Completely Random Facts of the Week – Issue 46

October 2, 2015

uselessfacts header46The weekly collection of random and fun facts.  In this week’s edition: The Golfing Loch Ness Monster, Streets Paved in Gold, Pricey Traffic Fines, A Non-Profit Airline, and Hendrix vs. The Monkees.

golf 83871 640Does the Loch Ness Monster exist?  Has ole’ Nelly been lurking in the depths of a Scottish lake just waiting to be found?  A group of researchers in 2009 wanted to find out once and for all if the legendary beast was truly real, and although they didn’t find the monster, they did stumble across something very real and mysterious–100,000 golf balls.

It seems the people around the loch like to golf, especially by using the loch as their driving range.  The golf balls were found 100 yards from the shore and about 300 yards from the beach.  While the Scots haven’t been that good at getting a picture of the Loch Ness Monster, they are pretty good at smacking a golf ball.

The golf balls don’t pose an environmental threat to the loch, and there won’t be anyone going in to retrieve them (collecting golf balls from lakes and rivers can be good business).  The balls sit at a depth of 754 feet.  Maybe Nessy finds them fun to play with.  Source

gemstones 385960 640It takes some skill to mine for gems, and one man took it to a whole new level.  A man from Queens, New York “mines” the streets of Midtown’s Diamond District looking for diamonds, rubies, gold, and platinum using tweezers and a butter knife.  His name is Raffi Stepanian, and he’s found enough pieces of dropped gems and jewelry to make a living.

Stepanian looks through the cracks in the sidewalk and any other area on near the street where gems might be lodged or have fallen.  He collects his finds in a Styrofoam cup and then pans them just like gold prospectors have done for years.  For all his work collecting the gems that people from the district accidentally dropped over the years, he makes about $800 after six days of work.  Source

Police LIDAR Gun 0946

If you make a high yearly salary, you might not want to take a chance and live in Finland.  If you do, you especially don’t want to get ticketed for speeding.  In Finland, traffic fines, as well as other fines, are calculated based on the earnings of the individual receiving the fine, and some are finding out the fine can be worth as much as the car they’re driving.

The Finnish system of calculating some traffic fines, and fines for things such as shoplifting, are based on what someone earns for the year.  The system estimates how much money the person would have per day to spend based on their income, and it’s divided by two.  The fine is also based on the nature of the offense to determine how many days the violator could go without having that amount of money to spend.  The result is the amount of the fine the violator has to pay.

Some Finns have been hit with some pretty exorbitant fines, and some non-Finns have been hit as well.  Leo Komarov, an NHL player from Estonia, got hit with a $40,000 USD fine after getting nabbed for speeding two times in the same month.  He was going over the speed limit by 15-25 mph each time.  A Finnish businessman named Reima Kuisla, who makes $7.25 million USD a year, got hit with a $60,000 traffic fine.  And the big one was a Nokia executive who was fined $103,000 USD when he got ticketed for going 45 mph in a 30 mph zone while on his motorcycle.  It would stand to reason that those with some money should be the safest drivers in the country.  Source

freelandiaThere was once an airline that wanted to be different, very different.  But sometimes being different, no matter how good the idea seems at the time, just doesn’t work out.  This was the case for an airline that started in 1973 called Freelandia, the first “Not-For-Profit” airline.

Freelandia was thought up by an ex-Wall Street Millionaire named Kenneth Moss.  After spending $125,000 on a plane that didn’t work, he finally was able to acquire an DC-8 from an airline for $750,000.  After spending $1.5 million, he managed to get a license to operate from the FAA in 1973, and Freelandia was born.

The airline was considered an air club and not an airline, so Freelandia was not exposed to the commercial rates required of the airlines.  This helped decrease the cost of operating the airline.  Passengers would purchase a membership, and then they would get a reduced rate wherever the airline happened to be flying.  This was usually a mystery since club members voted on where the airline would go every three months.

Freelandia was intended to have a light and different atmosphere as compared to the regular airlines.  Flight attendants wore colorful, flashy uniforms, organic food was served, passengers could move about in the cabin, and denim pillows were strewn about the plane.  Even though the passengers were getting good rates on flights, the airline couldn’t sustain the experiment when the oil crisis hit in 1974.  Fuel prices soared, and there was no way the airline could sustain itself.  Freelandia went out of business only a year after it started.  Source

Guitar player Jimi Hendrix was known for his lively shows, amazing skills, and amped up sound.  But Hendrix once opened for a band that was his polar opposite.  In 1967, Hendrix became the opening act for the bubblegum pop act, The Monkees.

Mike Jeffery, Hendrix’s manager, came up with the pairing.  He was trying to get greater exposure for his client in the United States.  Hendrix was already popular in the UK, but US fans knew little to nothing about him.  The Monkees members were actually fans of Hendrix, and saw him perform at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.  They asked their manager to ask the Jimi Hendrix Experience to join them on their tour that was about to take place around the U.S.

While it’s not known what input Hendrix had in the decision to join The Monkees (he was not a fan, as he said in an interview months before) he did join them in Jacksonville, Florida on July 8, where there tour was already going on.  The reception was not all that cordial as fans chanted for The Monkees.

Hendrix made it through seven dates with The Monkees before calling it quits after a show on July 17, 1967.  There were rumors he ended it with a middle finger to the crowd, or that he had been booted from the tour after Daughters of the American Revolution protested his show for being “too erotic”.  We’ll probably never know, but it’s pretty clear his time with The Monkees was doomed from the very beginning.  Source

That’s it for another edition.  Until next time, and as always, use these facts to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.  Everyone will appreciate you for it

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About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites (you can find out how to join below). I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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