Category Archives: Answers

What Causes the Smoke Trails Behind Airline Planes High in the Sky?

Mike L. asks: What is the chemtrail smoke behind airliners? So called “chemtrails,” though more technically known as contrails, first appeared behind planes going all the way back to the earliest days of high altitude flight. One of the earliest known surviving references of such occurred when an American soldier by the name of Captain Ward Wells observed a peculiar […]

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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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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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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 Truth About Whether Marijuana is Legal in Amsterdam and the Deal with Coffeeshops

Jeremy B. asks: Is it true that pot is legal in Amsterdam? Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe- a city famous for its canals, its museums, its history and, well, it’s weed. Except, it turns out the common idea that marijuana is legal in the Netherlands isn’t accurate at all. This is despite the fact […]

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Why is Pomp and Circumstance Always Played at Graduations?

Nathan K. asks: How did Pomp and Circumstance get to be the tune always played at graduations? Every year, hundreds of thousands of students march across a stage in a gown and a squared hat to receive a piece of paper that says they’ve completed a particular phase in their education. This school graduation will undoubtedly be marked by cheering, […]

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Can You Really Sign Things in a Legally Binding Way By Just Writing a Big X?

Orlando D. asks: Does it matter what you sign on contracts? Could you draw a picture or put an X and have it still be legally binding? With so many facets of modern life being automated, signatures being easy to forge, and given how difficult it is to prove based on signature alone whether a given person actually signed something, […]

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Has Anyone Ever Tried to Pay for Something with a Briefcase Full of Cash?

Darren W. asks: Are there any records of someone paying with a briefcase full of money or is this just a Hollywood trope? A briefcase full of cash is a trope so common that even TV Tropes, a website dedicated to cataloguing cinematic cliches, requests that users only mention “exceptions, parodies and subversions”. While you’d expect something so ridiculous to […]

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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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