Category Archives: Articles

Duty Free

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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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The Polish Schindlers

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader You’ve probably heard of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Here’s a story you probably haven’t heard—about two men who pulled off a similar miracle in Poland. OCCUPATION Dr. Eugene Lazowski was a young Red Cross physician living in the village […]

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Forgotten History: The M247 Sergeant York and Its Propensity to Lock Onto Latrines Instead of Enemy Aircraft

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The M247 Sergeant York was officially designated as a “self-propelled anti-aircraft gun” but was for all intents and purposes a tank chassis with anti-aircraft guns attached to the top. The vehicle was named for one Alvin York, a famous and highly decorated WW1 hero who captured over 100 German soldiers pretty much single handedly. Unfortunately for the U.S. tax payers […]

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When Lincoln Was Almost Assassinated Nine Months Before He was Assassinated

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In August 1864, the Sixteenth President of the United States of America was nearly assassinated about nine months before he was actually assassinated. This is the story. The Soldier’s Home Throughout the Civil War (1861-1865), President Abraham Lincoln and his family spent the summer and fall in a cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home in the country outside […]

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The First U.S. Presidential Assassination Attempt

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There have been four assassinations of U.S. Presidents to date. Two are very famous and two not as well-known. The first assassination of a President is both well-known and well-documented. On April 14, 1865, actor and southern advocate John Wilkes Booth shot the 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s theater. Lincoln died from his wounds the next day. (Incidentally, […]

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Dustbin of History: The Ground Observer Corps

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The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader SHOCK WAVE In September 1949, a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane flying over the North Pacific from Japan to Alaska detected levels of radioactivity in the atmosphere at least 20 times above normal. Other planes in the Pacific reported similar observations in the days that followed; elevated radiation levels were […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 138

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This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Origin of Valentines Day While not thought to be directly related to modern Valentine’s Day traditions, the beginnings of celebrating love (of a sort) in February date back to the Romans. The feast of Lupercalia was a pagan fertility and […]

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The Last Laugh- Millionaire Charles Vance Millar and His Practical Jokes from Beyond the Grave

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For many people, being dead is a fairly limiting handicap that prevents them from doing most of the things the living take for granted. In the 1930s, a man called Charles Vance Millar challenged that unfair stereotype via various stipulations of his will that allowed him to continue playing jokes on people despite being dead. A lawyer by trade, Millar […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 137

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This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Origin of Gatorade and How the Tradition of the “Gatorade Shower” Got Started During a typical sticky, unbearable August weekend in 1965 in Gainesville- the home of the University of Florida Gators- football practices were well underway in anticipation for […]

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