Here’s our latest collection of 36 weird and wonderful facts to impress your mates:
No Citizenship for Charlie Chaplin
- In 2005, a fortune cookie company won the lottery, resulting in 110 winners and an investigation.
- In 2016, a French worker sued his ex-employer for €360,000 (£324,880) because his job was “too boring”.
- Although he lived in the US for 40 years, London-born Charlie Chaplin never applied for American citizenship.
- Ronald Reagan almost died on the set of the 1951 comedy Bedtime for Bonzo when his co-star – a chimp – strangled him by pulling on his tie.
- No-one has ever achieved a perfect score on the gaokao, the nine-hour Chinese college entrance exam.
UPS Saving the Day
- In 2016, a UPS driver who spotted “call 911” written on a package helped police free a woman who was being held captive.
- Adult mayflies or Dolania americana emerge before dawn in early summer, mate and die in the space of about 30 minutes. Houseflies live for 25 to 30 days.
- George Harrison was the first Beatle to go vegetarian.
- Dalmatians are white at birth. Their first spots usually appear within 3 to 4 weeks of being born.
- Instagram only had 13 employees when it was bought by Facebook for US$1 billion (nearly £800 million) in 2012.
“Seize the Time… Live Now!”
- Sir Patrick Stewart OBE was so sceptical about the success of Star Trek that he didn’t unpack his bag for six weeks.
- In many parts of Africa, snakes are looked upon as the reincarnation of deceased relatives.
- Columbia University accidentally sent out acceptance emails to 277 prospective graduate students in 2017 and then revoked them in a follow-up email an hour later.
- If it ever went up for sale, the White House would cost from US$90 to US$369 million (£72 to £295 million).
- Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin was only 53 years old when he died in 1924 after a series of strokes.
“Float Like a Butterfly… Sting Like a Bee”
- Muhammad Ali’s great grandfather was an Irish immigrant who settled in Kentucky in the 1860s.
- Three-quarters of the population of Venezuela lost at least a stone and a half in 2016 due to a lack of proper nutrition amid an economic crisis.
- Issac Newton invented the ridges along the edges of coins (reeding) to prevent theft and counterfeiting.
- Shakira recorded her very first album when she was only 13. It was made up entirely of songs that she had started writing at the age of 8!
- To prepare for his role in the film The Mask of Zorro, Antonio Banderas practised with the Olympic fencing team in Spain for four months.
- Victorian families often kept hedgehogs in kitchens as a form of insect control.
- Mageirocophobia is the fear of having to cook.
- Some people never develop fingerprints.
- Marco Polo first set off for China at 17 with his father and uncle travelling along the Silk Road and later working for the Mongol leader, Kublai Khan. He remained abroad for 24 years.
- Value-added tax in Bhutan stands at 50%.
Get Your Passports At The Ready
- All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises!
- The NHS patient record system, which was abandoned in 2011, cost the taxpayer nearly £10 billion, with the final bill likely to be several hundreds of millions of pounds higher.
- In the UK, all horses, ponies and donkeys must have a horse passport.
- Life expectancy in Ancient Rome was from 20 to 30 years.
- The Roman Empire was only the 28th most extensive empire in history. The largest was the British Empire with more than 13 million square miles of land (22% of the earth’s landmass) and 458 million people in 1938 (more than 20% of the world population).
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
- The wars between Romans and Persians lasted about 721 years, the most protracted conflict in human history.
- The United States is the world’s largest economy with a gross domestic product (the monetary value of goods and services made during a specific period) of approximately US$20.5 trillion (£16.4 billion).
- The average ocean depth is 2.5 miles.
- Six-and-a-quarter million tons of rubbish are dumped into the ocean every year. Most of it is plastic.
- If we captured just 0.1% of the ocean’s kinetic energy caused by tides, we could satisfy the current global energy demand five times over.
- About 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year.
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