Author Archives: Melissa

Where “Catch-22” Came From and the Origins of Other Famous Words and Phrases

Not set in stone, the English language is constantly evolving to describe new developments and experiences and to match the zeitgeist of the times. With words created out of necessity to describe a new technology, like tweet and telephone, their origins are relatively easy to trace back to the people who first invented them. With others that seem to rise […]

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People in Columbus’ Time Did Not Think the World Was Flat

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue… with a whole lot of maps and information about the very round Earth. Contrary to popular belief, not only did Columbus realize the world was round, so did his contemporaries. In fact, it was so well accepted that daring seafarers had been exploring the Atlantic for hundreds of years before Columbus’ time. Without […]

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You’ve Been Saying It Wrong (11 Famous Quotes That Have Changed Over Time)

Anyone who’s ever played telephone at camp knows how easy it is for your mind to twist, tweak or completely change what you’ve just heard when you repeat it to someone else. Common throughout history, sometimes when this happens, the adapted quote frequently becomes more popular than the original. Here are just a few examples: Money is the root of […]

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How Urine Can Be Used to Make Gunpowder (and Other Interesting Pee Facts)

It turns out that something that is (usually) flushed down the toilet can actually be recycled into a number of useful products. Comprised of water, calcium, chloride, potassium, sodium, magnesium, urea, creatinine, nitrogen, uric acid, ammonium, sulphates and phosphates, urine’s beneficial ingredients can be separated from its waste, and used to make fertilizer, medicine, brain cells and, yes, gunpowder. Why […]

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The Bizarre World of Animal Reproduction

As weird and whacky as some human mating practices can sometimes be, other animals’ reproductive habits can be even stranger at times.  While one species gives birth through a penis, another’s testicles’ explode after sex. Further, post-coital cannibalism and V-shaped penises are not all that uncommon. We’ll start with the hyena.  Depending on if you notice her udders, the female […]

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