Random Facts Sheet #356 – 45 Random Facts That Ignite Curiosity 2

26Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro paid a dentist $5,000 to have his teeth ground down to look more menacing for Cape Fear. He later paid $20,000 to have his teeth restored once production was complete.

27. Gargoyles were used in buildings to scare churchgoers, attract pagans, and keep water from damaging stone walls. The use of gargoyles in architecture dates back to ancient Egypt.

28. Even though smoking isn't allowed on commercial planes, the lavatories must have ashtrays on the doors so that people who break the rules can get rid of their cigarettes safely.

29. In 1931, during the Great Depression, there were so many news accounts of starving citizens in the USA that colonial-era Cameroon in west Africa raised money for Americans as aid. They collected $3.77, which would be about $70 today.

30. While filming "Monty Python & The Holy Grail" (1975), Graham Chapman developed delirium tremens (DTs) from the lack of alcohol on set. DTs can be fatal even with treatment and typically only affect habitual drinkers who consume 0.5L of liquor or 7-8 pints of beer daily for 10 years or more.

31USS Indianapolis Nuclear Transport

USS Indianapolis Nuclear Transport

The USS Indianapolis delivered the enriched uranium and parts for the "Little Boy" atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but no one onboard knew the contents of this cargo. During the whole trip, a radiologist monitored the uranium in secret to make sure that the sailors wouldn't receive any radiation.

32. National Geographic editor Bill Garrett was fired from the magazine in 1990 because he wanted to publish more controversial features that raised production costs. Stories about AIDS and the Exxon Valdez oil spill were published under his direction.

33. In 2010, when sales were down because of the financial crisis of 2008, Gap decided to redesign their logo, which was 20 years old and would cost about $100 million. The amount of public backlash for the new logo was so great that Gap took the decision to revert back to their old 1990 logo after less than one week.

34. The number of abdominal muscles you have is genetic and varies from person to person. The number of abs you have depends on the number of rings of abdominal tissue that someone is born with, and some people can actually have 10-pack abs.

35. A gin pennant (sometimes referred to as a "gin flag or drinking pennant") is a maritime flag. When flown aboard ship, it indicates an open invitation to other ships' officers to come aboard for drinks.

36Blimp Operating Cost

Blimp Operating Cost

It costs about $100,000 a day to operate a blimp. Of the 25 blimps existing around the world, only half are in use. They are primarily used for advertising and aerial photography.

37. Ligers (the offspring of a male lion and female tiger) are the largest big cats because, unlike lionesses, female tigers do not possess growth-limiting genes to counter the growth-maximizing genes of male lions.

38. To finish writing "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" within an impossible deadline of 6 months, Victor Hugo locked his clothes away, making him unable to go outside and procrastinate, which forced him to do nothing but finish writing his book.

39. Depleted uranium is used to create projectiles capable of puncturing tank shells and armor. It is done not only because it is extremely dense but also because, upon impact, a depleted uranium shell will continually sharpen itself and retain its shape.

40. Badge engineering is the practice of marketing a vehicle under two or more brand names. A good example of this is the 2010 Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and Mazda Tribute, which are the same model sold under different brands.

41Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL, was blind in one eye. He kept it a secret for his entire 21-year career after a ricocheting puck hit him in the face when he was 18 years old.

42. Not only is it possible to make cheese from breast milk, someone made mac and cheese with it and served it to Gordon Ramsay.

43. Someone made up a story that Neil Armstrong became a Muslim after hearing the call to prayer on the moon. Even though it was officially denied, the rumor kept going around, in part because Armstrong lived in Lebanon, Ohio, not Lebanon, the country.

44. Beavers are keystone species, which means they play an important role in ecosystems by modifying the area in a way that is beneficial to plants and animals.

45. If you cut up 2 different sponges, disaggregate them (push them through a sieve), and mix the 2 cell slurries together, the sponge cells reassociate with their own cells but not with cells of the other species. This is being studied to understand tissue repair and transplant rejection.