Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

That Time Coca-Cola Released a New Soda Just to Spite Pepsi

Few companies have a rivalry as fierce and longstanding as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and in their never ending battle for soda market dominance each company has gone to some spectacular lengths to screw over the other. Arguably the most fiendishly genius move of all was one made by Coca-Cola in the early 1990s- a move that basically involved intentionally releasing […]

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Does Diplomatic Immunity Really Make It So You Can Get Away with Murder?

Mark H. asks: Is it true diplomats can get away with murder because of diplomatic immunity? While the idea of some form of diplomatic immunity has existed seemingly as long as there have been humans banding together in some form, the modern rules surrounding this were originally laid out in 1961 at the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, with to […]

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Can You Really Just Go Online and Order a Wife from Some Other Country?

Scott L. asks: Can you really just go online and order a bride/wife from some other country? Seems like this can’t really be a thing because of immigration laws, right? While people have been sending messages back and forth to arrange marriages sight-unseen throughout history, the slightly more modern concept of mail-order brides is generally considered to have originated during […]

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How Many Hamsters Would it Take to Power Your Home and Would This Be Cheaper Than Coal Power?

Jeremy A. asks: How many hamsters running on electricity generating wheels would it take to provide enough energy for an average American household?  Would this be cheaper than coal electricity? While the question of hamsters powering homes may seem a bit farcical, it should be noted that at one point humans did specifically breed a certain type of dog for […]

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What Happens if you Renounce Your Citizenship But Don’t Belong to Another Country When You Do It?

Sarah M. asks: What happens if you renounce your citizenship but don’t belong to another country when you do it? It turns out, renouncing your citizenship to a given nation is generally a fairly simple affair in many nations of the world. It doesn’t even usually cost that much. For example, in the UK- fittingly for a country stereotypical known […]

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That Time an Accidental Plague Nearly Killed Everyone in World of Warcraft

In mid-2005 players logging on to play the popular online multiplayer game World of Warcraft found themselves besieged by a virulent virtual plague nobody knew how to cure or effectively combat. For around a month the plague spread unchecked throughout the kingdom of Azeroth, killing tens of thousands of players’ characters and intriguing experts who’ve since used the plague as […]

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What Ever Happened to Ronald McDonald? (And the Bizarre Rules for Those Playing the Character)

According to official company statements, Ronald McDonald is “second only to Santa in terms of recognition”. While this may or may not have been true at one point in time, you might have noticed of late that the formerly prominent fast-food mascot has almost completely disappeared from the lime-light. So how did Ronald McDonald come about in the first place […]

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Can the Police Commit Crimes While Undercover?

Chloe T. asks: Can police officers or FBI agents commit crimes while undercover? The use of undercover or covert law enforcement is common throughout much of the world and, for the most part, men and women tasked with going undercover are expected to, and do, follow the law. However, beyond the occasional bad officer doing things they aren’t supposed to, […]

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Do People Who Resort to Cannibalism in Survival Situations Get in Trouble?

Gina K asks: When people have to resort to cannibalism to survive, is it considered a crime? To begin with, cannibalism is absolutely legal in the United States (with the exception of the state of Idaho), the UK, much of Europe, Japan, etc. However, as Cornell Law School notes, a number of laws are in place across America “that indirectly […]

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The Bizarre Story of the Seattle Mystery Vending Machine

In the city of Seattle, Washington there exists a vending machine that over the years has become something of a local landmark amongst residents who are familiar with its mysterious history. Situated on the corner the John Street and 10th Avenue East in the bustling Capitol Hill neighbourhood, the seemingly ancient machine is well known for dispensing random, sometimes rare, […]

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