Category Archives: Featured Facts

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

nova

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

caesar

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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The Russian Tank So Hard to Destroy One Tactic Used was Simply to Run Over Anti-Tank Guns With It

KV1

The KV-1 and KV-2 are recognised as being amongst the most heavily armoured tanks deployed during WW2. At least initially largely impervious to anything less than a direct, point-blank hit from a dedicated anti-tank weapon, the KV series was so formidable that the first time the Wehrmacht encountered them, Soviet soldiers destroyed dozens of anti-tank guns by simply driving towards […]

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The Polish Schindlers

typhus

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader You’ve probably heard of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Here’s a story you probably haven’t heard—about two men who pulled off a similar miracle in Poland. OCCUPATION Dr. Eugene Lazowski was a young Red Cross physician living in the village […]

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The Last Laugh- Millionaire Charles Vance Millar and His Practical Jokes from Beyond the Grave

stork-derby

For many people, being dead is a fairly limiting handicap that prevents them from doing most of the things the living take for granted. In the 1930s, a man called Charles Vance Millar challenged that unfair stereotype via various stipulations of his will that allowed him to continue playing jokes on people despite being dead. A lawyer by trade, Millar […]

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The Origin of Gatorade and How the Tradition of the “Gatorade Shower” Got Started

gatorade-sideline

chastitydetori. asks: Why do athletes dump Gatorade on their coaches after winning a game? During a typical sticky, unbearable August weekend in 1965 in Gainesville- the home of the University of Florida Gators- football practices were well underway in anticipation for the upcoming season. However, the weather had wreaked havoc on the freshman football team over the weekend. 25 players […]

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