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Bamboo Grows So Fast, It’s Measured In Miles Per Hour (And Many More Fun Facts)

On November 20th, National Absurdity Day reigns supreme. Oddness and weirdness take over. We’re not sure why, but it does.

This day was created as a day to recall and note some of the entirely off-the-wall and ridiculous things in history, in our country, and in our lives.

  • When the postal service first launched in 1913, children falling within the shipping weights were sent cross country by parcel service. Mailed babies were shipped off to Grandma’s house, some for as low as 15 cents plus insurance.
  • The Absurdist movement began in the post-world war II era, where the threat of nuclear bombs of the cold war and the tragedies of the Nazi camp concentrations. In connection to philosophies like existentialism and nihilism, Absurdists believe while there could be meaning, we will never know, and hence explore that ideology through constructing absurd meaning in things.
  • It began with the idea of Theater in the Absurd, with artists such as Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet creating theatrical works of art that expand on the absurd. The Absurdist movement is still currently active today and there are many parts of the world that have theatrical performances and artistic expression that go along with these ideas.
  • In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge acquired a rather unusual pet: a raccoon!  The animal was a gift for the first family from a constituent in Mississippi and was intended to grace their Thanksgiving table as a part of the meal. Coolidge couldn’t bear the thought of eating the raccoon, and kept her as a pet instead. The raccoon, named Rebecca, often napped on the President’s lap by the fire, and he and his wife could be seen walking Rebecca around the White House grounds on a leash.
  • Many cars, like Ford, Bentley, and Honda, are named after their creators. So was there a Mr. Jeep? Nope! It’s thought that the name comes from World War II, when vehicles designated “General Purpose” were called G.P.—which was then shortened to “Jeep.” The same convention saw High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) turned into “Humvee”.
  • According to a New Yorker profile of the Swedish furniture giant, one in 10 Europeans is conceived in an IKEA bed.
  • The 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis, featured some rather odd sports unknown to modern-day Olympics watchers. An event held during “Anthropology Days” at the World’s Fair, that featured a group of “savages” competing in rock-throwing, “ethnic” dancing, mudslinging, and greased-pole climbing was not part of the official Olympics, but to this day is reported to have been associated with the historic athletic competition. The Olympic Games that year saw the debut of the decathlon, boxing, and freestyle wrestling, and also featured a sport now lost to time: tug of war.
  • The 1904 Olympics did feature some very real triumphs: American gymnast George Eyser earned six medals in a day, among them three gold and two silver, despite competing with a wooden leg. Eyser wore the wooden prosthetic after a train ran over his real left leg.
  • During World War II, the British Army had a problem: their soldiers became vulnerable to attack when they got out of their tanks each day for their daily tea break. On June 13th, 1944, Germans attacked a British tank during a tea break, resulting in the loss of 14 tanks, four gun carriers, and many deaths. Now all British tanks come equipped with a “boiling vessel” so that tank operators can make tea without exiting the tank.
  • Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham to win a bet against his publisher, who bet against Seuss writing a book with fewer words than The Cat In The Hat, which used 236 different words. Green Eggs and Ham uses only 50 different words!
  • Leonardo da Vinci could draw forwards with one hand while simultaneously writing backward with the other. The result was a mirror-image script that was very difficult to read
  • Neptune was the first planet to get its existence predicted by calculations before it was actually seen by a telescope. Its orbit was first suggested by Galileo in 1612-1613, but at the time no telescope existed that was strong enough to see a planet that far. The planet was first observed over  200 years later, in 1846, when an astronomer with a telescope searched for Neptune at coordinates given to him by Urbain Le Verrier.
  • The last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan, promised his daughter he’d write her initials on the moon. He did, and her initials, “TDC,” will probably be on the satellite for tens of thousands of years.
  • There is no actual fruit in Froot Loops, and they are all the exact same flavor.
  • Millennials are 270% more likely to find it a “turn on” when someone binge watches the same TV shows.
  • A cigarette lighter was invented earlier than matches
  • If you keep a Goldfish in a dark room, it will become pale
  • The higher a person’s IQ, the more dreams they see at night.
  • More people die annually from falling coconuts than shark attacks.
  • Vending machines kill more people than sharks, and people kill more sharks than vending machines.
  • Can openers were invented 48 years after cans.
  • The King of Hearts is the only King without a mustache in the card deck
  • A glass ball can jump higher than a rubber one
  • Between its discovery and its demotion from ‘planet’ to ‘dwarf planet,’ Pluto never finished an orbit around the sun.
  • Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
  • Charlie Chaplin lost a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.
  • Neil Armstrong had to clear customs and immigration when he returned from the moon.
  • Pirates wore an eye patch to be able to see in the dark.
  • In 1932 there was a war between the Australian Army and Emu birds.  The birds won.
  • Women have two times more pain receptors than men. But a man’s pain threshold is much higher.
  • Your brain uses up around 20 percent of your body’s blood and oxygen.
  • Giraffes hum to each other at night to make sure their herd stays together.
  • Your blood makes up about 8 percent of your body weight.
  • Caesar salad was invented in Mexico by an Italian-American man.
  • The Goodyear Blimp is the official bird of Redondo Beach, California.
  • Costco sells enough toilet paper per year to wrap around the world 1,200 times. Costco sells about one billion rolls of toilet paper a year.
  • Bamboo grows so fast, it’s measured in miles per hour. it’s the fastest growing plant on the planet, capable of shooting up 35 inches each day at a rate of 0.00002 miles per hour, according to Guinness World Records.
  • The inventor of the Pringles can is buried in one. In 1966, Fredric Baur developed the ingenious idea for Procter & Gamble to uniformly stack chips inside a can instead of tossing them in a bag. Baur was so proud of his invention that he wanted to take it to the grave—literally.
  • It takes nearly two days for a human to discharge a Lego through their body.


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