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The Blind Man Who Invented Cruise Control

The Blind Man Who Invented Cruise Control

Staci Lehman November 13, 2014 1

While speed governing systems have been around on automobiles almost as long as they have existed (the first known one was installed on a Wilson-Pilcher car in 1900) and similar systems have been around

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Why Don’t Hot Dogs and Hot Dog Buns Come in Packs of Equal Number?

Why Don’t Hot Dogs and Hot Dog Buns Come in Packs of Equal Number?

Karl Smallwood November 13, 2014 5

Jason H. asks: Here’s one for you I’ve never found a satisfactory answer on. Why don’t hot dogs and hot dog buns come in packs of the same number? Has it always been this

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Why Tattoos Don’t Fade as Skin Regenerates

Why Tattoos Don’t Fade as Skin Regenerates

Karl Smallwood November 12, 2014 3

Ryan C. asks: How do they make tattoos permanent? In other words, how do they get tattoos to remain even as your skin is constantly regenerating? Depending on the source you consult, anywhere from

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The Invention of the Vacuum Cleaner

The Invention of the Vacuum Cleaner

Matt Blitz November 11, 2014 0

In central Missouri, about hundred miles from St. Louis and right off of Route 66, sits the small town of St. James. Despite this town having only about four thousand people, it is proudly

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The Origins of the Mathematical Convention of Using “X” as the Unknown

The Origins of the Mathematical Convention of Using “X” as the Unknown

Melissa November 11, 2014 5

Linda P. asks: Why do we always use “x” for everything in math? For hundreds of years, x has been the go-to symbol for the unknown quantity in mathematical equations. So who started this

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Terrifying Fluffy Bunnies and The Little Albert Experiment

Terrifying Fluffy Bunnies and The Little Albert Experiment

Karl Smallwood November 10, 2014 2

The Little Albert Experiment was a study conducted back in 1920 by famed psychologist, “the father of behaviorism”, John B. Watson. It essentially involved conditioning a baby, identified only as “Albert. B” to experience

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Weekly Wrap Volume 63

Weekly Wrap Volume 63

Daven Hiskey November 8, 2014 0

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Did English Speakers Really Not Use Contractions in the 19th Century as Depicted in True

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Why the Mass Avoidance of Some Business is Called “Boycotting”

Why the Mass Avoidance of Some Business is Called “Boycotting”

Daven Hiskey November 7, 2014 0

This term was named after a nineteenth century Englishman, Captain Charles C. Boycott (who originally had the surname “Boycatt,” but the family changed the spelling when he was nine years old). If you guessed

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Why We Say “O’Clock”

Why We Say “O’Clock”

Daven Hiskey November 7, 2014 0

The practice of saying “o’clock” is simply a remnant of simpler times when clocks weren’t very prevalent and people told time by a variety of means, depending on where they were and what references

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How Do the Media and Police Estimate Crowd Sizes?

How Do the Media and Police Estimate Crowd Sizes?

Karl Smallwood November 6, 2014 1

Keith H. asks: When the police and media report crowd sizes of a parade or something, what do they base their numbers on? Although the task of determining how many people attend something as

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What Causes Canker Sores?

What Causes Canker Sores?

Melissa November 5, 2014 0

Simon W. asks: What causes canker sores? The symptoms of canker sores are well known. In their minor form, canker sores are small, rounded or ovate, white or yellow bumps with red edges that

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Can You Really Bust a Gut from Eating Too Much at Once?

Can You Really Bust a Gut from Eating Too Much at Once?

Melissa November 5, 2014 4

R. Lee asks: In Seven an obese man is made to stuff himself until his stomach bursts. Is this really possible? Wouldn’t you just naturally throw up? Although extremely rare, some people actually have

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Why Do We Call Parents “Mom” and “Dad”?

Why Do We Call Parents “Mom” and “Dad”?

Karl Smallwood November 4, 2014 3

Becky E. asks: Why do we call parents mom and dad? Calling our parents anything other than mom, dad or one of the many variations thereof is an almost alien concept to many (and

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Nixon’s Tactic of Acting Unbalanced as a Political Strategy- The Madman Theory

Nixon’s Tactic of Acting Unbalanced as a Political Strategy- The Madman Theory

Melissa November 3, 2014 0

Developed from game theory and a key tactic of his early administration, President Richard Nixon came into office with a clear plan – scare the hell out of other world leaders to get them

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Did English Speakers Really Not Use Contractions in the 19th Century as Depicted in True Grit?

Did English Speakers Really Not Use Contractions in the 19th Century as Depicted in True Grit?

Melissa November 3, 2014 3

Karl A. asks: In the movie True Grit, they don’t use contractions. Is it true that people back then didn’t use them? Won’t, don’t, wouldn’t, isn’t and even ain’t- where would we be without

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Weekly Wrap Volume 62

Weekly Wrap Volume 62

Daven Hiskey November 1, 2014 0

This is a weekly wrap of our Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. How Birds Grip Things When They Sleep Everyone needs sleep, but for many birds, by necessity

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How is Silk Made?

How is Silk Made?

Melissa October 31, 2014 3

Mark D. asks: How do they make real silk from worms? One of the softest fabrics on the planet, shiny, breathable and comfortable, silk has been a highly prized cloth since it was first harvested

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Dr. Robert Buchanan, a Murder, and Killing a Cat in Court

Dr. Robert Buchanan, a Murder, and Killing a Cat in Court

Melissa October 31, 2014 0

In 1893, Dr. Robert Buchanan was convicted of killing his wife with a lethal amount of morphine. Without any clear physical evidence tying him to her death, the prosecution relied on eyewitness and expert

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