Author Archives: Melissa

What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?

American-Cockroach

Soshi K. asks: What do cockroaches eat and where do they live when not in our houses? Sneaky and skittering, invasive and indomitable, the disgusting peridomestic cockroach is a formidable enemy for anyone unlucky enough to live among them. Interestingly, however, they are surprisingly delicate, and at least one species is utterly dependent on humans for its survival. Of the […]

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Why is it Called Area 51?

area-51

Michael S. asks: Why is it called Area “51”? Where are the other 50 areas? Despite the CIA’s release of previously classified documents in 2013 that acknowledged the existence of Area 51 as a top-secret U.S. government research facility, many questions about the site remain unanswered. One of the most innocuous, but nonetheless puzzling, is its choice of name. Although […]

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Is It Possible to Breastfeed with Implants?

breastfeeding

Brandy R. asks: Is it possible to breastfeed after getting a boob-job? Given the well-documented benefits of breastfeeding to the long- and short- term health of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeeding infants for at least the first six months, and continuing to nurse, along with giving supplemental foods, throughout the first year of life. In […]

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The Amazing Heroism of Ben L. Salomon- the Army Dentist Who Killed 98 Attacking Enemy Soldiers Single-Handedly

captain-salomen

On the morning of July 7, 1944, Captain Ben L. Salomon of the U.S. Army’s 105th Infantry, commissioned as a dentist, single-handedly held off a fierce attack of an overwhelming force of Japanese soldiers in order to allow sufficient time for approximately 30 of his comrades to safely retreat. After 15 hours of terrible fighting, when relief finally arrived, Salomon […]

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Why Does the New Year Begin on January First in Many Countries?

newyears

Jamie asks: Why is New Year’s day January 1st? Because Julius Caesar said so. Early Roman Calendar Since long before Caesar’s time, date keeping was dicey. In fact, the 355-day Roman calendar that immediately preceded Caesar’s Julian, worked on a four year cycle where every other year, an additional month was inserted between February (Februarius), the last month of that […]

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Jack Daniel’s Refreshingly “Nice” Team of Attorneys

jack-daniels

Generally speaking, attorneys, and particularly high-priced litigators, are not known for being “nice” or polite in their interactions with those on the opposite side of the table of their clients. Rather, the stereotype (not without basis) is of a profession filled with aggressive and sometimes even nasty people, who will stop at nothing to see their clients prevail- it’s their […]

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Why Do Presidents Get to Pardon People at the End of Their Terms?

president-obama

Barbara W. asks: When did commuting a prisoners sentence at the end of a presidents Term of office go into effect, and why do they do it? An armed insurrectionist, teamster with (perhaps) ties to the mafia, socialite turned terrorist, presidential sibling and even a former President of the United States have all received either a presidential pardon or commutation […]

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Why Things That Are Haphazardly Built Are Called “Jury-Rigged”

duct-tape

David N. asks: Who was the Jerry in the expression Jerry-rigged? Although many describe shoddy workmanship or a hasty, temporary repair as jerry-rigged, in its original incarnation, the term was actually jury-rigged. While jury as a noun meaning a group of peers that decide the outcome of a legal proceeding has been in use English since the early 14th century, […]

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Did English Speakers Really Not Use Contractions in the 19th Century as Depicted in True Grit?

language2

Karl A. asks: In the movie True Grit, they don’t use contractions. Is it true that people back then didn’t use them? Won’t, don’t, wouldn’t, isn’t and even ain’t- where would we be without our contractions? Prevalent in spoken English and increasingly accepted in written pieces, contractions enable brevity and make written works more accessible and friendly. Contractions in some […]

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How the Practice of Putting Candles on Cakes for Birthdays Started

birthday-cake

Heily O. asks: How did the tradition of having cakes with candles on them for birthdays start? For most of human history, ordinary people’s birthdays weren’t cause for much celebration. In fact, in the ancient world if you weren’t among the elite, odds are your birthday would have mostly just been noted for things like astrological purposes, rather than throwing […]

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The Law of the Tongue: The Deal Between the Orcas and Whalers of Eden, Australia

old-tom-and-whalers

Sporting the third deepest natural harbor in the southern hemisphere and a rich habitat, the waters around Eden, Australia attract a variety of wildlife, including baleen whales and, at least in the fall and winter, orcas. At some point in the history of the indigenous Yuin people, they and the killer whales seemingly entered into a tacit sort of unspoken […]

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