Category Archives: Featured Facts

Why is Pomp and Circumstance Always Played at Graduations?

Nathan K. asks: How did Pomp and Circumstance get to be the tune always played at graduations? Every year, hundreds of thousands of students march across a stage in a gown and a squared hat to receive a piece of paper that says they’ve completed a particular phase in their education. This school graduation will undoubtedly be marked by cheering, […]

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The Bizarre Story of the Heist

In 1983, Paul Mockapetris proposed a distributed database of internet name and address pairs, now known as the Domain Name System (DNS).  This is essentially a distributed “phone book” linking a domain’s name to its address, allowing you to type in something like instead of the IP address of the website.  The distributed version of this system allowed for […]

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The Truth About the First Academy Awards and the Dog Rin Tin Tin

Today in History May 16, 1929 In comparison to the multi-million dollar star-studded display of excess that is the modern day Academy Awards, the first Academy Awards ceremony was a relatively muted affair that could even be described as quaint if you were so inclined. Held in a medium-sized banquet hall in a Hollywood hotel mostly known for being haunted […]

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Can You Really Sign Things in a Legally Binding Way By Just Writing a Big X?

Orlando D. asks: Does it matter what you sign on contracts? Could you draw a picture or put an X and have it still be legally binding? With so many facets of modern life being automated, signatures being easy to forge, and given how difficult it is to prove based on signature alone whether a given person actually signed something, […]

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Forgotten Heroes: The Accidental Farmer

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Bob Fletcher was an agricultural inspector working in California’s Central Valley in the early 1940s. He might have stayed one, too, had the outbreak of World War II not changed everything. INFAMY Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese military forces attacked the U.S. naval […]

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Has Anyone Ever Tried to Pay for Something with a Briefcase Full of Cash?

Darren W. asks: Are there any records of someone paying with a briefcase full of money or is this just a Hollywood trope? A briefcase full of cash is a trope so common that even TV Tropes, a website dedicated to cataloguing cinematic cliches, requests that users only mention “exceptions, parodies and subversions”. While you’d expect something so ridiculous to […]

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