Category Archives: Articles

Did Any Medieval Knight Ever Actually Rescue a Damsel in Distress?

Some of the first stories humans ever deemed worthy of writing down inevitably included tales of a man or men rushing to the aid of some damsel in distress, from Perseus rescuing Andromeda, to the Achaeans assembling to go rescue, or at least reclaim, Helen. As the centuries passed, this basic theme has never gone out of style, even still […]

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Why Do Outhouses Have a Crescent Moon on the Door?

Literally Everyone asks: Why are outhouses traditionally depicted with a crescent moon on the door? In all the years we’ve been answering questions from our abnormally attractive readers, one that has popped up in our inbox and in comment threads more times than any other is some form of the question “What’s the deal with crescent moons on outhouse doors?” […]

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Who Invented the Keyboard and is the Dvorak Really Better than the QWERTY

The origin of the keyboard starts, unsurprisingly with the first typewriters. There were a variety of type-writer-like devices around going back the 18th century, before one Christopher Latham Sholes, with some help from a few other guys, came up with one that would become the first commercially successful typewriter in the 1870s. Much like many typewriters since, Shole’s device used […]

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Can Police Really Commandeer Your Vehicle Like in the Movies?

Nohomers asks: Can police officers actually commandeer your vehicle like in movies? Inevitably in any film that has some member of law enforcement as the protagonist at some point said individual will wave their badge, and potentially their gun, at a passing car and demand to commandeer the vehicle. But if you’re ever driving along and some police officer does […]

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Has Any Passenger Ever Landed a Commercial Airliner Like You See in Movies?

Natapixie asks: Has a non-pilot passenger ever managed to land an airplane? A common Hollywood trope when dealing with commercial airline-centric plots is inevitably at some point the pilot or pilots will become incapacitated and the lead character, who may or may not have any piloting experience, will be forced to take over, lest they die a fiery death when […]

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Who Invented the Emoticon and Emoji? (And How They’re Forever Changing Written Language)

Historically, written language has always been rather limited in its ability to adequately represent the nuance of in-person communication, which comes with a whole slew of gesticulations, facial expressions, subtle shifts in tone and the like. As such, humans have been attempting to find ways around this problem seemingly as long as we’ve been writing stuff down. Going back to […]

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Do Kids Really Learn Languages Faster Than Adults?

A common thing you’ll hear monolingual adults saying whenever discussing potentially learning a second language is that they lament not having done so as a child when it is easier. But the truth is, while the notion that kids learn languages faster and more easily is an almost universally held belief, even among some linguists, it turns out adults actually […]

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Who Came Up with Godzilla and How Did They Create Its Iconic Roar?

Godzilla’s roar has long been considered one of cinema’s most iconic and recognisable sounds. Oft-copied or otherwise homaged, the original and rather unique roar terrified audience goers in the 1950s and has been built upon to dramatic effect in the numerous sequels and remakes since. So how did they actually make the original sound and where did the idea for […]

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