Category Archives: Answers

Is Honey Vegan?

honey-bee

Melissa asks: Is honey considered vegan? There’s a reason there’s the expression “busy as a bee.” These buzzing insects’ entire lives are dedicated to making sure the hive keeps humming and the next generation of bees are born. Worker bees are consistently building, cleaning and protecting their home. When they are not tending to the hive, they are foraging for […]

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Why Are Shoe Sizes as They Are?

foot-measuring

Kim A. asks: How did they come up with the standard sizes for shoes? Seemingly arbitrary, there is a crazy logic (and a lot of muddy history giving rise to tradition) behind the numbers assigned to different shoe sizes. During the reign of England’s Edward II (1284-1327), certain measurements became standardized.  Most pertinent to the discussion at hand: Three barley-corns, […]

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Why Do People Stick Out and Bite Their Tongues When Concentrating?

boy-biting-tongue

Jon K. asks: Why do I sometimes naturally bite my tongue when concentrating on things? The short answer as to why some people bite their tongue when concentrating is that the tongue requires a surprising amount of brain power to manage- beyond general motor control, it’s covered in various types of sensors constantly providing feedback to your brain about what’s […]

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Who Started the Red Carpet Tradition?

red-carpet

David asks: When did the tradition of rolling out a red carpet for celebrities start? Throughout history, red carpets have led luminaries to momentous events, both good and bad. Aeschylus (525 BC – 455 BC), the “father of tragedy,” wrote various plays where his heroes fell from grace due to a combination of unwinnable circumstances, arrogance and/or simply stepping on […]

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Why a Final Performance is Called a “Swan Song”

swan-song

Gideon S. asks: Why is a final performance called a swansong? When someone performs for the last time, we often refer to it as a “swan song” which seems odd given that swans aren’t particularly known for their stage presence… So where exactly did this phrase come from? This expression is generally thought to have its genesis in the over […]

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Has There Ever Been an Actual Case of Someone Being Pelted With Tomatoes During a Performance?

thrown-tomato

Andthen2 asks: Has there ever been a real case of someone being pelted with tomatoes during a performance? As we’ve discussed in detail before (see: The Curious Case of the Claque), audiences haven’t always been kind to performers throughout history as evidenced by the fact that there was a thriving industry of people who made a rather lucrative living during […]

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What Happened to Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s Parents?

huey-dewey-louie

Karla asks: I was just wondering if it’s known what ever happened to Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s parents? In 1934 Walt Disney introduced the world to Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse’s lovable ill-tempered friend. Donald was an instant success, becoming one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time. Three short years after his creation, comic artist Al Taliaferro got […]

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Asparagus, Beets, Carrots and Your Urine

squeezed-juices

Stephanie I. asks: Why do beets turn some peoples pee red while others it doesn’t? Asparagus may be the most well-known urine changer, and even Ben Franklin acknowledged that just “a few stems of asparagus eaten, shall give our urine a disagreeable odor.” Although the precise mechanism is not definitively understood (despite extensive study), it is generally thought that a […]

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