101 Amazing Facts

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1. In 2006, an Australian man tried to sell New Zealand on eBay. The price rose to $3,000 before eBay shut it down.

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2. Google's founders were willing to sell to Excite for under $1 million in 1999—but Excite turned them down.

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3. There was a third Apple founder. Ronald Wayne (pictured at home in 2010) sold his 10% stake for $800 in 1976.

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4. Reed Hastings was inspired to start Netflix after racking up a $40 late fee on a VHS copy of Apollo 13.

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5. In Japan, letting a sumo wrestler make your baby cry is considered good luck.

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6. The actor who was inside R2-D2 hated the guy who played C-3PO, calling him "the rudest man I've ever met."

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7. During WWI, German measles were called "liberty measles" and dachshunds became "liberty hounds."

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8. When three-letter airport codes became standard, airports that had been using two letters simply added an X.

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9. At one point in the 1990s, 50% of all CDs produced worldwide were for AOL.

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10. Toy companies failed to duplicate the success of Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear with William Taft's "Billy Possum."

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11. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his chocolate ration.

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12. In response to The Lorax, the forest products industry published Truax to teach kids the importance of logging.

See Also: 10 Stories Behind Dr. Seuss Stories

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13. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima for work when the first A-bomb hit, made it home to Nagasaki for the second, and lived to be 93.

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14. A British man changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice to make it harder for telemarketers to pronounce.

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15. J.P. Morgan once offered $100,000 to anyone who could figure out why his face was so red. No one solved the mystery.

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16. Prairie dogs say hello with kisses.

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17. Before settling on the Seven Dwarfs we know today, Disney considered Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful.

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18. A 2009 search for the Loch Ness Monster came up empty. Scientists did find over 100,000 golf balls.

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19. After OutKast sang “Shake it like a Polaroid picture,” Polaroid released a statement that said, “Shaking or waving can actually damage the image.”

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20. New Mexico State's first graduating class in 1893 had only one student—and he was shot and killed before graduation.

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21. In the mid-1980s, Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas was the voice of Charlie Brown's sister Sally.

See Also: 21 Famous People Who Quietly Voiced Cartoon Characters
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22. Jonas Salk declined to patent his polio vaccine. "There is no patent," he said. "Could you patent the sun?"

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23. Only one McDonald’s in the world has turquoise arches. Sedona, AZ thought yellow clashed with the natural red rock.

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24. The 50-star American flag was designed by an Ohio high school student for a class project. His teacher originally gave him a B–.

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25. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most commonly stolen vehicle in 2012 was the 1994 Honda Accord.

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26. After leaving office, Lyndon Johnson let his hair grow out.

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27. Crabs have their own version of the fist pump. Male crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females.

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28. Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men is used by researchers to attract animals to cameras in the wilderness.

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29. Sean Connery turned down the Gandalf role in Lord of the Rings. "I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it."

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30. E.B. White of Charlotte's Web fame is the "White" of Strunk and White, who wrote The Elements of Style.

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31. Chock Full o' Nuts coffee does not contain nuts. It's named for a chain of nut stores that the founder converted into coffee shops.

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32. 12+1 = 11+2, and "twelve plus one" is an anagram of "eleven plus two."

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33. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh played Screech's cousin on a 1996 episode of Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

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34. At the height of Rin Tin Tin's fame, a chef prepared him a daily steak lunch. Classical musicians played to aid his digestion.

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35. The Arkansas School for the Deaf's nickname is the Leopards. The Deaf Leopards.

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36. If your dog's feet smell like corn chips, you're not alone. The term "Frito Feet" was coined to describe the scent.

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37. A sex pheromone found in male mouse urine was named "darcin," for Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy.

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38. Barry Manilow did not write his hit "I Write the Songs."

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39. He did, however, write State Farm's "Like a Good Neighbor" jingle.

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40. And "I am stuck on Band-Aids, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me."

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41. Winston Churchill's mother was born in Brooklyn.

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42. Officials in Portland, Ore., drained 8 million gallons of water from a reservoir in 2011 because a buzzed 21-year-old peed in it.

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43. There's a basketball court above the Supreme Court. It's known as the Highest Court in the Land.

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44. If you start counting at one and spell out the numbers as you go, you won't use the letter "A" until you reach 1,000.

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45. On a 1999 episode of The West Wing, Nick Offerman ("Ron Swanson") played a man lobbying the White House to build a $900 million wolves-only roadway.

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46. The medical term for ice cream headaches is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

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47. After Leonardo da Vinci's death, King Francis I of France hung the Mona Lisa in his bathroom.

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48. Redondo Beach, CA adopted the Goodyear Blimp as the city's official bird in 1983.

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49. In 2001, Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia in part because anti-porn filters blocked access to the school's website.

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50. Peeps Lip Balm is something that exists.

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51. Quentin Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on The Golden Girls.

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52. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas dropped out of high school but picked up his GED in 1993. His GED class voted him Most Likely to Succeed.

