Articles »

How Did Lunar Landers Re-Launch When There’s No Oxygen?

How Did Lunar Landers Re-Launch When There’s No Oxygen?

Melissa March 6, 2015 0

Brian S. asks: How did they get the space ships on the moon off when there is no oxygen there? Whether it’s two-strokes or four, one cylinder or eight, most of the engines we

Read More »
How Do Other Animals Deal with the Umbilical Cord and Placenta When the Baby is Born?

How Do Other Animals Deal with the Umbilical Cord and Placenta When the Baby is Born?

Melissa March 6, 2015 1

Brandi N asks: How do other primates deal with the umbilical cord and placenta when the baby is born when they don’t have any sort of medical help to make sure everything’s handled right?

Read More »
The Truth About Ben Franklin’s Epigrams

The Truth About Ben Franklin’s Epigrams

Matt Blitz March 5, 2015 3

Ben Franklin accomplished a lot of things over his 84 years on Earth. He was an influential newspaper editor and printer. He was an inventor, known for bifocals, the lightening rod, and Franklin stove.

Read More »
Origin of Lo and Behold

Origin of Lo and Behold

Melissa March 4, 2015 0

Richard G. asks: What does the “lo” in lo and behold mean? Like a wordy exclamation point, the two defining words in “lo and behold” mean basically the same thing. Specifically, the word lo!,

Read More »
Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

Melissa March 4, 2015 2

Sanvi F. asks: It costs thousands of dollars to install even one road sign, so why do they bother putting “warning deer” and “falling rock” warning signs when nobody pays attention to them? Warning

Read More »
The Origin of the Word Bimbo

The Origin of the Word Bimbo

Melissa March 3, 2015 2

Jillian A. asks: Who invented the word bimbo? Depending on whom you ask, bimbo can be an insult or just a description. Usually implying a lack of intelligence, and often combined with physical attractiveness

Read More »
Do Fish Sleep?

Do Fish Sleep?

Melissa March 3, 2015 0

Ryan K. asks: Given that they probably need to move their fins constantly to stay in place, do fish ever sleep? Less like sleep and more like suspended animation, most fish species do spend

Read More »
The Ends Justify the Means

The Ends Justify the Means

Melissa March 2, 2015 0

Entangled in Florentine politics during a tumultuous time at the height of the Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelli became alternately a diplomat, a victim, a prisoner, an exile and, ultimately, the “father of modern political theory.”

Read More »
A Brief History of Spring Training

A Brief History of Spring Training

Matt Blitz March 2, 2015 0

Birds chirping, Sun shining, temperatures warming, and the smacking of a baseball hitting a glove – ah, the sights and sounds of spring. Okay, maybe up north and on the east coast, they are

Read More »
Weekly Wrap Volume 76

Weekly Wrap Volume 76

Daven Hiskey February 28, 2015 0

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Under the Lights On a field about fifty miles from Boston, Strawberry Hill, on the

Read More »
How Leonard Nimoy Came Up With “Live Long and Prosper” and the Associated Hand Gesture

How Leonard Nimoy Came Up With “Live Long and Prosper” and the Associated Hand Gesture

Daven Hiskey February 27, 2015 0

Today I found out the iconic “live long and prosper” hand gesture was originally a Jewish sign. The hand gesture itself is a slight modification of the Hebrew gesture forming the letter “Shin”, which

Read More »
The Vela Incident

The Vela Incident

Melissa February 27, 2015 1

As the 1970s were drawing to a close, the global political situation was uncertain. Peace in the Middle East was imminent for some, while others in the region were witnessing dramatic revolution; at the

Read More »
Duty Free

Duty Free

Melissa February 27, 2015 0

Jeremy W. asks: Why do we call non-taxed items duty free? Why is this allowed? Is this really the case or are you supposed to pay taxes anyway on items to your home country?

Read More »
Why are Green Cards Called That?

Why are Green Cards Called That?

Sarah Stone February 26, 2015 0

Amar F. asks: Why are green cards called that when they aren’t green? A Permanent Resident Card from the United States government allows immigrants to legally work, live, and study inside the country. Despite

Read More »
Ketchup or Catsup?

Ketchup or Catsup?

Melissa February 26, 2015 0

Byron H. asks: Why is it sometimes catsup and other times ketchup? The two distinct spellings for what today is essentially the same condiment are simply the reflection of the evolution of nearly everyone’s

Read More »
Why Gnats Swarm

Why Gnats Swarm

Melissa February 25, 2015 0

Gerry D. asks: Why do nats swarm in a ball in the air? A common sight in the spring and summer, the seemingly unprofitable and pointless habit of gnats to hover in a cloud

Read More »
Elsie Nicks and Akinetic Mutism

Elsie Nicks and Akinetic Mutism

Melissa February 25, 2015 0

Immobile and silent, those who suffer from the severest forms of akinetic mutism either lack the ability or the will to move or to speak. Caused by any of a number of conditions, diseases

Read More »
The Mock Execution of Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Mock Execution of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Matt Blitz February 25, 2015 1

On December 22, 1849, members of a Russian intellectual literary group known as the Petrashevsky Circle were sent to Semyonov Square to meet their fate – death by firing squad. With the men pointing

Read More »