Category Archives: Featured Facts

The Not-So-Holy Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe

Sirfrancisdashwood

Established in West Wycombe by Sir Francis Dashwood in 1749, the Brotherhood of St. Francis of Wycombe was anything but saintly. Devoted to wicked fun and debauchery, for the next two decades, many notable individuals in England counted themselves members, such as the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, Baron George Dodington, member of Parliament Thomas Potter, and, while not […]

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The Surprisingly Recent Time Tests Using Rabbits and Frogs Were the Gold Standard to Accurately Detect Human Pregnancy

pregnant-rabbit

We live in an age where determining if a woman is pregnant is ridiculously simple and cheap. Go back a few decades, though, and the latest and greatest technology for determining whether a woman was with child involved a syringe full of urine and little animals. Yes, as bizarre as it’s going to sound, you really can use things like […]

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The First Thing Eaten on the Moon, What Armstrong Said Directly After His Historic “Small Step” Line, What It Would Take to Stop the Earth Orbiting the Sun and More in Yet Another 14 Quick Facts

QF-996

983) On July 21, 1969 at 02:56 UTC, Neil Armstrong forever stamped his name in the history books by putting his foot on the Moon. Armstrong getting to do this almost never happened due to the fact that he turned his application in to NASA about a week after the June 1, 1962 deadline, making him ineligible for that historic […]

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The Life of Larry the Cat- Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom

larry-cat

A while ago we shared the story of F.D.C. Willard, an ordinary housecat who through a confluence of mistakes and errors, ended up being listed as the co-author of a widely cited science paper on low temperature physics. Today we’re telling a similar story about an equally impressive Tabby called Larry who is, believe it or not, an official employee […]

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Why Does the Yolk of an Overcooked Hard-Boiled Egg Turn Green?

hard-boiled-egg

Laura K. asks: Why does the yolk of a hard-boiled egg sometimes turn green? The process of hard-boiling an egg involves denaturation. During this process, the amino acid chains found in the proteins in the egg are altered from their original, raw egg state, with the denaturation temperature varying somewhat depending on the specific protein in question (see chart here). […]

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Mailing Children, The 24 Hour Puppy Channel, the Bizarre Origins of Sleeping Beauty and More in Yet Another 10 Amazing Quick Facts

happy-puppy

  964) When Parcel Post Service first launched in America on January 1, 1913, there were few guidelines on what could be mailed.  As a result, a handful of parents, spotting a bargain, began mailing their children. The first known case of this was the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio only a few weeks after the […]

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Forgotten History: the Story of Emma Sharp and the Barclay Challenge

emma

In 1809, Captain Robert Barclay Allardice made a bet with one of his pedestrian rivals, Sir James Webster-Wedderburn, that he could walk 1,000 miles (about 1,609 kilometers) in 1,000 hours. The wager? 1,000 guineas. To get around the major problem of needing to rest, Barclay figured if he walked back to back miles–a mile at the end of one hour and another […]

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The Trials and Tribulations of 1904 Olympic Marathon Runners

summer-olympics

When the United States hosted the Olympics for the first time in 1904, the games had yet to reach the high level of competition and popularity we know today. Although athletes from countries around the world were invited to participate, the games were less about the world’s best athletes competing for medals and more about (actual) amateur athletes competing against […]

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