Category Archives: History

Why Do Outhouses Have a Crescent Moon on the Door?

Literally Everyone asks: Why are outhouses traditionally depicted with a crescent moon on the door? In all the years we’ve been answering questions from our abnormally attractive readers, one that has popped up in our inbox and in comment threads more times than any other is some form of the question “What’s the deal with crescent moons on outhouse doors?” […]

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Who Invented the Keyboard and is the Dvorak Really Better than the QWERTY

The origin of the keyboard starts, unsurprisingly with the first typewriters. There were a variety of type-writer-like devices around going back the 18th century, before one Christopher Latham Sholes, with some help from a few other guys, came up with one that would become the first commercially successful typewriter in the 1870s. Much like many typewriters since, Shole’s device used […]

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That Time the U.S. Military Launched a Half a Billion Needles to Space for Reasons…

In the early 1960s, international communications were limited to transmissions through undersea cables or occasionally unreliable radio signals bounced off of the ionosphere. As you might imagine from this, many in the Western world weren’t too keen on the state of the situation given that were to someone, say, the Soviet Union, cut those cables before launching an attack, international […]

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That Time the British Rioted for Three Months Over the Cost of Theater Tickets

In September of 1808 Covent Garden Theatre in London burned to the ground. The exact cause of the fire has never been established but due to the extensive amount of flammable items throughout combined with an amazing number of flaming light fixtures, fires of some sort at theaters were relatively common, even inspiring a London fire code requiring several wet […]

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Who Started the Lizard People Conspiracy Theory?

MarcoDerp asks: You covered who started the flat earth and moon landing conspiracy theories. What about the lizard people? People have been referencing sentient reptilian entities, sometimes humanoid, sometimes not, going back to some of the earliest written works and legends known to man. In more modern times, according to a survey done by the firm Public Policy Polling approximately […]

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Who Invented Rock, Paper, Scissors and What’s the Best Way to Win Consistently?

Jay Soy asks: Who invented rock, paper, scissors? Hand based games have been around seemingly as long as humans have been humaning. As to the exact genesis of Rock, Paper, Scissors, however, this appears to originate in hand games from China, supposedly going back about two thousand years, though primary documented evidence of this is scant. That said, the trail […]

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What’s Up with the All Seeing Eye on the Dollar Bill?

Diego Berri: Why is the all seeing eye on the dollar bill? A long standing bit of fodder for conspiracy theorists of the American persuasion includes various imagery found on the United States’ one dollar bill, with the most infamous of graphics on said nefarious item being the so-called “All-Seeing Eye”, more properly titled the “Eye of Providence”. To add […]

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How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?

Marbleezy asks: How did the ancient Romans manage to build perfectly straight roads hundreds of miles long? The ancient Romans were a people famed for their architectural prowess, something no better demonstrated than by their ability to build almost perfectly straight and incredibly durable roads spanning expansive distances. For example, in Britain alone, the Romans built well over 50,000 miles […]

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That Time Pablo Picasso was Arrested for Stealing the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci started work on the Mona Lisa around 1503, thought to be a commissioned painting of Lisa Gherardini, the third wife of silk merchant Freancesco del Giocondo. As to why da Vinci never delivered it, it has been speculated that he received a much more lucrative commission shortly thereafter and thus abandoned the painting at the time. Another […]

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That Time an English Dude Invented a Gun that Fired Square Bullets, and the Waterfowl’s Nightmare

Considered to be little more than a historical curio today, the early 18th century Puckle Gun was nonetheless one of the most advanced firearms of its age, capable of firing one shot every 6 seconds in an era when even the most highly skilled soldier equipped with a musket typically topped out at a rate of only about one shot […]

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