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Why is Connecticut Called the “Nutmeg State”?

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Technically, it’s not. Connecticut’s “official nickname”—there is such a thing—is the “Constitution State” because of historian John Fiske’s claim that the Fundamental Orders of 1638/1639 were the first written constitution in history.

But now to the issue at hand, the spiced sobriquet: Connecticut’s most popularly used unofficial nickname is that of the Nutmeg State. During the 18th and 19th centuries, several associations between the state and the spice emerged. Early sailors would bring the valuable seed back on their foreign voyages. Over time, Yankee peddlers developed a reputation for selling fake nutmegs made of carved wood.

The first recorded instance of this accusation was in a popular newspaper column of the mid-1800s, "The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville," which appeared in the Novascotian and featured the wry observations of a character created by Thomas Haliburton. In a column entitled “The Preacher that Wandered from His Text,” Samuel Slick accuses a fictional Captain John Allspice of Nahant of having "carried a cargo once there of fifty barrels of nutmegs: well, he put half a bushel of good ones into each end of the barrel, and the rest he filled up with wooden ones, so like the real thing, no soul could tell the difference until HE BIT ONE WITH HIS TEETH, and that he never thought of doing, until he was first BIT HIMSELF. Well, its been a standing joke with them southerners agin us ever since.”

Later, it was suggested that it was the confused Southerners to blame for these mix-ups. In a 1980 issue of Connecticut Magazine, Elizabeth Abbe suggested that Southern customers were unaware that nutmeg had to be grated, and instead wrongly thought that the Yankee merchants were trying to scam them.

She writes, "unknowing buyers may have failed to grate nutmegs, thinking they had to be cracked like a walnut. Nutmegs are wood, and bounce when struck. If southern customers did not grate them, they may very well have accused the Yankees of selling useless ‘wooden’ nutmegs, unaware that they wear down to a pungent powder to season pies and breads.”

Finally, it’s possible that no one tried to sell wooden nutmegs and no one accused anyone of selling wooden nutmegs but that the term simply derived as reference to the fictional Samuel Slick column as shorthand for how shrewd Connecticut residents were—suggesting that, like Captain John Allspice, they would have attempted such a stunt.

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

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