Category Archives: Misc.

Why Are Shoe Sizes as They Are?


Kim A. asks: How did they come up with the standard sizes for shoes? Seemingly arbitrary, there is a crazy logic (and a lot of muddy history giving rise to tradition) behind the numbers assigned to different shoe sizes. During the reign of England’s Edward II (1284-1327), certain measurements became standardized.  Most pertinent to the discussion at hand: Three barley-corns, […]

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The Story of


In 1983, Paul Mockapetris proposed a distributed database of internet name and address pairs, now known as the Domain Name System (DNS).  This is essentially a distributed “phone book” linking a domain’s name to its address, allowing you to type in something like instead of the IP address of the website.  The distributed version of this system allowed for […]

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That Time When You Could Save Yourself From Being Executed by Beating the Executioner in a Foot Race


Like many historical nations, the Ottoman Empire was no stranger to doling out deadly justice to criminals and those the rulers disliked. Unlike most, for several decades, starting sometime in the late 18th century, they did offer some of the condemned a chance to avoid being executed. How? They simply had to beat the palace’ head gardener in what amounted […]

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Has There Ever Been an Actual Case of Someone Being Pelted With Tomatoes During a Performance?


Andthen2 asks: Has there ever been a real case of someone being pelted with tomatoes during a performance? As we’ve discussed in detail before (see: The Curious Case of the Claque), audiences haven’t always been kind to performers throughout history as evidenced by the fact that there was a thriving industry of people who made a rather lucrative living during […]

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From Dream to 3-D Reality: The Fascinating Origin of Pixar


Before a story about toys, before monsters went corporate, before anyone went searching for Nemo, and before twenty seven Academy Awards, Pixar was a high-end computer hardware company whose clients included the government and the medical community. The story of Pixar isn’t exactly full of superheroes, adorable robots, or talking bugs. The tale of the most profitable and critically adored […]

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Closing on Christmas


Over six decades ago, Denny’s restaurant was founded, not as a general diner, but as Danny’s Donuts on the promise that they would “serve the best cup of coffee, make the best donuts, give the best service, offer the best value and stay open 24 hours a day.” Subsequently operating under its slogan, “America’s Diner is always open,” they have […]

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The Actress Who Died on Stage While Portraying Her Theatrical Death


Several artists have died on stage while conducting live performances; however, one case is highly unique and probably the most ironic at the same time. The incident involved actress Edith Webster. Webster was a relatively unknown actress who never managed to make a name for herself during her lifetime, but left her mark in history with her bizarre death. During […]

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