Random Fact Sheet #322 – Random Treasures: 40 Facts That Will Leave You Grinning with Amazement

26River Phoenix

River Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix’s older brother, River Phoenix, who starred as a kid in Stand By Me among other movies, died of an overdose while attending a concert with Joaquin on Halloween in Los Angeles at the age of 23 in 1993.

27. ‘Death cleaning’ is an exercise unique to Sweden where elderly people deliberately clear out and declutter their possessions so that nobody else has to do it once they’re dead.

28. The Danish language has about 40 different vowel sounds and it is so hard to learn that Danish children on average know 30% fewer words at 15 months than Norwegian children and take two years longer to learn the past tense.

29. Richard Scrushy who was charged with masterminding a $2.7 billion fraud case, came up with a novel strategy: “[play] the religion card” and become a televangelist to curry favor with jurors (the trial was held in Alabama). He was acquitted of all charges.

30. The original John Hughes cut of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” ran 3.5 hours because there was so much improv between Steve Martin and John Candy, and that cut is probably lost forever.

31Henneguya Salminicola

Henneguya Salminicola

Henneguya salminicola is the first and thus far the only known multicellular animal that doesn't seem to use oxygen to breathe. It is an 8-millimeter white parasite that infects the flesh of Chinook salmon.

32. In 1762, Benjamin Franklin had a hollow walking stick created that could secretly hold around 1 pint of oil in it. When the head of the stick was pushed down, it would release oil from the bottom. He did this to trick his friends into thinking he had the power to calm waves in troubled waters.

33. The US exports more bull semen to Iran than any other country. In 2018 alone, the amount of semen exported from the US was more than the combined total of the next seven other countries exporting semen to Iran.

34. In 1231, after noticing the rapidly rising cost of medicine, Emperor Friedrich II forbade doctors from doubling as pharmacists. He fixed the prices of various medicines so that they could not rise further.

35. Some of the boulevard medians in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have 8-10 feet deep bunkers with toilets in them, originally installed in the 1930s as a convenience for city workers who were out and about all day without access to a toilet.

36Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park

In Kaziranga, a national park in north-eastern India, rangers can shoot and kill poachers to protect the Indian one-horned rhinoceros with legal immunity, which has reduced rhino poaching.

37. Astronaut Bruce McCandless floated in space completely unattached to anything, 320 feet away from the space shuttle with only a nitrogen jetpack back in 1984.

38. Jazz guitarist Pat Martino suffered a near-fatal seizure in 1980 which left him with amnesia and no recollection or knowledge of how to play the guitar. He re-learned how to play the instrument, and resumed his performing and recording career in 1987 until his death in 2021.

39. In 1961, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wrote a book called “Guerrilla Warfare”, which explained different tactics for waging guerrilla warfare in different countries. Bolivian counter-insurgency forces also studied this book, which eventually led to Guevara’s capture and execution in 1967.

40. “Wrap Rage” (the anger/frustration which results from an inability to open packaging) is estimated to be responsible for up to 60,000 people a year being treated for injuries. In one survey, 71% say they’ve been injured while opening packages and in 2004 the US had 6,500 emergency room visits due to these kinds of injuries.