Famous Last Words: Oscar Wilde

Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde died on November 20, 1900 while in exile at the Hôtel d’Alsace in Paris.  His last words are said to have been: “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.”  The writer, who died penniless is also […]


Inventions: Bubble Gum

 Bubble gum was invented in 1928 by 23 year old  Walter Diemer, an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia, who enjoyed experimenting with recipes in his free time.  Founder Frank Henry Fleer had made a batch of bubble gum in 1906 which he called Blibber Blubber, but it was too sticky and […]


On Cloud Nine: Origin

One commonly cited origin of the phrase “on cloud nine”  is from the classifications of clouds defined by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s.  “Cloud Nine” describes the fluffy cumulonimbus type that are considered so attractive. This explanation seems plausible – but further investigation leads to a different origin. Early references originate in the […]


Pseudoscience: Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology (from Greek, kryptos, “hidden” + zoology; literally, “study of hidden animals”) refers to the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. This includes looking for living examples of animals that are considered extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported. The […]


Origins: The Birth of Dracula

Dracula was first published on May 26, 1897  by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. Original titles for the book include The Dead Un-Dead and then simply, The Un-Dead. The name of the count was originally “Count Wampyr”.  While doing research, Stoker became intrigued by the name “Dracula”, […]


Nursery Rhyme Origins: Humpty Dumpty

 The popular nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty does not actually state that the character is an egg. It was first published in 1810 in Gammer Gurton’s Garlandas:   Humpty Dumpty sate on a wall, Humpti Dumpti had a great fall; Threescore men and threescore more, Cannot place Humpty dumpty as he was before.   The most […]



How Many Licks to Get to the Tootsie Roll Centre of a Tootsie Pop?

At least three detailed scientific studies have attempted to determine the number of licks required to reach the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.   Purdue University – A group of engineering students from Purdue University reported that its licking machine, modeled after a human tongue, took an average of 364 licks to get […]


Mexican Coca-Cola vs. Regular Coca-Cola

Mexican Coke (aka “MexiCoke”) is Coca-Cola that is made and bottled in Mexico. It has become very popular in the United States because consumers claim that Mexican Coke is “a lot more natural tasting.” This  taste can be partially attributed to the use of refined cane sugar in Mexican Coke, as opposed to the high-fructose […]

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (March 9, 1934 –  March 27, 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. On  April 12, 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1), Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth. His call sign was Kedr (Siberian Pine). After the flight, Gagarin became […]