Category Archives: Articles

Why Are You Not Supposed to Use Twice Boiled Water for Tea?

tea-service

Jeremy W. asks: Is it true that drinking tea made from twice boiled water is bad for you? There’s a rather persistent idea that “reboiling” water (i.e. boiling water two or more times and allowing it to cool in-between) while making a cup of tea is potentially harmful to your health, with some going so far as stating that regularly […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 103

pregnant-rabbit

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. THE SURPRISINGLY RECENT TIME TESTS USING RABBITS AND FROGS WERE THE GOLD STANDARD TO ACCURATELY DETECT HUMAN PREGNANCY We live in an age where determining if a woman is pregnant is ridiculously simple and cheap. Go back a few decades, though, […]

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The Not-So-Holy Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe

Sirfrancisdashwood

Established in West Wycombe by Sir Francis Dashwood in 1749, the Brotherhood of St. Francis of Wycombe was anything but saintly. Devoted to wicked fun and debauchery, for the next two decades, many notable individuals in England counted themselves members, such as the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, Baron George Dodington, member of Parliament Thomas Potter, and, while not […]

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The Surprisingly Recent Time Tests Using Rabbits and Frogs Were the Gold Standard to Accurately Detect Human Pregnancy

pregnant-rabbit

We live in an age where determining if a woman is pregnant is ridiculously simple and cheap. Go back a few decades, though, and the latest and greatest technology for determining whether a woman was with child involved a syringe full of urine and little animals. Yes, as bizarre as it’s going to sound, you really can use things like […]

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From Sorcerer to Clergyman to Pirate to Admiral, the Remarkable Life of Eustace The Monk

eustace

At the turn of the 13th century, Eustace Busket fought, raided, killed, embezzled, betrayed, revenged, impersonated and prayed his way across France, Spain and England. Although better known as Eustace the Monk, this younger son of a county lord spent little time in a monastery, choosing instead to live the life of a steward, mercenary and pirate. Born in 1170 […]

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The Mystery of One of the Strangest Natural Disasters of the 20th Century

Nyos_Lake

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Here’s the story of how scientists unlocked the secrets of the worst natural disaster in the history of the west African nation of Cameroon …and what they’re doing to try and stop it from happening again. THE DISCOVERY On the morning of August 22, 1986, a man hopped onto his […]

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The Life of Larry the Cat- Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom

larry-cat

A while ago we shared the story of F.D.C. Willard, an ordinary housecat who through a confluence of mistakes and errors, ended up being listed as the co-author of a widely cited science paper on low temperature physics. Today we’re telling a similar story about an equally impressive Tabby called Larry who is, believe it or not, an official employee […]

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The DC Comics Character Who Gained His Powers from Cocaine

cocaine

Comics are littered with weird and obscure heroes and villains with powers that range from the mundane to the ridiculous, but there’s one character that ranks among the most “interesting” ever conceived- Snowflame, a villain with powers that were intrinsically linked to the character taking copious amounts of cocaine. As the character himself explained in the comic, “I am Snowflame, […]

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Why Clocks Run Clockwise

Antique-Clock

Nathan B. asks: Why is the standard to have handed clocks turn clockwise? Pretty much everyone knows that if you’re asked to pass something clockwise around a table, you hand it to the person on your left because that is the same direction that the hands of a clock move. But what you may not know is that this standard […]

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