Category Archives: Featured Facts

Forgotten History: The First Movie and the Scientific Question It Sought to Answer

The first films were little more than what we would consider short clips, a boxer throwing a single punch or train arriving at a station– the type of scenes that today you might only see in the form of animated gifs.  While popular perception is that movies got their start around the early twentieth century, the real seed that grew […]

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Does the U.S. President’s Dog Get Its Own Secret Service Agents?

Ryan asks: If the president has a pet dog, do their bodyguards also watch over his dog like they do his family? Even before the U.S. president is elected such, if they’re considered a “major candidate” for the job, they get offered Secret Service protection. Whether they accept that protection or not, once elected until the day they die (unless […]

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Picasso’s Doodles

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With the possible exception of the mysterious, enigmatic figure known only as Bob Ross (see: The Surprisingly Mysterious Life of Famed Artist Bob Ross), Pablo Picasso is perhaps the most well-known artist from modern times. (Although, I think most are probably unaware that his actual name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano […]

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What’s a MacGuffin in Films and Why is It Called That?

Hitchcock

Shih C. asks: Why are McGuffin’s in films called that? In the last scene of the 1941 film classic, The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart) hands over a murderer (played by Mary Astor) and a black falcon statuette to authorities. When asked what the statuette was exactly, Spade looks off in the distance and rather unsatisfactorily explains, […]

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Making Science Cool Since 1974

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader When PBS executives started planning a new science show in the early 1970s, people in the TV business were baffled. A show about…science? Were they crazy? Audiences wanted Happy Days and M*A*S*H*, not educational shows! Luckily for us, they were wrong. IN THE BEGINNING… In 1971 an American television producer […]

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The True Story of the Ides of March

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In William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar,” Caesar mocks the soothsayer’s earlier prediction to “Beware the Ides of March.” Later, Caesar says, “The Ides of March have come” to point out the supposed dreaded day did not bring disaster. The soothsayer responds with a prophetic point, “Ay, Caesar; but not gone.” Shortly thereafter, Caesar is stabbed many times over by conspirators […]

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