Dave Roos

Contributing Writer

Dave is a freelance journalist who has contributed hundreds of articles to HowStuffWorks since 2007, with a specialty in personal finance, economics and business. Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he attended Duke University where he earned the B.A. in comparative religious studies that has served him so well.

Dave began freelancing when he and his wife moved to Mexico in 2003, publishing articles about Mexican food and culture in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. Nearly 15 years and three kids later, Dave and his family recently moved back to Mexico and just might stay a while.

Recent Contributions

Why Marcus Aurelius Matters, in 5 of His Classic Quotes

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered today, not so much for his conquests and governance but for a short, profound book he wrote called 'Meditations.' We give you a peek inside this ancient wisdom.

African King Mansa Musa Was Even Richer Than Jeff Bezos, Some Say

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?

How Sparta Turned Its Men Into Super-Soldiers – and Dancers

Movies like '300' have popularized the image of ancient Spartans as brutal super-warriors. But that's only part of the story: They had a softer side, too, for dancing and crafts. And their women had an unusual amount of freedom.

The Treaty of Versailles: Did the End of WWI Cause the Start of WWII?

In 1919, 30 nations met to formulate the Treaty of Versailles, the treaty to end World War 1. The Allied nations wanted Germany to pay huge fines and take responsibility for starting the war. But were the terms too harsh?

How Much Can You Get In Unemployment Benefits?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in huge increases of Americans filing for unemployment benefits. But why do the amounts given vary so much across states? And can states run out of money?

A Short History of Hell

In the popular imagination, hell is depicted as a place of fire, presided over by Satan dressed in red and holding a pitchfork. But depictions of hell have actually evolved over time.

Self-Quarantine Might Feel Like House Arrest, But It's Not

On the advice or orders of your elected leaders, you've been 'sheltering in place' and limiting outside activities. It's starting to feel like you're on house arrest, just without the ankle bracelet. But how similar is it really?

Why Is 'Intersectionality' So Controversial?

Intersectionality was originally a legal way to recognize that people who were members of more than one identity group deserved equal treatment. But critics have charged that intersectionality has fostered a sort of 'oppression Olympics.'

6 Things Mormons Wish Non-Mormons Knew About Their Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more widely known as the Mormon church, can generate a lot of questions: Is there really special underwear? Is it a cult? We bust some myths.

Who Was the Real Mary Magdalene?

She's been portrayed as repentant prostitute, the secret wife of Jesus, a demon-haunted woman and also the apostle to the apostles. So, who was Mary Magdalene really?

How Much Power Does Queen Elizabeth Really Have?

She can't shout 'Off with his head!' and have her order carried out. But the queen still has some special powers, most of which she's careful not to use.

How to Avoid Being Evicted From Your Home

You've lost your job and gotten behind with your rent. You know your landlord is looking for you. What's the best way to handle this and avoid eviction?

Why Is the U.S. Dollar the World's Currency?

Around the world, people convert their money into U.S. dollars for safety, making it the de facto global currency. But how did the U.S. dollar become so mighty and could it ever be replaced?

What Is the Rasta Movement All About?

It started out as a small movement in Jamaica that went worldwide with the popularity of reggae music. Today you can find Rastafarians on every continent. But what is Rastafari really all about?

How Gold Prices Work and Should You Buy Some?

In challenging economic times, people often turn to gold as a hedge against a falling stock market. But is this a good idea?

What Causes Stock Market Trading to Halt?

During volatile periods in stock markets, exchanges will often employ "circuit breakers" to keep stock prices from falling too far too fast. So how do these work around the world?

What's the Secret Behind the Number 666?

These three numbers are a favorite of horror movies dealing with the occult. But where did they come from, and what or whom do they really refer to?

How the Pledge of Allegiance Went from Marketing Ploy to Classroom Staple

The Pledge of Allegiance started as just part of a marketing campaign to sell flags. But along the way, it became something much much bigger.

10 Tips That Make Working From Home So Much Better

If you're new to working from home, it might not be the dream you were expecting. But we have 10 helpful tips to make your teleworking days more productive.

You Know These 7 Supreme Court Cases by Name, But What Did They Decide?

Some Supreme Court cases are so well known they're often referred to by their case names (ever heard of Roe v. Wade?) But what were the cases really about and what did they decide?