Category Archives: Answers

What Do the Numbers in a Blood Pressure Test Mean and What Does This Test Tell the Doctor?

Carmen asks: What do the numbers in a blood pressure test mean? Also, what types of things do these numbers tell doctors? Well Carmen, blood pressure is really just that- the pressure at which blood moves around the body in your arteries. The easiest and least invasive way to test what that pressure is at any given moment is to […]

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Where Did the Word “Assassin” Come From?

Chris Klick asks: Why is someone who murders a prominent person called an “assassin”. Where did this word “assassin” come from? The word “assassin” derives from a secretive murder cult in the 11th and 12th centuries called the “Hashishin”, meaning “hashish eaters”.  While much of the origin of this cult has been lost, the original leader was Hasan Ben Sabah, […]

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How Do Shellfish Have Sex?

Now You Know

Lina asks: How do shellfish have sex? Shellfishly? *crickets* They don’t have any trendy, happening nightclubs. They don’t have flowers, jewelry, or boxes of chocolates.  They have no Viagra, stiff drinks, or cheesy pickup lines. But that doesn’t mean shellfish aren’t getting lucky.  Oysters, mussels, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and thousands of other varieties of shellfish have their own unique mating […]

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Is White Chocolate Really Chocolate?

Felix K asks: Is white chocolate actually chocolate? That depends on who you ask, but on the whole most chocolate connoisseurs would say no. Chocolate is a range of products made with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids, among other ingredients. Depending on the proportions of the cocoa, there are several types of chocolate like dark chocolate, milk chocolate, […]

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What Does the “G” in “G-Spot” Stand For?

Now You Know

Becky asks: What does the “G” in “G-spot” stand for? The “G” in G-Spot stands for “Gräfenberg”, after famed gynecologist Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg, who, among other things, had the “G-spot” named after him and invented the first known Ring IUD birth control device, the “Gräfenberg ring”. Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg was born in Germany on September 18, 1881 and received his doctorate on March […]

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Why Do the British Pronounce “Z” as “Zed”?

Now You Know

Jack asks: Why do the British pronounce “Z” as “Zed”? It’s not just the British that pronounce “z” as “zed”.  The vast majority of the English speaking world does this.  The primary exception, of course, is in the United States where “z” is pronounced “zee”. The British and others pronounce “z”, “zed”, owing to the origin of the letter “z”, […]

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Is it “Racking Your Brain” or “Wracking Your Brain”?

Now You Know

Stevo asks: Is “racking your brain” or “wracking your brain” the correct way to write that expression? There are some language guides, generally the ones that pay a lot of attention to the etymology of “rack” and “wrack”, that will still say it is “racking your brain” not “wracking your brain”, but these are becoming few and far between.  In […]

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How the Tradition of Trick or Treating Got Started

Amit Bhatnagar asks: Where did the American tradition of trick or treating come from? The vast majority of the traditions commonly associated with Halloween today are borrowed or adapted from four different festivals, namely: The Roman Feralia festival, commemorating the dead The Roman Pomona festival, honoring the goddess of fruit and trees The Celtic festival Samuin, meaning “summer’s end”, (also […]

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