Completely Useless Facts of the Week – Issue 13

November 30, 2014

uselessfacts header13The weekly collection of completely useless facts. This week’s edition: The Statue of Liberty, Pixar, Driving Tests, New York Stock Exchange, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Go behind the scenes on the facts behind the facts.
Freiheitsstatue NYC full
The postage stamp of The Statue of Liberty depicts not the real statue in New York, but the replica in Las Vegas.  In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service made a major mistake when it issued the “Forever” stamp which was supposed to be the original that sits in New York Harbor.  Unfortunately the statue depicted in the stamp is a replica that was built in front of the New York-New York Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.  The problem occurred when the Postal Service used an image of the Statue of Liberty from Getty Images, a popular online photography service, that they assumed was in the public domain for images.  A stamp collector originally noticed a difference between the pictures of the real statue and the replication on the stamp.  The problems didn’t stop there for the Postal Service.  The sculptor that built the Las Vegas statue sued the Postal Service in 2013 for copyright infringement, claiming that the Postal Service used it without his permission and continued to print it even with the knowledge that it was not the original.  Since its release, the “Forever” stamp has sold over 4 billion copies and continues to be in circulation.  Source


Pixar head John Lasseter and his team came up with the ideas for A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and WALL-E at a single lunch meeting in 1994. It was a year before the Pixar release of Toy Story and Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Joe Ranft, and current Pixar head, John Lasseter met at a place called Hidden City Cafe near the Pixar studios.  As of 2012, the place had been closed but that didn’t stop the animators from paying homage to the spot where they came up with these great ideas.  A reference to the place is seen on a license plate in Toy Story 2, and a shop front in Monsters, Inc.   Now that’s being efficient and using your time wisely.  Source

Student driver SB on N Gregson St in Durham
Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia

A 69-year-old Korean woman failed her driving test hundreds of times before finally passing on the 960th attempt.  Cha Sa-soon, who lives in a village called Sinchon in South Korea, began her quest to obtain a driver’s license in April of 2005.  She started by taking the test once a day, five days a week, but then did it twice a week.  She failed every time but didn’t give up.  It wasn’t her driving skills that were her undoing but the written test.  She had difficulty understanding the terminology.  She tried the audible test where the questions were read to her but that didn’t help and switched to the normal test.  After finally passing the written test she still failed the driving skills and road tests four more times each.  It wasn’t until number 960 that she had passed everything.  During the time she had become a national celebrity and was known for her perseverance.  For her accomplishment, Hyundai gave Ms. Cha a $16,800 car.  Way to go.  Source

Tontine coffee house
The Tontine Coffee House is under the American Flag

The New York Stock Exchange started as a coffee shop.  The Tontine Coffee House was established in 1793 on the northwest corner of Wall Street and Water Street.  It was built as a place for stockbrokers to trade under the Buttonwood Agreement.  This agreement meant that these brokers would trade with each other only, and it became a center for all types of business dealings.  The trading continued until 1817 when the New York Stock and Exchange Board (NYSEB) was created and a larger place was needed.  The coffee house eventually became a tavern in 1826, and a hotel in 1832. The NYSEB became the present-day New York Stock Exchange.  Source

Mickey Mouse star in Walk of Fame

There are fifteen fictional characters that have stars on Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame’.  The List includes: Big Bird, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Godzilla, Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse, The Munchkins, The Muppets, The Rugrats, Shrek, The Simpsons, Snow White, Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, and Woody Woodpecker.  In addition to these characters, there are three animal stars on the Walk of Fame: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Strongheart.  Daffy Duck is still upset on not being included.   Source

That’s it for this week’s edition.  Remember to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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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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