Category Archives: Misc.

Why Don’t They Bother Putting the Apostrophe in “DONT WALK” signs?


Jared L. asks: Why aren’t there apostrophes in the Don’t Walk signs by street intersections when it’s spelled out rather than using pictures? No one is sure when exactly the first WALK/DONT WALK style signs were installed. Even the Federal Highway Administration isn’t sure, though it is thought that the first such sign was likely installed sometime in the early to […]

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The First Commercially Successfull Video Game was Meant as a Training Exercise and Wasn’t Intended to Be Released


Today I found out “Pong” was originally meant only as a training exercise for a new gaming developer at Atari, Allan Alcorn, and wasn’t intended to be released as a consumer product. When Alcorn was hired by Atari in 1972, Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari along with Ted Dabney, told Alcorn that he had recently signed a contract with GE […]

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Why Aren’t There Many Female Commercial Pilots?


Sarah T. asks: Why do you never see commercial airline pilots that are women? When it comes to gender disparity, the world of commercial airline piloting is one of the most skewed with a whopping 97% of all commercial pilots being male (4000 female commercial pilots vs. 130,000 male worldwide according to The International  Society of Women Airline Pilots).  Those […]

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How Did “911” Become The Emergency Call Number in North America?


Kaiden asks: Why is 9-1-1 the emergency call number? Before the 1960s, the United States didn’t have one universal phone number for Americans to call if they needed help from the police or fire department. Callers simply had to know the phone number for each department in the area they were currently in. In the case of large cities, there […]

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The Truth About Double Jeopardy


Damien asks: Is Double Jeopardy a true thing or is it just a TV/movie invention? Although generally in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, the U.S. and New Zealand you cannot be subjected to a second trial after a first has been completed, there are exceptions. What is Double Jeopardy? Generally speaking, double jeopardy prohibits a second trial where a […]

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Why Do Men’s and Women’s Clothes Have the Buttons on the Opposite Sides?


Matt asks: Why do men’s and women’s shirts and pants have the buttons on the opposite sides? When did this start? As with so many things in history, we can’t know with 100% accuracy why men’s and women’s clothes button up the opposite way. (Even something relatively recent like who invented Buffalo Wings is up for debate despite being invented […]

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The Flags on the Moon


Robert N. asks: What ever happened to the flags and other things left on the moon? On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. At 10:56 pm eastern standard time, Neil Armstrong accomplished another first. With the immortal words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” (or something like that) Neil Armstrong […]

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Real Life Maelstroms


Where a unique combination of strong currents and geography meet, maelstroms, enormous and powerful areas of swirling water, dangerous currents and whirlpools, can be found across the globe. Although many form (and die) in a relatively short period of time in response to catastrophic events (like a tsunami), others have existed for centuries. Asia Naruto Found in the strait between […]

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Relámpago del Catatumbo – The Eternal Lightning


In Venezuela’s northwest state of Zulia, where the Catatumbo River empties into the southwest corner of Lake Maracaibo, a spectacular light show can be seen most nights of the year. Known alternately as the Catatumbo lightning, river of fire in the sky, Beacon of Maracaibo, everlasting lightning, the Lighthouse of Catatumbo and Relámpago del Catatumbo, this fixed lightning storm has […]

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Sleepwalking Murders


Carl asks: What happens if you are sleep walking and you kill someone? Anyone who has ever tried to reason with a sleepwalker knows they can seem to be awake, yet have bizarre and irrational behaviors. Stubborn during the best of episodes, and inconsolable, unreasonable and intense in the worst, it is not hard to imagine these walking dreamers acting […]

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The 72 Second Message from Outer Space


On August 15, 1977, in Delaware, Ohio, SETI researchers from the Ohio State University detected a 72 second radio signal originating from somewhere around the constellation of Sagittarius. Because of the signal’s location, frequency and unique signature, it was quickly dubbed the “Wow!” signal, and since its discovery, speculation has run rampant that it was a message from an extra-terrestrial […]

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