Category Archives: Articles

The Surprisingly Mysterious Life of Famed Artist Bob Ross


Amongst the pantheon of notable public television personalities, Bob Ross easily ranks alongside the likes of Mr Rogers and Elmo as a star who is almost universally loved and respected by the public. Despite being famous the world over for his balmy, soothing demeanour, his show The Joy of Painting and his amazing ‘fro, we know surprisingly little about arguably one of the best […]

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The Life Saving Animal Blood Worth $60,000 Per Gallon and the Truth About the Colour of Spider Blood


Kay P. asks: Is spider blood really blue? When it comes to spiders, people generally know two facts about them- that you swallow around eight of them per year and that their blood is bright blue. Fortunately, the former is absolutely not true at all, the latter, on the other hand, is mostly correct. While it’s certainly true that spiders […]

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From Wallpaper Cleaner to Kid’s Toy- The Origin of Play-Doh


The story of Play-Doh began when Kutol, a Cincinnati based soap company, was about to go under in the late 1920s. Cleo McVicker, just 21 years old, was tasked with selling off the company’s remaining assets, which at the time comprised mainly of powdered hand soap. Once that was done, the company would be too. Cleo, however, managed to turn […]

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Robert Frost’s Commonly Misinterpreted “The Road Not Taken” and the Role it Played in the Death of His Best Friend


Robert Frost is one of the most critically acclaimed American poets of the 20th century, which is a roundabout way of saying you almost certainly studied one of his poems in school. Most likely, it was a short piece called The Road Not Taken- a poem famous for being one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted poems ever written, and […]

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Who Invented Pole Vaulting?


Meri K. asks: Who invented pole vaulting? Although it’s difficult to find written accounts, it appears that people have been propelling themselves through the air with poles since ancient times. In fact, depictions of people leaping with poles can be found as far back as 400 BC. A practical and inexpensive way to traverse swampy marshy areas, propelling over wet […]

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A Dinner Jacket, the Nazis, the “British” Accent, and What This All Has to Do With the BBC News


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is an institution known and respected the world over for its relative impartiality and objectivity compared to many other news sources, with numerous surveys showing that the BBC is one of the most trusted sources of news in both the UK and the US. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about […]

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François-André Danican Philidor and Blindfold Chess


In 1744 at the age of 18, François-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795) enthralled Parisian society after playing two simultaneous games of chess in a public demonstration, all while blindfolded. And even though he lost one game and only drew the other, the display established Philidor as a chess master par excellence, and blew new life into the ancient practice of blindfold […]

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First Look at Your Baby: The Fascinating History of the “Sonogram”


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader If you have kids, there’s a good chance that the very first time you laid eyes on them was via a “sonogram” image taken before they were even born. The grainy images are so common that they’ve become a rite of passage for parents all over the world. Here’s the […]

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Barney Curley and the Yellow Sam Coup


On June 26, 1975, professional gambler Barney Curley pulled off one of the most famous betting coups in all of sports. With careful planning and skillful execution, Curley and his compatriots won just over IR£300,000 (or about $2.6 million today) on the “slow but steady” mostly unknown horse named Yellow Sam. Curley’s father, Charlie, had been a grocer before sinking […]

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