Completely Random Facts of the Week – Issue 59

April 26, 2016

randomfacts59The weekly collection of random and fun facts.  In this week’s edition: Origin of Scooby-Doo, Taking Shoes Off in Japan, A Mickey Mouse Clone, Bees in Space, and San Fran’s Earthquake Proof Airport.

Scooby DooThe name of the detective dog, Scooby-Doo, was inspired by words in a hit song from 1966. Fred Silverman, the creator of Scooby-Doo, was developing an animated show with Hanna-Barbera about kids in a haunted house that had a dog as one of the characters, but the dog wasn’t one of the main characters and was much more serious. CBS President Frank Stanton thought the show would be too frightening for children. It wasn’t until Silverman was on a red-eye from New York to LA that he got the idea for the name of the dog. He happened to be listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” as the plane was landing and heard Sinatra sing the words “Scooby-do-be-do”. He knew right then that he had a name for the cartoon dog. Scooby-Doo went from being a supporting character to the main character, and the cartoon was changed into a comedy. Source

Japanese homeWhere did the Japanese custom of taking off shoes before entering a house come from? It began around the Heian period in 794-1192 AD with the upper class and the custom eventually spread to the other classes. One of the main reasons for taking off shoes or sandals before entering a house in Japan was actually very practical. The country has a damp climate and a high amount of rainfall. People would often have mud covered sandals or shoes and would quickly dirty the house if they went inside. It also kept the floor clean since that’s where people slept on straw mats or cushions.

Inside an entryway to a house in Japan is called a genkan. The genkan is one step lower than the next hallway or entrance into the house. In the genkan a structure called a geta-bako is found where the shoes or sandals that are taken off are placed. When one enters the area beyond the genkan on a higher step, there is usually a slipper rack to hold slippers that are to be worn while walking in the house. There are even different slippers to be used in the bathroom. Taking off shoes is not only limited to Japan. Korea, parts of China, and other areas throughout Asia also engage in the practice of taking off shoes before entering the home.   Source

Warner Brothers Merrie MelodiesWarner Brothers made two short-lived cartoon characters in 1931 that were eerily similar to Mickey and Minnie Mouse. One was named Foxy, and the other was his girlfriend, who didn’t have a name. They were created by Rudy Ising, an animator who had worked at Walt Disney in the 1920s. Foxy had another familiar line that was later adopted and changed by Porky Pig. Foxy would come from behind a bass drum and say, “So long, folks!” at the end of each short. Another character named Piggy took up this line after Foxy. Piggy later became Porky Pig, and the line was changed to, “That’s all, folks!” Source

space shuttleWhen the space shuttle Challenger lifted off in 1984, it carried an interesting experiment to test life and animal behavior in a microgravity environment by carrying over 3,000 honeybees into orbit. Scientists were wanting to know how the bees would behave in space, and they were held in the long duration exposure facility (LDEF) in the shuttle. The LDEF carried 57 total experiments. In addition to the bees there was another experiment to test the fertility of 12 million tomato seeds.  At first the bees couldn’t quite get a handle on how to move and built a few oddly shaped honeycombs, but by the end of the seven-day mission, the bees were able to fly from one point to another and even built a honeycomb that was similar to one they would have built on Earth. Source, Source, Source

san francisco airportThe San Francisco International Airport Terminal is incredibly earthquake proof. 267 columns support the weight of the building and each column sits on a 5-foot-diameter steel ball bearing. The building was designed to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake that could occur from the San Andreas fault by reducing the earthquake force on the building by 70%. If an earthquake does occur, the ground can move 20 inches horizontally while keeping the columns intact. The building can even support loads from seismic activity of up to 6 million pounds. Source

That’s it for this week’s edition. Time to wow others with your new knowledge.

Need more random facts? Check out more from the Random Facts of the Week.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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