Category Archives: Articles

The Duel That Wasn’t

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It was a beautiful spring day on the banks of the Potomac River in 1826 when Secretary of State Henry Clay and Senator John Randolph of Roanoke counted paces, cocked their guns and prepared to fire at one another. The two notable American politicians were engaged in an illegal duel that, by nearly all accounts, should have never happened. Shots […]

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Why Do Daft Punk Dress Like Robots?

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McKayla asks: Why do Daft Punk always dress like robots? Have they ever shown their faces? Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, more succinctly known as Daft Punk, are arguably two of the most famous and easily recognisable musicians on Earth, having won countless major awards including six Grammys and even managed a “Best Original Score” award for the absolutely […]

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Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long

8-HOUR-DAY-BANNER

During the Industrial Revolution, companies attempted to maximize the output of their factories by keeping them running as many hours as possible, typically implementing a “sun up to sun down” work day.  Wages were also extremely low, so workers themselves often needed to work these long shifts just to get by, including often sending their children to work in the […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 114

COPS

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. A COPS Story COPS has been a Saturday night TV staple for so long—29 seasons—that it’s easy to forget what a groundbreaking show it was when it debuted in 1989. FIRST-PERSON PERSPECTIVE In the early 1980s, an aspiring filmmaker named John Langley […]

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That Time Annie Oakley Offered to Put Together an All Female Team of Snipers for the United States’ Military

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Phoebe Ann Moses, better known as “Annie Oakley,” made a name for herself as one of the best sharpshooters in the world throughout her lifetime. In the process, she overcame a childhood filled with abuse and adversity to become not only an enormously successful entertainer, but a role model for women and young girls. Born in 1860, Annie’s father, Jacob, […]

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Where the Term “Bootlegging” Came From

bootleggers

Mark Y. asks: Why were people who made alcohol during prohibition called bootleggers? Although Prohibition officially began on January 16, 1920, the impetus for banning the production, sale, importation and transportation (though not the consumption) of alcohol had been brewing for decades before. Part of a string of reforms introduced by Progressives, Protestants and other activists to cure all of […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 113

gay-flag

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The U.S. Military’s Proposed “Gay” Bomb One doesn’t commonly associate the slogan “make love not war” with the U.S. military. Indeed, the United States military is feared and formidable precisely because it has proven so effective at conceptualizing clever and innovative […]

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Why aren’t the Windows Aligned with the Rows of Seats in Commercial Aircraft?

view-from-airplane

M. Silverman asks: Why aren’t the windows aligned with the rows of seats on planes? While airplane manufacturers do design the planes with general row positioning and pitch (the measurement from one seat to the same exact point on the seat in front or behind it) in mind, with the windows often lining up with the seats, the designers’ exact […]

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The U.S. Military’s Proposed “Gay” Bomb

gay-flag

One doesn’t commonly associate the slogan “make love not war” with the U.S. military. Indeed, the United States military is feared and formidable precisely because it has proven so effective at conceptualizing clever and innovative ways to search, find and destroy, often with the simple push of a button. However, in a departure from these hostile traditions, in 1994 the […]

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The Behavior Changing Parasite That Could Be Living Inside You Right Now, Toxoplasma Gondii

Toxoplasma_gondii

If we were to tell you that there is a parasite out there that can infect virtually any warm-blooded creature on Earth; is found just about everywhere; approximately 33% of humans are infected; and is also mysteriously linked to people committing suicide and brain cancer, then we told you that it was most commonly found in cats, you’d say we […]

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