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+100 Amazing Facts That You Probably Don't Know

+100 Amazing Facts That You Probably Don’t Know

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Because you can’t only learn more about finance and early retirement, today the post will be about something different: Facts that aren’t commonly known, but they should.

Pure entertainment post.  Here goes.

1) Business

  • When Steve Jobs accused Microsoft of stealing the idea for Windows from Mac, Bill Gates replied: “Well, Steve, …. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
  • Although the show ended 14 years ago, FRIENDS still brings $1 billion for Warner Bros. every year in royalties. This means each of the six main cast members gets $20 million every year doing absolutely nothing.
  • When Nintendo had a fall in revenue from the less successful Wii U its CEO cut his pay in half for 5 months rather than blame workers.
  • Grand Theft Auto V cost $265 million to make — the largest budget of any video game at that time — but turned around and made $1 billion in its first 72 hours.
  • Quebec banned ads for toys and fast food aimed at children under 13, resulting in lowered childhood obesity rates.
  • Freddie Mercury, confined to his bed, got to see an advance copy of the “Wayne’s World” scene with Wayne and Garth headbanging to “Bohemian Rhapsody”. He loved it and approved of the song’s use in the film. The movie, in part, helped launch Queen’s comeback in the USA.
  • A Comcast customer who was constantly dissatisfied with his internet speeds set up a Raspberry Pi to automatically send an hourly tweet to @Comcast when his bandwidth was lower than advertised.
  • Microsoft included Solitaire in their operating systems to “to soothe people intimidated by the operating system” and introduce users to graphic user interfaces and taught them how to use a mouse.
  • When the 24-7-365 restaurant Denny’s decided to close for Christmas in 1988 many stores realized that they didn’t have any keys, or even locks, since they never used them. 700 of the 1221 restaurants needed to get new locks installed for the holiday.
  • The owner of Macy’s died on the Titanic. He refused to get in a lifeboat before women and children, and his wife refused to leave without him. She said, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” They were last seen standing on the deck, arm in arm.
  • In 2004, when asked about how he got the emails, addresses and pictures of so many people using Facebook Mark Zuckerburg replied “People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me”. Dumb f**ks.”
  • An Italian schoolboy who was selling snacks on campus at a lower price than the cafeteria was suspended for 10 days. He also received a prestigious scholarship from an institute that said the boy’s initiative should be “encouraged, not persecuted”.
  • After Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said NBA referee manager Ed Rush “wouldn’t be able to manage a Dairy Queen”, Dairy Queen management took offense and offered to let Cuban manage a Dairy Queen for a day. Cuban accepted.
  •  In 2014 London Black Cabs protested against Uber by bringing gridlock across central London. Instead of damaging Uber, it brought an 850% increase in downloads of the app and hastened the black cabs decline.
  • Kung-Fu Panda‘ (2008) was so successful in China that it caused a national debate on why Westerners made a better film about Chinese culture than the Chinese themselves.
  • Kit Kat is produced globally by NESTLE, except in the US where it’s made by their competitor HERSHEY.
  • Instead of donating money, Toyota helped the NY Food Bank by increasing efficiency, cutting line wait times from 90 to 18 minutes.
  • If you own a Rolls Royce, you can send your chauffeur to the Rolls Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England to be trained to drive a Rolls Royce under the “White Glove” driver training program.
  • Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt and gave the patent away to save lives.
  • When the CEO of the Sesame Street Workshop was asked if Bert and Ernie are gay, he replied, “They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets. They don’t exist below the waist.
  • Milton Hershey kept his employees working during the Great Depression by having them construct buildings in Hershey, PA including a school, arena, and hotel. When a steam shovel was brought in for construction, Hershey told his foreman to get rid of the shovel and hire 40 men instead.  21

