Category Archives: Featured Facts

How Soap Works

soap

Janet B. asks: How does soap kill bacteria? For well over a century, public health officials have been pushing regular hand washing with soap as one of the most effective methods of inhibiting the spread of disease and infection. The result of physical, as opposed to biological processes, proper hand washing with regular soap will thoroughly remove bacteria. Yes, contrary […]

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Who Invented the Fahrenheit and Celsius Temperature Scales and What Zero Degrees Fahrenheit Signifies

Daniel-fahrenheit

B. Halpern asks: 0 degrees Celsius is the freezing point of water. So what is 0 degrees Fahrenheit? Who came up with Celsius and Fahrenheit? Firmly entrenched in American society, the seemingly capricious nature of the Fahrenheit temperature scale could lead one to think that its Dutch inventor, Daniel Fahrenheit, pulled the number for the freezing point (32°F) of water out […]

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What are Blue Laws?

law

Jen asks: What are “Blue Laws” and how did they come to be? Rooted in the basic Christian tenet that Sunday is to be reserved as “the Lord’s day,” blue laws were originally enacted across the United States to encourage church attendance and restrict activity only to that worthy (at least according to some) of observation on the Sabbath. Transformed […]

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The First Person to Use the Temporary Insanity Defense was a Congressman Who Murdered the Son of the Composer of “The Star Spangled Banner”

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You might think the temporary insanity defense was a relatively new thing.  I mean, maybe it began in the 1940s or possibly the ’30s.  What with all the psychobabble around in those times.  But, no.  It was actually much earlier. It all started with a guy named Daniel Sickles.  Sickles (1819-1914) was a U.S. Senator and later a Congressman, as […]

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