The Many Myths Surrounding the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving
Myth: Pilgrims wore black and white clothing with buckled top hats. The myth that they dressed like this stems from a popular clothing style in England in the late 17th century, which carried over to 18th and 19th century artist depictions of Pilgrims. In fact, historical records of Pilgrims’ clothing, such as the passenger list of the Mayflower, wills, which [...]
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Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?
Katie H. asks: Why do we eat turkey on thanksgiving when the pilgrims didn't? Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, over three hundred million Americans sit down at a table filled with culinary delights. From overstuffed turkeys to whipped-cream-topped pumpkin pies, it’s probably not a shock to learn that many of the traditional foods we eat on Thanksgiving [...]
Why Turkeys Are Called Turkeys
Today I found out why turkeys are called turkeys. In the 16th century, when North American turkeys were first introduced en masse to Europe, there was another bird that was popularly imported throughout Europe and, most relevant to this article, England, called a guinea fowl. This guinea fowl was imported from Madagascar via the Ottoman Empire. The merchants who did [...]
Fact or Fiction: Eating Turkey Makes You Drowsy
Today I found out turkey does not make you drowsy after you eat it. Now to be clear, turkey does contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which the human body doesn't naturally produce, but is essential to proper body function and, thus, must be acquired from food. The reason tryptophan is tied to drowsiness is that it is used [...]
The Curious Case of Hermits for Hire
The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader What do millionaires do to show off their wealth? Some buy exotic pets, big houses, or fancy cars. But 300 years ago, a fad erupted among wealthy Brits to buy people—not to make them servants (they already had those), but to have them simply wander around the yard. HERMITAGE, SWEET [...]
Gravy Stockings and TNT Hair Dye – Fashion in WW2
For fashion, even war is no excuse to let standards slip, as many British women found out during WW2. As part of doing their part for King and Country, they were strongly encouraged to contribute to the war effort by looking their best at all times. In fact, one bit of British war propaganda was literally "Beauty is your duty"... [...]
The Curious Case of Gregory Packer- The Everyman
For over two decades now, if the New York news (or any other present) needs a soundbite or quote from an "everyman" or "man on the street" to round off a story, there has been one man they’ve been able to rely on with an almost staggering level of consistency- Gregory Packer. Since the mid-1990s, Packer has been quoted hundreds [...]
What Caused the Red Rain of Kerala?
Between July 25 and September 23, 2001, the people of the southern India state of Kerala witnessed, on numerous occasions an extraordinary sight: blood colored rain. Although most reports limited the color of the rain to that striking red that resembled blood, some people also reported seeing green, black and even yellow rain as well. Eye-witnesses also reported that accompanying [...]
How Metals are Made
The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Do you have a ring on your finger? Is it made from gold, silver, platinum, or another natural metal? Then ponder this: The metal in that ring on your finger is older than the planet you’re standing on. WHAT IS “METAL”? Scientifically speaking, metals are naturally occurring chemical elements that [...]
Weekly Wrap Volume 168
This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Did People in the Middle Ages Really Throw Fecal Matter Out of their Windows? Although Medieval Britons weren’t exactly the cleanest lot by modern standards (though contrary to popular belief, despite some well-known exceptions, they did, in general, bathe in some form [...]