Category Archives: Featured Facts

What Ever Happened to Ronald McDonald? (And the Bizarre Rules for Those Playing the Character)

According to official company statements, Ronald McDonald is “second only to Santa in terms of recognition”. While this may or may not have been true at one point in time, you might have noticed of late that the formerly prominent fast-food mascot has almost completely disappeared from the lime-light. So how did Ronald McDonald come about in the first place […]

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Can the Police Commit Crimes While Undercover?

Chloe T. asks: Can police officers or FBI agents commit crimes while undercover? The use of undercover or covert law enforcement is common throughout much of the world and, for the most part, men and women tasked with going undercover are expected to, and do, follow the law. However, beyond the occasional bad officer doing things they aren’t supposed to, […]

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Do People Who Resort to Cannibalism in Survival Situations Get in Trouble?

Gina K asks: When people have to resort to cannibalism to survive, is it considered a crime? To begin with, cannibalism is absolutely legal in the United States (with the exception of the state of Idaho), the UK, much of Europe, Japan, etc. However, as Cornell Law School notes, a number of laws are in place across America “that indirectly […]

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That Time Someone Actually Achieved the Alchemists’ Dream of Turning a Different Material Into Gold

While it’s likely others had tried it before, the first surviving documented attempt of someone trying to turn something to gold in a (relatively) scientific fashion occurred around 300 AD. The proto-scientist in question was a Greco-Egyptian named Zosimos. During his lifetime, it’s thought that he wrote nearly thirty books about alchemy, but most of them have been lost to […]

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Why is Pomp and Circumstance Always Played at Graduations?

Nathan K. asks: How did Pomp and Circumstance get to be the tune always played at graduations? Every year, hundreds of thousands of students march across a stage in a gown and a squared hat to receive a piece of paper that says they’ve completed a particular phase in their education. This school graduation will undoubtedly be marked by cheering, […]

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The Bizarre Story of the Sex.com Heist

In 1983, Paul Mockapetris proposed a distributed database of internet name and address pairs, now known as the Domain Name System (DNS).  This is essentially a distributed “phone book” linking a domain’s name to its address, allowing you to type in something like todayifoundout.com instead of the IP address of the website.  The distributed version of this system allowed for […]

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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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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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Forgotten Heroes: The Accidental Farmer

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Bob Fletcher was an agricultural inspector working in California’s Central Valley in the early 1940s. He might have stayed one, too, had the outbreak of World War II not changed everything. INFAMY Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese military forces attacked the U.S. naval […]

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