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 […]

Robert-Wadlow-Worlds-Tallest-Man

World’s Tallest Man: Robert Wadlow

Born and raised in Alton, Illinois, Robert Pershing Wadlow was the tallest person in history reaching a height of 8ft 11.1 inches (2.720 metres) and weighing 439 pounds (199kg). His height was attributed to hypertrophy of the pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. Also known as the Alton […]

Canadian-Coins

Weird Laws: Paying With Coins In Canada

  Under the Canadian Currency Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-52), there is a limit to the value of a transaction for which one can use only coins to pay for a product or service:  A payment in coins referred to in subsection (1) is a legal tender for no more than the following amounts for […]

ear-wax

Biology: Earwax is Genetically Determined

There are two distinct genetically determined types of earwax (cerumen). The wet type, which is dominant, and the dry type, which is recessive. Asians and Native Americans are more likely to have the dry type of earwax (gray and flaky), while white and black people are tend to have the wet type (light to dark […]

hangover-anatomy

Phrase Origins: Hair of the Dog

“Hair of the dog that bit you” is a colloquial expression most commonly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed to lessen the effects of a hangover. The phrase was originally used by the Romans who, like other ancient cultures, believed that “like cures like” (similia similibus).   Quite literal in it’s day, people […]

pokemon-seizures

Dennō Senshi Porygon: Pokémon Shock

On December 16, 1997 , TV Tokyo aired “Dennō Senshi Porygon”  (“Computer Soldier Porygon”), the thirty-eighth episode of the Pokémon anime’s first season. The episode is infamous for using visual effects that caused seizures in a substantial number of Japanese viewers, now referred to as the “Pokémon Shock” (Pokémon Shokku) by the Japanese press. Six […]

FROM THE ARCHIVES

break-a-leg

Origins: Break a Leg

“Break a leg” is a well-known expression in theatre which means “good luck.” It is typically said to actors and musicians before a performance. The phrase reflects a theatrical superstition in which wishing a person “good luck” is considered bad luck.  There are several theories behind the origin of the phrase. Below are some of […]