Page 154 - Interesting Facts

The richest black woman in the world is no longer Oprah Winfrey. Learn about the woman who took the #1 spot

While there are many female billionaires on the Forbes 'richest woman' list, until 2013, only two of them were black. Angolan Isabel Dos Santos and American Oprah Winfrey were the two holding up the title with $3.5 billion and $2.5 billion respectively, but now they have been joined by a third, and she has theoretically eclipsed them both by quite some margin.

Nigerian fashion and oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija has just recently made headlines when a relatively small stakeholder of her oil field was looking to sell. Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, holds an 8% stake in Alakija’s oil field in the Niger Delta and they were looking to make around $1 billion from the sale.

This estimate put Alakija’s 60% stake at around $7.3 billion and instantly catapulted her to the top of the list. Of course, as with these types of lists, the value is theoretical, but she could conceivably sell her stake and realise the fortune as a cash balance, something many of the worlds other “paper” billionaires could not necessarily do.


If John Lennon had listened to his aunt's advice, the Beatles never would have existed.

Mary Elizabeth Smith, better known as Mimi, was musician John Lennon's maternal aunt and parental guardian. She took over the care for Lennon from her younger sister, Julia, when Julia was unable to provide adequately for the baby.

Mimi was an austere woman who practiced an attitude of "stubborn independence", making her husband to-be court her for seven years before eventually marrying him. She was strong minded and had definite opinions on many things, especially around the life and potential career of young John Lennon.

She is famously quoted as having told Lennon that while playing the guitar as a hobby was alright, it would not earn him any money.Lennon, of course, went on to form the Beatles — possibly the most successful rock band of all time — and did indeed earn some money from his guitar.

Years later, Lennon jokingly reminded Mimi of her quote and presented her with a silver plaque carrying an engraving of her words.


Weird Al was almost an architect — find out why he chose music instead

Being a musician is hard work. The competition is fierce, and getting your voice out so that people can hear you and buy your music is no easy feat. Modern technology has made it slightly easier to record and distribute your talent, but in days gone by, getting yourself noticed was not easy.

Nobody knows this better than Alfred Matthew Yankovic. Better known these days are Weird Al, he started off not even wanting to be a musician. He was an incredibly bright student, starting school a year early and skipping second grade and ending up at college two years younger than everyone else.

Yankovic, a self styled nerd, never thought he could make a living out of music so studied for a degree in architecture, graduating in 1980. He was also valedictorian of his senior class. However, all though his student days Yankovic was trying his hand at making music.

He developed a very unique style of parodying popular songs, but struggled to get any recording studios to sign him despite the widespread popularity of his efforts.

Yankovic slowly built up a portfolio of “funny” songs, gathered a band around him and attracted some dedicated managers and engineers — most of which are still with him to this day.

Weird Al is best known for his parodies, but produces many original songs as well. He has released 13 albums to date, sometimes to mixed reviews, but always strives to remain true to his own unique style.Love him or hate him, while he undoubtedly would have made an excellent architect, he would have left the music world a lot poorer had he not followed his dream.


Some awesome lists!

The average woman will eat about 350 grams of lipstick in her life—and it could be dangerous to her health!

Woman do not consume 6 to 10 pounds of lipstick per year, regardless of what the Internet might have you believe. These figures are impossible to achieve, short of having the ladies feasting on bars of lipstick daily. A more accurate figure is 24 milligrams per day, found by studies done in 2002. Assuming an average application span of 55 years and assuming the ladies apply lipstick for only 5 days a week, this results in around 350 grams of lipstick ingested over a lifetime.

However, recent studies have shown that even this small amount could be dangerous, depending on the composition of the lipstick itself.

Lipstick is primarily made up of waxes, fats and oils, but also contain a vast array of other chemicals that control the colour, flavour, stay-fastness etc. While the list of chemicals is diverse, of particular interest to the 2013 study was the metals found. Metal contents of cosmetics are not regulated in the United States and the study evaluated the levels of lead, aluminium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel and titanium found in a number of brands of lipstick.

Given the daily intake, and relating the amounts of these metals contained in the products tested, it was found that many products expose women to higher than acceptable levels of metal intake. What is worse though is that companies are not required to list their metal contents because the FDA does not regulate metal levels in cosmetics. Thus, the consumer has no way of knowing what metals are in the lipsticks and in what concentrations.

So, while dark red glossy lips might rev your man up, you might want to pause for thought before applying that fourth touchup for the day.


One woman's hair was the key to the technology behind the atomic bomb.

The task of dropping bombs accurately during WWII was not an easy one. This was before the days of radar, lasers, or even computers. Bombs were generally dropped by “bombers” who used a combination of training and experience to decide when to drop a bomb.

That was the case until the Carl L Norden company developed the Norden Bombsight. This device was revolutionary, and in tests proved to be accuratae to within 75 feet, something totally unheard of in the day. The Norden Bombsight consisted of three main components: there was an analogue computer that plotted the bombs potential trajectory based on flight conditions, a link to the planes autopilot system that provided environmental information relating to wind speed and direction and a set of crosshairs that allowed the bomber to sight the target.

Of the three, oddly enough, the crosshairs proved to be the most difficult to perfect. The army required a material that would withstand huge fluctuations in temperature as well as the rigours of being mounted in a 1940’s aeroplane. The army eventually discovered that human hair was best suited to the job, but the hair had to be blond, long, and needed to never have been treated with chemicals or heated with a hot brush. Even in the 1940’s, this was a tall order.

But, one woman met all the criteria, and so it was that Mary Babnik Brown became the woman who was to supply the crosshairs for the Norden bombsights. Mary’s hair was blond, some 34 inches long and had never been cut or treated by chemicals in any form. Mary washed her hair twice a week with “pure soap” and brushed her hair twice a day.

She agreed to donate her hair to the war effort and refused any compensation for it, claiming it was her patriotic duty. She only found out what her hair had been used for during the war in 1987 when President Ronald Reagan wrote her a letter of thanks on her 80th birthday.



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