Category Archives: Answers

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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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 Vending Machines Really Kill More People Than Sharks?

Samantha F. asks: Is it true that more people are killed every year by vending machines than sharks? As we’ve discussed at length in another article, sharks, contrary to their fearsome reputation, rarely attack, let alone kill, humans; it would seem that they don’t deem us to be suitable prey, though it seemingly has little to do with taste, as […]

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