Christmas: Icelandic Yule Lads

 Yule Lads, (jólasveinarnir/ jólasveinar) are characters from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus.   Originally depicted as being mischievous, criminal, or pranksters, and are said to be the sons of the mountain trolls Grýla and Leppalúði. They are frequently depicted with the Yuletide Cat, a beast that eats […]


Idioms: Have One’s Cake and Eat it Too

  To have one’s cake and eat it too is a popular English idiom meaning one can’t use something up and still have it to enjoy. Sometimes stated as eat one’s cake and have it too, the phrase is similar to, “you can’t have it both ways” and “you can’t have the best of both […]


Myths: Quicksand is a Killer

We’ve all seen the movie where the character gets stuck in quicksand and slowly sinks to the bottom resulting in his untimely death or last minute rescue. In reality, quicksand is denser than water.  The greater the density, the greater the buoyancy of objects within. Any victims found in quicksand likely died for some other […]


The First Colour Photograph

Best known for his development of electromagnetic theory, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell was also interested in colour theory. Maxwell directed photographer Thomas Sutton to produce the first colour photograph of a tartan ribbon in 1861.  Sutton took three photographs of the ribbon, through a red, green, and blue filter. The plates were then developed […]


Science: Mentos and Diet Coke Explosions

A Soda and Candy eruption (also known as a Diet Coke and Mentos eruption or a Coke geyser) is a reaction of carbonated beverage and Mentos candies. When the candies come into contact with the liquid, a reaction causes the formation of foam at a rapid rate. A 2006 episode of the television show Mythbusters […]


“Lazy Bones”: The First TV Remote Control

The first TV remote control called “Lazy Bones” was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950 and was connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote control called the “Flashmatic”, was developed in 1955 but did function well because the pointer beam (based on photoelectric cells) could not distinguish between different light sources. […]



English Language: Portmanteau

A portmanteau (or portmanteau word) is a blend of two (or more) words into one new word. It typically combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog.    The word “portmanteau” was first used in this sense by Lewis Carroll in the book Through the Looking-Glass (1871), in which […]


Politics: Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is a political term that refers to the practice of setting electoral districts to establish an advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts.  The process may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder […]


5 Cool Facts About The Movie Inception

  1. The first letter of each of the main character’s first names – Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur/Ariadne, Mal, Sato – spell the word DREAMS.   2. The “Penrose stairs” (with a woman perpetually picking up papers) that Arthur shows Ariadne is a reference to a lithograph print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. […]