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100 Amazing Facts Everyone Should Know

In this week's episode, John Green zips through 100 amazing facts. Store these away for future pub quiz nights. Here's a transcript courtesy of Nerdfighteria Wiki:

Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is Mental Floss on YouTube.

1. And did you know that PETA once asked the Pet Shop Boys to change their name to the Rescue Shelter Boys? That's the first of 100 amazing facts everyone should know that I am going to share with you today.

2. In 1939 Adolf Hitler's nephew wrote an article called, "Why I Hate My Uncle." Now, I haven't read it, but I assume it's like, "He forgets my birthday. Also, he's literally Hitler." Anyway, the nephew eventually moved to Long Island.

3. Nikola Tesla said of 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." Sounds to me like his hobby was annoying you, Nikola. Edison's other hobby, of course, was stealing all of Tesla's ideas. 

4. Another pair of famous enemies: the actor who was inside R2-D2 hated the guy who played C-3PO, calling him, "the rudest man I've ever met."  That's why C-3PO doesn't get to be on the wall of magic.

5. In David Hasslehoff's divorce settlement, he retained possession of the nickname "Hoff" and the catchphrase, "Don't hassle the Hoff."

6. 12+1=11+2, and twelve plus one is an anagram of eleven plus two.

7. Speaking of addition, the sum of the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666.

8. "Jay" was once slang for "foolish person" so when a pedestrian ignored street signs, they were a Jay walker.

9. There is a genus of ferns named after Lady Gaga, which means that 19 ferns start with the word "Gaga."

10. You have a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket unless you're very knowledgeable about basketball in which case your chances improve to about 1 in 128 billion.

11. Before Google launched G-Mail, G-Mail was the free email service Garfield the Cat's website offered to its fans. It was way better in those days. Also, for instance, they didn't make you get a Google+ account.

12. The giant inflatable rat that shows up at union protests is named Scabby. Our rat is also named Scabby.

13. The Procrastinators' Club of America's newsletter is called, Last Month's Newsletter. Then members of the club read the newsletter, you know, whenever they get around to it.

14. Shopping tip: touching an item makes you more likely to buy it, and also willing to pay more for it.

15. The Tony awards started in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry awards for excellence in theatre. Winners received a scroll as well as a cigarette lighter if they were male or a silver compact case if they were female.

16. The ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic, the Carpathia, was sunk during World War I by a German U-boat.

17. According to a study done at the University of Leicester, the milk yield of cows increases when they're listening to relaxing music.

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

19. Hawaiian Punch was originally developed in 1934 as a tropical-flavored ice cream topping.

20. Albert Einstein never learned to drive a car.

21. In 2006, a California pastor urged his congregation to go to bars and try to convince young people to delete their Myspace accounts. Little did he know, of course, that people don't have to be encouraged to delete their Myspaces. Oh man. Remember when we all had Myspaces? The crazy thing is, there's all these 15-year-olds watching this video right now who are like "No, no I don't remember that." How do the children of today even know who their top 8 friends are?

22. Anyway, when fruit flies are infected with a parasite, they self-medicate with booze; they seek out food with higher alcohol content.

23. In 2008, the iTunes store sold an app called "I Am Rich." It cost $999.99 and served absolutely no purpose. Eight copies were sold, and then Apple shut it down in less than a day.

24. John Cazale died in 1978. Every film he appeared in was nominated for Best Picture.

25. Due to a shortage in raw materials like paper and leather, and an increase in war-time piety, the United States faced a bible shortage in 1943.

26. In colonial America, lobster was not a delicacy. It was actually so cheap and plentiful that it was often served to prisoners. You hear that, Mr. Lobster? You're not so fancy.

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

28. As were art competitions between 1912 and 1948. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting, and sculpture.

29. According to a Wall Street Journal study, there are only eleven minutes of actual football action during the average NFL game.

30. In 1991, Wayne Allwine (the voice of Mickey Mouse) married Russi Taylor (the voice of Minnie Mouse).

31. The tallest jockey on record: 7 feet, 7 inches. The Indiana Horse Racing Commission once licensed former NBA centre Manute Bol to race in a charity event.

