Category Archives: Articles

Can Fish Get Thirsty and Why Can’t Freshwater Fish Live in Saltwater and Vice Versa?

fish-and-beer

Helen W. asks: Is it possible for a fish to get thirsty or do they always get the water they need automatically? For fish, or at least teleost fish (which make up about 96% of all fish), the desire to drink is an urge that originates from the hindbrain, whereas in land-based animals it originates in the forebrain. It is […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 135

superbowl

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Curious Case of the Pillownauts Today we take it for granted that astronauts can function in the weightlessness of spaceflight, but at the dawn of the space age in the early 1960s, scientists weren’t sure that was possible. Some experts […]

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The Bizarre First Super Bowl Halftime Show

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These days, Super Bowl halftime shows are star-studded affairs that can eclipse the game itself. More people watched Madonna’s 2012 halftime performance than the Patriots and Giants matchup (despite it being thrilling). In 2007, everyone remembers Prince crooning “Purple Rain” during an actual torrential rainstorm. Also, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears in a rather uneventful game. In 1993, […]

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The Hand of Faith

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Sitting in the back of a dark, old-fashioned Las Vegas casino sits, rather unremarkably, the largest gold nugget on display in the world. Slowly spinning on a table in a place not uncoincidentally named “The Golden Nugget,” the so-called “Hand of Faith” gold nugget is not as glamorous nor as shiny as cartoon gold nuggets would have you believe. While […]

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How the Modern Practice of Cheerleading Morphed from a Masculine to Feminine Activity

cheerleaders

While people have been cheering in one form or another at sporting events  seemingly as long as there have been organized sporting events (for instance, see: The Truth About Gladiators and the Thumbs Up), what we’ve come to know as the “American phenomenon of organized cheerleading” dates back to the 19th century, with its genesis coinciding with the rise of […]

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Weekly Wrap 134

navy-gay-pride

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The U.S. Navy and Their Hilariously Inept Search for Dorothy and Her Friends While the Ancient Greeks had their celebrated Sacred Band of Thebes, a legendarily successful fighting force made up of all male lovers, in more modern times the various […]

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The Curious Case of the Pillownauts

sleepingiss_astronaut

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Just because you’re not an astronaut, that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the space program. You don’t even have to get out of bed. Meet the “pillownauts.” LOST IN SPACE Today we take it for granted that astronauts can function in the weightlessness of spaceflight, but at the dawn […]

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The U.S. Navy and Their Hilariously Inept Search for Dorothy and Her Friends

navy-gay-pride

While the Ancient Greeks had their celebrated Sacred Band of Thebes, a legendarily successful fighting force made up of all male lovers, in more modern times the various branches of the United States military have not been so accepting of such individuals, which brings us to the topic of today- that time in the 1980s when the Naval Intelligence Service […]

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How Did Cereal Become “Part of a Complete Breakfast”?

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Mike D. asks: Why is cereal considered a breakfast food? For kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was sugary cereal commercials that dotted the television landscape, featuring lucky leprechauns, wise-cracking droids and adorable Gremlins. A common theme among all of them was advocating these products were a “magical part of a complete breakfast“, helping to ingrain […]

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Dustbin of History: The Green Book

green book

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Here’s a piece of recent American history that most people have never heard of. It involves many of the elements we associate with modern life—cars, travel, eating, entrepreneurship…and discrimination. Here’s the story of the Green Book. ROAD TRIP! For as long as automobiles have been around, they have symbolized freedom […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 133

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This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. That Time Mozart Pirated a Forbidden Piece of Music from the Catholic Church from Memory Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known for many things, few of which we care to cover on this site because you probably already know all about them. […]

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What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?

American-Cockroach

Soshi K. asks: What do cockroaches eat and where do they live when not in our houses? Sneaky and skittering, invasive and indomitable, the disgusting peridomestic cockroach is a formidable enemy for anyone unlucky enough to live among them. Interestingly, however, they are surprisingly delicate, and at least one species is utterly dependent on humans for its survival. Of the […]

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Why is it Called Area 51?

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Michael S. asks: Why is it called Area “51”? Where are the other 50 areas? Despite the CIA’s release of previously classified documents in 2013 that acknowledged the existence of Area 51 as a top-secret U.S. government research facility, many questions about the site remain unanswered. One of the most innocuous, but nonetheless puzzling, is its choice of name. Although […]

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