Author Archives: Daven Hiskey

What “Mrs.” is Short For

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Today I found out what “Mrs.” is short for. You may have wondered, if you’ve ever thought about it, why there is an “r” in “Mrs.” when it’s generally spoken as “missus” (also sometimes spelled “missis”). “Mrs.” first popped up as an abbreviation for “mistress” in the late 16th century. At the time, “mistress” didn’t popularly have the negative connotation […]

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Why are Carved Pumpkins Called “Jack O’ Lanterns”?

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Scott T. asks: Why are carved pumpkins called “Jack O’ Lanterns”? The name “Jack O’ Lantern” was originally one of the numerous names given to ignis fatuus (Medieval Latin for “foolish fire”), another of which is “Will O’ the Wisps”, basically the odd light that can occasionally be seen over marshes, swamps, and the like. “Jack O’ Lantern” first popped […]

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Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long

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During the Industrial Revolution, companies attempted to maximize the output of their factories by keeping them running as many hours as possible, typically implementing a “sun up to sun down” work day.  Wages were also extremely low, so workers themselves often needed to work these long shifts just to get by, including often sending their children to work in the […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 112

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This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. How Dick Came to Be Short for Richard The name Richard is thought by most etymologists to derive from the Proto-Germanic ‘Rikharthu’, meaning more or less “hard ruler” (‘Rik-‘ meaning ‘ruler’ and ‘-harthu’ meaning ‘hard’).  This was adopted into Old High […]

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Fascinating Olympics Facts

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Here’s a round-up of all the interesting Olympic facts we’ve covered over the years, including eighteen articles and seven Quick Olympics Facts. Why Do Olympians Wear Colored Tape? The colored tape the Olympians and other athletes wear is called “Kinesio® Tex Tape”, which is essentially just an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic, heat activated adhesive.  The tape was designed […]

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How Blind People Tell When They’ve Wiped Enough, and More in Yet Another 9 Quick Facts

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997) Ever wonder how blind people tell when they’ve wiped enough after going to the bathroom?  Well, wonder no more. To begin with, the vast majority of the world’s population uses water to clean, rather than starting with toilet paper. With something like a bidet with reasonable pressure, you just spray for a bit and use toilet paper to dry- […]

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The Declaration of Independence was Voted and Approved on July 2nd and Wasn’t Signed Until August 2nd, So Why is July 4th Independence Day?

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While it is often said that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, this isn’t actually correct. In fact, nobody signed it on the 4th. This is contradictory to Thomas Jefferson’s, John Adams’, and Benjamin Franklin’s account of events. On top of their accounts, the public congressional record of events back their story. So how do we […]

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The First Thing Eaten on the Moon, What Armstrong Said Directly After His Historic “Small Step” Line, What It Would Take to Stop the Earth Orbiting the Sun and More in Yet Another 14 Quick Facts

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983) On July 21, 1969 at 02:56 UTC, Neil Armstrong forever stamped his name in the history books by putting his foot on the Moon. Armstrong getting to do this almost never happened due to the fact that he turned his application in to NASA about a week after the June 1, 1962 deadline, making him ineligible for that historic […]

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Liam Neeson the Boxing Champion, Double Nosed Dogs, Pregnant for 61 Years and More in Yet Another 9 Amazing Quick Facts

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974) At the age of nine years old, actor Liam Neeson joined the All Saints Boxing Club put together by his parish priest, Father Darragh. He continued boxing until 17, according to Neeson becoming “juvenile champion of Northern Ireland three times and Irish runner-up a couple times in my weight division.” However, after one of his final fights, when he […]

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Mailing Children, The 24 Hour Puppy Channel, the Bizarre Origins of Sleeping Beauty and More in Yet Another 10 Amazing Quick Facts

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  964) When Parcel Post Service first launched in America on January 1, 1913, there were few guidelines on what could be mailed.  As a result, a handful of parents, spotting a bargain, began mailing their children. The first known case of this was the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio only a few weeks after the […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 95

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This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. What is the Hottest Temperature Possible? The idea of absolute hot springs from its better-known cousin, absolute zero, which, as you may recall, is 0 K, -273.15° C or -459.67° F. And although abridged definitions of the lowest temperature will frequently state […]

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Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells and Why Pistachios Used to Be Dyed Red

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Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells Cashews are a member of the same family as poison ivy, Anacardiaceae. Like poison ivy and many other members of the family, part of the cashew plant contains an oily chemical called urushiol, which is a strong irritant for most people and can even be fatal for some if ingested. […]

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Why Toothpaste Makes Things Like Orange Juice Taste So Awful

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You may think the reason toothpaste makes things like orange juice taste so awful is simply due to the common mint flavor of toothpaste clashing with other flavors, but this isn’t actually what’s going on here. The real culprit is thought to be two compounds almost universally added to toothpastes -sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate, which are […]

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