Category Archives: Featured Facts

Mailing Children, The 24 Hour Puppy Channel, the Bizarre Origins of Sleeping Beauty and More in Yet Another 10 Amazing Quick Facts

happy-puppy

  964) When Parcel Post Service first launched in America on January 1, 1913, there were few guidelines on what could be mailed.  As a result, a handful of parents, spotting a bargain, began mailing their children. The first known case of this was the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio only a few weeks after the […]

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Forgotten History: the Story of Emma Sharp and the Barclay Challenge

emma

In 1809, Captain Robert Barclay Allardice made a bet with one of his pedestrian rivals, Sir James Webster-Wedderburn, that he could walk 1,000 miles (about 1,609 kilometers) in 1,000 hours. The wager? 1,000 guineas. To get around the major problem of needing to rest, Barclay figured if he walked back to back miles–a mile at the end of one hour and another […]

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The Trials and Tribulations of 1904 Olympic Marathon Runners

summer-olympics

When the United States hosted the Olympics for the first time in 1904, the games had yet to reach the high level of competition and popularity we know today. Although athletes from countries around the world were invited to participate, the games were less about the world’s best athletes competing for medals and more about (actual) amateur athletes competing against […]

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When Did People Start Using Punctuation?

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Grey L. asks: When did people start using punctuation and who invented the common marks we use? INTHEBEGINNINGTHEREWASNOPUNCTUATIONLOWERCASELETTERSOREVENSPACESBETWEENWORDSTHEREALSOWASNOGRAMMATICALWAYOFDISTINGUISHINGWHENANIDEAHADFINISHEDANDANEWONEBEGUNITDIDNTHELPTHATTHEIDEAOFSTANDARDIZEDSPELLINGWASALSONOTATHINGATLEASTNOTASWEWOULDTHINKOFITREADERSWERELEFTTOMUDDLETHEIRWAYTHROUGHANYTEXTASBESTTHEYCOULDUNSURPRISINGLYUNDERSTANDINGWHATAPARTICULARWORKWASACTUALLYSAYINGONTHEFIRSTREADTHROUGHWASPRETTYWELLUNHEARDOFATTHISTIME The earliest writings, which were syllabic and/or logographic (think Mayan and Chinese), had no need for either spacing or punctuation, as each word was typically self-contained in the symbol. However, as previously demonstrated, the lack of punctuation and spacing in alphabetic writing […]

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When Did People First Start Clapping to Show Appreciation?

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Mark D. asks: When did we start clapping to show that we like something? Clapping is the near-ubiquitous way we show our appreciation of something, particularly when we’re in large groups. But have you ever wondered why slapping our hands together has come to be so closely associated with approval and where the practise originated from? To begin with, the […]

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The Difference Between “Regular”, Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oils

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Karl W. asks: What’s the difference between regular olive oil and virgin? Generally speaking, olive oils fall into one of two broad categories: refined and unrefined, with virgin and extra virgin fitting in the latter category, and pure and light olive oils in the former. Olives used to make the two virgin, unrefined oils aren’t treated with heat or chemicals, […]

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Peanuts, Peeing on the Side of a Bus, and Planting Trees- The Traditions of Going to Space

yuri-gagarin

Although you’d expect people tasked with going to space to be a fairly rational lot, astronauts and cosmonauts are noted as being an exceptionally superstitious group, many of whom conform to a number of seemingly arbitrary and often unusual rituals before each flight. While there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for most, if not all, of these traditions and customs, […]

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John Lennon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Lawsuit

morris-levy

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader In the Beatles song “Come Together,” John Lennon included a lyric that referenced a Chuck Berry song, an act intended as a tribute to one of the founding fathers of rock ’n’ roll. Instead, it got Lennon embroiled in a years-long legal battle with one of the most colorful—and nefarious—characters […]

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