Category Archives: Articles

A Brief History of Scotch Whisky


Brandon asks: Who invented Scotch? Scotch has been referred to as “the water of life,” and to many who know its allure today, they can understand why. Yet the chronicle of this sometimes, smoky, often nutty, occasionally fruity elixir is poorly known, and in fact, its precise origin is lost to the mists of time (or more likely, drinking Scotch). […]

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Why Books are Called Books


Jon asks: Why are books called that? “A portable volume consisting of a series of written, printed, or illustrated pages bound together,” the word for book (or variously booke, bokis, boke and boc) has been around for as long as the English language. Early Origins According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED),[1] the Old English word boc was cognate with […]

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The Skin of an African Elephant


When you consider their size and how much they have to keep under wraps, African elephants have surprisingly thin skin, relatively speaking. Holding Everything In Across most of their bodies, an African elephant’s skin is only somewhere between 2 and 4 cm or .78 to 1.6 inches thick on average. All of this relatively thin skin holds in a whole […]

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The Truth About Double Jeopardy


Damien asks: Is Double Jeopardy a true thing or is it just a TV/movie invention? Although generally in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, the U.S. and New Zealand you cannot be subjected to a second trial after a first has been completed, there are exceptions. What is Double Jeopardy? Generally speaking, double jeopardy prohibits a second trial where a […]

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Why Are Continental Breakfasts Called That?


Austin asks: Why are continental breakfasts called that? Many hotels offer guests a free breakfast consisting of muffin, coffee, cereal and milk, toast, juice, bagel, and, at some, even scrambled eggs and make-your-own waffles. Born in the Gilded Age, today’s continental breakfasts reflect the West’s transition from a mostly agrarian culture to an industrial (and today, service) society. Luckily, however, […]

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Why Do Men’s and Women’s Clothes Have the Buttons on the Opposite Sides?


Matt asks: Why do men’s and women’s shirts and pants have the buttons on the opposite sides? When did this start? As with so many things in history, we can’t know with 100% accuracy why men’s and women’s clothes button up the opposite way. (Even something relatively recent like who invented Buffalo Wings is up for debate despite being invented […]

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The Flags on the Moon


Robert N. asks: What ever happened to the flags and other things left on the moon? On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. At 10:56 pm eastern standard time, Neil Armstrong accomplished another first. With the immortal words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” (or something like that) Neil Armstrong […]

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Why Does Rhode Island Have “Island” in the Name When It is Not One?


Aaron asks: Why is Rhode Island called an island when it is not? Most think the history of Rhode Island starts with Roger Williams, but the state’s “discovery” (at least by Europeans) dates back about hundred years before that to approximately 1524 and the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (though he did most of his exploring in the name of […]

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Real Life Maelstroms


Where a unique combination of strong currents and geography meet, maelstroms, enormous and powerful areas of swirling water, dangerous currents and whirlpools, can be found across the globe. Although many form (and die) in a relatively short period of time in response to catastrophic events (like a tsunami), others have existed for centuries. Asia Naruto Found in the strait between […]

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