Category Archives: Misc.

Every Possible State of a Standard Rubik’s Cube can Be Solved in 20 Moves or Less

Today I found out that all 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 positions of a standard Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 20 moves or less. Anyone who is serious about solving a Rubik’s Cube uses some sort of algorithm, or sequence of steps to help them solve the puzzle. There are many different algorithms, varying in complexity and number of moves required, but those that […]

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How Jake Brakes Work

Today I found out how a Jake Brake works (also known as “Jacobs Engine Brake” or “compression release brake”). For those who don’t know, a “Jake Brake” is what makes that machine-gun like noise that you might hear from semi-trucks when they head down long steep hills. A normal gas motor uses the air flow from the intake manifold to […]

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How Trick Candles Work

Today I found out how trick candles work. There is nothing more humorous then seeing a person become woozy and light-headed at a feeble attempt to blow out candles that fight back! Candles themselves work on a fairly simple and ingenious principle. The three elements to sustain fire are concealed in one convenient package. The fuel itself is the container […]

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The Slinky was Originally Intended to be Used as a Tension Spring in a Battleship Engine Horsepower Meter

Note: This is a guest article contributed by frequent TIFO visitor and owner of DumpADay, Jon. Today I found the Slinky was originally intended to be used as a tension spring in a battleship engine horsepower meter. In 1943, Richard James, a marine engineer in a Philadelphia shipyard, was working at his desk, developing a special meter designed to monitor […]

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AstroTurf Was Originally Named “ChemGrass” Before Being Used by the Houston Astros Baseball Team

Today I found out AstroTurf was originally named “ChemGrass” before being used by the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team in the Astrodome. Contrary to popular belief, AstroTurf was not first used or invented for the Houston Astros.  For instance, before being used by the Astros, it was used at such sporting venues as Moses Brown School in Rhode Island, […]

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Tibetan Monks Can Raise the Temperature of Their Skin Through Meditation

Monks on a roller coaster

Today I found out that some Tibetan monks can control the temperature of their skin through meditation.  Specifically, they have been shown to be able to raise their skin temperature, measured from their toes and fingers, as much as 17 degrees Fahrenheit, while their core temperature stays normal. Scientists from Harvard University, lead by Herbert Benson, were first able to […]

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The Founder of FedEx Once Saved the Company by Taking Its Last $5,000 and Turning It Into $32,000 by Gambling in Vegas

Today I found out the founder of FedEx once saved the company by taking its last $5,000 and turning it into $32,000 by gambling in Las Vegas. The man is Frederick W. Smith who is the founder and current CEO of FedEx.  In 1971, Smith took his personal fortune of around $4 million and raised around an additional $90 million […]

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