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Tapioca and Cyanide

Tapioca and Cyanide

Melissa November 28, 2014 0

Little pearls swimming in a creamy custard flavored with vanilla or lemon, many of us have fond (and others not so fond) childhood memories of tapioca pudding. Although this staple dessert of the 1970s

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The Panama Canal and Its Amazing Locks

The Panama Canal and Its Amazing Locks

Melissa November 28, 2014 0

Jill A. asks: Why does the panama canal have locks? Isn’t the ocean the same level on both sides? Rising 85 feet above the surface of one ocean, and then descending again to be

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Fascinating Thanksgiving Facts Roundup

Fascinating Thanksgiving Facts Roundup

Daven Hiskey November 27, 2014 0

For those of you in the United States who are about to celebrate Thanksgiving and want to look particularly knowledgey at your family get-together tomorrow, here is a roundup of all the Thanksgiving related

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Mailboxes and the Postmaster General

Mailboxes and the Postmaster General

Sarah Stone November 27, 2014 0

James I. asks: I was at Lowes and noticed mailboxes say “approved by the postmaster general”. What specifications do a mailbox need to reach to be approved in this way? I mean, it’s a

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Origin of “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish,” and Some of History’s Other Most Insightful Quotes about Money

Origin of “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish,” and Some of History’s Other Most Insightful Quotes about Money

Melissa November 26, 2014 0

Andy L. asks: Who first said “penny wise and a pound foolish”? The person credited with coining the phrase, “penny wise and pound foolish,” Robert Burton, also said about writers, “They lard their lean

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150 Years in a Jar- The Story of John Dalton’s Eyeballs

150 Years in a Jar- The Story of John Dalton’s Eyeballs

Melissa November 26, 2014 0

John Dalton (1766-1844) was a distinguished scientist who is known for, among many other things, his theories about atoms, his law of partial pressures of gases and liquids (published in 1803), and being one

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Talking Tough: Martin Luther’s Potty Mouth

Talking Tough: Martin Luther’s Potty Mouth

Melissa November 25, 2014 1

On the last day of October in 1517, a scholar and priest named Martin Luther did as priests commonly did at the time when they had something to discuss amongst the clergy- he nailed

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The Truth About Prepositions and the End of Sentences

The Truth About Prepositions and the End of Sentences

Melissa November 24, 2014 0

A great man once said, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” Eloquently highlighting the ridiculousness of strictly adhering to the rule against ending a sentence with a

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“Sleeping Tight” and When the Bed Bugs Started to Bite

“Sleeping Tight” and When the Bed Bugs Started to Bite

Matt Blitz November 24, 2014 1

Nothing put more fear into this author as a child more than being told, right before bedtime, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” I was a logical kid and I knew that ghosts,

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Weekly Wrap Volume 65

Weekly Wrap Volume 65

Daven Hiskey November 22, 2014 0

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Why Don’t Birds’ Legs Freeze? How a bird reacts to the cold depends on what

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How Do Clams Reproduce?

How Do Clams Reproduce?

Melissa November 21, 2014 0

F. Whisten asks: Is it true that all clams are male? If so, how do they reproduce? Encased in a hard shell, brainless and possessing only a single limb (a retractable foot that looks

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The United States v. Paramount and How Movie Theater Concessions Got So Expensive

The United States v. Paramount and How Movie Theater Concessions Got So Expensive

Melissa November 21, 2014 5

Walter K. asks: Why are movie theaters allowed to make their concessions so expensive? In 1948, the Supreme Court ended the stranglehold Hollywood studios and distributors had on the U.S. movie market. Declaring the

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The Shockingly Old Origin of the Fax Machine

The Shockingly Old Origin of the Fax Machine

Matt Blitz November 20, 2014 1

Today, we mostly think of the fax machine as an outdated piece of technology. While there are still some uses for it in an office-setting, technological advances are sending the fax machines to the

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How Were Kamikaze Pilots Chosen?

How Were Kamikaze Pilots Chosen?

Karl Smallwood November 19, 2014 0

Pat A. asks: Were Kamikaze pilots all just volunteers or how exactly did they get selected? During WWII, thousands of Japanese pilots made the ultimate sacrifice for their country by becoming, essentially, flying suicide

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Why are Potatoes Called “Spuds”?

Why are Potatoes Called “Spuds”?

Daven Hiskey November 18, 2014 0

Chelsea asks: Why are potatoes called “spuds”? Among other definitions, a “spud” is a “sharp, narrow spade” used to dig up large rooted plants. Around the mid-19th century (first documented reference in 1845 in

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Who was Humpty Dumpty?

Who was Humpty Dumpty?

Emily Upton November 18, 2014 0

Nevin asks: Why is “Humpty Dumpty” always depicted as an egg? As you seem to have noticed, in the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme, nowhere does it say that Humpty is an egg, yet he

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Why Sugar Doesn’t Spoil

Why Sugar Doesn’t Spoil

Melissa November 17, 2014 0

Mark U. asks: Why doesn’t sugar ever seem to go bad? Two foods are left out on the counter – fresh tomatoes and a bowl of sugar. Within a week or so, one will

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Why Don’t Birds’ Legs Freeze?

Why Don’t Birds’ Legs Freeze?

Karl Smallwood November 17, 2014 3

Eddie C. asks: How do ducks and other birds keep their feet from getting frostbite in the winter? How a bird reacts to the cold depends on what kind of a bird it is

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