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26. Lucky Save
Writer/illustrator pair Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey fled Paris at the beginning of World War II on bicycles they’d built themselves. They carried very little with them, but did bring one priceless treasure: the manuscript for the first Curious George book, which they’d written and illustrated together!
25. Honorary City
When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, the stadium becomes the state’s “honorary” third largest city, with a population of 92,000. Bellevue, Nebraska follows that with a population of 50,000.
24. Wrestling for Change
Wrestler Sputnik Monroe was one of the biggest wrestlers of his day, and he refused to perform unless blacks were allowed to sit in any seat at the Ellis Auditorium, including in “whites-only” sections. As a result, his matches completely sold out as black fans flocked to the desegregated arena. Other sporting events began to desegregate once they saw the financial potential.
23. Publicity Stunt
On May 18th, 1990, Jim Swire took a fake bomb on board a British Airways flight from London to New York, then a flight from New York to Boston, to protest the lack of airline security. His own daughter had died in an airplane bombing in 1988. His bomb consisted of a cassette tape and marzipan.
22. Like a Camel Through the Eye of a Needle
Sea sponges are asexual creatures, and one of the ways they reproduce is by fragmentation. Small bits of sponge break off and float off into the ocean, where they land and grow somewhere else. This regenerative capability makes it possible for a sea sponge to be squeezed through a fine cloth, then regenerate itself after.
21. Must Be Penguins Fans
Iceland has only 20 paramedics in the whole country, and they were all trained in Pittsburgh! Iceland does not have a paramedic training facility, so it sends its paramedics to the Center for Emergency Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to learn their trade.
20. Know Thine Enemy
Elephants are so intelligent that they can distinguish human languages, genders and ages, and associate these traits with danger. Researchers found that elephants were more likely to show signs of danger when they heard the Maasai language (from a tribe that kills elephants) than when they heard the same phrase in Kamba (the language of a tribe that rarely kills elephants). They also distinguish between the tribes by their clothing and their smells.
19. Hard Drink / Soft Drink
In July 2011, Russia passed a bill that classified beer as alcohol. Previously, it was considered a soft drink, which meant there were no restrictions on when or where it was sold, or to whom.
18. Welcome Prank
In 2001, disgruntled LA commuter and visual artist Richard Ankrom pulled a prank on Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation. Tired of driving past an unmarked exit, he made up a giant sign to the exact specs of Caltrans traffic signs, then installed the sign while disguised as a Caltrans worker. The joke may have been on him—the sign was so identical, and served a real purpose, so it was only removed eight years later when it came down in a routine sign replacement.
17. The Man in Black
The first American to hear of Joseph Stalin’s death could have been none other than Country music legend Johnny Cash. During the Korean War, the 18-year-old Cash enlisted, and served at the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the US Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany. On March 5th, 1953, Cash claims he copied a communique in Soviet Morse Code that reported the death of the Russian leader.
16. Good Business
Former Costco CEO James Sinegal didn’t care when Wall Street analysts criticized him for putting good treatment of employees and customers ahead of increasing profits and pleasing shareholders. His favourite quote, which summed up his philosophy of success: “You have to take the sh** with the sugar.” His philosophy of treating employees well and fairly, and providing good service to consumers, paid off in the long run—stock value increased five thousand percent during the time he ran the company, and the two years of Costco’s highest-ever sales were his final two years as CEO.
15. Rain Is a Girl’s Best Friend
In 2013, the BBC reported on a study that claimed diamonds fall as rain on Jupiter and Saturn! Lightning storms turn methane into carbon soot, which harden as they fall and are compressed into graphite and then diamond. 1,000 tons of diamond rain falls annually on Saturn!
14. Licence to Golf
Peachtree City, Georgia is covered by a network of golf cart paths that allow access to almost every building. A large majority of the town owns golf carts, and teenagers grow up driving them instead of cars. The golf cart paths stretch 90 miles, and many businesses have special golf cart parking.
13. Don’t Litter, Either
“Don’t Mess With Texas” has become a phrase synonymous with Texan pride and identity. This is perhaps because few people remember the origins of the phrase. “Don’t Mess With Texas” originated as a slogan intended to reduce littering on Texas highways—the phrase was printed on billboards and is credited with a 72% decrease in roadside trash between 1986-1990. That’s a message worth repeating!
12. No Flies On Them
The Venus flytrap is only found natively within a 60 mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina. The plants grow wild in North Carolina’s Green Swamp, but are able to be cultivated and transplanted, and are exported worldwide.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, the Brazilian soccer player better known as Ronaldinho, scored big with many endorsement deals. He officially endorsed Pepsi for many years, but in 2011 switched sides and signed an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and the deal was terminated in 2012 after Ronaldinho was spotted in public drinking Pepsi.
10. Undercover Identity
Michael Jackson, though he did not receive credit because of legal label issues, wrote “Do The Bartman” after calling the producers of The Simpsons and offering to write Bart a number-one single. He also sings backup vocals on the track.
9. Fan Theories
Jackson was also outed as the composter of some other notable music: the score of Sega’s 1994 video game Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Fans noticed similarities between Jackson’s music at the time and the score of the Sonic 3 game. After years of online speculation, a former Sega executive admitted that Jackson had reached out and offered to compose some of the music without credit.
In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Jules Verne’s classic sci fi novel, a submarine roams the ocean deep and battles with a giant squid. But take note: 20,000 leagues below sea level would put you through the Earth and almost to the moon. The title “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” actually refers to the distance traveled while underwater, not the depth reached.
7. First Lady
Just hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President aboard Air Force One. Johnson became the first and so far only United States President to be sworn in by a woman (he was sworn in by Sarah T. Hughes)—and the only one to be sworn in on an airplane.
6. Naming Conventions
If you live in Hungary and want to name your child “Saint” or “Ivy Blue” or “Khaleesi,” you can probably forget it. Strict rules about naming dictate that parents must choose from a list of several thousand names when naming their babies. To choose a name not on the list, parents must submit a written request, and, if approved, may have to adapt the name to traditional Hungarian spelling (“Jennifer” would become “Dzsenifer”). Only those who belong to recognized minorities can freely choose a name from their own culture.
5. Like a Lollipop
Scientists and researchers have no idea why, but hippopotami reportedly enjoy licking and gently gnawing on crocodiles. The crocodiles are under no threat from the hippos—they’re vegetarians—and the hippos are far too large and powerful for a crocodile to attack anyway. The toothy crocs will sit and allow hippos, both babies and adults, to give them a tongue bath.
4. Too Secluded
In 2008, a beach was discovered missing in Jamaica! Over 500 truckloads of sand were stolen (likely to be used as construction material); a resort complex that was to be built alongside the beach had to be paused.
3. Vigilante Justice
When Isaac Newton wasn’t busy coming up with the theory of gravity, he was prowling around seedy London taverns while undercover. Newton accepted the position of warden for the Royal Mint, and regularly chased counterfeiters through the city’s criminal underbelly. His investigations yielded 28 convictions.
2. Mmm, Donuts
Canadians eat more donuts per capita than any other country on Earth.
1. Psychic Investigation
Declassified documents revealed that, in 1973, the CIA investigated Uri Geller’s paranormal powers and concluded that he was a real psychic because he was actually able to pass their tests. Geller was placed in an empty room while in another room a scientist picked a word at random out of the dictionary and drew it on a piece of paper. On multiple occasions, Geller was able to describe what the scientist had drawn. If he was using some kind of trick, it must have been a good one, because he was convincing enough for the CIA to conclude that, while he likely wasn’t going to be of much military use, Geller did in fact possess psychic abilities.