Category Archives: Articles

Why “Hank” is Short for “Henry,” Why “Colonel” is Pronounced “Kernel,” and Why We Say “Stat” When We Want Something Done Quickly

Now-You-Know

Why “Hank” is Short for “Henry” This is thought to be thanks to the one time popular suffix “-kin,” which is also how “Jack” originally derived from the name “John.” Specifically, the suffix “-kin,” simply indicated “little,” so Robin Hood’s “Little John” would have been aptly named “Jockin,” which later gave rise to “Jenkin,” then “Jakin,” and then “Jack,” with […]

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In the Original Story, Pinocchio killed Jiminy Cricket, Got His Feet Burnt Off, and was Hanged and Left for Dead

Adventures_of_Pinocchio

You probably already knew that Disney has a habit of taking dark, twisted children’s fairy tales and turning them into sickeningly sweet happily-ever-afters. Take Sleeping Beauty for example: it’s based on a story where a married king finds a girl asleep, and can’t wake her so rapes her instead. The 1940 version of Pinocchio is no exception. The movie is […]

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The Man Who Parkinson’s Disease is Named After Was Implicated in a Plot to Assassinate King George III

James_Parkinson

Today I found out they named Parkinson’s disease after a man who was involved in an assassination attempt on King George III. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder characterized by tremors or shaking, with this particular symptom of the progressive disease resulting from dopamine generating cell death in a part of the substantia nigra region of the brain . The […]

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Whatever Happened to Ambrose Bierce?

Ambrose_Bierce

Witty, prickly, bitter and brilliant, for 50 odd years, author and newspaperman Ambrose Bierce eloquently chronicled the latter half of the 19th, and first few years of the 20th, centuries. From moving descriptions of Civil War events, to scathing rebukes of the worst of the Gilded Age, all interspersed with tales of the supernatural, Bierce’s unique voice has left us […]

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The Year’s Free Wages That Resulted in the Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”

harper-lee

Today I found out about the year’s “free wages” that led to Harper Lee writing To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, which was Lee’s first and only published novel until recently, was heralded as an “instant classic” when it was published in 1960, and it is a staple in high school classrooms today. But it might not exist at all […]

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The Historical Inaccuracies in 300

sparta

Despite the awesomeness that is the 300 film (and the sequel)- the epic battles, the amazing directing, the incredible cinematography by Zack Snyder, and all the impressive special effects- our mission in this site is very specific, and thus, this article focuses on the historical inaccuracies of this movie. Identifying some of these historical inaccuracies, starting from Sparta’s then-political system, […]

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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

Frank_Sinatra

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

lizzie-murphy

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?

profanity

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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