1) At the peak of its production in World War II, Ford’s Willow Run production facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan was fabricating an entire B-24 Liberator long-range bomber every 63 minutes.
2) The string on cartons of animal cracker treats was put on the box in 1902 so that the boxes, smaller than the large tins the crackers were usually sold in, could be hung on Christmas trees; the packaging was a hit and the smaller box, string and all, is still produced today.
3) The Bay City Rollers, a popular 1970s pop act, aren’t from Bay City, Michigan as one might assume but from Edinburgh, Scotland; the band chose their name by throwing a dart at a map of the United States and picking the nearest city.
4) Director John Landis includes references to a fictional movie See You Next Wednesday in nearly all his films; while the title is a reference to a script he wrote when he was a teenager, the content of the fictional movie changes from appearance to appearance.
5) Hemophilia, a disorder that causes poor blood clotting in the afflicted, is found almost exclusively in men as it is a recessive sex-linked X chromosome disorder; women can carry the disorder and pass it along to their male children, but they are usually asymptomatic and are unaware they carry the defect.
9) The shot put used in the men’s division of shot putting (open competitions) weighs 16.01 pounds (practically the same upper limit weight as a regulation bowling ball); the world record was set by Randy Barnes in 1990 when he threw a shot put a distance of 23.12 meters (almost twice the length of a GM Classic transit bus).
10) The original marketing slogan for Nerf toys was “Throw it indoors; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt old people or babies.”
11) Thanks to the entire U.S. waiting to hear the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict in 1995, the day the verdict was announced long distance phone call traffic decreased 58 percent and trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange decreased by 41 percent.
12) Maybe all those milk ads about happy cows are true; researchers monitored cows and found that those that were the best treated and doted on by their handlers produced the most milk.
13) Legend originally meant “things to be read” and in an era when both literacy and the written word were rare, to be “legendary” was considered to be worthy of being recorded for future generations to read about.
14) In the original set of 60 Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the suspects escape or are let go in exactly 50 percent of the cases.
15) Fires at tire dumps are notoriously long burning and difficult to extinguish; one such fire in Heyope, England burned from 1989 to 2001.
16) Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot was inspired to write his well known song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” after seeing the name of the ship misspelled in Newsweek magazine (and felt that the error dishonored the memory of the crew that perished).
17) The platypus is a milk-producing mammal but has no nipples: platypus milk oozes out of mammary gland ducts and collects in grooves on their skin where it is lapped up by their young.
18) For years scientists thought that the Tapetail fish, the Bignose fish, and the Whalefish were completely separate species, but studying the body structures of the three types and DNA testing revealed that the radically different looking and sized fish were the larval, male, and female members of the same species, now known as the Flabby Whalefish.
19) Lice via static electricity build-up, such as that generated by removing a sweater or combing dry hair, can be “ejected” a distance of one meter away from their current host.
20) The iconic van used in the popular 1980s action TV series The A-Team was a 1983 GMC Vandura.
21) Psychological pricing, or “charm” pricing, is the practice of pricing products with odd values (like $19.99 instead of $20) because consumers are more likely to purchase a product priced in such a fashion.
22) “Mexican jumping beans,” a novelty toy in the U.S. and U.K. that enjoyed peak popularity in the mid-20th century, aren’t beans at all but seed pods and they jump because a tiny moth larva inside is wiggling in an attempt to flip the bean to achieve optimum temperature.
23) The first worker to die during the construction of the Hoover Damn (J.G. Tierney) was the father of the last person to die during the project (Patrick Tierney, 13 years to the day after his father’s death).
24) British military tanks are required to have a boiling vessel station for brewing tea or other hot drinks (and heating boil-in-the-bag meals) on board.
25) The 1971 cult classic film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was financed by food mega-
conglomerate Quaker Oats to promote their Wonka Bars; the bars proved unpopular and were off the shelves within a year, but the popularity of the movie endures.
26) The name of Three Musketeers candy makes a lot more sense when you discover that in the original version the candy came with three bars: one chocolate, one vanilla, and one strawberry.
27) There is a plant native to Australia known as “Gympie Gympie” that is like a supercharged version of poison ivy; the compounds secreted by the leaves of the plant are so incredibly painful that people describe the effects, which linger for weeks after exposure, as like a combination of being doused in hot acid and electrocuted at the same time.
28) The “Mystery” flavor of popular Dum Dum lollipops is created as a result of not cleaning the machine between batches; each mystery flavor is a continually varying flavor created by the old flavor mix slowly being replaced by the new flavor mix.
29) The perforated metal screen inside the glass of your microwave oven door is specially designed so that light (which has a short wavelength) can pass through the tiny holes but microwave radiation (which has a longer wavelength) cannot.
30) Natural gas is odorless; after an explosion in 1937 killed hundreds in a Texas school, laws were passed requiring an easily detected malodorant to be added to all natural gas.
31) Long running American soap opera Guiding Light started in 1937 as an NBC Radio show, moved to CBS Radio, then CBS TV, and over its 72 year run had a total of 18,262 episodes.
32) Ostriches have no teeth; they swallow pebbles and sand to grind up the seeds, shrubs, grasses, fruit, and flowers they eat.
33) While both the British and Americans consume beef in great quantities, what they call that beef differs as British and American butchers use totally different cuts; what Americans refer to as “sirloin”, for example, is part of what the British would call “rump steak”.
34) The most common litter produced by nine-banded armadillos is identical quadruplets.
35) The largest U.S. state (Alaska, 665,384 square miles) is 431 times bigger than the smallest (Rhode Island, 1,544 square miles).
36) Eleven states in the United States are bigger than the entirety of the United Kingdom; The largest U.S. state, Alaska, is 7.05 times bigger than the U.K.
37) The Super Bowl was named such by Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League, who was inspired by his children playing with a Wham-O brand bouncy ball known as the Super Ball.
38) Julia Child, most famous for her cooking shows, helped develop shark repellent during World War II to keep sharks away from underwater mines.
39) The scientist who discovered X-rays, Wilhelm Röntgen, refused to patent his discovery and related machinery because he wanted all of humanity to benefit from it.
40) In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the playing-card-people found within the
41) Queen of Heart’s kingdom have roles based on their card suite: Hearts belong to the royal family, diamonds are courtiers, clubs are soldiers, and spades are gardeners.
42) Within five weeks of the 1997 release of hit film Titanic, seven percent of teenage girls in the
43) United States had already watched the film twice with a significant portion of ticket sales over the release period driven by additional repeat viewings.
44) Olive color is determined by harvest date: green olives are harvested before they ripen and various cultivars turn brown, purple, or black when they are ripe (but “black” olives you purchase may actually be tinted that way by the inclusion of ferrous sulfate in their canning solution).
45) Most common household battery size designations are over a century old; D batteries were introduced in 1898, AA batteries in 1907, and AAA batteries in 1911.
46) The Sydney Opera House was originally projected to cost seven million dollars but, when the project was finally completed ten years later than scheduled, it cost 102 million dollars: a mere 1,457 percent over budget.
47) Human tears differ in chemical composition based on the cause of the tears (such as laughter/joy, sadness, or reaction to outside stimulus like onion fumes).
48) Only the female M&M “Spokescandies” have titles like “Miss Green”, all the male candies are referred to simply by their colors such as “Red”.
On October 31, 2001, over 300 years after the Salem Witch Trials, a resolution proclaiming all of the individuals (women and men) accused of witchcraft innocent was signed by the Governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift.
According to the National Confectioners Association, an estimated 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year.
50) Engineers at the University of Purdue solved the age old candy mystery of “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”; the answer is an average of 252 licks (via human tongues rather than a machine-based one).