes in rules. They sought to remove slapping, nose pulling and biting, but critics thought it would make the players soft.



Beer was incredibly popular in ancient Egypt. The laborers, like those who worked on the pyramids of Giza, were given a ration of over 10 pints of beer a day.

37. Blackstone's ratio is the idea that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Blackstone’s principle influenced the 19th century development of “beyond a reasonable doubt” as the burden of proof in criminal law.

38. Sheep and goats are being used for weed control in difficult-to-reach areas, and to keep vegetation down from around runways, discouraging wildlife from gathering and causing danger to aircraft. They will eat noxious weeds as an environmentally friendly alternative to herbicides in city parks.

39. In 1802, American businessman Timothy Dexter wrote ‘A Pickle for the Knowing Ones’ that had 8,847 words without punctuation or capitalization. In the second edition, he responded to grammatical complaints by adding an extra 11 pages of punctuation instructing that readers could insert them wherever needed.

40. Actor Robert Clary, who played a French prisoner of war in the show Hogan's Heroes, was a Holocaust survivor in real life. He spent 3 years in the Buchenwald concentration camp and survived by entertaining the SS guards every Sunday with a song.

41Oldest known complaint

Oldest known complaint

The oldest known written complaint in the world is from around 1750 B.C. A man in Babylon named Ea-Nasir sold substandard copper ingots to a man named Nanni and treated Nanni’s servant rudely. The tablet is one of several found in the same building, all of which are complaints about Ea-Nasir.

42. Avocado Toast is not a new dish but has been consumed in San Francisco for 135 years.

43. Humans have a free floating bone (Hyoid bone) in the neck that anchors the tongue in place and is believed to greatly contribute to humans being able to talk in the sophisticated manner that we do today.

44. The ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet’ is the last portrait painted by Vincent Van Gogh before his death. It was sold for the then-record sum of $82.5 million in 1990. It is one of Van Gogh’s most important works, but has been withheld from the public by its anonymous owner for almost 30 years.

45. Billiards tables are sometimes referred to as pool tables because in the 19th-century men used to pool together bets for horse races. These "pools" were held in special rooms called poolrooms, where pool tables were installed so patrons could pass time between races.