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Knowledge Stew
Make Yourself a Little Smarter Today
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Use your superior knowledge and detective skills to figure out if these events are a fact or just a load of fiction. How well will you do? Good Luck!


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The largest spot of trash on Earth is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but there is another area over our heads that holds and continues to gather huge amounts of junk. Space trash is becoming a problem to anything orbiting the earth, and it could someday make our ability for space travel almost impossible.

There are more than 500,000 bits of debris orbiting the earth at this very moment, according to NASA. These are pieces that are at least half an inch in size. The number of other bits swirling about that are smaller is largely unknown. The European Space Agency estimates that the number of debris is closer to 900,000. …


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The YMCA was founded in London, England, in 1844, and came to the United States in 1851. During its long history, three sports were invented at the YMCA that are still played today; basketball, volleyball, and racquetball.

In 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian that had moved to the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, invented the game of basketball. Naismith was a graduate student at the time, and a faculty member at the school from one of his summer sessions had tasked the students with inventing a new game that would be easy to learn and easy to play indoors during the winter. Naismith came up with a game that used a soccer ball and two elevated goals. He made it illegal to move with the ball so it would establish teamwork during the game. The only thing he could find to make suitable goals were two peach baskets. …


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The smartphone you carry with you every day has been commonly referred to as a mobile phone, a cell phone, or a cellular phone. While the term “mobile phone” makes sense, why then was a phone ever called a “cellular phone”? To answer that question, we need to first go back to how things got started.

How It All Began

Before the advent of a phone that you could carry around, cellular had a biological or geological meaning and meant “consisting of cells” or “something that contains cavities.” While that definition still stands, the word “cellular” added a new technological meaning with a concept brought forth by two Bell Lab engineers in 1947 named Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young. They proposed a network composed of hexagonal cells to allow mobile phones in cars to operate from one spot to another seamlessly. …


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Bacon is one of America’s favorite foods, used in about every way imaginable and a staple at the breakfast table. But what about Canadian bacon? Where did it come from, why is it called that, and do Canadians eat it?

First, let’s define what Canadian bacon is. Canadian bacon is the cut of meat from the lean loin of a pig’s back, while bacon in America is cut from the pork belly. Canadian bacon is leaner and has less fat, while bacon in America has streaks of fat due to where the cut comes from. …


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The words carat and karat are similar-sounding words, but they refer to two entirely different things. The carat is the standard unit of measurement for the weight of gemstones, while a karat is used to indicate the proportion of gold in an alloy.

The weight of a carat is 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams, and its weight was standardized at an international conference in 1907. But why is it called a carat?

Hundreds of years ago, people had no standard for the weight of gems, so they used the carob seed of the carob tree as a base unit of weight. One seed was designated as weighing one carat. The weight of the gem could then be determined by the number of carob seeds it equaled in weight since, at the time, it was believed that carob seeds had a uniform weight. …


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Getting an “F” in school to represent failure or flunking hasn’t always been the case. At one point, an “E” was the lowest grade you could get.

Assigning a letter grade to schoolwork can be traced back to 1897 at Mount Holyoke College, an all-women's university in Massachusetts, which was the first to use such a system. The lowest grade you could receive at the college was an “E,” which meant “failure.” Only a year later, the college changed the “E” designation to an “F.” …


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The song “Auld Lang Syne” is commonly sung by party revelers as the clock ticks over to a new year, but why is that, and what does it mean?

“Auld Lang Syne” is a poem that was written by Robert Burns in Scotland in 1788. Burns actually sent the poem to the Scots Musical Museum, saying that it was from an old, traditional folk song, but he also indicated that he was the first to have written it down. The term “Auld Lang Syne” roughly translates to “for old times sake” or “old long since.”

Here’s the English translation of Burns’s…


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Peanut butter is an American staple and is eaten by 94% of U.S. households in almost every combination imaginable. Of course, the most common is the PB&J sandwich, but there is no end to its versatility. Here are some other great facts about that jar of peanut butter you probably have sitting in your pantry.

First off, peanut butter can’t be called peanut butter unless it is at least 90% peanuts. That goes for the chunky or creamy, as well as the natural or traditional types. A jar of peanut butter requires about 540 peanuts and is the leading use of peanuts in the United States. …


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It’s a common misconception that brown eggs are somehow better than white eggs. In fact, brown eggs aren’t any healthier than white eggs, but eggs, in general, are not all the same.

The color of an egg is dependent on what breed of hen a farm has. White eggs are usually laid by the leghorn hen breed, and brown eggs are laid by a breed related to the Rhode Island Red, but many different breeds can lay eggs. One way to tell what color egg a hen will lay is by checking out their earlobes. Yes, hens have earlobes. …

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