Random Fact Sheet #43 – 40 Surprising and Strange Facts


1Spotlight Effect

Spotlight Effect

People tend to significantly overestimate how noticeable their embarrassing behaviors are to others, due to a cognitive bias is known as the Spotlight Effect.

2. Beyonce's hit song "Run the World (Girls)" is a heavily sampled version of a song by 3 men, and was co-written by 2 other men. The only female writer or producer involved in the song was Beyonce herself.

3. The US government poisoned industrial alcohol during Prohibition, leading to the deaths of around 10,000 people.

4. An anti-Semitic nobleman once allegedly told Moses Montefiore that he had recently visited Japan, where "they have neither pigs nor Jews." In response, Montefiore said that they should both go there so that it will have one of each.

5. Oakley had a pricing dispute with conglomerate Luxottica who responded by dropping the brand in all their stores, causing Oakley's stock to drop. Luxottica then bought out the company. They own Sunglasses Hut, LensCrafters, PearleVision, Target Optical, and several licenses such as Ray-Ban.

6James Burke

James Burke

In 1973, science historian James Burke predicted the widespread use of computers for business decisions, the creation of metadata banks of personal information, and changes in human behaviour, such as greater willingness to reveal personal information to strangers.

7. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, they limited the onscreen blood from gunshots during the truck chase by using fine red dust instead of liquid fake blood. Unfortunately, the only red dust available for the squibs was Cayenne Pepper, which caused a lot of suffering for the stunt crew.

8. The vestal virgins were a group of six women recruited at age six to tend the flame of the goddess Vesta. Expected to serve for 30 yrs, if their virginity ever came into question they were buried alive as punishment.

9. When Carl Linnaeus was in Hamburg, the mayor proudly showed him the remains of a seven-headed hydra. Linnaeus found out the remains were fake and made it public. As a result, Linnaeus was forced to leave Hamburg immediately, as he crushed the mayor's dream of selling the hydra for a large sum.

10. In London during the 1930s, infants were commonly hung outside apartment windows in "Baby Cages" so that they could get enough fresh air and sunlight.

11Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

American guitarist Jimi Hendrix was discharged from the army due to sleeping on duty and being caught masturbating.

12. A whale's skull is so thick that it requires a world war 2 anti-tank rifle to euthanize one that has beached itself.

13. Adult Swim put an entire episode of Rick and Morty (Rixty Minutes) on Instagram using 109 15 second clips, in reverse order, so that viewers couldn't watch sequentially until the last clip was posted. They said, "It's our latest frustrating exercise in audience engagement."

14. Jerry Seinfeld dated a 17-year-old girl named Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss when he was 39 years old.

15. The shortest scientific paper ever published had zero words. A clinical psychologist Dennis Upper attempted an experiment: to combat writer’s block by writing about it. His experiment failed, but no results are results all the same, and the paper was published.

16Off Broadway and On Broadway

Off Broadway and On Broadway

"On Broadway" versus "Off Broadway" refers not to location but theater capacity. A play/musical is considered "on Broadway" if the theater seats 500+ while an "off-Broadway" theater seats between 100-499. "Off-off Broadway" refers to venues that seat less than 100.

17. Dorothy Kilgallen was a panelist on the hit TV show "What's My Line?", died under what some consider mysterious circumstances while investigating the assassination of JFK. Shortly before she died, she told a friend, "I'm going to break the real story and have the biggest scoop of the century."

18. Walt Disney personally hated the Goofy character and found its cartoons to be 'stupid'. The only reason he didn't axe the character is because it gave work to so many animators.

19. Sam Kinison was killed when a drunk driver crossed the median and hit Sam's vehicle head-on. According to a friend, he looked unharmed, then began speaking to no one, saying "I don't want die." Then, "But why?" And finally, "Okay, okay, okay."

20. All males in South Korea after reaching the age of 18 must go through at least 21 months of mandatory military service training.

21Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld had over 40 failed relationships on "Seinfeld".

22. Some moths have evolved a method of detecting and disturbing echolocation sounds from bats. They can confuse bats by sending false clicks back, they can tell if a bat has found them or not based on the intensity and frequency of a bat's clicks and they can react accordingly.

23. The difference between herbs and spices: herbs come from the leaf of a plant, while spices come from other parts such as roots, bark, and seeds. So cilantro is an herb (coriander leaf) while coriander is a spice (coriander seed).

24. The author (Ken Kesey) of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was an experimental test subject of the CIA's MK Ultra program.

25. Despite early claims that fidget spinners could be used to help children with ADHD, there never was any scientific research to back this claim.