Green-M&M

Urban Legends: Green M&Ms are an Aphrodisiac

  The rumour that green M&Ms are an aphrodisiac began in the 1970s when students reportedly picked the green ones out of the packages to feed to their love interests.  Why the green M&Ms were attributed with this power is unclear – some speculate that the colour green is associated with healing and fertility.  Decades […]

bizarro-fear-of-clown-Dan Piraro

Coulrophobia: Fear of Clowns

Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns. Introduced around the 1980s, this phobia may result from the exaggerated expressions painted on the faces of clowns. The term has been coined more on the Internet than in printed form and it does not appear in any previously published, psychiatric dictionary,” However regardless of its less-than-verifiable etymology, coulrophobia […]

Secret-of-the-old-clock-nancy-drew

Carolyn Keene: Who Really Wrote Nancy Drew?

Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the author(s) of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. First published in 1930, Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer’s daughter) are often credited as the primary writers of Nancy Drew books. They were initially paid $125 for […]

snipe

Word Origins: Sniper

The term sniper was first used in 1824 in the sense of the word “sharpshooter”. The verb “to snipe” originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive snipe (a wading bird) was dubbed a “sniper”.   During the American Civil War, the common term used […]

drapetomania-Cartwright

Pseudoscience: Drapetomania

  Originating from the Greek (drapetes, “a runaway [slave]“) and (mania, “madness, frenzy”),  Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity. Today, drapetomania is considered a pseudoscience and scientific racism.      Cartwright described the disorder as “unknown to our medical authorities, […]

Mortons-Toe- Statue-of-Liberty

Morton’s Toe

Morton's toe or Morton's syndrome is the term for the condition where the second toe is longer than the big toe.   The name originated from American orthopedic surgeon Dudley Joy Morton (1884–1960). Although often described as a disorder, it is common enough to be considered a normal variant of foot shape (its prevalence varies […]

FROM THE ARCHIVES

The-Language-Loop-Brain

Syndromes: Foreign Accent Synrome

  Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is speech disorder that causes a sudden change to speech so that a person speaks with a “foreign” accent.  The condition is usually occurs after damage to the brain caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Other reported causes include multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder. In some cases no […]

Billboard-Magazine-Cover-1917

Billboard Magazine was Orignally a Trade Paper for Circuses & Carnivals

Billboard is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. Originally founded in Cincinnati in 1894 as Billboard Advertising, it was a trade paper for the bill posting industry. After a few years, it began to publish news of outdoor amusements, a major consumer of billboard space. Eventually Billboard became the paper  for circuses, […]

Koala

The Koala’s Fingerprints

The koala is one of the few mammals (other than primates) that has fingerprints. Koala fingerprints are so similar to human fingerprints  that even with an electron microscope, it can be quite difficult to distinguish between the two. Source: Natural Science.com,  Wikipedia