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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fact of the day

July 3rd

Who says getting hut by lightening is a bad thing?

A bald, blind and near-deaf man named Edwin Robinson went out during a thunderstorm to find his adopted chicken Tuck Tuck. He soon found the bird, but was struck by lightening before he could get back to safety, after the bolt rebounded off of a tree and struck both of his hearing aids, blowing them out of his ears. 

Miraculously, not only was the man unharmed, but also found that his sight had returned. He went in to tell his wife that he could read the plaque that was on the wall. His wife doubted him, and asked him to tell her the time. He told the time to her. Turns out, the lightning strike had returned his vision back to 20/20. Not only that, but he had also been given back his hearing and his hair began to grow once more. 

The poor man must have had quite a shock when that happened.

July 4th

Walt Disney won an honorary Acadmey Award for his 1937 classic 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. He was awarded with a statuette with seven miniature statuettes attached to it as a nod to seven of the film's most loved characters: the dwarfs. He won the award in 1939, the academy's reasons for the award being presented to him being because 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was "a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field".

 Walt Disney's honorary Academy Award

July 5th

Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the idea for the novella 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' whilst in a dream. Upon waking, he found that he had the intuition to write several of the scenes that appeared in the book.
On the topic of dreaming, 90% of our dreams are forgotten about within the first ten minutes of waking up.

July 6th

50 billion dollars of Monopoly money is printed each year. There is more Monopoly money printed off each day than there is dollars for the American treasury. 

July 7th

Never ask a kangaroo to moon-walk, they cannot walk backwards.

July 8th

The first motion picture was filmed in 1878. It was called 'The Horse in Motion'  . It was created by aligning a set of twelve stereoscopic cameras along parallel to the race track, all waiting to be triggered via trip wire when the horse galloped past. This resulted in a series of stills that were projected in rapid succession to create the first ever motion picture.

The strange thing is that photographer Eadweard Muybridge didn't even intend to create cinematic history... he took the series of stills due to the fact that he was hired by governor of California Leland Stanford to determine whether or not horses took all four hooves off of the ground whilst trotting. Muybridge discovered that they did in fact take all four hooves off of the ground whilst trotting, but this didn't occur when the hooves were reaching away from the body, but rather when they were all beneath the horse.

The video can be seen below:

July 9th

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words. Oh the irony.

July 10th

Nicolas Cage (born Nicolas Kim Coppola) is the nephew of famous director Francis Ford Coppola. To avoid being favoured over other actors purely because of his relations with Francis Ford Coppola, he changed his name to Nicolas Cage, the surname being inspired by Marvel hero Luke Cage.

July 11th

Passion fruit are originally from Brazil. It was given it's name by missionaries due to the fruit's ties to the torture of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the Passion, that took place before his crucifixion. For example, it's three stigmas represent the three nails in his hands and feet, and the five anthers symbolise the five wounds that Jesus received (two on his hands/wrists, two on his feet and a final one to his chest).

July 12th

To prepare for his role as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight', Heath Ledger locked himself in hotel room for roughly six weeks. He took this period of time to try perfecting his character's every tic and mannerism, but most importantly the sadistic laugh that has become so iconic. Ledger didn't want to copy Jack Nicholson's laugh that he used in his 1989 performance as the Joker in Tim Burton's 'Batman'. He based the Joker's look on punk rocker Sid Vicious and combined it with the mannerisms of 1971 film 'A Clockwork Orange''s psychotic protagonist Alex DeLarge, played by Malcolm McDowell.

Christopher Nolan revealed that Heath Ledger was the only actor that he had in mind to play the Joker, and talked to the actor about the role before the script for the film was even written.

July 13th

On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily. 

July 14th

There is a Superman reference in almost every single episode of 'Seinfeld'. It's believed that out of the 180 episodes the show created, only 52 are without any sort of Superman reference, whether that be verbal or otherwise. The details of these references can be found here.

July 15th

There are seventy two hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute. Over three billion hours of video gets watched on the site each month.

July 16th

Rock and roll was originally used as a euphemism for sex, mainly used by African Americans.

July 17th
Roughly 2,500 people go to the emergency room every year with toothbrush related injuries.

July 18th

Actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and even Charlie Sheen were considered to play the role of Batman in Tim Burton's 1989 release 'Batman' before Michael Keaton was chosen to play the role. Fans wrote over 50,000 letters of protest to Warner Brothers, sceptical of Keaton's suitability to play the role. Tim Burton stuck by his original decision, knowing that Keaton could play both serious and comedic roles after working with him on 'Beetlejuice'. The director, in the documentary 'Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight', said that: 
“[Keaton] also doesn't look like a superhero, he looks like a guy who would need to dress up like a bat for effect.” 
July 19th

Andy Warhol painted his last will and testament on a 55 gallon drum of formaldehyde.

July 20th

There are at least 18 different species of penguins. Different species of penguin include the emperor, chinstrap, Adelie, Gentoo, macaroni and (my personal favourite), the Rockhopper.

The Rockhopper penguin. Bad-ass.
July 21st

UVB-76, a mysterious radio broadcast that consists of nothing but the disturbing, monotonous buzzing noise found in the video below.

This has been happening almost non-stop since 198, coming from somewhere in Russia. Three times in the history of this broadcast, the buzzing has stopped and a list of Russian names has been read out.

No-one knows why.

July 22nd

Chrysippus of Soli (Greek stoic philosopher) apparently died after laughing too hard at his drunken donkey, who was trying and failing to eat some figs.

July 23rd

Giraffes have approximately a 50cm long tongue.

July 24th

Exhibition basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters occasionally make certain celebrities and public figures into honorary Harlem globetrotters. Honorary Harlem Globetrotters include Whoopi Goldberg (1990) and Pope John Paul II (2000).

July 25th

Body language (whether you are standing up straight or you are slouched over for example) makes up for over 80% of a first impression, before you even get a chance to speak.

July 26th

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was the person who invented the world wide web.

July 27th

This edible coffee cup has been created by Venezuelan designer Enrique Luis Sardi. The outside is made out of a cookie type pastry, with a special icing sugar coating the inside of the cup to make it waterproof and even tastier.

July 28th

Jerry Maren (lead Munchkin in 'The Wizard of Oz') claimed that  the dog that played Toto was paid more than double what the "little people" on set were paid. The Munchkin actors were paid $50 per week for a six day work week, whilst Toto was paid $125. 

Lucky dog, right? Wrong. The poor thing got stepped on by an actor onset, and had to be replaced with a double for two weeks.

July 29th

Writer George Orwell's real name was Eric Arthur Blair. His pseudonym was chosen because George is the name of England's patron saint and Orwell was the name of a river that he liked.

July 30th

A duck's quack doesn't echo... and no-one knows why.

July 31st

The word moose comes from the Algonquian Indians. Instead of the plural being 'mooses' or 'meese', it is simply the same as its singular form, the same way that the plural of fish and sheep is simply fish and sheep. 

August 1st

Florence and the Machine's song 'Only If For a Night' was written by Florence Welch after an experience she had where her dead Grandmother came to her in a dream. 
"She told me, 'Concentrate on your perfect career'. Can you imagine? It's like, 'You've left your laundry out and it's going to rain'. 'OK Grandma, thanks!' I thought it would be something, y'know, more cryptic."
August 2nd 

Stanley Kubrick's last film, 'Eyes Wide Shut', holds the Guinness World Record for the longest constant movie shoot in history, at 400 days.

August 3rd

Black Eyed Peas' hit 'I Gotta Feeling' is the most downloaded song of all time, with sales of 7.68 million.

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