Author Archive
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 crawling desperately along the ground...
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 of those cars? When is...
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 kids, predate shakespeare, and vary...
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 from the beam. During normal...
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 of us. You’re probably thinking...
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.  
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...