Category Archives: Articles

How the Maximum Occupancy of a Building is Calculated

max-occupancy

MK23 asks: How do they figure out the maximum occupancy for a building? Generally speaking, the maximum occupancy of a room or building is primarily determined by the available exits, with each exit accommodating only a certain number of people before bottlenecking occurs. The other key component in determining the max occupancy of a building or room is the intended […]

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The Parasite That Could Be Living Inside You Right Now, Toxoplasma Gondii

Toxoplasma_gondii

If we were to tell you that there is a parasite out there that can infect virtually any warm-blooded creature on Earth; is found just about everywhere; approximately 33% of humans are infected; and is also mysteriously linked to people committing suicide and brain cancer, then we told you that it was most commonly found in cats, you’d say we […]

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The Cornell Professor Who Gave Us the Chicken Nugget

chicken-nuggets

Chicken nuggets are delicious. I know this isn’t a particularly controversial statement. Despite pink slime, chemical preservatives, and sometimes questionable nutritional value, it’s hard to argue the basic point that these deep-fried, previously frozen, nugget-shaped “chicken” pieces are at least somewhat appealing to the human taste bud. The common assumption is that McDonald’s was the first to give us these […]

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A Brief History of the Ballpoint Pen and Whether NASA Really Spent Millions Developing a Pressurized Version Instead of Just Using Pencils

ballpoint-pen

Kyle S. asks: There’s a story circulating around that NASA found out pens didn’t work in space, but still needed a writing device that would work there, so they spent millions of tax payer dollars developing a ball point pen that could be used in space. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, just used pencils. Is this true? Thanks! […]

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The Bum Brigade

jobless-men

On October 29, 1929, on what would become known as “Black Tuesday,” the stock market crashed. In one terrible day, the market lost fourteen billion dollars (about $188B today), signaling the beginning of the (roughly) ten-year-long Great Depression, with most of the last vestiges of the downturn only ceasing around 1939 due to the onset of World War II. Just […]

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Hangover Cures: Myths and Tips

hangover

Whether it’s a Bachelor Party, Dollar Drinks, Ladies’ Night or just Happy Hour, many of us get carried away once in awhile, and end up suffering the next day. While most home remedies are ineffective for managing the pain and nausea, there are a few steps you can take to either prevent, or alleviate, the ill-effects of having one (or […]

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The Corrupt and Ruthless Californian Who Gave us the Name for “Monterey Jack” Cheese

cheese-platter

Steve S. asks: Who was Monterey Jack and when did he invent his cheese? Cheese predates written history. Ancient Egyptians loved cheese so much that depictions of the cheese-making process were painted in tombs. Homer’s Odyssey talks about how Cyclops stored his cheese. The Greeks and Romans used cheese as a delicious currency. During the Middle Ages, if there was […]

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