Completely Random Facts of the Week – Issue 80

Daniel Ganninger
May 11, 2017

facts header80In this week’s facts edition: Hearty U.S. Wine Drinkers, Google’s Hot Data Center, Limited Left-Handers in China, A Finally Finished Masterpiece, and The First Pick for Indiana Jones.

wineHearty U.S. Wine Drinkers

In 2013, for the first time in history, the United States beat out France for having the largest consumption of wine and largest market for wine in the world.

Americans consumed almost 30 million hectoliters of wine in 2013 which equates to about 4 billion bottles of wine. But when this is broken down into consumption per person, Americans didn’t come close to the largest drinkers of wine. That title goes to the Vatican. Citizens of the Vatican drink about 74 liters of wine per year. That is almost 100 bottles of wine per person every year. U.S. wine drinkers averaged about 13 bottles of wine per person a year, ranking them 56th in the world in the consumption of wine. Source

Logo Google 2013 Official.svgGoogle’s Hot Data Center

Google’s most efficient data center located in Belgium runs at 95 degrees using only fresh air cooling. Typical data centers use massive cooling systems to keep their computer components at temperatures as low as 68 degrees. This becomes a huge expense in electricity and equipment to maintain such cool temperatures. Google’s data center uses no air-conditioning which means it doesn’t spend money on electricity and is 50% more efficient than its competition.

But there is a problem with this efficiency. Workers can’t stay in the same area as the servers at peak temperatures because the servers run too hot and can raise the temperature beyond 95 degrees. Source, Source

the great wallLimited Left-Handers in China

This is a fact that you commonly see on the Internet, but it usually doesn’t have an explanation. There are almost no left-handed people in China. Why is that? Surveys since the 1980s of Chinese students have reported that less than 1% are left-handed. This is well below the worldwide average of 10 to 12% of people that are left-handed. A study in the journal Endeavor in 2013 looked at why this was the case.

There is nothing different in the genetics of people in China that would make them less likely to be left-handed than anyone else in the rest of the world. The study found that the decreased number of left-handed people in China was probably because of the historical and cultural attitudes toward left-handed people. Simply put, Chinese people have been switching their dominant hands. The researchers also looked at India and Islamic countries where there is a stigma attached to being left-handed. They concluded that two thirds of the world’s left-handed population faces discrimination for being born left-handed. Source, Source

davidA Finally Finished Masterpiece

In the 1400s, the Opera del Duomo for the Cathedral of Florence, the works organization for the cathedral, commissioned twelve Old Testament sculptures to be made for the cathedral. In 1464, Agostino di Duccio was asked to sculpt one of the biblical figures from marble. The project was later taken on by Antonio Rossellino in 1475. The block of marble for the statue was ultimately rejected by the artists because it had too many imperfections, making it unstable. The huge block of marble sat untouched for 25 years until a 26-year-old sculptor convinced the Opera del Duomo to give him the commission to complete the statue. The artist was Michelangelo and he completed the sculpture from the deteriorating marble between 1501 and 1504 which became the statue of his famous work called David. Source

The First Pick for Indiana Jones

After Harrison Ford became one of the stars of Star Wars in 1977, he soon became the pick of Steven Spielberg to be Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. But George Lucas, who was the cowriter on Raiders of the Lost Ark, wasn’t keen on casting him in the movie.

Since Ford had already been in two of his movies, Lucas said, “I don’t want him to be my Bobby De Niro.” This was a reference to how Robert De Niro had been in many of Martin Scorsese’s movies. So the production team set up a screen test with another popular actor of the time, Tom Selleck. Lucas and Spielberg thought Selleck was a perfect fit and offered him the lead role in the movie.

But Selleck had a problem. He was already on a hit CBS show called Magnum P.I. Spielberg and Lucas tried to negotiate with the network and even held out an offer to Selleck for about a month, but the network wouldn’t give in. Selleck had to turn down the offer because of his contractual obligation to the network. Ford went on to get the lead part in was what to become a $1.8 billion franchise. The screen test for Selleck in what could have been is above. Source

That’s it for another edition of the Random Facts of the Week. Check out more fun facts here.