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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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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The Many U.S. Presidents Before George Washington

Today I found out about the presidents before the U.S. Constitution went into effect. Schools in the United States teach children from an early age that the first president of the United States was George Washington. But teachers often forget to mention a small, kind of important detail- George Washington was the first U.S. president under the current United States […]

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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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How Did “911” Become The Emergency Call Number in North America?

Kaiden asks: Why is 9-1-1 the emergency call number? Before the 1960s, the United States didn’t have one universal phone number for Americans to call if they needed help from the police or fire department. Callers simply had to know the phone number for each department in the area they were currently in. In the case of large cities, there […]

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