Category Archives: Articles

Why Are Shoe Sizes as They Are?

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Kim A. asks: How did they come up with the standard sizes for shoes? Seemingly arbitrary, there is a crazy logic (and a lot of muddy history giving rise to tradition) behind the numbers assigned to different shoe sizes. During the reign of England’s Edward II (1284-1327), certain measurements became standardized.  Most pertinent to the discussion at hand: Three barley-corns, […]

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Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells and Why Pistachios Used to Be Dyed Red

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Why Cashews are Not Sold to Consumers in Their Shells Cashews are a member of the same family as poison ivy, Anacardiaceae. Like poison ivy and many other members of the family, part of the cashew plant contains an oily chemical called urushiol, which is a strong irritant for most people and can even be fatal for some if ingested. […]

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Why Determining Easter’s Date is So Confusing

easter-date

Kim M. asks: How do they decide when Easter is? The holiday of Easter is celebrated by over two billion Christians globally. Marking the day that Jesus rose from the dead, it’s always commemorated on a Sunday in the spring. Despite this, the exact date has consistently changed throughout the many centuries the holiday has been recognized. Additionally, various sects […]

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From a Handmade Present for the Creator’s Daughter to a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry- The Story of the Troll Doll

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Thomas Dam was first and foremost a father, striving to financially provide for his family in the Danish town of Gjøl. His work experience ranged from such things as baker to fisherman to bricklayer before he finally became a woodworker. Despite his best efforts, his family spent their early years living in poverty. All that changed when he surprised his […]

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Why Do People Stick Out and Bite Their Tongues When Concentrating?

boy-biting-tongue

Jon K. asks: Why do I sometimes naturally bite my tongue when concentrating on things? The short answer as to why some people bite their tongue when concentrating is that the tongue requires a surprising amount of brain power to manage- beyond general motor control, it’s covered in various types of sensors constantly providing feedback to your brain about what’s […]

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Mantan Moreland: The Black Comedian Who Was Almost One of the Three Stooges

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There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Mantan Moreland. But, if you are lucky enough to have seen him in a film—any film—you’ll definitely remember him. Moreland’s comic timing manages to transcend the decades in films like King of the Zombies (1941), where he steals the show, saving what would otherwise be a completely forgettable (and by now, probably […]

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