Category Archives: Articles

The Husband and Wife Team That Gave the World the First Car, and the First Road Trip That Saved It From Obscurity

Bertha_and_Carl_Benz

We may not have flying cars quite yet, but the ground-bound automobile is the world’s second most popular mode of transportation (behind the bicycle). Many think Henry Ford invented the car, but that isn’t correct. While Ford certainly made the automobile affordable for the middle-class, it was actually a German engineer with a familiar name that invented the first commercially […]

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From Attempted Suicide to MLB Superstar-The Life and Very Complicated Times of Ken Griffey Jr.

ken-griffey-jr

Despite spending the last decade or so of his career often injured, Ken Griffey Jr. was a 13-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, a 7-time Silver Slugger award winner, 1997 MVP, 6th all-time in career home runs with 630, and he accumulated nearly 80 WAR (more on “WAR” in the Bonus Facts below). Any number you look at, it’s […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 108

Bubble-gum

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Dentist Who Helped Make Cotton Candy a Thing While candy floss / cotton candy-like spun-sugar confectioneries have been around since at least the 15th century, if not earlier, it’s only been recently that cotton candy has been something practical to […]

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Why Teachers are Associated with and Traditionally Given Apples

apple

Gloria N. asks: Why is the stereotype to give apples to teachers? Widespread publicly funded, mandatory education has only been around since about the 19th century. Before then, the responsibility of providing schooling to children fell primarily on their families. Upper- and middle-class families tended to hire tutors or send their children to a private school run by a schoolmaster. […]

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Why Don’t They Bother Putting the Apostrophe in “DONT WALK” signs?

dont-walk

Jared L. asks: Why aren’t there apostrophes in the Don’t Walk signs by street intersections when it’s spelled out rather than using pictures? No one is sure when exactly the first WALK/DONT WALK style signs were installed. Even the Federal Highway Administration isn’t sure, though it is thought that the first such sign was likely installed sometime in the early […]

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Why Did Yankee Doodle Stick a Feather in His Cap and Call It Macaroni?

macaroni

James H. asks: Curious question for you, but something I’ve always wondered about. Why did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his hat macaroni? While silly and irreverent, the song “Yankee Doodle” holds a rather patriotic place in many American hearts and is even the official state song of Connecticut. Today, the jingle may bring to mind a proud revolutionary […]

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Inventing Bubble Gum

Bubble-gum

Gracen A. asks: What is original flavor bubblegum supposed to taste like? Bubblegum, the ambiguously flavoured, obnoxiously pink candy gum that is the favourite treat of Violet Beauregarde and, seemingly, a shocking amount of stock photo actors was first invented in 1928 by an accountant called Walter Diemer. Despite being asked in dozens of interviews throughout his life, Diemer took […]

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Could Piranha Really Turn You Into a Skeleton in a Matter of Minutes?

Piranha

Rondon B. asks: How long would it take piranhas to turn an adult human into nothing but bones? Asking for a friend… Alongside sharks, crocodiles and that fish people incorrectly believe can swim up a stream of urine if you pee in the Amazon, piranhas are amongst the most feared aquatic creatures on Earth. This is mostly due to the […]

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How Hitler’s Flatulence May Have Helped End WWII Earlier Than it Otherwise Would Have

hitler-passed-out

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader What was it that caused Adolf Hitler’s physical and mental health to collapse in the closing days of World War II? He was losing the war, of course— surely that had a great deal to do with it. But for more than 60 years, historians have wondered if there was […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 107

crossing-fingers

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. What Are Sea-Monkeys? The product of a collaboration between a marketer and inventor and a marine biologist, Sea-Monkeys are a hybrid of several species of brine shrimp (Artemia), bred to have a particularly long dormant period, as well as to foster […]

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What Happens to Big Food Made to Break World Records?

Guiness World Record

Randal T. asks: When someone makes some giant food item for publicity, what do they actually do with the thing after? According to Guinness World Records, the de-facto authority on world record breaking, this is one of the most common questions they’re asked alongside “What record is broken the most often?” (the heaviest object lifted with glue according to them) […]

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That Time a Guy Bought an Egg at a Flea Market That Ended Up Being Worth Millions and the Seven More Eggs Like It That Might Be Out There- The Great Egg Hunt

imperial-egg

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader As we told you a few weeks ago (see: The Story Behind the World’s Most Expensive Eggs), there may be as many as seven Russian Imperial Fabergé eggs out there somewhere, hiding in plain sight. Do you have an antique egg lying around? It may be worth a lot. EGG-CEPTIONAL […]

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What are Sea-Monkeys?

SeaMonkies

Karen C. asks: What exactly were sea monkey creatures and how did they survive in their packaging for so long? The product of a collaboration between a marketer and inventor and a marine biologist, Sea-Monkeys are a hybrid of several species of brine shrimp (Artemia), bred to have a particularly long dormant period, as well as to foster a large […]

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