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How Big Is a Breadbox?

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"Is it bigger than a breadbox?"

Steve Allen is credited with coming up with this question during a 1953 episode of What's My Line, although his original phrasing was, ''Is it a large product if you accept as the norm something the size of a breadbox, let's say?''

"Is it bigger than a breadbox?" was used so much on the show from that point forward that it became a go-to query in guessing games like 20 Questions.

But how big is a breadbox?

I could find one breadbox and tell you that it's the platonic ideal, but that wouldn't be fair to you or the world's breadboxes. Given that we are in the midst of a STATISTICAL REVOLUTION, it's only appropriate that we use advanced mathematics (both addition and division) to solve this problem.

I scoured the Internet's biggest marketplaces to find 20 different breadboxes for this study. In statistical terms, 20 is what's referred to as "a super-huge sample size—maybe too big even for NASA and super computers and stuff."

I was careful to only include real-deal breadboxes. That means no "loaf keepers" or "International Adjustable Bread Keepers"—and certainly no "Bamboo Retro Style Bread Bins." I tallied the height, width, and depth of each of these breadboxes (over fifty-nine different numbers!) and ran them through a series of computer calculations to get the average.

Here it is, the statistics world's holy grail...The Size Of A Breadbox:

8.3375" (Height) x 16.4325" (Width) x 9.28375" (Depth)

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Big Questions
Why Does Turkey Make You Tired?
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Why do people have such a hard time staying awake after Thanksgiving dinner? Most people blame tryptophan, but that's not really the main culprit. And what is tryptophan, anyway?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumstick. So why does turkey get the rap as a one-way ticket to a nap?

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor:

Fats: That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.

Alcohol: What Homer Simpson called the cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems is also a central nervous system depressant.

Overeating: Same deal as fats. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big feast (the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat), so blood is sent to the digestive process system, leaving the brain a little tired.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Big Questions
How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
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Getty Images

The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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