2) Money

  • After a waitress at a pizzeria helped a customer choose the numbers for a winning lottery ticket in 1984, he ‘tipped’ her $3,000,000 – half of his $6,000,000 prize money.
  • Keanu Reeves often foregoes some of his paychecks so that producers can bring on other notable actors. On The Devil’s Advocate, he reduced his salary by a few million dollars so that they could afford Al Pacino, and he did the same thing on The Replacements to be able to work with Gene Hackman.
  • Michael Jordan once tipped a waitress a $5 chip for bringing him a drink. Wayne Gretzky stopped the waitress, removed the $5 chip, grabbed one of the many $100 chips on Jordan’s side of the table, and gave it to her. Then he said, “That’s how we tip in Las Vegas, Michael.”
  • Ben Franklin left the cities of Boston and Philadelphia $2,000 in his will, but they could not draw the full balance for 200 years. In 1990, the cities received $6.5 million.
  • A movement seeks to rename the Australian dollar to the “dollarydoo, based on a classic ‘The Simpsons’ episode. Doing so would increase demand for the currency and strengthen the Australian economy, organizers claim.
  • Tthe Beastie Boys won a lawsuit against a company for the unauthorized use of their song “Girls” and had the $1 Million settlement donated to a charity supporting education for Girls.
  • Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year moved to Texas in 2017 for a higher salary.
  • One man won $6 million in one night from one casino. Don Johnson singlehandedly ruined the Tropicana’s April 2011 revenue through blackjack; he’d already won $9 million at two other casinos. He is now banned from most Atlantic City casinos.
  • While penniless and dying, Ulysses S Grant wrote a book of memoirs so his wife could live off of the royalties. Mark Twain heard the best royalty offer was 10% and immediately offered Grant 75%. Grant’s book, was a critical and commercial success giving his wife about $450,000 in royalties.
  • In 2005, Facebook hired graffiti artist David Choe to paint murals in their new office space. Choe accepted Facebook shares instead of a cash payment, and when Facebook went public in 2012, his shares were valued at $200 million. 10

3) Science

  • 20,000-year-old fossilized human footprints were discovered in Australia which indicate the man who made them was running at the speed of a modern Olympic sprinter, barefoot, in the sand.
  • CDC has urged that schools open later because two-thirds of teenagers suffer chronic sleep deprivation.
  • The Mythbusters once tested a combination of common materials that made an extremely powerful explosive. They deleted the tapes and swore to never release the information, then contacted DARPA and warned them about the possibility of misuse from the combination.
  • Apes don’t ask questions. While apes can learn sign language and communicate using it, they have never attempted to learn new knowledge by asking humans or other apes. They don’t seem to realize that other entities can know things they don’t. It’s a concept that separates mankind from apes.
  • Scientists discovered a dinosaur tail perfectly preserved in amber. It is full of feathers.
  • A researcher once played a recording of an elephant who had died. The sound was coming from a speaker hidden in a thicket. The family went wild calling, looking all around. The dead elephant’s daughter called for days afterward. The researchers never again did such a thing.
  • Organ donation is on an opt-out basis in Singapore. Citizens who opt-out have a lower priority of receiving an organ should they need one.
  • One of the main engineers behind NASA’s Challenger rocket, which exploded in 1986, revealed that after NASA would not heed his warnings against launching in the cold weather, he told his wife the night before the launch, “It’s going to blow up.”
  • Tigers can, and will, take revenge on those who have wronged them. They are one of the most vengeful animals on the planet.
  • Roundabouts reduce fatalities from accidents by 90%. They also lower wait times and save on gas.
  • Sabrina Pasterski built a single engine airplane by the time she was 14 y/o, at 16 became the youngest person ever to fly their own plane; graduated MIT in 3 years with a 5.0 GPA and is now 24 at Harvard getting a Ph.D. in high energy physics.
  • Your brain is able to make a decision for you seconds before you become aware of the fact that you are making a decision.
  • Thalidomide, the infamous morning sickness drug that caused severe birth defects, was never approved for use in the US because of a single reviewer at the FDA who didn’t think it had been tested enough and resisted industry pressure to approve the drug anyway.
  • Raccoons were able to open 11 of 13 complex locks in fewer than 10 tries and had no problems repeating the action when the locks were rearranged or turned upside down. They can also remember the solutions to tasks for up to 3 years. 14

4) Food

  • There’s a restaurant in New York that doesn’t employ chefs; they employ grandmas. Every day, a different grandma from around the world designs her own menu.
  • Water is used in rice fields to prevent weeds. Rice doesn’t actually need that much water, but since it can thrive in such conditions, whereas weeds cannot, it’s a natural protection against them.
  • There is an Icelandic tradition called Jólabókaflóð, where books are exchanged as Christmas Eve presents and the rest of the night is spent reading them and eating chocolate. 3

