Category Archives: Articles

Who was the Real Mother Goose?


Rachel asks: Was “Mother Goose” a real person? A nursery necessity and childhood favourite, Mother Goose is a household name and the writer of dozens of well-known nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill, Pat-a-Cake, and Three Blind Mice. In answer to your question, you may be disappointed to learn that according to […]

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How Urine Can Be Used to Make Gunpowder (and Other Interesting Pee Facts)


It turns out that something that is (usually) flushed down the toilet can actually be recycled into a number of useful products. Comprised of water, calcium, chloride, potassium, sodium, magnesium, urea, creatinine, nitrogen, uric acid, ammonium, sulphates and phosphates, urine’s beneficial ingredients can be separated from its waste, and used to make fertilizer, medicine, brain cells and, yes, gunpowder. Why […]

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What Causes Will-o’-the-Wisps


Ron asks: What causes the “Will O the Wisps”? For those who don’t know, Will-o’-the-Wisps, also called “ignis fatuus,” Latin for “foolish fire”, are balls of light that are seen hovering over swamps at night and look similar to flickering lanterns, with the light often being blue in color. Several theories exist as to its cause, including bioluminescence; that is, […]

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The Last Veteran of the Civil War


The Civil War ended 148 years ago this past month (April 9th, 1865) with the surrender of the Confederate forces at the Appomattox Court House in Northern Virginia.  54 years ago, in December 1959, the last reported surviving veteran of the Civil War, Walter Washington Williams, passed away in Houston, Texas at the reported age of 117.  President Dwight Eisenhower […]

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The History of Cheese


The story goes something like this: an ancient Arab sets out on a journey across the desert. In preparation, he puts a ration of milk into a handy sheep’s stomach to transport it. (Those ancient Arabs didn’t waste many animal parts.) When the sun goes down, he makes camp and discovers that, due to the rennet in the sheep’s stomach […]

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Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis- After They Split Up


Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis formed the most electric comedy team in the history of show business.  Joining together in the summer of 1946, their act caught on like wildfire.  A combination of Dean Martin’s smooth, cool, baritone-voiced suave and Jerry Lewis’s incredible, creative, explosive, comedic brilliance, Dean and Jerry were the top act in all of show biz from […]

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Origin of the Stock Market Terms “Bull” and “Bear”


Kevin asks: Why do we call the stock market trends “bullish” and “bearish”? For those who don’t know, a “bear” market, or when someone is being “bearish” in this context, is marked by investors being very conservative and pessimistic, resulting in a declining market generally marked by the mass selling off of stock.  A “bull” market is simply the opposite […]

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Jackie Robinson was Not the First African American to Play Major League Baseball


Myth: Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues The great Jackie Robinson accomplished an amazing amount in his lifetime both on and off the field.  Despite all the adversity and pressure he experienced, he somehow managed to put up legitimate Hall of Fame numbers doing what is often described as the hardest thing in […]

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The Bizarre World of Animal Reproduction


As weird and whacky as some human mating practices can sometimes be, other animals’ reproductive habits can be even stranger at times.  While one species gives birth through a penis, another’s testicles’ explode after sex. Further, post-coital cannibalism and V-shaped penises are not all that uncommon. We’ll start with the hyena.  Depending on if you notice her udders, the female […]

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Cinderella’s Castle was Modeled After Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle


Today I found out that Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney Land are modeled after Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle. Each castle was also inspired by several other castles, including Fontainebleau and Versailles, but with Neuschwanstein’s dainty turrets and romantic views, it’s easy to see how one castle could take the credit for such iconic masterpieces. While […]

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What Causes Acne


Jen asks: What causes pimples? Ah, acne! The facial blemish that powers many a pubescent date request rejection. Like millions of people worldwide, in my youth I waged a war with this aesthetic foe, with many a “Pizza-face” comment thrown my way.  Medically known as Acne Vulgaris, this affliction is largely cosmetic and does not usually cause any debilitating problems, […]

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