Category Archives: Featured Facts

The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle


The Bermuda Triangle is a large area of ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Over the last few centuries, it’s thought that dozens of ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the area, earning it the nickname “The Devil’s Triangle.” People have even gone so far as to speculate that it’s an area of extra-terrestrial activity or […]

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United States: Republic or Democracy?


Mike asks: Why does everyone say the U.S. is a Democracy when it’s really a Republic? Frequently, politicians, and many ordinary Americans, refer to the United States as a democracy. Others find this aggravating because, unlike in a democracy where citizens vote directly on laws, in the United States, elected representatives do – and, therefore, the U.S. is a republic. […]

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Why People on Planes and Ships Use the Word “Mayday” When in Extreme Distress


This is an excerpt from our new book: The Wise Book of Whys, available in: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audiobook Today I found out why those aboard planes and ships use the word “Mayday” to indicate they are in extreme distress. In 1923, a senior radio officer, Frederick Stanley Mockford, in Croydon Airport in London, England was asked to […]

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Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer


Seagulls, or gulls depending on how much you dislike syllables, are considered a pest to many, a minor, avoidable annoyance to many more and the harbingers of death OH GOD LOOK AT THEIR COLD DEAD EYES! to my neighbour who doesn’t get out much.  Over the years, there has been a persistent and rather macabre urban myth circulating that gulls […]

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Why Figure Skaters Don’t Seem Dizzy After Spinning


Justina asks: Why don’t figure skaters get dizzy after they spin? To understand why, it’s important to know why people get dizzy in the first place. Dizziness is controlled by the vestibular system in your upper inner ear. Within the vestibular system, there are three canals that contain fluid called endolymph, as well as sensory nerve cells that look sort […]

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What Happens When You Freeze Water in a Container So Strong the Water Can’t Expand Into Ice?


Kevin asks: What would happen if you froze water, but the container was so strong the water couldn’t expand into ice? Some readers may recall a science class in which an excitable teacher walked to the front of the class to show off a small, cracked steel container, seemingly damaged by an incredibly powerful, but tiny force; only for said […]

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From Dream to 3-D Reality: The Fascinating Origin of Pixar


Before a story about toys, before monsters went corporate, before anyone went searching for Nemo, and before twenty seven Academy Awards, Pixar was a high-end computer hardware company whose  clients included the government and the medical community.  The story of Pixar isn’t exactly full of superheroes, adorable robots, or talking bugs. The tale of the most profitable and critically adored […]

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The Origin of the Hokey Pokey


Karla asks: Where did the “Hokey Pokey” come from? There’s no one definitive answer to where the Hokey Pokey (or Hokey Cokey) ultimately derives from.  Even the modern history of it is somewhat convoluted. Proposed origin theories span oceans, and even centuries. That said, the convoluted nature of the history of something has never stopped us from trying to trace […]

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The Human Windmill: The Best Boxer You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


Indefinably fearless and nearly unstoppable—this doesn’t come close to adequately describing the boxing phenomenon Harry Greb. “The Pittsburgh Windmill” as he’s known among his most devout circle of fans, was born in June of 1894. Boxing historian Eric Jorgensen had this to say about Greb: Greb may have been the greatest fighter, pound-for-pound, who ever lived. Certainly, he was among […]

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Robins Can See Magnetic Fields, But Only In One Eye


Despite its unassuming looks and gentle temperament, the humble red breasted robin (Erithacus rubecula) boasts a superhero-like ability. They can see magnetic fields, giving them an almost perfect sense of direction. Just to be clear, we don’t mean that a robin can sense the Earth’s magnetic field or something like that as many other birds can, it can literally see […]

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The Actress Who Died on Stage While Portraying Her Theatrical Death


Several artists have died on stage while conducting live performances; however, one case is highly unique and probably the most ironic at the same time. The incident involved actress Edith Webster. Webster was a relatively unknown actress who never managed to make a name for herself during her lifetime, but left her mark in history with her bizarre death. During […]

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Does the President Have to Report Food, Transportation and Other Such “Gifts” from Taxpayers on His Taxes?


Mark asks: Does the president have to report food, transportation and other such gifts from taxpayers on his taxes? No. And although it’s difficult to find an official explanation (or even a detailed one), I think the answer lies in the United States’ ridiculously complicated tax code. Gifts The transportation, security, housing and other benefits received by the President and […]

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