What Ever Happened to the Creator of Calvin and Hobbes?
It was on November 18, 1985, when Calvin met Hobbes. As the first appearance of this legendary comic strip shows, Calvin sets a trap for a tiger using a tuna sandwich because “tigers will do ANYTHING for a tuna fish sandwich.” Sure enough, hanging by one foot and munching on the sandwich, Calvin’s freshly caught tiger confirms this, “We’re kind [...]
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Why Do Drawn Hearts Look Nothing Like Real Hearts?
Mark R. asks: Why do drawn hearts look nothing like real hearts? Who first drew them this way? The heart symbol is one of the single most enduring and widely recognised symbols in modern culture. But where did it come from? Something like the familiar heart symbol goes back many thousands of years. Specifically, several pieces of pottery going back [...]
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How Do They Make White Gold White Given That It’s an Element?
Elizabeth F. asks: Is white gold really gold? If it is, how do they make it white when it's an element? The purest form of gold is, of course, golden and is referred to as 24 karat gold. Pure gold is much too soft for use in jewelry and can even be dented by simply pressing your fingernail hard against [...]
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That Time an Argument Over the Quality of Ale Resulted in a Battle Between Oxford Students and the Townsfolk
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 [...]
Does the President Get Sick Days?
Joseph R.asks: What happens if the president is too sick to work? The president of the United States never technically takes a day off. Even when they’re ostensibly “on vacation” they are still very much the leader of the country and have many duties to fulfill on a daily basis. For example, even while on vacation, they need to continue [...]
That Time Parisians Ate the Zoo
For four months from September 19, 1870 to January 28, 1871, the Prussian Army laid siege to the city of Paris, as part of the Franco-Prussian War. Prior to having all supply lines cut off, the French Ministry of Agriculture furiously worked to gather as much food and fuel as it could, and at the beginning, "livestock blanket[ed] the Bois [...]
Sogen Kato and Deceased Payee Fraud
For several years up until July 2010, it was widely believed that Sogen Kato (born July 22, 1899) was Tokyo's oldest living man. This story quickly unraveled at the beginning of 2010, however, as welfare officials' attempts to schedule a visit with the older gentlemen were rebuffed by the man's relatives, who told them Kato "doesn't want to see anybody." [...]
26 Fascinating Football Facts
With the Super Bowl this weekend, we thought we'd do a "Football facts" roundup to help you impress your buddies with amazingly interesting Football knowledge. 891) Buffalo wings were invented sometime around the 1960s by either John Young or Frank and Teressa Bellissimo in Buffalo, New York. The spreading of this tasty appetizer was relatively slow until Football stepped in. [...]
What Ever Happened to Miss Cleo the TV Psychic?
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 [...]
The Origin of Valentine’s Day
While not thought to be directly related to modern Valentine's Day traditions, the beginnings of celebrating love (of a sort) in February date back to the Romans. The feast of Lupercalia was a pagan fertility and health festival, observed from February 13th through the 15th, that was celebrated at least as far back as 44 BCE (the year Julius Caesar [...]