15 Surprising Facts About the Most Ordinary Things

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1 Super Glue Was Invented By Accident

Super Glue Invented By AccidentTaking the lead in our list of surprising facts about ordinary things is this surprising little fact about one of the most commonly used items in the house. Super glue was invented by accident! The amazing household glue that can be used for a multitude of uses, both good and evil, was discovered by accident when scientists at KODAK were trying to manufacture a clear plastic for use in precision gun sights during World War II. The scientists were experimenting with chemicals known as cyanoacrylates. The problem was that the chemicals kept sticking together making them impossible to work with. In the end they had to abandon the project completely due to its unworkability.

Super glue invented by accident, and abandoned, so how did it rise from the ashes?

In 1951, nine years after its initial discovery, one of the KODAK scientists working on the project, Dr. Harry Coover, recognised that the cyanoacrylates could be used as an adhesive, and an extremely strong one at that. Dr. Coover and a team of scientists worked on using the cyanoacrylates to make a glue that they dubbed “super glue”. In 1958, sixteen years after its initial discovery, and seven years after its rediscovery in the KODAK laboratory, the new wonder glue went into mass production. It made Dr. Coover a celebrity, appearing on television programs where a single drop of the substance could lift a grown adult from the ground.

In November 2010, then 93 year old Dr Coover gained recognition for his discovery and became a recipient the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for inventing super glue, albeit by accident.

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2 Hell Freezes Over In Norway Every Year

hell freezes over norway

When Hell freezes over is the age old saying for something that will never come to fruition. Little did the original author realize that it happens every winter in Norway, quite literally. That’s because Hell is in Norway, a northern European country where the mercury frequently drops below freezing temperatures during Winter months.

Before anyone gets all upset with us for insinuating that Hell, the dark recess that is the domain of Lucifer resides in Norway, settle down for just one more moment. Hell, Norway, is actually a small town of 1,400 people. Norway’s Hell has become a tourist destination due to its name, with many visitors to the small town taking their photo in front of the station sign. The town also has postcards for tourists with a picture of the station and a thick covering of frost, insinuating that Hell freezes over.

When Hell freezes over

The small Norwegian hamlet frequently turns to ice and snow for about a third of a year, usually from December through to March. During that time Hell literally freezes over with the temperature dropping down to a balmy −25 °C (−13 °F).

Apart from becoming a small tourist destination due to its name, Hell made world headlines in 1990 when a nearby resident won the title of Miss Universe. As a publicity stunt she listed herself as “The beauty queen from Hell.”

The only thing left now is to inform my high school crush who told me she will go on a date with me when Hell freezes over, it really does….. Every year in Hell, Norway.

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3 The Chinese Whispers World Record Contained 1330 People

As a child just about everyone played a game of Chinese whispers. As you know, it involves a group of people whispering a sentence to one person at a time with the aim of the last person receiving the same sentence as was first uttered. But rarely is it the case. More often than not the message gets utterly muddled up and winds up being something else completely different. If you remember playing the game as a child how many people were involved at one time? 10, 20 or 30? The chances are that it won’t come anywhere near the number of participants in the Chinese whispers world record. That’s because it contained 1,330 children from schools across the UK. So I guess you are wondering if the message got messed up, and just how much.

The starting sentence in the Chinese whispers world record was “Together we can make a world of difference.” But as with most games of Chinese whispers, it soon transformed into something else. It soon took the form of “We’re going to break a world record”, which as you can see is nothing at all like the original words uttered. But it wasn’t yet done. The next mutation was “Everybody is evil.” Hmmmm, not sure what to say about that one, but we’ll just move on past that rather disturbing transformation. Surprisingly the last sentence uttered was hardly a sentence at all, simply being “Haaaaa!”

The Chinese whispers world record took a staggering 2 hr and 4 minutes to complete. It was organized by BI Worldwide Ltd in order to raise GBP100,000 for Save the Children and TreeHouse, and the children who participated in the event were aged between 7 and 11.

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4 A Whip Cracks Because It Breaks The Sound Barrier

whip_1

Have you ever wondered why a whip cracks like it does? It’s because the tip of the whip moves so fast it makes a tiny sonic boom. To make the boom it must travel faster than the speed of sound.

Whips are used for a variety of things. They were initially used to inflict pain, but are now used more widely as a tool. They can be used to tap an animal to make them move, or the crack can be used to initiate a fear response without actually touching the animal.

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5 King Henry IV Of France Head Was In A Tax Collectors Attic

Mummified-head-of-henry-iv

What was the head of king Henry IV of France doing in the attic of a retired tax collector? It’s a long story. During the revolution nearly all things royal were destroyed. Somehow Henry’s head escaped. In 1919 a photographer bought the head at auction and displayed it in a glass case. He was convinced it was Henry, but no one would believe him. When the photographer died his widow sold it for 5000 francs to a retired tax collector. It remained in his attic until a journalist tracked it down and verified its authenticity.

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6 There’s A Full McBain Movie Hidden Throughout The Simpsons

You may not be aware of it, but The Simpsons has a hidden McBain movie hidden throughout several series. The clips are only short, and by themselves they don’t seem like much more than time fillers. But placed together they form a coherent movie script.

