Weekly Wrap Volume 42

This is a weekly wrap of our Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here.

dark-circles-under-eyesWhat Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes?

It is often claimed that periorbital dark circles are caused by tiredness or working too hard or even just staying up late. While this can be true, the truth is that your genes play a huge role here. So what exactly is happening when you get dark circles under or around your eyes? Simply put, periorbital dark circles are a result of the thin layer of skin below your eyes showing the blood vessels and the blood they contain more clearly than anywhere else on your body. (For reference, this skin around your eyelids, called periorbital skin, is on average about 0.5 mm thick compared to an average of about 2 mm thick on most… (more)

new-coke-e1353588627178Why Coke Tried to Switch to “New Coke”

It turns out there was actually (if you squint at the problem hard enough), a semi-good reason for doing the switch.  It didn’t work out, of course… But then, it kind of did work out amazingly well at the same time, as you’ll soon see. Now, before I get into the real reason for the switch, let me debunk the conspiracy theory- that Coca-Cola was trying to swindle people into accepting high fructose corn syrup over sugar in their drink by pulling the New Coke stunt.  The truth of the matter is that they’d already allowed bottlers to use high fructose corn syrup in Coke for about five years before… (more)

boomerangWhat Makes a Boomerang Come Back

Non-returning boomerangs have been used for at least 20,000-30,000 years, with the oldest known example carved from a mammoth’s tusk.  These non-returning boomerangs were used for hunting and were carved for straight flight and to stay in the air as long as possible when thrown correctly. The hunter was then able to throw the primitive boomerang great distances and hit an animal to be eaten for dinner. These animals were often small-game, but even the likes of kangaroo or emus can be sufficiently injured by a decently weighted boomerang such that the animal can no longer outrun the hunters. Possibly while shaping a non-returning boomerang, someone accidentally carved a boomerang into a shape that, when thrown correctly, came careening back toward the owner. It wasn’t exactly useful for hunting or warfare; it was difficult to aim; and if it actually hit its… (more)

lake-peigneurHow Drilling a 14 Inch Hole Accidentally Created a 1,300-Foot Deep Saltwater Lake Out of a Formerly 10-Foot Deep Freshwater One

Lake Peigneur is located in Louisiana near the Gulf of Mexico. Before 1980, it was an approximately 10-foot deep fresh water lake with an island in the middle. Next to it, and partially under it, Diamond Crystal Salt Company maintained a salt mine, with salt being mined near the lake since 1919. Around large underground salt domes, you can often find oil.  As explained by one Dr. Whitney J. Autin, “…salt moves upwards and it pierces through surrounding strata… and this piercing produces faults and folds within the surrounding sediments producing an ideal mechanism to trap oil.” As such, Texaco was… (more)

WWJDThe Fascinating Story of How the “What Would Jesus Do?” Slogan Came About

What Would Jesus Do?, often shortened to WWJD? or W.W.J.D.  is a slogan so famous that millions of objects have been emblazoned with it. However, the person who came up with “W.W.J.D.” never saw a penny of the millions of dollars companies across the globe have made from it. The earliest known instance of the full slogan “What Would Jesus Do” dates all the way back to 1886 from a series of serial sermons by an American minister from Topeka, Kansas by the name of Charles Sheldon.  Each week, Sheldon would tell an entertaining story, posing the question, “What would Jesus do?” when characters came across a difficult moral decision or situation. To increase attendance at his Sunday night sermons, Sheldon would end each story on a cliffhanger… (more)

Bonus Quick Facts (Harry Potter Edition):

  • Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double through the first six Harry Potter films, David Holmes, was paralyzed from the waist down during the sixth film while practicing a flying scene that included an explosion.
  • The actress who played Moaning Myrtle, Shirley Henderson, was 37 years old at the time Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was filmed and 40 in The Goblet of Fire, the oldest actress to ever portray a Hogwarts student.
  • The actor who played Professor Flitwick, Warwick Davis, also played Griphook. Outside of Harry Potter, he’s perhaps best known for starring in the phenomenal movie Willow, as well as playing Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. In The Phantom Menace, in scenes where Yoda was walking around, Warwick Davis also played Yoda.
  • So many people were mispronouncing Hermione’s name that J.K. Rowling had the character sound it out for Viktor Krum in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • M.O. McGonagall is listed on one of the Quidditch trophies in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, on the same team as James Potter.
  • The late Michael Jackson once approached J.K. Rowling about the possibility of doing a musical version of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling said no to the idea. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said that she felt that it wouldn’t be successful. She told Oprah, “Michael Jackson wanted to do a musical. I said no to a lot of things. For me, I love the films; I love the books; and there’s elements that I love around it, like the theme park. But I only wanted to do it because I knew it would be incredible.”
  • J.K. Rowling slightly based 11-year-old Hermione on herself at the same age. She even made Hermione’s patronus her favorite animal, an otter. The otter wasn’t just a good choice because of Rowling’s preference, but also because the otter is a member of the weasel family. Further, Ron’s patronus is a Jack Russel Terrier, which were bred to help in hunting fox’s, groundhogs, badgers, and other animals that live in underground dens, including river otters.
  • J.K. Rowling’s publisher suggested she use initials rather than her real name, “Joanne Rowling” (rhymes with “bowling”), in order to appeal to male readers. She chose J.K., borrowing the “K” from her grandmother’s name, Kathleen. Neither “Kathleen” nor “K” are part of J.K. Rowling’s legal name.
  • Rupert Grint dressed up like his female drama teacher and rapped about Ron Weasley for his audition tape for Harry Potter. His rap began, “Hello, my name is Rupert Grint, I hope you don’t think I stink.” Catchy…
  • In order to become acquainted with the films’ three main stars, director Alfonso Cuaron had each of them write an essay about their characters. True to their roles, Emma Watson wrote a 16-page essay; Daniel Radcliffe wrote a simple, one-page paper; and Rupert Grint never turned his in.

