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Knowledge Stew
Make Yourself a Little Smarter Today

There is a statue of George Washington in a place you wouldn’t think he would be. The statue of the first president and leader of the American Revolution stands in Trafalgar Square in London outside of the National Gallery.

The statue was a gift from the state of Virginia in 1921 and commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Washington is depicted standing with his left hand resting on thirteen rods which represented the original thirteen colonies.

But Washington had once vowed to “never set foot again on English soil.” So to make good on that promise, soil…

You might not see this decorative lawn icon dotting the front yards of suburban homes much anymore, but the pink plastic flamingo used to be a big deal. Now it has grown into a form of art.

The birds first came around in 1957, and they didn’t start in a place where you would expect flamingos to be. They were invented in Leominster, Massachusetts. Leominster was a mecca for plastics, not because of the eventual invention of the plastic flamingo, but because of the plastic comb.

It began when Don Featherstone was hired by Union Products, a plastic company in…

In 2014, the State of Colorado responded to a repeated problem of people stealing a particular number on a mile marker sign along an interstate.

The Colorado Department of Transportation switched mile marker “420” to “419.99” on Interstate 70 east of Denver because there had been multiple thefts of the “420” sign. The Colorado Department of Transportation said the sign had been changed sometime during 2014 because of the thefts.

Why was there a rash of thefts on the sign? It’s believed (and probably pretty certain) to be because the number 420 is associated with smoking cannabis, which is also…

Think about this the next time you’re out at your favorite local seafood restaurant enjoying an expensive lobster platter. The lobster hasn’t always been considered a delicacy like it is today.

In Colonial America, lobsters were so plentiful on the shores of the northeastern United States that they were called the “poor man’s protein” or the “cockroach of the sea.” Because of their utter abundance, they were fed to prisoners and servants, eaten by the poor, and having a shell in a house was looked upon as a sign of poverty. Native Americans even used lobsters as fertilizer. …

Outside Steinert Hall Google Maps Nov 2020

Sometimes things are found right where you would never expect, and there’s a structure in Boston, Massachusetts, that many Bostonians didn’t even know existed. In the middle of the city, there is a 120-year-old abandoned concert hall known as Steinert Hall that is 40 feet underground, buried beneath a piano store.

It was constructed over 100 years ago in 1896 beneath Boylston Street in the Italian Renaissance style, and some of the world’s best musicians played there. It closed almost 80 years ago and had once been one of the cities finest performing arts sites. …

Just before midnight on March 29, 1848, the mighty Niagara Falls did something it had never done in recorded history — it stopped flowing. The massive amount of water, around 212,000 cubic feet per second, had been reduced to near nothing.

A local American farmer first noticed the change in the falls while taking a midnight stroll along the river near American Falls, one of three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. The news spread to the local townspeople, but the information was slow to get to others because the telegraph had only just been invented.

Eventually, word spread like…

How well can you answer these ten quick trivia questions about food in the movies and on TV? A bag of fake, rubbery popcorn may await your success.

In the TV show M*A*S*H, what was Radar O’Reilly’s favorite drink?

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931) by Rube Goldberg

A Rube Goldberg Machine is a complex machine where one simple task is linked and triggers the start of another simple task in order to complete some final simple function.

The Rube Goldberg Machine is named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg who drew cartoons that depicted complex machines that ended up doing a simple thing. His comic strip The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts ran from 1914 to 1964 and depicted these wacky inventions. This type of machine from the strip became known as a Rube Goldberg Machine. …

The word “boycott” means that someone voluntarily withdraws from using something, buying, or dealing with a person, group, or country and is used as a form of protest. But where did this word come from? It can be traced back to a specific event and a person’s name from 1880.

In Ireland, from the 1870s to the 1890s, there was a period of civil unrest between rural tenant farmers and wealthy landlords called the Irish Land War. While it wasn’t actually a “war” in the traditional sense, there were some deaths and violence.

There had been an economic downturn after…

On December 15, 1979, two Canadians created one of the most popular games of all time, Trivial Pursuit. The game was invented by Chris Haney, a photo editor at the Montreal Gazette and a high school dropout, and Scott Abbott, a sports editor for The Canadian Press.

The two men were sitting at Haney’s kitchen table playing Scrabble when they decided to make their own board game. They came up with a new game in 45 minutes and drew out the familiar wagon wheel game board on a napkin. …

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Make Yourself a Little Smarter Today

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