Category Archives: Articles

Why Tuberculosis was Called “Consumption”

tuberculosis

Originally, of course, nobody knew what caused the various forms of tuberculosis, and they certainly didn’t understand it was caused by what would eventually be called tubercle bacillus (usually the offending microbes are specifically Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The word “tuberculosis” was coined by Johann Lukas Schönle in 1839, from the Latin “tuberculum,” meaning “small, swelling bump or pimple.” However, it wouldn’t […]

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73 Year Old Frank Sinatra Was Originally Offered The Leading Role in Die Hard

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Today I found out that Frank Sinatra was originally offered the main role in the movie that would become Die Hard. This 1940s singer might not be the man who comes to mind when you think about the action-packed Die Hard movies. At the start of his movie-making career, Sinatra was cast mostly in singing roles, though he did manage […]

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The First Person to Play for Both Baseball’s National League and American League All-Star Teams was a Woman: Lizzie “The Queen of Baseball” Murphy

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On August 14, 1922, a collection of baseball stars gathered at Fenway Park in Boston. An exhibition all-star game had been set-up to honor and raise money for the family of Tommy “Little Mac” McCarthy- Boston Red Sox great in the 1880s and 1890s. The game featured the Boston Red Sox, World Series champs only three seasons ago, versus a […]

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Why We Say Gesundheit When Someone Sneezes

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Today I found out about the meaning of the word “gesundheit” and other sneeze etiquette around the world. You are probably accustomed to hearing or saying “bless you” after someone sneezes. It’s simple sneeze etiquette, at least in English speaking countries. In Germany, it’s polite to say “gesundheit” after someone sneezes, which more or less means “health.” More specifically, it’s […]

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Why Proper Sterilization Procedures are Used During Lethal Injections

lethal-injection

Jeremy R. asks: Why do they bother sterilizing the needles when executing people? Besides the fact that manufacturers sterilize the needles (so no real extra effort is needed), other sterilization procedures are also used in these executions for good reason. You see, a stay of execution may happen at the last minute. If this happens, but then the condemned later […]

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What is a Tarnation?

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Michael asks: What’s a tarnation? Like in the expression, “What in tarnation!” We have the word “tarnation” thanks to societal taboos against saying certain words- instead substituting in other words that often mean the exact same thing, but for some reason we find it acceptable to say the one rather than the other… Humans… 😉 In this case, the pertinent […]

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Why Toothpaste Makes Things Like Orange Juice Taste So Awful

orange-juice

You may think the reason toothpaste makes things like orange juice taste so awful is simply due to the common mint flavor of toothpaste clashing with other flavors, but this isn’t actually what’s going on here. The real culprit is thought to be two compounds almost universally added to toothpastes -sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate, which are […]

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Why Three Strikes in a Row in Bowling is Called a “Turkey”

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This is thought to have its origins in bowling tournament prizes. Late eighteenth and early nineteenth century prizes given out during these tournaments were often food items, such as a basket filled with various grocery items, a large ham, or the like. Particularly around Thanksgiving in the United States, turkeys became common prizes. At some point (no one knows the […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 29

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This is a weekly wrap of our Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The “House of Horrors” Hotel and One of America’s First Serial Killers Herman Webster Mudgett was born in 1861 in New Hampshire to a relatively wealthy family. He was reportedly extremely intelligent from a young age, and went on to study medicine […]

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