How high can birds fly?

How high can birds fly?

  It turns out that migrating birds can reach some astounding heights. Normally, birds tend to fly around somewhere near the level of the engines on Chesley Sullenberger’s Airbus 320. Some birds,  like vultures and other predatory animals can rise to 10,000 feet or so to scan the area for any dehydrated cowboys...
What is a typical train hauling?

What is a typical train hauling?

“What the fuck is in all of those cars?” A simple question that, while shouted DIRECTLY INTO MY EAR, DANIEL,  is one I’ve found myself shouting into my own in ear in my mind. My mind’s ear. So what does a typical train carry? What the HELL is in all...
Where did Pig Latin come from?

Where did Pig Latin come from?

  I was never really good at Pig Latin. And by good I mean ‘gave a shit’. I was surprised that after a ton of googling research, I wasn’t much closer to finding the answer to the origin of Igpay Atinlay. Versions of the annoying game played by annoying little...
How do smoke detectors work?

How do smoke detectors work?

Most folks know there are a two of different types of Smoke Detectors available in your local hardware store: Optical This type of detector contains a light emitter, most likely an infrared LED, a lens that turns the source into a beam, and a light sensor that sits at an angle across...
Where did the "Shave and a Haircut" knock come from?

Where did the “Shave and a Haircut” knock come from?

If you say “Who framed Roger Rabbit”, then you are definitely a part of my generation. And a fart-knocker. PSYCH! This one is a little hard to pin down, as the history of idioms and life’s little pop-culture-what-nots tend to be. So I’m going to suss this out for all...
How do rear differentials work on automobiles?

How do rear differentials work on automobiles?

  I love this video. Take note, if you’re going to explain something that’s complex, start at the most simple version you can and work your way up. Your audience will love you for it AND and think you’re fucking brilliant. Use of Tinker Toys is always a plus.  ...
Latest entries
How many satellites are currently in orbit?

How many satellites are currently in orbit?

Let’s define our terms: a satellite can mean anything in orbit around another celestial body. There are natural ones (like the moon) and artificial ones like communication satellites, the International Space Station, stuff leftover from launches, and probably a couple of Russian Cosmonauts from the 50s and 60s. Of all of the shit orbiting the earth: 500 of...
How many eggs are used each year to produce vaccines?

How many eggs are used each year to produce vaccines?

Since the 1930s eggs have been the primary vehicle to produce vaccines – Viruses are injected into a fertile eggs and allowed to turn that incredible edible ovam into a swinging orgy of pure evil for 3 days. Viruses don’t actually have sex in the traditional sense, opting instead to inject their DNA into a...
Reader Question: How far has Sam B. traveled through space in 40 years?

Reader Question: How far has Sam B. traveled through space in 40 years?

Since the start of the blog a few weeks ago, I have received a number of questions from readers. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Some were great and some should have been submitted to google rather than to my contact form. Then came Sam B. – Sam sent a question that is just...
Why do beavers build dams?

Why do beavers build dams?

I’ll preface by saying I’ve already thought of every easy beaver joke (oh… except that one), so don’t even think about it. The common misconception is that beavers actually live in the dams they create. They do not. They live in lodges built in the middle or edges of the deep ponds their dams create....
When was the first email sent?

When was the first email sent?

In 1971 Ray Tomlinson sent the first successful email from one computer, to another sitting right next to it – through ARPANET. He used the @ sign to delineate what host the user receiving the message was on, as ARPANET had a number of hosts systems connected to it. His machine was a Digital Equipment...
What modern day item could you take back in time that would make ancient peoples believe you were a God?

What modern day item could you take back in time that would make ancient peoples believe you were a God?

I always find myself thinking about this while begging my body to listen to the Ambien and go to sleep. If you could travel back in time (sidebar: you can’t), and take with you one modern-day item, what item would you take in order to make the people you might encounter during, say, the renaissance, believe...
How do plants know it's time to bloom?

How do plants know it’s time to bloom?

You might think, ‘Because it gets warm, idiot’. Shut up. The actual answer has to do with the cold, rather than the warmth. The process is called “vernalization”. Plants actually begin this process after a month or so of freezing temperatures, which is a good indicator that spring will be a’comin. One particular specie of...
How many nuclear devices have been detonated?

How many nuclear devices have been detonated?

There have been over 2,000 Nuclear detonations since the first test in 1945. The break down is as follows: United States: 1,054 tests – 2 in war. Former Soviet Union: 715 France: 210 United Kingdom: 45 (21 in Australian territory – take that bloody Ockers.) China: 45 India: 6 Pakistan: 6 North Korea: 2, bless...
Why can't you say 'Macbeth' in a theater?

Why can’t you say ‘Macbeth’ in a theater?

Obviously, you CAN, and SHOULD, simply to fuck with theater folk who look for any excuse for poor performance, accidents, or any other misfortune nobody cares about.You might even make them cry; a double-bonus. It is a common superstition that the play itself is cursed, because Shakespeare used real spells from witches who, not too...
How do Nuclear Control Rods Work?

How do Nuclear Control Rods Work?

The answer is surprisingly (and somewhat unnervingly) simple. First, a quick recap: Nuclear reactors work by using the heat generated by nuclear fission to produce steam that powers a turbine to produce electricity. Fission is when the nucleus of an atom (in most cases Uranium-235) splits in two, creating heat and expelling free neutrons. When...
Why do Goat eyes look so weird?

Why do Goat eyes look so weird?

Turns out it’s not just goats, but most other animals with hooves including deer, some horses, cattle, and many sheep have horizontal pupils. Goats generally have a more pale iris, so their freakish pupils simply show up better. Horizontal slit-shaped pupils give the animal increased peripheral depth perception, as well as increasing their ability to...
What makes curly hair curly?

What makes curly hair curly?

My project manager has a head chock full of the curliest hair this side of Kenny G. So what, aside from the obvious lack of overall manliness, causes hair to be straight or curly? It turns out, it has nothing to do with the hair itself, but rather the hair follicle. “This tiny structure guides...