Weekly Wrap Volume 75

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

Fresh-PrinceThe Surprisingly Poor Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Prior to his role as Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Willard Smith (yes, Willard) enjoyed a successful career as a rapper under the pseudonym, “The Fresh Prince” as part of a duo with Jeffrey “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes. The partnership, performing under the rather unimaginative name of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, made Smith a considerable amount of what we like to think the kids today still call cheddar. The pair met in 1985 when Townes, who was performing at a house-party near Smith’s house, needed… (more)

chickensA Chicken Egg In a Chicken Egg in a Chicken- The Elusive Xzibit Egg

Unless you didn’t quite get enough info from the title- yes, it is entirely possible for a chicken to lay an egg that contains another fully developed egg, what we now officially dub an Xzibit Egg. A wonderfully bizarre Matryoshka doll made of protein and disgusting (when you think about it) deliciousness. As you may or may not know, a chicken is capable of laying hundreds of eggs in a given year and the presence of a male isn’t needed or required for this to happen. It’s only necessary if you want to have the eggs fertilised. As such, hens can… (more)

booth-brothers-e1288604673828John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved Abraham Lincoln’s Son’s Life Shortly Before Lincoln Was Assassinated

As a general rule, historical anecdotes that seem a little “too perfect,” like “John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved the life of Abraham Lincoln’s son shortly before Lincoln was assassinated,” when researched thoroughly almost never turn out to be true.  This, however, is one of the exceptions to that rule and it was no less than Robert Todd Lincoln himself who, in a letter to the editor of Century Magazine, Richard Gilder, in 1909 recounted the story of how Edwin Booth had saved his life. The exact date of the event isn’t known, but it apparently took place sometime around late 1863… (more)

moustache-cupThe Victorian Moustache Cup

Beyond being a staple of any self-respecting peace officer, thanks to the popularity of things like Movember, the humble moustache has made a glorious, bristly return to the faces of men all over the world in recent years. As a result, there is an almost endless supply of moustache related products one can buy, which means it’s only a matter of time until the moustache cup once again becomes relatively commonplace. “What’s a moustache cup”, you say? The moustache cup is a cup designed with a small lip on the inside… (more)

baseball-managerWhy Do Baseball Managers Wear the Team’s Uniform Instead of a Suit Like In Other Sports?

Football coaches wear clothes bearing their team’s logo thanks to the NFL’s push to sell more merchandise. Basketball coaches stand on the sideline in collared shirts and blazers looking for a neat, professional look. And then there are baseball managers who dress in the team uniform, as if they are planning on joining their players on the baseball diamond. Despite that today’s managers are universally beyond the point where they could play at a level worthy of putting them in the field, the tradition of them wearing the team uniform dates back to a time when… (more)

Bonus Quick Facts:

  • General George S. Patton famously believed that in a past life he was a member of Napoleon’s army, a Roman legionary, and none other than the Carthaginian general Hannibal…
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the current longest sentence in English literature is 13,955 words, in Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters Club.
  • “Cockshut” isn’t anything dirty. It’s simply another word for “twilight” which first popped up in the late 16th century in English.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s name was originally Michael, not Martin. His father was also Michael King, hence why Martin Luther King Jr. was originally named Michael King Jr. However, after a trip to Germany in 1931, Michael King Sr. changed his own name in homage to historic German theologian Martin Luther. Michael King Jr. was two years old at the time and King Sr. made the decision to change his son’s name to Martin Luther as well.
  • Colonel Sanders, the famous founder of “Kentucky Fried Chicken” (who incidentally was 62 and broke when he convinced a restaurant owner to make that restaurant the first KFC) is often considered one of Kentucky’s most notable people. However, it should be noted that he was born and raised in Indiana, not Kentucky.
  • Since 2012, Brazilian prisoners get a chance to reduce their sentence four days for every approved book they read and then write an essay on. Approved books include various science, philosophy, and “classic” literature novels. They can reduce their sentence by a maximum of 48 days per year doing this. As 70% of Brazil’s prison population never completed primary education, this was thought up as a way to motivate them to become somewhat educated, and in many cases, literate.
  • A South Korean woman named Cha Sa-soon tried to get her driver’s license on April 13, 2005.  She failed.  Four years later, in November of 2009 at the age of 68 and after 960 total attempts, she  managed to score a 60 out of 100 on the multiple choice test and completed the driving portion successfully, to finally get her driver’s license.  Over those four years, she spent 5m won, or about $4,200, on the tests. She said after, “I believe you can achieve your goal if you persistently pursue it. So don’t give up your dream, like me. Be strong and do your best.”
  • Eilleen Edwards is one of the most famous women in the world today. Haven’t heard of her? Her father left when she was only two, but two years later she was adopted by her stepfather, an Ojibwa Indian named Jerry Twain. At the age of 25, she took the name “Shania.” Of course we are talking of Shania Twain. As for why she picked that first name, it has been reported that it is an Ojibwa word meaning “on my way,” but according to biographer Robin Eggar no such word or phrase exists in Ojibwa.

