Category Archives: Featured Facts

WWII Files: Japan’s Secret Weapon- Exploding Balloons


WWII saw the development of some zany designs for weapons, such as when the U.S. developed pigeon guided missiles and (literal) bat bombs (the latter of which were a little too effective, accidentally destroying the testing base when they escaped), or when the Soviets trained exploding anti-tank dogs. Not to be left out of the fun, the Japanese developed their own oddball […]

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Are You Really Entitled to a Phone Call When Arrested?


Chellie asks: Do people really only have the right to one phone call when put in jail in the United States? Being arrested is a terrifying and frightening thing with all the horror stories about police abuses of power and other prisoners being absolutely dead-set on making your life miserable in a variety of horrifying ways… at least that’s what […]

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Podcast Episode #114: The Woman Who was the Most Successful Pirate in History


In this episode, you’re going to learn about a little-known woman who rose from being a prostitute to arguably the most successful pirate in history and who ultimately managed to retire and get off, not only scot-free, but elevated to nobility. [TRANSCRIPT] Don’t miss future episodes of this podcast, subscribe here: iTunes | RSS/XML You can also find more episodes […]

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Even More Quick Facts


Image via: Helga Esteb / 711: According to Mike Tyson, his ex-wife Robin Givens was sleeping with Brad Pitt when Tyson and she were still married. Tyson stated in an interview about the specific incident, “I was getting a divorce. I was going to my lawyer’s office to divorce her that day but I wanted to sneak in…This particular […]

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The Origin of the Term “Brownie Points”


Andrew M. asks: Why do we say “You just earned some brownie points.” What were brownie points originally for? There are many, many origin theories for this one. One of the most often repeated and widely accepted theories is that “brownie points”—imaginary points earned by someone for doing a good deed, and lost by doing something unfavourable—stem from the Brownies, […]

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That Time 26-Year-Old Edgar Allan Poe Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin


As if his stories weren’t occasionally disturbing enough, it turns out Edgar Allan Poe’s love life was more than a little creepy as well. Creepy Courtship Poe met his bride-to-be, Virginia Clemm, when she was 7 years old, and he was 20, shortly after his mother’s death in 1829. Their parents, his natural father (David Poe) and her mother (Maria […]

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Podcast Episode #108: The Invention Nobody Wanted That Became One of the Top Selling Office Products of All Time


In this episode, you’re going to learn about how one of the most common and most frequently used office products in the world almost never saw the light of day owing to a series of rejections while it was being developed and then being nearly wholly rejected by consumers when it was first released to the public. [TRANSCRIPT] Don’t miss […]

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Chastity Belts Were Never Actually Used in Medieval Times


The lasting images of what most of us perceive to be the “medieval times” includes heroic knights, stampeding horses, court jesters, giant turkey legs, ruling kings, and pure maidens wearing chastity belts. But the fact is that, besides the more obvious of those that aren’t accurate, most scholars believe that the chastity belt didn’t actually exist during medieval times, but […]

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The Eleven Thousand Year Old Contagious Cancer Still Multiplying Today


Eleven thousand years ago, one saucy canine got busy and, as can happen with unprotected sex, gave its partner a venereal disease, although uniquely, this VD was cancerous. Over the course of the intervening millennia, that second dog, its partners, and its partners’ partners, all did what dogs eventually do, each spreading the disease, which has continued to retain some […]

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Where Do Insects Go in Winter?


Michael asks: Where do insects disappear to in the winter time? As cold-blooded creatures, insects are particularly susceptible to winter’s freezing temperatures. To survive, this class of animals has developed a wide variety of adaptations, including long migrations, creating their own anti-freeze and even purposely freezing portions of their bodies. Migration Perhaps the best-known migratory insect is the Monarch Butterfly. […]

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Was Colonel Sanders Actually a Colonel?

colonel sanders

Rachel M. asks: Was Colonel Sanders really a Colonel? Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (Incidentally, if you’re curious: Why Colonel is Pronounced “Kernel”) To be named a “Colonel” is to be recognized for “outstanding service to community, state, and nation.” The sitting governor of Kentucky, or the Secretary of State […]

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Where The Expression “Dressed to the Nines” Came From


Samira asks: Why do we say “dressed to the nines” when someone’s dressed up? Like so many etymologies of expressions and words, we can only make educated guesses at the true origin of “dressed to the nines” or just “to the nines,” meaning more or less “to perfection.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded instance of dressing […]

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