32. The nursery rhyme never actually states that Humpty Dumpty is an egg, so, for all we know, he is a pterodactyl.

33. Alton Brown, who once appeared on a Mental Floss cover, was the director of photography for REM's 1987 video, "The One I Love."

34. In 1997 Bloomsbury printed the first one thousand copies of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". Today, each of those copies is worth between 20 and 40 thousand dollars.

35. When Canada's Northwest territories considered renaming itself in the 1990s, one name that gained a lot of popular support was "Bob."

36. Carly Simon's dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He put is own name in the company name? That's so.. he's really... uh what's the word that I'm looking for...Pleased with himself?

37. Vince Neil has said that Mötley Crüe decided to add umlauts to its name while drinking Löwenbräu beer. "We had no idea that it was a pronunciation thing," he said, plausibly.

38. In 1989 Walmart pulled Listerine off the shelves after a woman claimed it burned her mouth, but after testing it was restocked because it turns out: that's just how Listerine tastes.

39. Hootie and the Blowfish performed at Tiger Woods' wedding in 2004, which makes sense, 'cause when it comes to marriage, Tiger Woods was about to blow it. Anybody? Blow? The Blowfish? There was a lot of infidelity in his marriage? No?

40. The American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 handbook classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder. I just classify it as 11 o'clock in the morning. That's why we keep coffee on the wall.

41. By the way, after coffee beans are decaffeinated, the caffeine is sold to soft-drink makers and pharmaceutical companies. Caffeine, by the way, can be a very effective treatment for low cerebral spinal fluid headaches, as I recently learned.

42. Coffee was banned in Mecca in the 16th Century because it was believed to stimulate radical thinking. 

43. Last coffee fact: every scene in the movie Fight Club contains a cup of Starbucks coffee.

44. In 1999, the US government paid the Zapruder family 16 million dollars for the film of JFK's assassination.

45. George Washington insisted his Continental Army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

46. And speaking of booze, college students spend more than 5.5 billion dollars on alcohol per year: more than they spend on textbooks.

47. When asked who owns the patent on the Polio vaccine, Jonas Salk said “Well, the people. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” To which several pharmaceutical companies replied, "WAIT! Can you patent the sun?"

48. The letter J is the only letter that doesn't appear on the periodic table. Yet! Until I discover an element: "Johnium"

49. The Pledge of Allegiance was written as part of a plan to sell flags to schools.

50. Pharrell wrote Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani, Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake, and Milkshake by Kelis.

51. When he was younger, Jake Gyllenhaal got driving lessons from a family friend. That friend was Paul Newman Paul Newman, by the way, both a race car driver and a race car owner.

52. But speaking of celebrity friends, Larry King and Snoop Dog hang out.

53. Jeopardy contestants stand on platforms that are adjusted so they all appear to be the same height.

54. Richard Gere went to UMass Amherst on a gymnastics scholarship.

55. The light emitted by 200,000 galaxies makes our universe a shade of beige that scientists call "cosmic latte."

56. You can fit 75 New Jerseys in Alaska's area. But why would you want 75 New Jerseys? I'm just kidding, people from New Jersey. [mouthed: No I'm not]

57. In other geography news: Reno is west of Los Angeles.

58. Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner conversations. I have that one, but then again, I do have most of them.

59. Yawning is so contagious that it can spread from humans to dogs or chimpanzees.

60. In 1916, 4 years before the Constitution recognized her right to vote, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress.

61. Speaking of politics, in 1958 Larry King smashed into John F. Kennedy's car. JFK said he would forget the whole thing if King promised to vote for him when he ran for President.

62. The very first webcam watched a coffee pot so researchers at Cambridge could monitor the coffee situation without leaving their desks. Why don't we have one of those?

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

64. For a time, Kurt Vonnegut was Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law.

65. In 1980, Detroit presented Saddam Hussein with a key to their city.

66. In a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill, Admiral John Fisher used the phrase "O.M.G." I personally believe that Abraham Lincoln coined the abbreviation "rofl," but I don't have proof yet. I don't know why I find Abe Lincoln inventing rofl so funny. I just- He's so tall. I picture him rolling on the floor, that stovepipe hat falling off.

