Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

Can You Really Pull a Grenade Pin with Your Teeth and Do Soldiers Ever “Cook” Grenades?

GatGatCat asks: Is cooking grenades and pulling the pins with your teeth something people really do or just something in games? We’ve all seen it- the protagonist of a film whips out a hand grenade, dashingly yanks the pin with his teeth as his hair flows in the wind, counts one-potato, two-potato, three and hucks it at nearby teeming hoards […]

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That Time the British Rioted for Three Months Over the Cost of Theater Tickets

In September of 1808 Covent Garden Theatre in London burned to the ground. The exact cause of the fire has never been established but due to the extensive amount of flammable items throughout combined with an amazing number of flaming light fixtures, fires of some sort at theaters were relatively common, even inspiring a London fire code requiring several wet […]

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How Did the Whole Stan Lee Cameo Thing Start? (And the Hilariously Awkward Way He Convinced His Future Wife to Go Out With Him)

UrselD: How did the Stan Lee cameo in the Marvel movies thing start? Born Stanley Martin Lieber almost a century ago in 1922, the man who would become far better known by his pen name, Stan Lee, was born into a family of very modest means with Stan, his brother, and Romanian immigrant parents sharing a single room apartment in […]

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What Did People First Think When They Found Dinosaur Bones?

Karuika asks: Who was the first person to figure out what dinosaur bones were? From around 250 to 66 million years ago various dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Today the only dinosaurs left are birds, which are coelurosauria theropods- funny enough the same sub-group Tyrannosauruses belong to. (Think about that the next time you’re enjoying a McDinosaur sandwich or scrambling up […]

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How Did the Ancient Romans Manage to Build Perfectly Straight, Ultra Durable Roads?

Marbleezy asks: How did the ancient Romans manage to build perfectly straight roads hundreds of miles long? The ancient Romans were a people famed for their architectural prowess, something no better demonstrated than by their ability to build almost perfectly straight and incredibly durable roads spanning expansive distances. For example, in Britain alone, the Romans built well over 50,000 miles […]

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That Time Two Comic Artist Independently Created Dennis the Menace on the Same Day an Ocean Apart

We’ve talked before about the bizarre Hollywood phenomenon of Twin Films – essentially films with near identical premises inexplicably released around the same time – and all of the machinations that can lead to them existing. Today, rather than focusing on an industry wide trend, we’re going to discuss a specific example of something similar- the bizarre tale of the […]

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This Bizarre Story Behind ‘The Room’

The Room is a cinematic paradox. Simultaneously considered one of the worst films ever made and an unintended work of comedic geniuis, it has enjoyed remarkable success since its original 2003 release. Despite being the subject of numerous documentaries and most recently a film starring James Franco, The Disaster Artist, that ironically eclipsed the film it was inspired by’s box […]

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That Time an English Dude Invented a Gun that Fired Square Bullets, and the Waterfowl’s Nightmare

Considered to be little more than a historical curio today, the early 18th century Puckle Gun was nonetheless one of the most advanced firearms of its age, capable of firing one shot every 6 seconds in an era when even the most highly skilled soldier equipped with a musket typically topped out at a rate of only about one shot […]

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