Category Archives: Misc.

Cursive No More?

cursive

Jeremy R. asks: Why do we still teach kids to write in cursive when it’s almost literally never used anymore except in signatures, which are also becoming a thing of the past thanks to e-signing and advancements in payment options? I mean, even teaching kids any handwriting skills is bound to go the way of the Dodo at some point […]

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The “Sinkhole to Hell”

burning-sinkhole

In Central Asia, bordered on the north by Uzbekistan, the southeast by Afghanistan, the southwest by Iran and the east by the Caspian Sea, lies the country of Turkmenistan. With the world’s fourth largest proven reserves of natural gas, Turkmenistan is the world’s 11th largest exporter of this valuable resource. A dangerous substance, if not properly managed, rather than becoming […]

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Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

deer-crossing

Sanvi F. asks: It costs thousands of dollars to install even one road sign, so why do they bother putting “warning deer” and “falling rock” warning signs when nobody pays attention to them? Warning of an upcoming curve, playing kids, falling rock, icy roads and, of course, deer, traditional static warning signs litter the sides of our roadways to the […]

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Duty Free

duty-free

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? Providing shoppers with a chance to buy and transport goods across international boundaries without paying local and national taxes, duty-free shops are found in airports and […]

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Rock-a-Bye Baby

baby

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: Who was the Real Mother Goose?), the lyrics in this first printed version are essentially the same as today: Mush-a-bybaby On the tree top, When the […]

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Bushu-Suru

bush

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. Bush understood that when he choked on a pretzel while watching a football game, and President Barack Obama knew that the whole world would find out […]

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The Curious Practice of Trepanning

trepanning

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 proper physicians today eschew the procedure and write it off as simply a function of superstition, the tradition of trepanning remains alive and well among adherents. […]

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Does Drinking Gasoline Cause You to Go Blind?

drinking-gasoline

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, vertigo, confusion, drowsiness, breathing difficulties, burning in the esophagus, sore throat, weakness, and diarrhea, even when ingested in small amounts; in larger portions, it can cause […]

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What are Smelling Salts?

ammonium-carbonate

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 chemically-induced “wake up.” But what are smelling salts? Are they actually an effective medical treatment? How do they work? Are they toxic and dangerous? Smelling salts […]

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