Category Archives: Answers

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 are Some Pages “Intentionally Left Blank” and Why Do They Say This?

book

Gabino asks: Why do they bother putting the text This Page Intentionally Blank on blank pages? It’s easy to dismiss the phrase, “This page is intentionally left blank” and its usage as an example of bureaucracy gone mad, but it and the blank pages themselves are actually there for good reason. To begin with, the practise of marking intentionally blank pages, […]

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What Exactly Does Landing on Free Parking Do in a Game of Monopoly? (And Other Ways You’ve Been Playing Monopoly Wrong That Make It Take Longer)

monopoly

Richard G. asks: I’ve seen so many different rules for it, but what’s actually supposed to happen when you land on free parking in Monopoly? Few board games have the ability to cause arguments like Monopoly, an unsurprising fact given the object of the game it was based on (see: Who Invented Monopoly?) was to send your opponent to the […]

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Can a Vice Presidential Candidate or the Speaker of the House Really Be Elected President Instead of the Main, “Winning” Candidates?

veep

Michelle S. asks: Is it actually possible for a vice president candidate to be elected president like on VEEP or were they just making that up? The season five finale of HBO’s Emmy-award winning comedy VEEP sure seemed like a Hollywood fantasy. Through a series of wacky situations, hilarious gaffes and complicated procedures, an obscure Vice-Presidential candidate was elected by […]

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The Surprisingly Reasonable Answer to the Age Old Question- Why Do We Drive on Parkways and Park on Driveways?

the-blue-ridge-parkway

Eric J. asks: I know it’s an old joke, but seriously, why do we drive on parkways but park on our driveways? There has to be a good reason we say it this way, right? To most people the fact that we drive on parkways and park on driveways is rarely pondered upon. This only comes to mind when pointed […]

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Who – or What – was the First Sports Mascot and How Did the Practice Start?

reds-mascot

Nathan M. asks: How did the idea of using animals as mascots for teams start? During lopsided games or pauses in action, it is the sports team’s mascot that keeps fans entertained. Be it with dancing, shooting t-shirts into the crowds or goading opposing coaches into attacking them, mascots make sports a little more fun – even if a few of […]

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Why do Golfers Yell “Fore,” When was the Mulligan First Used, and Other Questions You Might Have Wondered About Golf

golf

There is a long-standing belief that golf was invented by the Scottish, sometime in the 14th or 15th centuries. This maybe false, at least according to Chinese professors and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. In 2006, evidence was presented that the game may have originated from the ancient Chinese game “Chuiwan” – loosely translated to “hitting ball.” Two paintings, one […]

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Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long

8-HOUR-DAY-BANNER

During the Industrial Revolution, companies attempted to maximize the output of their factories by keeping them running as many hours as possible, typically implementing a “sun up to sun down” work day.  Wages were also extremely low, so workers themselves often needed to work these long shifts just to get by, including often sending their children to work in the […]

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Why aren’t the Windows Aligned with the Rows of Seats in Commercial Aircraft?

view-from-airplane

M. Silverman asks: Why aren’t the windows aligned with the rows of seats on planes? While airplane manufacturers do design the planes with general row positioning and pitch (the measurement from one seat to the same exact point on the seat in front or behind it) in mind, with the windows often lining up with the seats, the designers’ exact […]

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Why Doesn’t the Queen of England Need a Passport?

passport

Marco Rossi asks: Is it true that the queen of England isn’t required to have a passport when she visits other countries? As the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, the commonwealth, and certain other countries that have since declared independence but decided they kind of like having the Queen on their money, Queen Elizabeth II enjoys a number of […]

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