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How Did You Know Natt Supab?

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I'm happy to announce a winner to our last How Did You Know? trivia hunt. First-timer Natt Supab was the first of dozens who had all the correct answers. Congrats Natt! I'll post her pic and bio below, and her answers after the jump. Our Random Winner this month is Meaghin Burke, who turned in the answers a full two hours and 20 minutes after the deadline. So it always pays to play whether you're the first or the 50th!
See everyone back for another round on the 24th of March when Natt will be looking to defend the title and we'll be giving away even bigger prizes.

Wow, really?! No joke?! I am thrilled and astonished, in equal parts, to emerge victorious in my first attempt at HDYK? I am a recent graduate of Harvey Mudd College (Biology '08, baby!) and an even more recent mental_floss devotee. I wish I had discovered the site much earlier in my aimless (and fruitless) job-searching days -- it brings me much joy (Thanks!).

It must be said, I couldn't have figured out Day 2 without the help of some clever friends (credit given below) and I think I'll collaborate with somebody for the next puzzle. After all, no (wo)man is an island.


Final Answer

I'm a Paleontologist (David Schwimmer plays Ross Gellar on Friends, who is a paleontologist) who wrote a book called Dinosaurs (generic name for dimorphodon and gorgosaurus) Heresies (plural of Heresy). I've also penned a novel called Raptor (from "prorate," "rap" is a music genre) Red. My Name is Robert T. Bakker.

Day 1

1. NewsRadio (imdb'd Andy Dick, perused the page until I found NewsRadio, with Dave Foley, who I recognized as the other guy in the clip)
2. Friends (knew)
3. MacGyver (knew)
4. Bewitched (knew)
5. Sports Night (googled the quote "Isaac has a highly developed sense of right and wrong and he is hip to my battle plan")
6. Emily's Reasons Why Not (imdb'd Heather Graham, looked for TV series, made best guess)
7. Parker Lewis Can't Lose (googled "nun when she misplaced his lunch" and got this article:

Day 2

1. Lion (from saLutatION)
2. Mule (from voLUME)
3. Raptor (from PRORATe) [thanks, Darren!]
4. Snail (from SaLutAtIoN)
5. Ant (from sAluTatioN)
6. Parrot (from PRORATe) [thanks, Christina!]
7. Otter (from TORTE)
8. Mole (from vOLuME)
9. Tuna (from salUTAtioN)
10. Rat (from proRATe)

I struggled on this one quite a bit, but with "a little help from my friends" I prevailed! Special thanks to Sonia for the extra inspiration to keep going!

Day 3

1. Scrantonicity (asked a friend [thanks, Tricia!] who watches "The Office")
2. The Four Peters (SETH GREEN ROCKS. ahem. I googled "Robot Chicken fake band" and "Family Guy fake band" and got to this page: ...was very disappointed that it was NOT Dingos Ate My Baby or DuJour!)
3. Stillwater (recognized Billy Crudup in Almost Famous, Wiki'ed it)
4. Spinal Tap (vaguely associated the image with the movie, This is Spinal Tap, and found the name within the camouflage)
5. The Way-Outs (lots and lots of googling until I googled "Flintstones fake band," which should've been an obvious choice -_- and got to this forum:
6. Global Heresy (recognized Alicia Silverstone, imdb's "aka Rock my World" caught my eye, and viola!)

Day 4

1. Dodo bird (knew. Quick google image search confirmed.)
2. Toolache Wallaby (thought it looked like a kangaroo, so googled "extinct marsupials" and found this wiki and double-checked by looking at images on google; got this page
3. Pig-Footed Bandicoot (once again, Wiki's "extinct marsupials" page proved helpful
4. Dimorphodon (got desperate enough to use a reverse image search engine [my secret weapon!] which yielded
5. Gorgosaurus libratus (same method as for the dimorphodon; got to

Day 5

I'm a Paleontologist (David Schwimmer plays Ross Gellar on Friends, who is a paleontologist) who wrote a book called Dinosaurs (generic name for dimorphodon and gorgosaurus) Heresies (plural of Heresy). I've also penned a novel called Raptor (from "prorate," "rap" is a music genre) Red. My Name is Robert T. Bakker.

Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
A Chinese Museum Is Offering Cash to Whoever Can Decipher These 3000-Year-Old Inscriptions

During the 19th century, farmers in China’s Henan Province began discovering oracle bones—engraved ox scapulae and tortoise shells used by Shang Dynasty leaders for record-keeping and divination purposes—while plowing their fields. More bones were excavated in subsequent years, and their inscriptions were revealed to be the earliest known form of systematic writing in East Asia. But over the decades, scholars still haven’t come close to cracking half of the mysterious script’s roughly 5000 characters—which is why one Chinese museum is asking member of the public for help, in exchange for a generous cash reward.

As Atlas Obscura reports, the National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan Province has offered to pay citizen researchers about $15,000 for each unknown character translated, and $7500 if they provide a disputed character’s definitive meaning. Submissions must be supported with evidence, and reviewed by at least two language specialists.

