Big Questions, History

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

Where Did High Heels Come From?

Caisey Robertson

High heels, though a staple of nearly every woman’s closet these days, aren’t exactly the most reasonably designed footwear.

Has a U.S. River Run Backwards Before?

Matt Soniak

Last month, the U.S.

How Are Shrunken Heads Made?

Matt Soniak

Head shrinking is rumored to have occurred all over the world, but documented only among a few indigenous South American tribes living in Peru and Ecuador.

Why is a Fake Doctor Called a Quack?

Matt Soniak

Quack, in the sense of a medical impostor, is a shortening of the old Dutch quacksalver (spelled kwakzalver in the modern Dutch), which originally meant a person who cures with home remedies, and then

What’s the Difference Between a Boat and a Ship?

Matt Soniak

In What Field Was Martin Luther King, Jr. a Doctor?

Matt Soniak