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The Origin of the Expression “Beside Myself”

The Origin of the Expression “Beside Myself”

Melissa January 2, 2015 1

Katy J. asks: Why do we say “I was beside myself”? Dating back to the dawn of Modern English, the expression “beside myself” has been used to denote someone not in his right mind.

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What Does the “D” in “D-Day” Stand For?

What Does the “D” in “D-Day” Stand For?

Sarah Stone January 2, 2015 1

Tom C. asks: The V in V-Day was for Victory right? So what does the D in D-Day stand for? The Battle of Normandy, also known as D-Day, started on June 6, 1944 and

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Who Invented the Fahrenheit and Celsius Temperature Scales and What Zero Degrees Fahrenheit Signifies

Who Invented the Fahrenheit and Celsius Temperature Scales and What Zero Degrees Fahrenheit Signifies

Melissa December 31, 2014 2

B. Halpern asks: 0 degrees Celsius is the freezing point of water. So what is 0 degrees Fahrenheit? Who came up with Celsius and Fahrenheit? Firmly entrenched in American society, the seemingly capricious nature

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A Brief History of the Movie Rating System

A Brief History of the Movie Rating System

Matt Blitz December 30, 2014 7

When you were a kid, sneaking into a rated R movie was a big deal. Everyone had their own tricks, but this author’s was to buy a ticket to a rated G Disney movie,

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Charles Dickens and the Origin of the “Porterhouse Steak”

Charles Dickens and the Origin of the “Porterhouse Steak”

Melissa December 30, 2014 1

Mark asks: Why is a porterhouse steak called that? Essentially two steaks in one, a Porterhouse steak, cut from the short loin of (typically) a steer, has a filet on one side of its

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The Real Feud Between the Hatfields and McCoys

The Real Feud Between the Hatfields and McCoys

Matt Blitz December 29, 2014 0

As with a lot of historical events, Hollywood has glamorized and largely fictionalized the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. So what really happened? It is believed that both families came to America

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What are Blue Laws?

What are Blue Laws?

Melissa December 29, 2014 2

Jen asks: What are “Blue Laws” and how did they come to be? Rooted in the basic Christian tenet that Sunday is to be reserved as “the Lord’s day,” blue laws were originally enacted

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The Man on the Raft: The Story of Poon Lim

The Man on the Raft: The Story of Poon Lim

Matt Blitz December 26, 2014 2

On the morning of April 5, 1943, about ten miles off the coast of Brazil, a fishing family in their small boat spotted a Chinese man on a much smaller wooden raft bobbing up

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Pieces of Eight and Two Bits

Pieces of Eight and Two Bits

Melissa December 24, 2014 0

Michael A. asks: Why is “two bit” something cheap? Thanks! There was a time in America when rather than U.S. dollars or British pounds, most people bought and sold with Spanish coins. During the

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When Dean Martin Called His Shot

When Dean Martin Called His Shot

Eddie Deezen December 24, 2014 1

Ricci Martin, son of the world-famous singer Dean, was just like most any other teenager in the early months of 1964. Ricci was totally crazy about and obsessed with the Beatles. Ever since the

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Christmas Facts Wrap

Christmas Facts Wrap

Daven Hiskey December 24, 2014 0

Krampus, the Christmas Demon Santa Claus has long been the symbol of Christmas, bringing joy and presents to all the good girls and boys. But if you are child in Germany, Austria, and other

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Why Do Mentos and Diet Coke React?

Why Do Mentos and Diet Coke React?

Daven Hiskey December 23, 2014 0

If you’ve ever wondered why Diet Coke and Mentos react so strongly to one another, well, wonder no more. To start, it should be noted that it’s not just Diet Coke and Mentos that

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The First Person to Use the Temporary Insanity Defense was a Congressman Who Murdered the Son of the Composer of “The Star Spangled Banner”

The First Person to Use the Temporary Insanity Defense was a Congressman Who Murdered the Son of the Composer of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Eddie Deezen December 23, 2014 0

You might think the temporary insanity defense was a relatively new thing.  I mean, maybe it began in the 1940s or possibly the ’30s.  What with all the psychobabble around in those times.  But,

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When Art was an Olympic Sport

When Art was an Olympic Sport

Matt Blitz December 22, 2014 3

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, he declared that one of the missions of the modern Olympiad would be “to reunite in the bonds of legitimate wedlock

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Weekly Wrap Volume 68

Weekly Wrap Volume 68

Daven Hiskey December 20, 2014 0

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Anonymous Publishing of “The Night Before Christmas,” and Other Interesting Christmas Staple Origins On

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Is it Safe to Eat Moldy Bread or Moldy Cheese?

Is it Safe to Eat Moldy Bread or Moldy Cheese?

Daven Hiskey December 19, 2014 0

For the quick answer to your question: no and sometimes.  While not all molds are bad for you to eat, many are, and unless you want to whip out a microscope and meticulously identify

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The Archives of Terror

The Archives of Terror

Sarah Stone December 18, 2014 0

On December 22, 1992, former school teacher Martin Almada discovered thousands of documents that detailed the systematic repression of Paraguayans under the government of dictator General Alfredo Stroessner. Almada stumbled upon what has come

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The Momentous Peanut Butter Hearings

The Momentous Peanut Butter Hearings

Matt Blitz December 18, 2014 1

An average American child eats about 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches prior to graduating from high school. That is about a sandwich every four or five days. Americans eat a lot of peanut

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