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53. Sleeping through winter is hibernation, while sleeping through summer is estivation.

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54. In Spain, Mr. Clean is known as Don Limpio.

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55. In Qaddafi's compound, Libyan rebels found a photo album filled with pictures of Condoleezza Rice.

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56. The famous Aaron Burr “Got Milk?” ad from 1993 was directed by Michael Bay.

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57. Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive. Researchers hoping to view them must sign a disclaimer.

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58. Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins also wrote for Clarissa Explains It All.

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59. In a 2008 survey, 58% of British teens thought Sherlock Holmes was a real guy, while 20% thought Winston Churchill was not.

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60. The Scots have a word for that panicky hesitation you get when introducing someone whose name you can't remember: tartle.

See Also: 38 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent

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61. William McKinley was on the $500 bill, Grover Cleveland was on the $1,000, and James Madison was on the $5,000.

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62. In 1999, the U.S. government paid the Zapruder family $16 million for the film of JFK's assassination.

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63. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know. But on average, a Licking Machine made at Purdue needed 364.

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64. Janis Joplin left $2,500 in her will for her friends to "have a ball after I’m gone."

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65. Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

66. In the mid-1960s, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book called "How to Lose Weight." One of the tips was "Don’t eat."

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67. Ben & Jerry originally considered getting into the bagel business, but the equipment was too expensive.

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68. The first webcam watched a coffee pot. It allowed researchers at Cambridge to monitor the coffee situation without leaving their desks.

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69. When asked if he knew the speed of sound, Einstein said he "didn't carry such information in my mind since it's readily available in books."

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70. The last time a Republican was elected president without a Nixon or Bush on the ticket was 1928.

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71. The original Space Jam website still exists.

See Also: 17 Ancient Abandoned Websites That Still Work

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72. In 1979, Japan offered new British PM Margaret Thatcher 20 "karate ladies" for protection at an economic summit. She declined.

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73. Before Google launched Gmail, "G-Mail" was the name of a free email service offered by Garfield's website.

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74. Nikola Tesla on Thomas Edison: "He had no hobby, cared for no amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene."

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75. Kentucky tweaked its Wildcat logo in 1994 after people complained the tongue was too phallic.

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76. The final speech by Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird was done in one take.

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77. In 1980, Detroit presented Saddam Hussein with a key to the city.

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78. The "Where's the Beef?" lady (Clara Peller) lost her job in 1985 after doing a Prego ad in which she "found the beef at somewhere other than Wendy's."

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79. Just before the Nazis invaded Paris, H.A. and Margret Rey fled on bicycles. They were carrying the manuscript for Curious George.

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80. In Super Mario Bros., the bushes are just clouds colored green.

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81. When fruit flies are infected with a parasite, they self-medicate with booze—they seek out food with higher alcohol content.

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82. Crayola means "oily chalk." The name combines "craie" (French for "chalk") and "ola" (short for "oleaginous," or "oily").

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83. The Pittsburgh Penguins made Mister Rogers an honorary captain in 1991.

See Also: 46 Things You Might Not Know About Mister Rogers

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84. In 1493, Columbus thought he saw mermaids. They were "not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men." (Probably manatees.)

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85. When the Westboro Baptist Church protested a soldier's funeral in Oklahoma, their tires were slashed. People in town refused to repair them.

CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World

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86. An early ATM was deemed a failure because its only users were "prostitutes and gamblers who didn’t want to deal with tellers face to face."

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87. Bob Ross on his Air Force career: “I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine…who screams at you for being late to work.”

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88. Truman Show Delusion is a mental condition marked by a patient's belief that he or she is the star of an imaginary reality show.

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89. In 1973, Mao Zedong told Henry Kissinger that China had an excess of females and offered the U.S. 10 million Chinese women.

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90. Cookie Monster is not changing his name. In a 2012 episode he said, "We've got to stop this Veggie Monster rumor before me reputation ruined."

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91. According to Amazon, the most highlighted Kindle books are the Bible, the Steve Jobs biography, and The Hunger Games.

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92. A California woman once tried to sue the makers of Cap'n Crunch because Crunch Berries contained "no berries of any kind."

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93. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift apart.

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94. In 1986, Apple launched a clothing line.

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95. Between 1900 and 1920, Tug of War was an Olympic event.

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96. The word "unfriend" appeared in print all the way back in 1659.

See Also: 16 Words That Are Much Older Than They Seem

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97. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

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98. Wilford Brimley was Howard Hughes's bodyguard.

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99. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V handbook classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder.

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100. The SarcMark was invented by Paul Sak to emphasize a sarcastic phrase, sentence or message.

See Also: 13 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using

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101. The light emitted by 200,000 galaxies makes our universe a shade of beige. Scientists call the color "cosmic latte."

For more amazing facts follow @mental_floss on Twitter. Images courtesy of Getty Images and Thinkstock. Ronald Wayne image via Karen T. Borchers/MCT/Landov.

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March 6, 2014 - 12:10pm
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