Category Archives: Articles

That Time an Argument Over the Quality of Ale Resulted in a Battle Between Oxford Students and the Townsfolk

Oxford

Oxford University is well known for being one of the most prestigious and elite places of learning in history. Over the years, it has seen some of the finest minds the world has ever known pass through its halls. It’s also the place where over six centuries ago a bunch of students and a fair number of townsfolk were killed […]

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What Ever Happened to Miss Cleo the TV Psychic?

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Felix H. asks: Where did Miss Cleo disappear to? For those unfamiliar, around the turn of the century no psychic was more famous than the purportedly Jamaican-born Miss Cleo (née Youree Dell Harris) representing the Psychic Readers Network (PRN). Appearing on late-night infomercials, Miss Cleo hooked her audience with a combination of charisma, Tarot card readings, concerned looks, and imperatives […]

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The London Garrotting Panic of the Mid-19th Century

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Although crime in England’s capital was on the decline in the mid-19th century, thanks in part to the relatively recent formation of the London Metropolitan Police Force in 1839, fear of crime was a persistent, reoccurring issue thanks to a few instances of robbery and murder, and, of course, the news media. In particular, the so-called “garrotting” cases, where someone […]

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A $25 Bonus- H. Tracy Hall and the Invention of the Synthetic Diamond

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As you may know, naturally created diamonds are formed from carbon subjected to extreme pressure (725,000 pounds per square inch or so) and heat (1,650 to 2,370 °F) some 90-120 miles down. The world’s natural diamond supply (that has come to the surface) was formed in this way some 1-3 billion years ago. However, scientists only realized that diamonds are […]

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How Did the Practice of Women Jumping Out of Giant Cakes Start?

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Diane F. asks: Who started the tradition of girls jumping out of cakes? Almost everyone has seen depicted the bizarre bachelor party tradition of a scantily-clad woman jumping out of a giant cake. It turns up most often in decades-old films, TV shows, and comics, but it still persists today at lavish Vegas shindigs—though the cakes are now usually made […]

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Will Hospitals Give Back an Amputated Limb if You Ask For It?

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Ron G. asks: Your donating bodies to science article left me wondering. What do hospitals do with limbs of people they amputate? Like, if I have a limb amputated, can I ask for it back? It’s standard procedure in most hospitals to incinerate any limbs, organs or tissue they remove from a non-organ donor patient. However, just because this is […]

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The Curious Case of Giant Concrete Arrows That Stretched from New York to California

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader DAY TRIPPERS When the U.S. Post Office introduced airmail service in 1920, the mail could only be flown during daylight hours, when pilots could see where they were going. In an age before sophisticated navigation systems, flying after dark was just too dangerous. The pilots who transported the mail navigated […]

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