67. A baby can cost new parents 750 hours of sleep in the first year. That seems low, actually.

68. Only two non-humans have ever testified before Congress: Elmo and Ben Affleck. What's that? No, he can't be human. He's too pretty.

69. On a slow news day in 1930, BBC Radio simply reported "There is no news," and then they played piano music. Oh gosh, imagine if Fox News did that today.

70. Speaking of slow news, ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen originally wanted to put on a Connecticut sports show featuring Hartford Whalers highlights. We wanted to make a joke here about the Hartford Whalers because Meredith's ex-boyfriend was a Hartford Whalers fan. But then we decided that the Hartford Whalers were enough of a joke on their own.

71. The last time the French government used the guillotine to execute a convicted criminal was in 1977.

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

73. By the way, the first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. A collector of broken laser pointers bought it for $14.83.

74. Canadians eat more donuts per capita than any other country.

75. There's a city in Turkey named Batman. In 2008, the mayor sued Warner Brothers for using the name without permission.

76. The necktie originated in Croatia.

77. In 1968, Wilt Chamberlain endorsed Richard Nixon for president saying, "It's intriguing to know I might have some hand in shaping the future of this country".

78. Before settling on the seven dwarfs we know today Disney considered Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful. I've also considered hickeys, or reconsidered really.

79. In development, Disney's Aladdin was drawn based on Michael J. Fox and then animators switched the model to Tom Cruise. 

80. The state vegetable of Oklahoma is watermelon. Pull it together, Oklahoma!

81. In 1493 Christopher Columbus thought he saw mermaids. He wrote that they were quote, "Not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men". They were probably manatees. Freakin' patriarchy. Person-atees!

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

83. The Beatles were offered the roles of the four vultures in the movie The Jungle Book.

84. The average American three year old child can recognize about a hundred brand logos which means that my child is above average.

85. John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men was almost called Something That Happened.

86. General George Custer graduated last in his class at West Point in 1861.

87. In 1998, a Georgia teen was suspended for one day for wearing a Pepsi t-shirt at his school's Coke 'n Education day.

88. In 1965, a Senate sub-committee predicted that by 2000 Americans would be working 20 hours a week with more than seven weeks of vacation per year. 

89. Film critic Leonard Malkin's complete review of the 1948 movie Isn't It Romantic: "No."

90. The Iron Man edition of Mr. Potato Head is named Tony Starch.

Okay, let's speed it up here at the end.

91. Why can Goofy talk but Pluto can't? Well according to Disney, Goofy was created as a human character as opposed to Pluto who was a pet... so yeah, they don't know either. 

92. Neil Armstrong's astronaut application arrived a week past the deadline but a friend slipped it in with the others.

93. On the 2011 Czech Republic census, 15,070 people listed their religion as "Jedi".

94. Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest in San Francisco and lost!

95. Before Beverly Hills was known for rich people, it was known because its soil is great for growing lima beans.

96. It has been estimated that 10% of living Europeans were conceived on an IKEA bed.

97. After he won the Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr was given a perpetual supply of beer piped into his house.

98. By the way, in some European spas you can literally bathe in beer!

99. There are 293 ways to make change for a U.S. dollar.

100. And finally, I return to my salon to tell you that when Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase designed the first one dollar bill in 1862, he put his own face on it.

Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all of these nice people.

Every week we endeavour to answer one of your mind-blowing questions. This week's question comes from Nick Gardel who asks: "What was the first thing bought on the internet?"

Well, Nick, you will be unsurprised to learn that it was pizza. Specifically a Pizza Hut pizza bought in 1994.

If you have a mind-blowing question, please let us know in comments and we will endeavour to answer as many as possible.

Thank you again for watching, and as we say in my hometown "Don't Forget To Be Awesome."

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For a transcript, visit Nerdfighteria Wiki. Don't miss an episode—subscribe here! 

[Images and footage provided by Shutterstock.]

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