history
Why Do People Think Friday 13th is Unlucky?

Being wary of Friday the 13th is much more than a quaint superstition observed by a few uneducated people in distant, unreachable towns and hamlets. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 17 and 21 million people dread that date to the extent that it can be officially classified as a phobia. Read More >>

history
This Ridiculous Gun Was Made to Shoot 100 Birds at Once

If you happen to think killing two birds with one stone is a bit inefficient, or you have found your way into a zombie apocalypse, you might be interested in a special type of gun known as a “punt gun,” that used to be somewhat common among commercial waterfowl hunters. What’s so special about this gun? It is capable of killing upwards of 50-100 birds in a single shot. Read More >>

science
The Truth About Your Flammable Farts

Contrary to popular belief, it’s probably not methane leaking from your backside that lights a fart on fire (which is known as pyroflatulence). Rather, it’s most likely primarily hydrogen. Read More >>

science
Chlorine Trifluoride: The Chemical That Sets Fire to Asbestos on Contact

First discovered back in the 1930s, chlorine trifluoride is a rather curious chemical that easily reacts, sometimes explosively, with just about every known substance on Earth. Read More >>

science
The Difference Between Hard and Soft Wood Has Zero to Do With Hardness

Generally speaking, wood is often put into one of two categories: hardwood and softwood. But what exactly makes a given piece of wood qualify as either hard or soft and how did those definitions come about? Read More >>

design
Where the Male and Female Symbols Came From

Representing two planets, iron, copper and a couple of Olympian gods, the classical symbols for male and female pack a lot of meaning into a few squiggly lines. Read More >>

history
How the Tea Bag Was Invented

Legend says that brewing tea dates back to around 2737 BC, when tea leaves fell into water being boiled for Emperor Shennong of China. There does not appear to be any hard evidence of tea being discovered this way, but evidence we do have suggests that brewing tea did indeed likely start in China, first as part of a medicinal elixir. The first documented reference to this is found during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC). By the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC, it had become a relatively popular drink using just the tea (camellia sinensis), rather than mixed with other things as seems to have been common when used medicinally. From the beginning until the early 20th century, very little innovation came about in terms of the common method of brewing tea. This all changed in 1901. Read More >>

history
Why is it Called a ‘Medicine Ball’ Anyway?

Medicine balls, for those of you who haven’t been to a gym or never accidentally kicked one thinking it was like a football (true story), are heavy weighted balls that come in a variety of sizes and weights (with the biggest we could find ringing in at a whopping 150 pounds (68 kg)) with a diverse range of fitness applications. But why exactly are they called medicine balls when, at its core, a medicine ball is just a big heavy ball? Read More >>

space
That Time the US Accidentally Nuked Britain’s First Satellite

When it comes to nations with a long and rich history of space travel and exploration, Britain isn’t normally a country that comes to most people’s minds. However, it was the third country in the world to operate a satellite in orbit. It’s just a shame those pesky Americans ended up accidentally killing it just a few months later… Read More >>