Category Archives: Featured Facts

Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells and Why Pistachios Used to Be Dyed Red

cashew

Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells Cashews are a member of the same family as poison ivy, Anacardiaceae. Like poison ivy and many other members of the family, part of the cashew plant contains an oily chemical called urushiol, which is a strong irritant for most people and can even be fatal for some if ingested. […]

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How March Got So Mad: The Story Behind the NCAA Basketball Tournament

march-madness

Every spring, a sort of illness strikes millions of Americans. Symptoms include screaming uncontrollably in celebration, panic sweating, obsessing over hastily filled-out brackets, sitting motionless in front of a television for hours, and wearing the bright colors of a college individuals attended many years ago. It’s called “March Madness” and it’s arguably the most popular sporting tournament in America. But […]

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In the Original Story, Pinocchio killed Jiminy Cricket, Got His Feet Burnt Off, and was Hanged and Left for Dead

Adventures_of_Pinocchio

You probably already knew that Disney has a habit of taking dark, twisted children’s fairy tales and turning them into sickeningly sweet happily-ever-afters. Take Sleeping Beauty for example: it’s based on a story where a married king finds a girl asleep, and can’t wake her so rapes her instead. The 1940 version of Pinocchio is no exception. The movie is […]

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Why Tuberculosis was Called “Consumption”

tuberculosis

Originally, of course, nobody knew what caused the various forms of tuberculosis, and they certainly didn’t understand it was caused by what would eventually be called tubercle bacillus (usually the offending microbes are specifically Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The word “tuberculosis” was coined by Johann Lukas Schönle in 1839, from the Latin “tuberculum,” meaning “small, swelling bump or pimple.” However, it wouldn’t […]

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73 Year Old Frank Sinatra Was Originally Offered The Leading Role in Die Hard

Frank_Sinatra

Today I found out that Frank Sinatra was originally offered the main role in the movie that would become Die Hard. This 1940s singer might not be the man who comes to mind when you think about the action-packed Die Hard movies. At the start of his movie-making career, Sinatra was cast mostly in singing roles, though he did manage […]

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The First Person to Play for Both Baseball’s National League and American League All-Star Teams was a Woman: Lizzie “The Queen of Baseball” Murphy

lizzie-murphy

On August 14, 1922, a collection of baseball stars gathered at Fenway Park in Boston. An exhibition all-star game had been set-up to honor and raise money for the family of Tommy “Little Mac” McCarthy- Boston Red Sox great in the 1880s and 1890s. The game featured the Boston Red Sox, World Series champs only three seasons ago, versus a […]

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What is a Tarnation?

profanity

Michael asks: What’s a tarnation? Like in the expression, “What in tarnation!” We have the word “tarnation” thanks to societal taboos against saying certain words- instead substituting in other words that often mean the exact same thing, but for some reason we find it acceptable to say the one rather than the other… Humans… In this case, the pertinent word […]

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Why Three Strikes in a Row in Bowling is Called a “Turkey”

bowling

This is thought to have its origins in bowling tournament prizes. Late eighteenth and early nineteenth century prizes given out during these tournaments were often food items, such as a basket filled with various grocery items, a large ham, or the like. Particularly around Thanksgiving in the United States, turkeys became common prizes. At some point (no one knows the […]

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The Large Number of Human Remains Found In Ben Franklin’s Basement

human-bones

For eighteen years, Ben Franklin, the great American inventor, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a tenant in a beautiful four story Georgian house at 36 Craven Street in London, mere blocks from the River Thames. As ambassador from the colonies, he entertained, lived, and even allowed other intellectuals of the time to stay at the house […]

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Where the Word “Sneeze” Came From and the Origin of “Nothing to Sneeze At”

sneeze

Martin A. asks: Where did the expression “nothing to sneeze at” come from?  For that matter, why is sneezing called sneezing?  Thanks! As with so many etymologies, it’s difficult to definitively say exactly where the word ‘sneeze’ comes from, but it is generally thought that it started with the Indo-European word ‘penu’ – to breath. Eventually, this evolved into the […]

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The Interesting Origins of the Words “Geek” and “Nerd”

Geek-and-Nerd

Find more “interesting fact” videos on our YouTube Channel here If you liked this video, you might also enjoy: Why Superheroes Wear Their Underwear on the Outside The Origin and Meanings of 9 Pirate Words and Expressions How the Word “Spam” Came to Mean “Junk Message” 10 Interesting Star Trek Facts The Guy Who Played Luke Skywalker Has Played the […]

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The Truth About Aspartame and Your Health

diet-soda

Our resident medical expert, Scott, and a buddy of his recently started The Medicine Journal, where you can learn all sorts of interesting facts about all things medical related. Below is a sample article from their new site. A quick online search of Aspartame will provide you with numerous opinions about this artificial sweetener.  Some claim it causes things like […]

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