The museum began farming out their oracle bone translation efforts in Fall 2016. The costly ongoing project has hit a stalemate, and scholars hope that the public’s collective smarts—combined with new advances in technology, including cloud computing and big data—will yield new information and save them research money.

As of today, more than 200,000 oracle bones have been discovered—around 50,000 of which bear text—so scholars still have a lot to learn about the Shang Dynasty. Many of the ancient script's characters are difficult to verify, as they represent places and people from long ago. However, decoding even just one character could lead to a substantial breakthrough, experts say: "If we interpret a noun or a verb, it can bring many scripts on oracle bones to life, and we can understand ancient history better,” Chinese history professor Zhu Yanmin told the South China Morning Post.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

6 Eponyms Named After the Wrong Person
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Salmonella species growing on agar.

Having something named after you is the ultimate accomplishment for any inventor, mathematician, scientist, or researcher. Unfortunately, the credit for an invention or discovery does not always go to the correct person—senior colleagues sometimes snatch the glory, fakers pull the wool over people's eyes, or the fickle general public just latches onto the wrong name.


In 1885, while investigating common livestock diseases at the Bureau of Animal Industry in Washington, D.C., pathologist Theobald Smith first isolated the salmonella bacteria in pigs suffering from hog cholera. Smith’s research finally identified the bacteria responsible for one of the most common causes of food poisoning in humans. Unfortunately, Smith’s limelight-grabbing supervisor, Daniel E. Salmon, insisted on taking sole credit for the discovery. As a result, the bacteria was named after him. Don’t feel too sorry for Theobald Smith, though: He soon emerged from Salmon’s shadow, going on to make the important discovery that ticks could be a vector in the spread of disease, among other achievements.


An etching of Amerigo Vespucci
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1451–1512) claimed to have made numerous voyages to the New World, the first in 1497, before Columbus. Textual evidence suggests Vespucci did take part in a number of expeditions across the Atlantic, but generally does not support the idea that he set eyes on the New World before Columbus. Nevertheless, Vespucci’s accounts of his voyages—which today read as far-fetched—were hugely popular and translated into many languages. As a result, when German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was drawing his map of the Novus Mundi (or New World) in 1507 he marked it with the name "America" in Vespucci’s honor. He later regretted the choice, omitting the name from future maps, but it was too late, and the name stuck.


A black and white image of young women wearing bloomers
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Dress reform became a big issue in mid-19th century America, when women were restricted by long, heavy skirts that dragged in the mud and made any sort of physical activity difficult. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Miller was inspired by traditional Turkish dress to begin wearing loose trousers gathered at the ankle underneath a shorter skirt. Miller’s new outfit immediately caused a splash, with some decrying it as scandalous and others inspired to adopt the garb.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was editor of the women’s temperance journal The Lily, and she took to copying Miller’s style of dress. She was so impressed with the new freedom it gave her that she began promoting the “reform dress” in her magazine, printing patterns so others might make their own. Bloomer sported the dress when she spoke at events and soon the press began to associate the outfit with her, dubbing it “Bloomer’s costume.” The name stuck.


Execution machines had been known prior to the French Revolution, but they were refined after Paris physician and politician Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin suggested they might be a more humane form of execution than the usual methods (hanging, burning alive, etc.). The first guillotine was actually designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and was known as a louisette. The quick and efficient machine was quickly adopted as the main method of execution in revolutionary France, and as the bodies piled up the public began to refer to it as la guillotine, for the man who first suggested its use. Guillotin was very distressed at the association, and when he died in 1814 his family asked the French government to change the name of the hated machine. The government refused and so the family changed their name instead to escape the dreadful association.


Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

The Bechdel Test is a tool to highlight gender inequality in film, television, and fiction. The idea is that in order to pass the test, the movie, show, or book in question must include at least one scene in which two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man. The test was popularized by the cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and has since become known by her name. However, Bechdel asserts that the idea originated with her friend Lisa Wallace (and was also inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf), and she would prefer for it to be known as the Bechdel-Wallace test.


Influential sociologist Robert K. Merton suggested the idea of the “Matthew Effect” in a 1968 paper noting that senior colleagues who are already famous tend to get the credit for their junior colleagues’ discoveries. (Merton named his phenomenon [PDF] after the parable of talents in the Gospel of Matthew, in which wise servants invest money their master has given them.)

Merton was a well-respected academic, and when he was due to retire in 1979, a book of essays celebrating his work was proposed. One person who contributed an essay was University of Chicago professor of statistics Stephen Stigler, who had corresponded with Merton about his ideas. Stigler decided to pen an essay that celebrated and proved Merton’s theory. As a result, he took Merton’s idea and created Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, which states that “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer”—the joke being that Stigler himself was taking Merton’s own theory and naming it after himself. To further prove the rule, the “new” law has been adopted by the academic community, and a number of papers and articles have since been written on "Stigler’s Law."


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