Author Archives: Sarah Stone

Why Does a Mailbox That is Essentially a Container With a Door Need “Approved by the Postmaster General”?

James I. asks: I was at Lowes and noticed mailboxes say “approved by the postmaster general”. What specifications do a mailbox need to reach to be approved in this way? I mean, it’s a box with a little door and a flag. Are those the requirements? What’s the process here? Thanks! While the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the […]

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Who Invented the TASER?

Tom R. asks: Who invented tasers? Early use of an electronic control device, like the TASER, by law enforcement occurred in the 1960s when American police officers used electric cattle prods to disperse Civil Rights activists. As for the earliest cattle prods, this came about when inventor John Burton of Wichita, Kansas received a patent (US427549 A) in the late […]

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How are Baby Carrots Made?

Amy W. asks: How do they make baby carrots? Unlike cut baby carrots, farmers grow “true” baby carrots to be naturally small, or other times they are simply carrots harvested before they get a chance to completely mature. “True” baby carrots bear the same cone shape as a normal sized carrot while only being a fraction of the size. A […]

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The Tlatelolco Massacre of 1968

The Mexico of 1968 showed every indication of being the most modern nation in Latin America. President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz oversaw a country with a booming economy and a middle class predominately able to send their children to college for the first time in Mexico’s history. Mexico City was even getting ready to host the 1968 Summer Olympics to open […]

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How the Maximum Occupancy of a Building is Calculated

MK23 asks: How do they figure out the maximum occupancy for a building? Generally speaking, the maximum occupancy of a room or building is primarily determined by the available exits, with each exit accommodating only a certain number of people before bottlenecking occurs. The other key component in determining the max occupancy of a building or room is the intended […]

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Why Teachers are Associated with and Traditionally Given Apples

Gloria N. asks: Why is the stereotype to give apples to teachers? Widespread publicly funded, mandatory education has only been around since about the 19th century. Before then, the responsibility of providing schooling to children fell primarily on their families. Upper- and middle-class families tended to hire tutors or send their children to a private school run by a schoolmaster. […]

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