Dave Roos

Dave Roos

Contributing Writer

Dave is a freelance journalist who has contributed hundreds of articles to HowStuffWorks since 2007 reporting on every topic under the sun: history, culture, politics, economics, technology, religion and more. He’s also a regular contributor to History.com and a writer/researcher for Stuff You Should Know.

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dave attended Duke University where he earned a B.A. in comparative religious studies and more importantly met his amazing wife Mandy. They have three kids and live in Boise, Idaho.


Recent Contributions

Apparently, Kansas is the state whose name is mispronounced.

By Dave Roos

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was a ruthless man determined to force his way into the lucrative spice routes of India. But without any valuable gifts to trade for the spices, the whole trip took a horrible turn.

By Dave Roos

We can easily picture a group of beard-and-toga geniuses hunched over scrolls inside a magnificent colonnaded hall. But what was the real Library of Alexandria like? And why do some scholars doubt its existence?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

The @ sign is so much a part of the internet that it may surprise you to know it's been around for at least 1,500 years.

By Dave Roos

In the 1300s, Mali's Mansa Musa set out for Mecca with an entourage of 60,000 people bearing thousands of pounds of gold. So, where did all that gold come from? And what would that be worth today?

By Dave Roos

"The unexamined life," said Socrates, "is not worth living." So what was the life of this Athenian sage really like?

By Dave Roos

Some 50,000 people jammed in an area one-hundredth of a square mile. An urban planning nightmare, it was home to gangs, factories and vibrant nightlife. How did it start, and what caused it to end?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

IVR, or interactive voice response, is a new technology that many of us use everyday. Learn more about IVR in this article.

By Dave Roos

Statesman, military leader and Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most fascinating characters in European history and his height was the least of it.

By Dave Roos

It's the oldest (and probably most obscure) monotheistic religion. So, how did it influence so many of the better-known ones? And will Zoroastrianism survive?

By Dave Roos

Shabbat is the holiday that is central to Jewish life, occurring every Friday at sunset to Saturday night. But what is it and how is it observed?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

In TV shows and movies, sometimes an angel of death appears to tell some unfortunate soul their time on Earth is over. But where did this idea come from? And what if you tell the angel, "I'm not ready?"

By Dave Roos

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl is best-known for penning "Man's Search for Meaning," after surviving three years in Nazi concentration camps. This book has been a beacon of hope to millions over the years.

By Dave Roos

This very famous castle (and the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland) was built for just one person, often called Mad King Ludwig. But was he really insane or just slandered by his enemies?

By Dave Roos

Members of the Osage Tribe were some of the richest people on Earth around 1920. Then they started dying, mysteriously. Who was killing them and what did oil have to do with it?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

Many Christians believe Jesus Christ will return to Earth to judge and rule it; they refer to it as the Second Coming. For centuries people have hoped it would happen in their lifetimes. So when — if ever — will it take place?

By Dave Roos

Before the advent of gunpowder, enemy combatants used a powerful siege weapon called a trebuchet to forcefully launch projectiles — sometimes a large stone, a decapitated human head or a dead horse — at intended targets.

By Dave Roos

Today she is widely known for her beauty and her seductive ways, but scholars say we've been hoodwinked by propaganda written by her enemies. So what was the real Cleopatra like? And do we know her ethnicity?

By Dave Roos

Scientists once thought it was a land bridge between Asia and Africa. Occultists saw it as a place where gigantic humans lived who were once hermaphroditic and laid eggs. Yep, it's got a colorful story.

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

Pontius Pilate is best known in the Bible as the Roman governor who gave in to the crowd's demands to have Jesus executed. But contemporary historians don't have much good to say about him either.

By Dave Roos

What's the point of meditation? Are all Buddhists vegetarians and pacifists? What do we misunderstand about Karma? Find out more about Buddhism in our article.

By Dave Roos

The formation of the 12 tribes of Israel is one of the foundational narratives of the Bible. But nowadays, a new picture of the 12 tribes has emerged.

By Dave Roos

While 33 is often the "go-to" answer to the question of how old was Jesus when he died, many scholars doubt that age is accurate.

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

He makes just one brief appearance in Genesis, yet he's been seen as a precursor of Jesus Christ. What was he really and how did he become associated with Jesus?

By Dave Roos

Some of the most paradoxical, profound words that Jesus spoke can be contained within these eight beatitudes. So what do they really mean?

By Dave Roos