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Is “Peanut Gallery” a Racial Term?

Is “Peanut Gallery” a Racial Term?

Melissa March 13, 2015 1

Matt J. asks: Was the peanut gallery expression really originally a racial term? Used to refer to those giving unsolicited (and unvalued) advice, the expression “peanut gallery” has its roots in late 19th century

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How Al “Scarface” Capone Got His Scars

How Al “Scarface” Capone Got His Scars

Matt Blitz March 12, 2015 0

It was June 1931 when the law finally caught up with Al “Scarface” Capone for good. After three years of building a case against Capone for tax evasion, the FBI was finally ready to

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Why Fish Often Float Upside Down When They Die

Why Fish Often Float Upside Down When They Die

Karl Smallwood March 11, 2015 0

Few things in childhood are more traumatising than waking up one morning to find your beloved pet fish, Michael Scofield, floating upside down in his tank (true story); his tiny fishy light cruelly extinguished

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Why the Week Starts on Sunday

Why the Week Starts on Sunday

Melissa March 11, 2015 10

Karla S. asks: Why does the week start on Sunday? Why not Wednesday or Friday? As with so many things passed down to us from antiquity, religion is the reason the calendar week starts

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Who is Buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Who is Buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Matt Blitz March 10, 2015 2

John I. asks: Is there anyone buried in the tomb of the unknown soldier or is it just all symbolism? It’s Armistice Day, November 11th, in the nation’s capital. It is a brisk day

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Toilet Seat Liners: Effective Safeguard or Useless Waste?

Toilet Seat Liners: Effective Safeguard or Useless Waste?

Melissa March 9, 2015 0

Geoff G. asks: Can toilet seat covers they have in public restrooms stop you from getting an STD from toilet seats someone who had one sat on? Flimsy white sheets shaped like the seat,

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Did the Battle of Gettysburg Really Begin as a Search for Shoes?

Did the Battle of Gettysburg Really Begin as a Search for Shoes?

Melissa March 9, 2015 1

Romi asks: They said on a documentary on Netflix I watched that the battle of Gettysburgh started as a fight over shoes. Is this true? Marking the Confederacy’s last stab at a major offensive

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How Did Lunar Landers Re-Launch When There’s No Oxygen?

How Did Lunar Landers Re-Launch When There’s No Oxygen?

Melissa March 6, 2015 3

Brian S. asks: How did they get the space ships on the moon off when there is no oxygen there? Whether it’s two-strokes or four, one cylinder or eight, most of the engines we

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How Do Other Animals Deal with the Umbilical Cord and Placenta When the Baby is Born?

How Do Other Animals Deal with the Umbilical Cord and Placenta When the Baby is Born?

Melissa March 6, 2015 1

Brandi N asks: How do other primates deal with the umbilical cord and placenta when the baby is born when they don’t have any sort of medical help to make sure everything’s handled right?

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The Truth About Ben Franklin’s Epigrams

The Truth About Ben Franklin’s Epigrams

Matt Blitz March 5, 2015 5

Ben Franklin accomplished a lot of things over his 84 years on Earth. He was an influential newspaper editor and printer. He was an inventor, known for bifocals, the lightening rod, and Franklin stove.

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Origin of Lo and Behold

Origin of Lo and Behold

Melissa March 4, 2015 0

Richard G. asks: What does the “lo” in lo and behold mean? Like a wordy exclamation point, the two defining words in “lo and behold” mean basically the same thing. Specifically, the word lo!,

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Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

Melissa March 4, 2015 4

Sanvi F. asks: It costs thousands of dollars to install even one road sign, so why do they bother putting “warning deer” and “falling rock” warning signs when nobody pays attention to them? Warning

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The Origin of the Word Bimbo

The Origin of the Word Bimbo

Melissa March 3, 2015 2

Jillian A. asks: Who invented the word bimbo? Depending on whom you ask, bimbo can be an insult or just a description. Usually implying a lack of intelligence, and often combined with physical attractiveness

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Do Fish Sleep?

Do Fish Sleep?

Melissa March 3, 2015 0

Ryan K. asks: Given that they probably need to move their fins constantly to stay in place, do fish ever sleep? Less like sleep and more like suspended animation, most fish species do spend

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The Ends Justify the Means

The Ends Justify the Means

Melissa March 2, 2015 1

Entangled in Florentine politics during a tumultuous time at the height of the Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelli became alternately a diplomat, a victim, a prisoner, an exile and, ultimately, the “father of modern political theory.”

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A Brief History of Spring Training

A Brief History of Spring Training

Matt Blitz March 2, 2015 2

Birds chirping, Sun shining, temperatures warming, and the smacking of a baseball hitting a glove – ah, the sights and sounds of spring. Okay, maybe up north and on the east coast, they are

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Weekly Wrap Volume 76

Weekly Wrap Volume 76

Daven Hiskey February 28, 2015 0

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Under the Lights On a field about fifty miles from Boston, Strawberry Hill, on the

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How Leonard Nimoy Came Up With “Live Long and Prosper” and the Associated Hand Gesture

How Leonard Nimoy Came Up With “Live Long and Prosper” and the Associated Hand Gesture

Daven Hiskey February 27, 2015 0

Today I found out the iconic “live long and prosper” hand gesture was originally a Jewish sign. The hand gesture itself is a slight modification of the Hebrew gesture forming the letter “Shin”, which

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