5) Unbelievable

  • Nepalese soldier during the War of Afghanistan who was attacked by 30 insurgents. Believing he was about to die, he expended all 400 rounds of his ammunition, launched 17 grenades, detonated a Claymore mine, and killed an attacker with his tripod, causing them to retreat.
  • Scientists put slime mold onto a model of a map of Tokyo, with food representing urban centers. After a day, it created a network almost identical to Tokyo’s actual rail network. Human designers created that network to be as efficient as possible; slime mold did the same, but without a brain.
  • A group of undercover Detroit police posing as drug dealers tried to arrest another group of undercover police posing as drug buyers.
  • George Washington allegedly said before his death that he “would never set foot on English soil again,” so when they erected a statue of him in London, they put US soil under the statue to honor that claim.
  • An 18-month-old German Shepherd named Luna fell off a boat in the Pacific Ocean, swam 2 miles to a nearby island, and survived for 5 weeks by eating mice before she was rescued by a team of Navy staffers. She was found to be slightly under-nourished, but in perfect condition otherwise.
  • CBS used to add bird songs to their golf broadcasts to get rid of awkward silences until they got caught by someone watching at home who knew the bird songs belonged to birds that didn’t live in the region in which the golf tournament was being played.
  • When pimps get arrested, their cash can legally be confiscated but not their jewelry. This is why pimps wear lots of jewelry so that they can “re-pawn” it for bail money.
  • Anonymous sent thousands of all-black faxes to the Church of Scientology to deplete all their ink cartridges.
  • An American woman never learned what happened to her husband, whose plane was shot down over Les Ventes, France during WWII. She finally got her congressman to reopen his case in 2011. She was shocked to learn the town had been memorializing him and his sacrifice for 67 years.
  • In 2009 Stephen Hawking held a party open to all, but only publicized the party after it was over so that only time-travelers would know to attend; as expected, nobody showed up to the party.
  • Australian opium farmers found mysterious crop circles in their fields. The culprits were wallabies who got high and bounced around in circles.
  • A hijacked Ethiopian Airlines plane was headed to Switzerland but had to be intercepted by French/Italian fighter jets because the Swiss Airforce doesn’t work on nights and weekends.
  • A rodent that was believed to be extinct for 113 years casually showed up on the handrail at the front porch of an ecolodge in Colombia and let researchers photograph it for two hours before disappearing into the night, after which it was never seen again.
  • A cow named Cincinnati Freedom evaded police officers for 11 days after jumping a six-foot fence to escape a slaughterhouse; after finally being caught, and she was given the “key to the city” by Cincinnati’s mayor and allowed to live out her days in a NY sanctuary.
  • A village in India is addicted to chess after one man taught everyone how to play 50 years ago to stop excessive alcohol use and gambling which has now all declined to almost nothing.
  • Almost 1 in 4 people with tattoos regret it, meaning about 7.5 million Americans.
  • Because the number 8 is considered very lucky in Chinese culture, a Chinese man spent the equivalent of $145,000 to secure a license plate reading ‘88888’ in the hope of increasing his luck. On his first day with the plate, he was pulled over 8 times by cops who thought the plate was a fake.
  • Wife bought a scratch-off lottery ticket to prove a point to her husband that it was a waste of money, but it ended up winning her $1 million.
  • A British 19-year-old has officially changed his name to “Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined.” His grandmother is no longer speaking to him.
  • Leonard Nimoy met many fans who became scientists because of Spock’s example and talked to the ‘Star Trek’ actor as if he were a fellow researcher. Nimoy always nodded and told them, “Well, it certainly looks like you’re headed in the right direction.” 20

6) Facts that make the World a better place

  • Keanu Reeves runs a private charitable foundation to fund cancer research and children’s hospitals. In 2009, he told Ladies Home Journal: “I don’t like to attach my name to it, I just let the foundation do what it does.”
  • If you publish a book in Norway, the government will buy 1000 copies (1,500 if a children’s book) and distribute them to libraries throughout the country.
  • Comedian Ryan Stiles from Whose Line is it Anyway? has been a frequent fundraiser for children with burn injuries, raising over $500,000 for the Burned Children Recovery Center since 2009, helping the foundation to recover from the economic crash of 2008.
  • Mark Twain traveled extensively and once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth…”
  • After his wife was denied water by upper caste people, Indian laborer Bapuro Tajne managed to dig her a well in under 40 days and ended up discovering a water source capable of sustaining his entire village.
  • In the 1880s, many farmers communicated by connecting their phones to barbed wire fences. This process often allowed for up to 20 people to be connected at once, everyone’s phone would ring regardless of who called, and the invention helped many farmers overcome depression and loneliness.
  • In 2013, after more than 20 years of soda being America’s number one beverage, water has taken over as Americans’ favorite drink.
  • The German Parliament building has a glass dome above it that people can climb using a spiral ramp. The dome symbolizes that the people are above the government, and the government should be transparent.
  • Bhutan is the world’s only carbon negative country. The constitution demands at least 60% of the country covered in forest, making it a sink of over four million tonnes of CO2 per year.
  • Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate to more than 80%.
  • A Malawian teenager taught himself how to build a windmill out of junk and bring power to his village. He then went on to build a second, larger windmill to power irrigation pumps. He did this all from books he read in the library.
  • Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is the first billionaire to fall off the Forbes billionaire list because of charitable giving: “You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.”
  • Despite supporting one of the highest human population densities, Japan is the first developed country with the highest percentage (74%) of forest-covered land. Japan’s forest management policy began over four centuries ago.
  • In 1986, nurse Sandra Clarke could not stay with a patient who asked her to stay. When she returned, the patient had died alone. In 2001, she was key in starting No One Dies Alone, a program where volunteers sit with terminal patients who have no one else. The program is now worldwide. 14

