Secrets of Past Elections Revealed! (2000)

After every presidential election since 1984, Newsweek has printed the best gossipy stories, revealing all the whining and backbiting of America's greatest spectacle. Linda Rodriguez has gone through Newsweek's archives to pick out some memorable moments from recent elections. Today's topic is the endless election of 2000.

The 2000 election "“ the one that saw George W. Bush follow in his father's footsteps "“ didn't come to an official conclusion until December 12, 2000. Of course, everyone remembers that. But here are a few things you might not have known about the election that wouldn't end.

Just kidding

On the night of the election, former vice president Al Gore called George Bush to concede the hard-fought race, after several television networks had declared Bush the winner. But after Bush's lead in Florida shrunk to a mere 500 votes, with 99.5 percent of the precincts reporting, Gore called him back "“ to withdraw his concession. According to Newsweek, the conversation was somewhat tense: "Circumstances have changed dramatically since I first called you," Gore said. "The state of Florida is too close to call."

Bush: "Are you saying what I think you're saying? Let me make sure that I understand. You're calling back to retract that concession!"

Gore: "Don't get snippy about it!"

Hush up, Nader

Gore aides were so frustrated with Ralph Nader, whose presence in the race some believe cost Gore the election, that every time he appeared on television election night, a staffer would mute his voice.

New Age finds a new home

Al Gore's single most important advisor for at least part of the 2000 campaign was New Age guru and consummate feminist Naomi Wolf. Introduced to her through his daughter, Gore took Wolf's word as gospel. Wolf, for her part, told Gore that Americans felt betrayed by President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and were ashamed that they had voted for him. Gore, influenced by Wolf, then told staffers that he was paying a "psychic penalty" for Clinton's indiscretions. For that tenuous bit of psychobabble, as well as advice on how to become the "alpha male" in the country, the campaign paid Wolf around $15,000 a month.

Keeping the Gore campaign afloat

Gore's image suffered from his limp television presence, his somewhat dull demeanor, and his seeming inability to make voters realize that he really cared about becoming the—that it wasn't simply the next rung on his career ladder. The Gore campaign's ham-fisted attempts to personalize the candidate weren't helping matters. In the run up to the New Hampshire primary, for example, the campaign organized a photo-op canoe trip on the state's Connecticut River. Unfortunately, they had two problems: The first was that the candidate couldn't seem to relax in the canoe. The second was that the press later found out that Gore's boat was floated by millions of gallons of water pumped in the river just for that purpose, in order to avoid any awkward moments and stuck canoes.

Sweating to the oldies?

According to Newsweek, Gore sweats. A lot. Like, more than the average human. Like so much that during debates with Bush, he demanded that the temperature in the hall be kept as low as possible. Bush, entering the debate hall one night, joked, "Who's got my parka?"

Bush on Oprah

It was Laura Bush who convinced George Bush to go on Oprah, a move that she thought would help the then-candidate show the American people the personable, funny person he was. It worked, and stalled a popularity nosedive in the polls. His appearance on Oprah—kissing the cheek of the most powerful woman in America "“ led to appearances on Regis, on Leno, and later on MSNBC to chat with Brian Williams.

Previously: 1988, 1984, 1992, 1996

A Simple Trick For Figuring Out the Day of the Week For Any Given Date

People typically remember anniversaries in terms of dates and years, not days of the week. If you can’t remember whether you got married on a Saturday or Sunday, or don't know which day of the week you were born on, there’s a simple arithmetic-based math trick to help you figure out sans calendar, according to It's Okay To Be Smart host Joe Hanson.

Mathematician John Conway invented the so-called Doomsday Algorithm to calculate the day of the week for any date in history. It hinges on several sets of rules, including that a handful of certain dates always share the same day of the week, no matter what year it is. (Example: April 4, June 6, August 8, October 10, December 12, and the last day of February all fall on a Wednesday in 2018.) Using this day—called an “anchor day”—among other instructions, you can figure out, step by step, the very day of the week you’re searching for.

Learn more about the Doomsday Algorithm in the video below (and if it’s still stumping you, check out It’s OK to Be Smart’s handy cheat sheet here).

There May Be an Ancient Reason Why Your Dog Eats Poop

Dogs aren't known for their picky taste in food, but some pups go beyond the normal trash hunting and start rooting around in poop, whether it be their own or a friend's. Just why dogs exhibit this behavior is a scientific mystery. Only some dogs do it, and researchers aren't quite sure where the impulse comes from. But if your dog is a poop eater, it's nearly impossible to steer them away from their favorite feces.

A new study in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science, spotted by The Washington Post, presents a new theory for what scientists call "canine conspecific coprophagy," or dogs eating dog poop.

In online surveys about domestic dogs' poop-eating habits completed by thousands of pet owners, the researchers found no link between eating poop and a dog's sex, house training, compulsive behavior, or the style of mothering they received as puppies. However, they did find one common link between the poop eaters. Most tended to eat only poop that was less than two days old. According to their data, 85 percent of poop-eaters only go for the fresh stuff.

That timeline is important because it tracks with the lifespan of parasites. And this led the researchers to the following hypothesis: that eating poop is a holdover behavior from domestic dogs' ancestors, who may have had a decent reason to tuck into their friends' poop.

Since their poop has a high chance of containing intestinal parasites, wolves poop far from their dens. But if a sick wolf doesn't quite make it out of the den in time, they might do their business too close to home. A healthier wolf might eat this poop, but the parasite eggs wouldn't have hatched within the first day or two of the feces being dropped. Thus, the healthy wolf would carry the risk of infection away from the den, depositing the eggs they had consumed away in their own, subsequent bowel movements at an appropriate distance before the eggs had the chance to hatch into larvae and transmit the parasite to the pack.

Domestic dogs may just be enacting this behavior instinctively—only for them, there isn't as much danger of them picking up a parasite at home. However, the theory isn't foolproof. The surveys also found that so-called "greedy eaters" were more likely to eat feces than dogs who aren't quite so intense about food. So yes, it could still be about a poop-loving palate.

But really, it's much more pleasant to think about the behavior as a parasite-protection measure than our best pals foraging for a delicious fecal snack. 

[h/t The Washington Post]


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