Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

Did People in the Middle Ages Really Throw Fecal Matter Out of Their Windows?

poop-cupcake

Aaron H. asks: Before sewer systems, did people in England really toss their poop into the streets? Although Medieval Britons weren’t exactly the cleanest lot by modern standards (though contrary to popular belief, despite some well-known exceptions, they did, in general, bathe in some form or another relatively regularly), the idea of them just dropping trou and dumping half a […]

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The Bizarre Hollywood Phenomenon of “Twin Films”

filming

Yachna N. asks: Why do movie studios release near identical movies at the same time? “Twin films” is the term used to describe a peculiar Hollywood phenomenon that just about every year sees different major studios releasing movies with almost identical plots and themes to their competitors current offerings. Popular examples of twin films include Deep Impact and Armageddon, two […]

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What was Up with David Bowie’s Left Eye?

David_Bowie

Andy D. asks: What was up with David Bowie’s eye? Did he wear contacts or something to make it like that or have some sort of medical condition? David Bowie was a man who reinvented himself countless times throughout his roughly half-century long career; one thing that remained constant about Bowie’s appearance, though, were his eyes. For anyone who doesn’t […]

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Do Words Get Removed from a Dictionary When People Stop Using Them?

dictionary-unlimitted

Kerry U. asks: When words fall out of usage are they removed from the dictionary? The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is generally regarded as the single most comprehensive record of the English language to exist. Included in this work are many thousands of words considered completely “obsolete” by lexicographers. You see, in something of a Hotel California […]

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Do Vending Machines Really Kill More People Than Sharks?

vending-machine-of-death

Samantha F. asks: Is it true that more people are killed every year by vending machines than sharks? As we’ve discussed at length in another article, sharks, contrary to their fearsome reputation, rarely attack, let alone kill, humans; it would seem that they don’t deem us to be suitable prey, though it seemingly has little to do with taste, as […]

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The Surprisingly Heartwarming Story of the Man Who Invented Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha-Hot sauce

Vicki M. asks: Who invented sriracha sauce? The genesis of Sriracha hot sauce (pronounced sir-ah-cha, contrary to what many think) becoming the condiment staple it is today can be traced back to 1975 and an unassuming Vietnamese refuge called David Tran- the founder and current CEO of Huy Fong Foods. Following the Vietnam war, Tran, who was a Major in […]

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In Which We Discuss a Variety of Fascinating Eclipse Related Facts for Your Reading Pleasure

eyeball

Columbus and the Lunar Eclipse After initially welcoming Christopher Columbus and his crew to Jamaica and supplying them with food and supplies after he became shipwrecked in 1503, the Arawak Indians grew weary of Columbus’ men robbing and cheating them and subsequently halted all trade with their island guests Without a significant source of food or means to leave, Columbus’ […]

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Can the Queen’s Guard Really Not React to People While on Duty?

Queens-Guard

Gianna D. asks: On movies the guards outside of Buckingham palace can’t move while on duty, is this true? “The Queen’s Guard” comprise of various soldiers tasked with guarding the residences of the Queen and, by extension, the Queen herself. Consisting of soldiers (mostly) hand picked from five elite regiments within the British military, the Queen’s Guard are internationally renowned […]

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Why are Kinder Surprise Eggs Illegal in the United States?

kinder-surprise

Jharel S. asks: Is it true that Kinder Surprise are illegal in America? For the uninitiated, Kinder Eggs are a chocolate treat widely available throughout Europe, Mexico and Canada, with the company that makes them, Ferrero (perhaps better known in the U.S. for being the makers of Nutella), selling a whopping 1.5 billion of the eggs per year. Where they […]

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Yadav and the Param Vir Chakra

Yogendra_Singh_Yadav

The Param Vir Chakra (roughly, the “Wheel of the Ultimate Brave”) is India’s highest military decoration for gallantry during battle and is “awarded for rarest of the rare gallantry which is beyond the call of duty and which in normal life is considered impossible to do”. The medal is known for having one of the most stringent selection process of […]

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