Misc. »

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?

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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

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Rock-a-Bye Baby

Rock-a-Bye Baby

Melissa February 18, 2015 0

Kyle H. asks: Who wrote rockaby-baby and how did it become a nursery rhyme? Seems kind of morbid to sing to a baby. First found in print in 1765 in Mother Goose’s Melody (see:

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Time Before Ubiquitous Clocks

Time Before Ubiquitous Clocks

Melissa February 13, 2015 0

Anonymous asks: Through most of history there were few clocks and only recently alarm clocks, so how did people know when to get up precisely? Or how did they schedule meetings or when to

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How Do They Make White Gold White Given That It’s an Element?

How Do They Make White Gold White Given That It’s an Element?

Sarah Stone February 12, 2015 9

Elizabeth F. asks: Is white gold really gold? If it is, how do they make it white when it’s an element? The purest form of gold is, of course, golden and is referred to

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Bushu-Suru

Bushu-Suru

Sarah Stone February 11, 2015 0

Taking the job as President of the United States means that people across the world know just about everything you do or say, including occasionally making a fool of yourself. Former President George W.

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The Curious Practice of Trepanning

The Curious Practice of Trepanning

Melissa February 4, 2015 0

Older than writing, evidence of the practice of drilling a hole in someone’s head in order to improve their health and well-being has been found from as far back as 6,500 BC. Although most

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Does Drinking Gasoline Cause You to Go Blind?

Does Drinking Gasoline Cause You to Go Blind?

Melissa February 3, 2015 0

Matthew B. asks: Is it true that drinking gasoline will make you go blind? Probably not, although anecdotal evidence shows it has a strong correlation with stupidity. What it may do is cause vomiting,

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The Theft and Half Century Journey of Einstein’s Brain

The Theft and Half Century Journey of Einstein’s Brain

Matt Blitz January 30, 2015 1

On April 17, 1955, the greatest scientist of his generation checked himself into Princeton Hospital due to chest pains. By early the next morning, Albert Einstein had died from an abdominal aortic aneurysm –

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What Happens to Undeliverable Mail with No Return Address?

What Happens to Undeliverable Mail with No Return Address?

Karl Smallwood January 21, 2015 2

Abi K. asks: What does the postal service do when a package is mailed with no valid recipient’s address and no return address? According to the USPS, mail can be considered “undeliverable” due to

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What are Smelling Salts?

What are Smelling Salts?

Matt Blitz January 16, 2015 0

David A. asks: What exactly are smelling salts? Do they really work to wake up unconscious people? Smelling salts have been used for everything, from reviving those who have fainted to athletes needing a

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The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

Matt Blitz January 14, 2015 1

It was in May of 1925 when Victor Lustig first conceived the scheme that would make him a legend. With documents and letterheads proclaiming him the Deputy Director of the Ministere de Postes et

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Is It Possible to Breastfeed with Implants?

Is It Possible to Breastfeed with Implants?

Melissa January 12, 2015 0

Brandy R. asks: Is it possible to breastfeed after getting a boob-job? Given the well-documented benefits of breastfeeding to the long- and short- term health of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends

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How Soap Works

How Soap Works

Melissa January 8, 2015 9

Janet B. asks: How does soap kill bacteria? For well over a century, public health officials have been pushing regular hand washing with soap as one of the most effective methods of inhibiting the

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Why Elections Are Held on Tuesday in the United States

Why Elections Are Held on Tuesday in the United States

Sarah Stone January 6, 2015 0

Brenda V. asks: Why are elections held on Tuesday? Why not Saturday when most people aren’t working? Americans traditionally head to the ballot box on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November to

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What Did People Use to Mask Surgical Pain Before Modern Anesthesia?

What Did People Use to Mask Surgical Pain Before Modern Anesthesia?

Melissa January 5, 2015 2

Gimly16 asks: What did people use for pain during surgery before modern anesthesia? Other than ingesting alcohol and narcotics in sufficient doses to induce a state of analgesia, for most of its history, people

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What are Blue Laws?

What are Blue Laws?

Melissa December 29, 2014 2

Jen asks: What are “Blue Laws” and how did they come to be? Rooted in the basic Christian tenet that Sunday is to be reserved as “the Lord’s day,” blue laws were originally enacted

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Is it Safe to Eat Moldy Bread or Moldy Cheese?

Is it Safe to Eat Moldy Bread or Moldy Cheese?

Daven Hiskey December 19, 2014 0

For the quick answer to your question: no and sometimes.  While not all molds are bad for you to eat, many are, and unless you want to whip out a microscope and meticulously identify

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