7) Famous Quotes

  • The refrain “when one door closes, another opens” is actually an Alexander Graham Bell quote which he followed by saying “but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
  • A riddle from 1688 goes. “If a man born blind can feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes, could he, if given the ability, distinguish those objects by sight alone?” In 2003 the riddle was solved when five people had their sight restored through surgery. They could not.
  • Upon hearing about the death of Teddy Roosevelt, Vice President Thomas R. Marshal declared “death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight
  • When the Nazis burned Sigmund Freud’s books he said, “What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages, they would have burned me. Now, they are content with burning my books.”

8) History

  • When George Westinghouse fell into financial problems and asked Nikola Tesla for relief from the royalties Westinghouse agreed to, Tesla tore up the contract that would bring him millions. “I’m not interested in money, I’m interested in leaving something behind for the humankind“.
  • In 1724 Margaret Dickson was hanged but later found still alive. She then was allowed to go free because under Scots Law her punishment had been carried out. Only later were the words “until dead” added to the sentence of hanging.
  • In 1990, First Lady Barbara Bush criticized The Simpsons as “the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” Marge wrote a letter to her, in character, politely telling her not to be so judgmental and explaining that her family tried their best. Mrs. Bush later apologized for her “loose tongue”.
  • When Beethoven was challenged to an improvisation duel by one of his rivals named Steibelt, Beethoven took a piece of Steibelt’s music, turned it upside down, played it, then improvised on that theme for over an hour. Steibelt simply left halfway through.
  • The Ancient Egyptians used 12 months of exactly 30 days, with 5 days of festivities at the end to add up to 365.
  • Teddy Roosevelt’s Son Died Flying for the US During WWI. When His Body Was Discovered Behind Enemy Lines, the Germans Gave Him A Full Military Burial With Honors.
  • In 2007 workers in Antarctica discovered several perfectly preserved crates of Scotch Whiskey left behind by Ernest Shackleton in 1909.
  • Black Sabbath’s debut album in 1970 began with the sound of rain and a distant church bell. 43 years later, in 2013, their final album ended with the sound of rain and a distant church bell.
  • Steven Spielberg wanted to direct a James Bond film, but he was turned down by the franchise’s owners. When he told his friend George Lucas, Lucas said he had a film “just like James Bond but even better.” It was a story about an archaeologist named Indiana.
  • Extinction was only accepted as a fact in the late 18th century after Georges Cuvier, the father of paleontology, disproved the old theory that it was impossible for species to go extinct because God wouldn’t wipe out a species he spent time creating for his Divine Plan.
  • After Col. Shaw died in battle, Confederates buried him in a mass grave as an insult for leading black soldiers. Union troops tried to recover his body, but his father sent a letter saying “We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers.”
  • During the exceptionally cold winter of 1795, a French Hussar regiment captured the Dutch fleet on the frozen Zuiderzee, a bay to the northwest of the Netherlands. The French seized 14 warships and 850 guns. This is one of the only times in recorded history where calvary has captured a fleet.
  • In the 18th century, John Harrison claimed that he could build a clock to keep time to within a second over 100 days; it triggered widespread ridicule at his time. The clock had been built to his exact specifications in 2015; it was declared the “most accurate mechanical clock”.
  • The Eruption of Krakatoa was so loud, it was heard over 3000 miles away, the equivalent of hearing a sound from Ireland while you’re in Boston. It also ruptured the eardrums of sailors over 40 miles away, killed over 36 thousand due to the eruptions and subsequent tsunamis.
  • Vince Coleman, a railway dispatcher, sacrificed his life in order to warn an incoming train of an imminent explosion. His telegraph said “Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye, boys.” He saved 300 lives. 15

+100 Amazing Facts That You Probably Don't Know


How about you reader, do you know other amazing facts worth sharing? What’s your favorite one on this list? 

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About GTRetire

GTRetire is the founder of GrowtoRetire, a blog about financial independence and early retirement. Click here to learn more about starting a blog! Also, this post may contain affiliate links, please read the disclaimer for more info.

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