Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

The London Garrotting Panic of the Mid-19th Century

Although crime in England’s capital was on the decline in the mid-19th century, thanks in part to the relatively recent formation of the London Metropolitan Police Force in 1839, fear of crime was a persistent, reoccurring issue thanks to a few instances of robbery and murder, and, of course, the news media. In particular, the so-called “garrotting” cases, where someone […]

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Will Hospitals Give Back an Amputated Limb if You Ask For It?

Ron G. asks: Your donating bodies to science article left me wondering. What do hospitals do with limbs of people they amputate? Like, if I have a limb amputated, can I ask for it back? It’s standard procedure in most hospitals to incinerate any limbs, organs or tissue they remove from a non-organ donor patient. However, just because this is […]

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What Happens When You Donate Your Body to Science and How Do You Do This?

Ian asks: When someone leaves their body to science, what happens to it and how does a person opt into this? As you might expect, the rules surrounding how one goes about donating one’s body FOR SCIENCE varies a little from region to region, though the general process and what happens after you donate seems to be relatively consistent. For […]

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Apparently We’ve All Been Saying “UFO” Wrong?

We here at TodayIFoundOut are firmly in the camp that language is constantly evolving and grammar lives to serve language and effective communication, not the other way around. Putting aside the issue of unintentional mistakes, intentional use of atypical grammar isn’t really something to get inherently upset or high and mighty about. And certainly those who claim some word, like […]

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

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”

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?

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?

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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