When the Simpsons Movie was released in 2007 it was an almost 20 year wait for the animated television show to be projected onto the big screen. Little did Simpsons fans know that there was already a movie of sorts available to be seen. the only problem was that the movie was hidden, and not about the Simpson family.

The hidden movie in The Simpsons episodes is about fictional action star, McBain. McBain is loosely based on none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once you have seen the short McBain movie you will be amazed at the genius behind the idea. So it appears as though the couch gag and Barts chalkboard scene at the beginning of every episode are not the only sparks of brilliance from the show creators.

7 Every Day 3,000 Euros In Coins Are Thrown Into The Trevi Fountain

trevi fountain coins

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain located in Rome, Italy. It is one of the most famous fountains in the world and has been featured in many films. It has had a less than easy route through construction, renovation and restoration. It was initially constructed as a fountain to serve clean spring water to the citizens of Rome in 19 BC, and it did so for over 400 years until the aqueducts that supplied the water were cut during a siege. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII, realizing the fountain was not sufficient, asked for plans for a new fountain. When he died soon after the plans were forgotten. In 1730 Pope Clement XII organized a contest for a new fountain, and it construction for this new fountain began in 1732. The construction of the Trevi Fountain was finally completed in 1752. In 1998 the fountain underwent a refurbishment, and in January 2013 it was announced that a 20 month, 2.2 million Euro restoration project would take place.

A custom that has been a part of the Trevi Fountain for a long time has been coin tossing. The custom is to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. This was the theme of the 1954 film, Three Coins in the Fountain.

Every day there are an estimated 3,000 Euros thrown into the Trevi Fountain by those seeking luck or good fortune. That is over one million euros every year, just in coins. The money collected from the fountain is then handed over charity to subsidize a supermarket for Romes needy. But where there is money there are opportunists. Regrettably there are regular attempts to steal money from the fountain.

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8 Cookie Monster Doesn’t Eat Cookies

Cookie Monster Doesn't Eat Cookies

Hold up for  just one second. Did we just say the Cookie Monster doesn’t eat cookies? We sure did, and once you discover why it will make perfect sense.

The Cookie Monster is a popular Muppet created by Jim Henson in 1966. He is best described as a lovable monster with an insatiable appetite for cookies, although he will eat just about anything. He is instantly recognizable with his “OMM-nom-nom-nom. ” chewing sound. Oddly enough though, he wasn’t created for Sesame Street or any other Muppet show. He was made for a General Foods commercial in 1966, along with two other characters. The commercial was for three crunchy snack foods. It never aired, but the Cookie Monster was now born.

Why the Cookie Monster doesn’t eat cookies

One of the problems with cookies is that they are rather messy. As any parent would know, when a small child consumes the snack it can lead to quite a mess, especially if they have chocolate, and cleaning is a hassle. That’s the main reason the Cookie Monster doesn’t eat cookies. They are messy, and he is expensive to clean or replace. Simply put, the cookies would ruin him. But there’s another reason other than protecting the puppet. The cost of the cookies would soon add up. So they looked for a cheaper and cleaner alternative.

If the Cookie Monster doesn’t eat cookies what does he eat?

The Cookie Monster actually eats rice crackers. They are much cheaper and don’t contain oils, sugars or chocolate that can damage the puppet. Isn’t television deceptive?

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9 Mondays Are the Most Common Days for Suicides

depression

For many people Mondayitis is a very real condition. They can not stand the sight of Mondays and will moan about it. Perhaps they have a dislike for a reason, not only because it is the start of the working week. A study in Britain found that 16% of males and 17% of females committed suicide on a Monday, and this compared to 13% on weekends. This trend was not only restricted to people who worked, it also extended to people in retirement.

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10 Who Do The Kings Represent In A Deck Of Cards

surprising facts about

The kings in a deck of cards actually represent real kings from history. This began in Western Europe and the tradition of assigning a king from history was standardised in the 16th century. The king of spades represents King David who defeated Goliath. The king of hearts is represented by Charlemagne who was King of the Franks from 768 to 814. Alexander The Great represents the king of clubs. He conquered one of the largest land empires in history. The king of diamonds is represented by Caesar who was one of the greatest generals in history and a key figure in the decline of the Roman Republic. His descendants went onto found the Roman Empire.

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11 First International Cricket Match Was Between USA And Canada

First International Cricket Match

How freaking weird is this? Most Americans and Canadians find the game of cricket to be really exasperatingly boring. It’s like someone decided to develop a game that seems to last an eternity, and then somehow make it even slower. Americans are far more interested in baseball, and Canadians in ice hockey. If you were to see citizens of either country at a cricket ground for a match you would assume that they were lost. But the really weird thing is the first ever international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada.

This most unlikely of international cricket matches was played between 25 and 27 September 1844 with Canada winning by 23 runs. The crowd was estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000. The other weird thing about cricket is that it isn’t really that boring. It has three different forms, with the tempo of the game increasing markedly the shorter it is. It’s not unheard of either for extremely exciting games in the longest form of the game, which lasts five days. So before you criticise the game as boring, watch a 20 20 match between two good teams and your perception of cricklet as a boring game will be changed forever.

