Big Questions, History

Was Singapore’s Independence an Accident?

Matt Soniak

In 1963, Singapore declared its independence from Great Britain.

What’s the World’s Longest Running Science Experiment?

Matt Soniak

Between our look at the longest prison sentences the other day and the 69-year-old pitch drop experiment finally getting caught on camera last month, reader Justin got curious and wrote in to ask, “wh

What Are the Chances There's Actually a Doctor in the House?

Matt Soniak

There's usually a doctor around in the movies, and they save the day. But what about in real life?

What's the Origin of "Kilroy Was Here"?

Matt Soniak

No Rest for the Wicked: What Becomes of Bad Guys' Bodies?

Matt Soniak

It took more than two weeks after Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed to find a grave for his body.

How Did Caesarean Sections Get Their Name?

Matt Soniak

Reader Alistair wrote in wondering about the supposed origins of C-Sections: “Was Julius Caesar really born this way and is it the origin of the medical procedure?”

Why Do We Knock on Wood?

Matt Soniak

Traditionally, when you speak of your own good fortune, you follow up with a quick knock on a piece of wood to keep your luck from going bad.

How Did Pabst Blue Ribbon Win its Blue Ribbon?

Matt Soniak

Before it was called PBR or even Pabst, the official beer of hipsters, old blue collar Wisconsinites and Frank Booth was brewed under the name Best Select, starting in 1875.

Can You Fire the Pope?

Matt Soniak

Reader Gabrielle wrote in to ask: “Can a pope be ousted? And has it happened before?”

How Do They Make the Pope Smoke?

Matt Soniak

When the Catholic cardinals meet to pick a new pope in the “papal conclave,” they’re sequestered in the Sistine Chapel so that their deliberations aren’t influenced by the outside world and that their

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