Category Archives: Featured Facts

“Every Man His Own Stylo” – That Time MI6 Agents Used Semen as Invisible Ink


The British Secret Intelligence Service, better known to the world as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), is, rather oddly for a supposedly secretive agency, one of the better known intelligence services in the world. While the work MI6 does today is top-secret, thanks to the wonders of the Freedom of Information Act, we’re able to peer into the mysterious agency’s […]

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That Time Someone Gave a Homeless Person $100,000 Just to See What Would Happen


In 2005 a homeless man called Ted Rodrigue stumbled upon a briefcase filled with crisp $20 and $50 bills totaling $100,000 (about $123,000 today). Ted was then told by screenwriter Wayne Powers that the money was his to keep and do with as he wished, so long as he would allow a film crew to document the result. Rodrigue, understandably, […]

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The Surprisingly Reasonable Answer to the Age Old Question- Why Do We Drive on Parkways and Park on Driveways?


Eric J. asks: I know it’s an old joke, but seriously, why do we drive on parkways but park on our driveways? There has to be a good reason we say it this way, right? To most people the fact that we drive on parkways and park on driveways is rarely pondered upon. This only comes to mind when pointed […]

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The Futurists


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader What do today’s top forecasters see looming on the horizon? That simple question introduced us to the fascinating field of “futures studies”—its checkered past, muddled present, and uncertain tomorrow(s). NOSTRA-DUMB*SS For most of human history, professional prognosticators could only guess what the future would bring. If you sought advice from […]

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The Bare-Breasted “Petticoat” Duel


A time-honored method of settling disputes, trial by combat became an institution in Europe during the Middle Ages. Although it fell out of fashion for many, beginning with the Enlightenment, it remained a popular means for European nobility to settle matters of honor well into the 19th century. While most duels were fought by men, occasionally a ladies’ disagreement would […]

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The High-Flying Origin of Hot Air Balloons


It isn’t often that a duck, rooster and sheep get this much attention. In September 1783, King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette (see: The Truth About Marie Antoinette’s Cake)- along with 130,000 curious French citizens – stood in the Palace of Versailles’ courtyard to witness a demonstration of a modern marvel. After months of tests, two well-to-do paper […]

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The People Who Slowly Turn to Bone, Why the Queen Doesn’t Need a Passport, The Truth About Aspartame and More


In this week’s “best of” our YouTube channel, we look at a variety of topics, including, the rare genetic condition that slowly encases some people in a prison of bone, why the Queen of England doesn’t need a passport, if aspartame is really bad for you, what is actually in juicy fruit gum, why we use the term “gay” for […]

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Equal Rights and Free Love- The Remarkable Story of the First Female U.S. Presidential Candidate


The 19th amendment to the United States Constitution, which was the result of many decades of hard work and lobbying from tireless suffragists who battled on both the state and national fronts, prohibits any US citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of their sex. Nearly a half century before this Constitutional amendment was ratified on […]

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The Hit Man


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Even if you’ve never heard of Otis Blackwell, you’ve almost certainly heard his music—he was one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century. Here’s the story of the most famous songwriter most people have never heard of. TIGHT CHRISTMAS In the mid 1950s, Otis Blackwell was a struggling […]

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Hollow Mountains and Exploding Bridges, How Switzerland Remained Neutral With WWI and WWII Raging Around It


Jeremy R. asks: How did Switzerland manage to stay neutral during WWI and WWII? The tiny mountainous country of Switzerland has been in a state of “perpetual neutrality” since the major European powers of the time declared it as such during the Congress of Vienna after the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815. Why did they do this? The […]

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Why Does the United States Use the Electoral College Instead of a Simple Vote Count When Deciding the Next President?


Mike C. asks: Why don’t we use the popular vote to pick the president? On December 13, 2000,  Vice President Al Gore conceded the presidential election to Governor Bush. A day earlier, a lengthy and expensive manual vote recount process in Florida was stopped by the United States Supreme Court despite Bush leading by only 537 votes. With Bush winning […]

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The Truth About Legendary Highwayman Dick Turpin


Richard Turpin, better known by his nickname, Dick, was a legendary highwayman who stalked the English countryside. A century or so after his death by hanging in 1739, Turpin was idealised as a dashing rogue or gentleman thief type in a multitude of supposedly factual stories purportedly based on his life. In reality, he was not exactly dashing, with a […]

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Why Do Daft Punk Dress Like Robots?


McKayla asks: Why do Daft Punk always dress like robots? Have they ever shown their faces? Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, more succinctly known as Daft Punk, are arguably two of the most famous and easily recognisable musicians on Earth, having won countless major awards including six Grammys and even managed a “Best Original Score” award for the absolutely […]

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Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long


During the Industrial Revolution, companies attempted to maximize the output of their factories by keeping them running as many hours as possible, typically implementing a “sun up to sun down” work day.  Wages were also extremely low, so workers themselves often needed to work these long shifts just to get by, including often sending their children to work in the […]

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