An Endless Cycle- Taxing Blank Cassettes and “Killing Music”
In today’s era of streaming and YouTube where we as consumers have the power to pick and choose the songs we listen to and curate our own playlists, the idea of a homemade mixtape is either quaint or completely alien depending on how old you are. Go back just a few decades in the UK though and you’d find heavy-handed [...]
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The Story Behind the “Happiest Man in China” Photo
Rob B. asks: Is the happy Chinese guy picture fake and who is the guy shown? For much of the early history of photography smiling in photographs was almost unheard of for various reasons. (See: When Did People Start Smiling in Photographs?) Despite this, a photo of a Chinese man, dubbed by the masses on the internet, "the happiest man [...]
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Network Origins: Fox
The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader (For more in this series, see: A Scheme to Sell More Radios, the Founding of NBC; Network Origins: CBS; and Network Origins: ABC) In 1987 Fox became the first broadcast network that really gave ABC, CBS, and NBC a run for their money. YOUNG FOX In 1935 two Hollywood movie [...]
Robert Frost’s Commonly Misinterpreted “The Road Not Taken” and the Role it Played in the Death of His Best Friend
Robert Frost is one of the most critically acclaimed American poets of the 20th century, which is a roundabout way of saying you almost certainly studied one of his poems in school. Most likely, it was a short piece called The Road Not Taken- a poem famous for being one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted poems ever written, and [...]
Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge
To this day, the Brooklyn Bridge remains a monumental civil engineering feat. Connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and extending across the East River, the bridge is a New York City icon. When finally finished in 1883, it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever constructed. It is said that today over 125,000 motor vehicles cross the 130 year [...]
Francis Russell and One of the Most Influential Haircuts in History
Generally speaking, most men these days tend to sport closely cropped haircuts. If you happen to be one of the men that enjoys having a neatly trimmed, easy to maintain ‘do you can thank an unpopular English tax and a bet made by a duke for saving you countless minutes every morning. While the likes of Queen Elizabeth I and [...]
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The Life Saving Animal Blood Worth $60,000 Per Gallon and the Truth About the Colour of Spider Blood
Kay P. asks: Is spider blood really blue? When it comes to spiders, people generally know two facts about them- that you swallow around eight of them per year and that their blood is bright blue. Fortunately, the former is absolutely not true at all, the latter, on the other hand, is mostly correct. While it's certainly true that spiders [...]
Why Does Vladimir Putin Walk So Weird?
Zach L. asks: Why does Vladimir Putin walk with one arm moving and the other stuck at his side? While there is no single correct way to walk, most of us have a gait where we swing each arm forward when its opposing leg moves forward; likewise, as with the length of the stride, which is generally the same for [...]
Network Origins: ABC
The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader (For more in this series, see: A Scheme to Sell More Radios, the Founding of NBC and Network Origins: CBS) When NBC was forced to break up its radio broadcasting monopoly and spin off one of its two networks, it decided to get rid of the least profitable one. The [...]
The Bizarre World of Cicadas
Cicadas are big, green and gross. They fly, have giant eyes and make loud clicking noises. (A male swarm of these insects can produce noise at over 100 dB!) Oh, and they are often seen in large groups – like by the millions. If you think this sounds like a nightmare or a beginning of a cheesy horror movie, you [...]