Category Archives: Featured Facts

What are Sea-Monkeys?

SeaMonkies

Karen C. asks: What exactly were sea monkey creatures and how did they survive in their packaging for so long? The product of a collaboration between a marketer and inventor and a marine biologist, Sea-Monkeys are a hybrid of several species of brine shrimp (Artemia), bred to have a particularly long dormant period, as well as to foster a large […]

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The Origin of the Expression “Guess what? Chicken Butt!”

chicken-butts

Mark R. asks: Where did the whole kids thing of saying “Guess what?” and answering with “chicken butt!” come from? An appropriate response to nearly any rhetorical playground question from “What’s up?” to “Guess what?”, “chicken butt” has been an important part of the childish lexicon for many decades. The retort’s origins are usually speculated to have come from a […]

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The Barkley Marathons, a 60 Hour Race so Intense Only 14 of Over 1,000 Ultramarathoners Have Ever Completed It

Lightning the cigarette.

The Brushy Mountain Penitentiary, where they used to house some of the worst of the worst criminals, is located on the eastern side of Frozen Head State Park in the Tennessee mountains. Although escape attempts were rare, the prison’s ideal location reduced the chances of prisoners safely making it back to civilization. Beyond being a maximum security prison, if an […]

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The Declaration of Independence was Voted and Approved on July 2nd and Wasn’t Signed Until August 2nd, So Why is July 4th Independence Day?

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While it is often said that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, this isn’t actually correct. In fact, nobody signed it on the 4th. This is contradictory to Thomas Jefferson’s, John Adams’, and Benjamin Franklin’s account of events. On top of their accounts, the public congressional record of events back their story. So how do we […]

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The Popular Oneida Silverware and the Polyamorous Religious Cult That Started It All

oneida

For many Americans in the 20th century, holiday meals meant getting out the special Oneida Silverware. Stainless steel, ornamental and moderately expensive, it wasn’t a fancy dinner unless there was a Silverplate Oneida spoon on the table. Despite its traditional look, the history of Oneida Silverware is anything but. The company was originally founded by a 19th century upstate New […]

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Who Invented the Bloody Mary Drink and Who is It Really Named After?

bloody-mary

Saurabh A. asks: Is the bloody Mary drink really named after Queen Mary Tudor? For many, Sundays mean brunch and a delicious morning cocktail. Quite often, that early alcoholic beverage is the odd combination of tomato juice, celery, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce (see: The Stomach Turning Thing Worcestershire Sauce is Made Of), vodka and other spices that’s known as a […]

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That Time Jordan Anderson Sent His “Letter from a Freedman to His Old Master”

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During the 19th century, there were many freed slaves that went on to lead extremely noteworthy lives despite all the adversity they faced in their lifetime, such as the world famous Frederick Douglass, who not only played an important role in fighting for black people’s rights, but also championed women’s rights, particularly playing an important part in the fight for […]

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Why Are You Not Supposed to Use Twice Boiled Water for Tea?

tea-service

Jeremy W. asks: Is it true that drinking tea made from twice boiled water is bad for you? There’s a rather persistent idea that “reboiling” water (i.e. boiling water two or more times and allowing it to cool in-between) while making a cup of tea is potentially harmful to your health, with some going so far as stating that regularly […]

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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

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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

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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

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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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