Other Interesting Stuff:

mudgett-340x305The “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 at the University of Michigan. But he was also implicated in the death of one of his friends when he was young, and during his stint at the University of Michigan, he was caught stealing corpses and using the bodies to make insurance claims. This was just the start of his life of lies and crime. He also participated in forgery, real estate scams, horse theft, polygamy, adultery, and, of course, gruesome murder. An 1886 move to Chicago set the stage for the known murders that would make this serial killer famous. Shortly after arriving in the city… (more)

popeHow is the Pope Chosen?

When a pope goes to his eternal reward or otherwise retires, there are certain traditions that are dusted off each time to elect his successor. Only the British royal family can rival the Vatican when it comes to (seemingly) ancient and elaborate rituals, so you know it’s going to be a big production. For those of you who grew up eating meat on Fridays and not caring if your soul was in a state of mortal sin, let’s break down the pope-picking process. It should first be noted that the exact rules regarding the election of a new pope have been tweaked numerous times over the centuries. (At one point it was even common to do things like deprive the Cardinals of pay, rooms of their own, and anything but bread and water if they were taking too long; the roof over the Cardinals’ heads was even removed during… (more)

sleeping-baby-340x226What Causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is every new parent’s fear. It’s defined as “the sudden death of an infant under age 1 that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation has been conducted, including a complete autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history”. In the early 1970s the US government became concerned at the number of infant deaths that couldn’t be explained. This led to The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Act of 1974 which gave power, and funding for research, to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD) to find the cause. Fast forward to today and we still haven’t definitively proven what the root cause of SIDS is. However, we do know that it’s most likely the result of a simultaneous occurrence of multiple events- a perfect storm of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that leads to dead babies. This theory seems to be the most widely accepted and was first put forth by Dr.’s JJ Filiano and HC Kinney at Boston’s Children’s Hospital in 1994. Known as the “triple risk model”, it states that in almost every case of SIDS… (more)

lightning2-340x453The Curious Case of “The Spark Ranger”

Roy Sullivan was born 1912 in Greene County in central Virginia, today home to just a shade over eighteen thousand people. He was the fourth of eleven children and lived in the Blue Ridge mountains with his family. In 1940, at the age of 28, Sullivan joined the national park’s fire patrol. He became one of three rangers to monitor the forty mile area between Waynesboro and Swift Run Gap in the southern area of the park, less than eight miles from where he grew up. In April 1942, Sullivan was in… (more)

gypsiesWhere Do the Gypsies Originally Come From?

They do not have a shared homeland or national identity. They are a people who are scattered across the globe and whose origins have always been shrouded in myth and mystery (among other reasons because they have kept no written records of their early history). Many saw them (and continue to do so in many cases) as dirty, thieving and undesirable, others as artistic, romantic and carefree. In France, they are referred to as gitanes, in Spain they are called gitanos, and in Germany, zigeuner. There are an estimated 12 million Romani – better known as Gypsies – living worldwide. Most of them (8-10 million) live in Europe, making them the continent’s largest ethnic minority group. So where did they come from? A recent genetic analysis of 13 European Gypsy groups confirmed that their ancestors, for reasons not perfectly clear, left… (more)

This Week’s Daily Knowledge Podcast Episodes:

Top Posts This Week on TodayIFoundOut’s Facebook Page:

Quote of the Week:

  • “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes
Share the Knowledge! FacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmail
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Enjoy this article? Join over 50,000 Subscribers getting our FREE Daily Knowledge and Weekly Wrap newsletters:

Subscribe Me To:  |