Category Archives: Featured Facts

Hold My Beer- The Story of Tommy Fitz’ and His Drunken Bet

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Thomas Fitzpatrick, known to his friends as Tommy Fitz, was a native of Washington Heights, Manhattan, who, although he had moved to New Jersey, still hung out with his old friends from the neighborhood. A “wild bunch,” Tommy’s crew were adventurous and enjoyed frequenting area bars. Late in evening (or rather early in the morning) of September 30, 1956, as […]

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How the Rumor That Paul McCartney Died in 1966 and Was Secretly Replaced by a Look-Alike Got Started

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For a couple of months in the fall of 1969, a persistent rumor that Paul McCartney had been killed two years earlier and replaced with a look-alike captured the imaginations of Beatles fans and the general public. The rumor began in the winter of 1967 when, after a particularly icy night, reports were flying among Britain’s national press that Paul […]

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Bonsai!

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Long before the bonsai art form of creating miniature trees came to Japan, the wealthy in China were perfecting their craft known as “penzai” and “penjing.” The former means “tray plant” and the latter “tray scenery.” It is from the Japanese pronunciation of “penzai” that the word “bonzai” ultimately derives- “bon” meaning “tray-like” and “sai” meaning “planting.”  (The Japanese equivalent […]

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What Happens When You Freeze Water In a Container That Won’t Let It Expand, Why a Baker’s Dozen is 13 Instead of 12 and More…

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In this week’s “best of” our YouTube channel, we discuss what happens when you freeze water in a container that won’t let it expand, why figure skaters don’t seem to ever get dizzy when they spin, how smoke detector’s work, and the fascinating story behind how the dwarf planet Pluto got its name.  Be sure and subscribe to our YouTube […]

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The Origin of the Color Belt Scheme in Martial Arts

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White, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and black, the colors of martial arts belts denote student development, skills and experience. However, contrary to popular belief, using colored belts to denote rank or ability in martial arts is a relatively recent invention in the otherwise ancient arts- one that was only introduced around the turn of the 20th century. Much of […]

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The Truth About Your Flammable Farts

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Alex B. asks: Why are farts flammable? Contrary to popular belief, it’s probably not methane leaking from behind that reckless “bros” light on fire (known as pyroflatulence); rather, it’s most likely primarily hydrogen. In a typical, healthy body, human farts are comprised primarily of hydrogen, nitrogen, some carbon dioxide and potentially a small amount of methane and oxygen. These farts […]

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Not Guided By Policy- Hunter S. Thompson and the Birth of Gonzo Journalism

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“We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.” This is the opening line from the highly acclaimed roman à clef Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream written by Hunter S. Thompson, one of America’s most countercultural and anti-authoritarian writers. The […]

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Sherlock Holmes’ Mail

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When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first began writing Sherlock Holmes stories back in the late 19th century, 221B Baker Street didn’t exist. While Baker Street itself existed, and still exists today, the numbers on the street back when Doyle wrote the Sherlock Holmes novels and when Holmes was supposed to reside there (1881 to 1904 according to Doyle’s original stories) […]

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How Did the Practice of Women Jumping Out of Giant Cakes Start?

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Diane F. asks: Who started the tradition of girls jumping out of cakes? Almost everyone has seen depicted the bizarre bachelor party tradition of a scantily-clad woman jumping out of a giant cake. It turns up most often in decades-old films, TV shows, and comics, but it still persists today at lavish Vegas shindigs—though the cakes are now usually made […]

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