Category Archives: Articles

Why Do Mexican Jumping Beans Jump?


Ryan L. asks: What makes Mexican jumping beans move around? Not actually a bean at all (beans being seeds from the family Fabaceae, also known as Leguminosae), the Mexican Jumping Bean is the seed pod of a shrub called Sebastiania pavoniana that has been implanted with larva from the Laspeyresia saltitans (also called Cydia deshaisiana) moth. When S. pavoniana begins […]

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A Spy Story


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Question: How many intelligence agencies does the U.S. have? Let’s see…there’s the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and maybe…the DEA—that’s four, right? Wrong. How many do we really have? NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! Just kidding. Correct answer: 17. Here’s the history of the whole—mostly secret—business. SPY STORY In January 1790, […]

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Has a Major English Dictionary Ever Spelled An Entry Name Incorrectly?


Jon A. asks: Has there ever been an example of a word being spelled incorrectly in the dictionary and did that then become the new accepted spelling? Despite my sincerest efforts, I could find no documented instance of a misspelled entry name (the word being defined) ever found in a widely circulated, non-user generated English dictionary. (I’m still skeptical it’s […]

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The Story of How Two Friends Elaborately Re-Gifted the Same Pair of Pants for Over Two Decades

Santa Worker with a tool belt construction background.

To most people, re-gifting an unwanted Christmas present is rude, ungrateful and a little miserly. However, to Roy Collette and Larry Kunkel, it was not only a treasured Christmas-time tradition that they upheld for well over two decades, but an ever escalating game to see which one would fail to be able to re-gift the pair of pants in question […]

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The People Who Don’t Feel Pain

Female With Pain Back Pain And Neck Pain

This is yet another great article from our friends over at The Medicine Journal.  Check out their YouTube channel here! Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) is technically classified as a peripheral neuropathy- basically meaning you have damage to, or a disease affecting, your nerves.  This rare condition leaves its sufferers without the ability to feel pain.  It might seem like […]

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What’s in Windshield Washer Fluid That Keeps It From Freezing?


Munawar asks: What do they put in windshield wiper fluid to keep it from freezing? Although there are other additives that are also sometimes used for the de-icing component in windshield washer fluid, the most commonly used ingredient is methanol, which combines with water, a dash of colored ink, and occasionally some form of detergent to make up windshield washer […]

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How the Missing-Children Milk Carton Program Started


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader If you were around in the 1980s, you undoubtedly remember them: black-and-white photos of missing children printed on the sides of cardboard milk cartons. Here’s the story of how it all started. ABDUCTED On Sunday morning, September 5, 1982, 12-year-old Johnny Gosch set out from his West Des Moines, Iowa, […]

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That Time Cadets at West Point Rioted Over Eggnog


From the beginning, heavy drinking was fairly commonplace among the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point (founded in 1802). In an attempt to stem this in 1826, the academy’s strict superintendent and the “Father of West Point,” General Sylvanus Thayer, began a crackdown by prohibiting alcohol on campus. As Christmas approached and the cadets realized that […]

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Why Do Americans Refrigerate Their Eggs and Most Other Countries Don’t?


Matt asks: Why do Americans refrigerate eggs and other countries don’t? How long do eggs last unrefrigerated? In supermarkets across the United States, Australia, and Japan, eggs can be found in the refrigerated section alongside other cold items such as milk and cheese. However, in most other countries of the world, eggs can be found stored at room temperature alongside nonperishable […]

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Got Milk and Michael Bay


In 1993, concerned about the steady decline of milk consumption over recent years, the newly created nonprofit California Milk Processor Board approached the advertising agency of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, seeking fresh ideas to get America excited about drinking their product. The agency found the request quite a challenge, since, in the words of Jeff Goodby: “We have all tried […]

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Why School Buses Are Yellow and Why They Don’t Typically Have Seatbelts


Today I found out why school buses are yellow. School buses are the primary mode of student transportation in North America. An estimated twenty-six million students in the United States alone are transported to school every school day via bus—over half the student population in the country. While school buses in countries outside of North America usually look like any […]

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