Author Archives: Karl Smallwood

Visions of Rat Infested Pizza- The Genesis of Atari’s Chuck E. Cheese’s

Today in History May 17, 1977 If you’ve never had the pleasure of dining in a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant before, imagine for a moment an unending assault on every single one of your senses at once while a giant robotic rat mocks your existence with a dead, lifeless stare and you’ve basically got it. Conceived by Atari co-founder Nolan […]

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The Truth About the First Academy Awards and the Dog Rin Tin Tin

Today in History May 16, 1929 In comparison to the multi-million dollar star-studded display of excess that is the modern day Academy Awards, the first Academy Awards ceremony was a relatively muted affair that could even be described as quaint if you were so inclined. Held in a medium-sized banquet hall in a Hollywood hotel mostly known for being haunted […]

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That Time a Guy Landed a Helicopter on the Summit of Everest

Today in History: May 14, 2005 To many climbers, mountaineers, and general fans of low oxygen environments, summiting Mount Everest represent the literal peak of physical achievement. But while an impressive feat for a human, it turns out vultures can happily survive exposed to altitudes of 40,000 ft or 12,200 meters above sea level and, indeed, have been seen flying […]

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Stealing the Crown Jewels

Today in History: May 9, 1671 The crown jewels are a collection of historic and obscenely valuable relics closely associated with the British monarchy. For centuries these golden, jewel-encrusted trinkets have been kept under the watchful eye of burly guards in the Tower of London. And to doubly deter thieves, historically the punishment for attempting to steal them was death… […]

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Pemberton’s Tonic

Today in History: May 8, 1886 The sickly sweet sugar water known as Coca-Cola was initially marketed as a magical cure-all tonic for every kind of “nervous affliction” imaginable from headaches to hysteria- a condition that, fun fact, used to be treated in women through medically administered orgasms. This ultimately led to the creation of vibrators to help out the […]

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No. 9

Today in History: May 7, 1824 The result of years of work and representing the absolute pinnacle of Beethoven’s skill as both a composer and musician, Symphony No. 9 is widely considered one of the single finest pieces of music ever created- a fact made all the more impressive when you consider Beethoven himself was completely deaf when he finished […]

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Can You Really Sign Things in a Legally Binding Way By Just Writing a Big X?

Orlando D. asks: Does it matter what you sign on contracts? Could you draw a picture or put an X and have it still be legally binding? With so many facets of modern life being automated, signatures being easy to forge, and given how difficult it is to prove based on signature alone whether a given person actually signed something, […]

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The Curious Case of the Night Parrot – The World’s Most Elusive Bird

Pezoporus occidentalis, better known simply as the “night parrot”, is often described by ornithologists as being the most mysterious and enigmatic bird on Earth- a moniker the night parrot earned by being so rare and elusive that fewer people alive today have seen one with their own eyes than have ever walked on the Moon. Described bluntly by one of […]

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Has Anyone Ever Tried to Pay for Something with a Briefcase Full of Cash?

Darren W. asks: Are there any records of someone paying with a briefcase full of money or is this just a Hollywood trope? A briefcase full of cash is a trope so common that even TV Tropes, a website dedicated to cataloguing cinematic cliches, requests that users only mention “exceptions, parodies and subversions”. While you’d expect something so ridiculous to […]

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That Time Coca-Cola Tried to Introduce Vending Machines that Charged More on Hot Days

If Coca-Cola’s own marketing is to be believed, few things are more satisfying than a cold drink on a hot day. Tacking on to a string of hilarious missteps in the late 20th century (see: That Time Coca-Cola Spent $100 Million Intentionally Filling Coke Cans With Water That Smelled Like Farts, That Time Coca-Cola Tried to Sell Bottled Tap Water […]

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