Category Archives: Answers

United States: Republic or Democracy?

Mike asks: Why does everyone say the U.S. is a Democracy when it’s really a Republic? Frequently, politicians, and many ordinary Americans, refer to the United States as a democracy. Others find this aggravating because, unlike in a democracy where citizens vote directly on laws, in the United States, elected representatives do – and, therefore, the U.S. is a republic. […]

Read more

Did Unicorns Ever Exist?

Kara asks: Did unicorns ever exist? On November 30, 2012, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s government “news” agency, reported that scientists had “reconfirmed” the existence and location of the final resting place of the unicorn ridden by King Dongmyeong, the founding father of Goguryeo of an ancient Korean kingdom. The unicorn’s grave was located under a rock near […]

Read more

Why Figure Skaters Don’t Seem Dizzy After Spinning

Justina asks: Why don’t figure skaters get dizzy after they spin? To understand why, it’s important to know why people get dizzy in the first place. Dizziness is controlled by the vestibular system in your upper inner ear. Within the vestibular system, there are three canals that contain fluid called endolymph, as well as sensory nerve cells that look sort […]

Read more

What Happens When You Freeze Water in a Container So Strong the Water Can’t Expand Into Ice?

Kevin asks: What would happen if you froze water, but the container was so strong the water couldn’t expand into ice? Some readers may recall a science class in which an excitable teacher walked to the front of the class to show off a small, cracked steel container, seemingly damaged by an incredibly powerful, but tiny force; only for said […]

Read more

The Origin of the Hokey Pokey

Karla asks: Where did the “Hokey Pokey” come from? There’s no one definitive answer to where the Hokey Pokey (or Hokey Cokey) ultimately derives from.  Even the modern history of it is somewhat convoluted. Proposed origin theories span oceans, and even centuries. That said, the convoluted nature of the history of something has never stopped us from trying to trace […]

Read more

Who Was Sadie Hawkins and Why Does She Have a Dance Named After Her?

Becky asks: Why is there a dance called “Sadie Hawkins”? Was this a real person? Sadie Hawkins’ renown, which evolved into an American folk-holiday in some places, doesn’t really originate from a dance, but rather from a race, as we shall soon see. Sadie was the product of the fertile imagination of cartoonist Al Capp. She was a character in […]

Read more

Why We “Drop” the Ball on New Year’s Eve

Jeremy asks: Why do we drop the ball on New Year’s eve in Times Square? When Adolph Ochs purchased the floundering New York Times in 1896, he made it his mission to make the newspaper the number one paper in all of New York. He started by forming the New York Times Company and made himself the majority owner, ensuring […]

Read more

Is it Possible to Cash Oversized Novelty Prize Checks?

Mark J. asks: Can people actually cash those big novelty checks? The giant novelty check (cheque to our readers of the non-American persuasion) is a comedy staple, even if you’ve never been lucky enough to handle one in real life, you’ve likely drawn a cartoonishsly huge moustache on a picture of someone holding one in a newspaper. (Just me?) You’ve […]

Read more
1 23 24 25 26 27 32