Other Interesting Stuff:

darwinThe Many Myths Surrounding Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin said humans descended from monkeys. Darwin coined the term “survival of the fittest.” Darwin was the first person to theorize evolution as the origin of species. Darwin did not believe in God. Darwin played shortstop for the New York Yankees. These are just few of the common myths that are associated with Charles Darwin. (Well, maybe not playing for the Yankees.) But, as with the Yankees myth we just created, the rest are also all false. Here is the truth about a few of the Darwin myths so prevalently repeated. Myth #1. Charles Darwin said humans descended from monkeys. The common mocking… (more)

glutenWhat is Gluten?

These days, just casually strolling down a grocery aisle, one can find a multitude of gluten-free products. From gluten-free whole grain bread to gluten-free beer to gluten-free Betty Crocker chocolate brownie mix, the market for food items without gluten has exploded over the past decade. But is gluten all that bad for you? Should a normal person avoid gluten in their diet? What’s the deal with the gluten? Gluten… (more)

Wedding-ringsHow Do They Make White Gold White Given That It’s an Element?

The purest form of gold is, of course, golden and is referred to as 24 karat gold. Pure gold is much too soft for use in jewelry and can even be dented by simply pressing your fingernail hard against it. Needless to say, daily wear, particularly for things like rings and bracelets, would see such jewelry bent and deformed quite quickly. So the gold must be made more durable by mixing it with another kind of metal or metals, creating a gold alloy. As far as terminology goes, the 24 karats that make up pure gold translate to all twenty-four parts being gold. So an 18 karat gold ring is constructed of 18 parts pure gold… (more)

mandmsA Lesson in Failure- The Rise of the Mars Candy Company

The legendary Roald Dahl’s book Charlie & Chocolate Factory from 1964 (and its subsequent two film adaptations from 1971 and 2005) told the story of a magical candy factory and its eccentric and mysterious owner Willy Wonka. A chocolate river, gum that is a whole turkey dinner, never-ending gobstoppers, and, of course, the singing and dancing oompa-loompas are just a few of the surprises that waited inside the doors of the famously secretive factory. Of course, in a real life candy empire, there are a lot more failures, hard work, father/son disputes, and an unfortunate lack of oompa-loompas. What follows is the tale of how the Mars candy company went from a small candy business started by a polio stricken teen to one of the largest candy companies in the world. The story of Mars candy starts in Newport, Minnesota (southeast of St. Paul)… (more)

emu-340x225Emus vs. Humans: The Great Emu War of 1932

Emus are native to Australia, and as everyone knows, nearly everything in Australia seems capable of killing you. If the sun doesn’t do it, there are still redback spiders, funnel webs, and Taipans, and others to contend with. It should come as no surprise, then, that the emu—part ostrich, part velociraptor—is also an annoyance bent on making the lives of people living in Australia miserable. Okay, so I was only joking about the velociraptor part, but in truth, velociraptors are thought to have had feathers, and looked something like a modern day turkey, contrary to what Jurassic Park would have you believe. Emus… (more)

moon-landing-340x258The First to Pee on the Moon and Other Interesting Moon Firsts

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon all those years ago during the Apollo 11 mission, literally everything they did became a record because everything they did that day was the first time in human history someone had done that thing on the Moon, which it turns out wasn’t made of cheese after all. While Armstrong’s first words on the Moon are some of the most famous (and controversial in terms of what he actually said exactly) ever uttered, a lot of the more mundane things astronauts did first on the Moon aren’t as well known. For example… (more)

This Week’s Podcast Episodes:

Quote of the Week:

  • “The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure.” -D. H. Lawrence
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