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12 There Was A Mississippi Sesame Street Ban In 1970

Mississippi Sesame Street Ban

Would you believe that there was a Mississippi Sesame Street ban? It’s not as if the show is overly offensive, violent or sexual in nature. In fact, anyone with half a brain knows that the intended audience is children, and it’s made as such, for the entertainment of preschool aged children. It teaches children to read, count and how to socialize within the community. It also encourages tolerance of minorities, which was the driving force behind the Mississippi Sesame Street ban. Yep, you read that right and it wasn’t a misprint. Intolerant people banned a show for being tolerant. What kind of example were they trying to set for the children of the state?

In 1970 Mississippi banned Sesame Street because of the diverse mix of races in the show. It was actually a conscience effort by the show to be as diverse as possible, and this upset the state legislators. They felt as though “Mississippi was not yet ready” for an integrated cast. Keep in mind that 1970 wasn’t all that long ago, although racial problems have persisted in many regions for a very long time.

Needless to say, the ban by Mississippi on Sesame Street didn’t last for very long at all. There was a considerable amount of national news coverage on the ridiculous law, and before long the state law makers retracted the ban. Which is something that most people would agree was a pretty sensible idea. After all, children are not born racist, it’s an acquired behavior.

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13 David Choe, The Facebook Graffiti Artist Millionaire

david-choe-facebook-millionaire

When you think of street art or graffiti you would hardly associate it with people of great wealth. Traditional artists on the other hand are quite easily associated with wealth and culture. Surprisingly though, very few artists come to fame and wealth during their lifetime. That’s one of the things that makes David Choe so remarkable. David Choe was a little known graffiti artist who became a Facebook millionaire.

When you hear of business deals and decisions it is quite often that you hear about the poor decisions that people make, like what would have to be described as the worst business decision ever made by one of the founders of Apple. This is not one of those stories. David Choe made the decision many of us dream about.

In 2005, a little known graffiti artist David Choe was asked by Sean Parker, one of the original driving forces behind Facebook to paint the inside of  Facebook’s first Silicon Valley office. In 2007, Mark Zuckerberg commissioned David Choe to pain their new offices. Now here is the amazing life changing decision. David Choe believed that Facebook had a ridiculous and pointless business model. But he was also a habitual gambler. David Choe decided to accept shares in Facebook in lieu of payment.

David Choe becomes a Facebook multimillionaire

On the eve of Facebook’s 2012 IPO, the value of the Facebook shares owned by David choe were valued at a staggering $200 million. Not a bad pay packet for a few murals.

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14 Joining The Mile High Club Will Only Cost You $425

join mile high club

Many of us have heard of the term “mile high club,” but very few of us would be members of the exclusive fraternity. For those that don’t know what it is, a mile high club is a slang term for people who have had sex in an aircraft while it is in flight. Obviously membership is free and open to anyone who dares to enter it. Most members of the group of people are just ordinary folk, but there have been a couple of noted exceptions. In 1969, a then 19 year old Richard Branson joined the loose association when he had a sexual encounter in the lavatory of a plane with a married woman. The two never had any other relationship except for that one encounter. In 2007, actor Ralph Fiennes had a sexual encounter with a Qantas flight attendant in the business class lavatory while on a flight from Darwin to Mumbai. The flight attendant lost her job on that occasion, but entered legend.

How to join the mile high club and retain some dignity

For the majority of us we probably wouldn’t feel too comfortable having sex just a few metres away from complete strangers. One company however has come up with a creative solution for those who want access to the membership. For only $425, plus applicable taxes, a company in Cincinnati, USA, is offering adventurous couples the opportunity to join the mile high club. Included in the one hour flight are chocolates, champagne, privacy curtains, and one very discreet pilot.

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15 The Gold Buddha Statue Was Covered In Plaster And Discovered By Accident

gold buddha statue plaster

Finishing our list of surprising facts about ordinary things is something not all that ordinary, but what they were achieving was as ordinary as anything can be. When you own something valuable you often want to protect it from theft an damage. Quite often the simplest way to protect valuable items is by storing them in a safe, or safe place if you don’t have access to a safe. Sometimes people utilize the services of banks and use a safety deposit box. But what do you do if there are no safes or banks with safety deposit boxes and your item is too big to store safely? You do what the Thai did with the priceless gold Buddha statue and disguise it in plaster.

The gold Buddha statue was cast in solid gold during the 13th century north of Bangkok. It weighs an amazing 5.5 tonnes and is 3 meters (10 feet) tall. The gold in the statue is alone worth $250 million (at the rate of $1400 per ounce of gold). In the 18th century the golden Buddha statue was covered in plaster to make an invading army think it was only a commonplace cement statue with no real value at all.

The problem is that the ruse worked too well, and the secret was forgotten completely. So how do we know about it today? We know about the golden statue today thanks to an accident. In 1955 during a relocation of the plain cement statue, the hoist that was being used to move the statue broke. It fell to the ground with force. The next day a monk saw some gold where a piece of the plaster had chipped away. The remaining plaster was soon removed revealing a solid golden statue.

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