Debra Ronca has written over 200 articles for HowStuffWorks on topics ranging from lion taming to tourist scams to whether chocolate is addictive. She is also a content developer and copy editor. She holds a B.A. in English from the College of New Jersey.

Recent Contributions

Termites cause $5 billion worth of damage in the U.S. every year. For a bug that's about the size of an ant, that's a lot of destruction.

By Debra Ronca

Opals are unusual and mysterious gems, which may be why there are stories about their supposed luck dating back to ancient times.

By Debra Ronca

If you spill some salt while you're cooking, you might fear a wave of oncoming bad luck. Why is toppling over some salt an omen of misfortune?

By Debra Ronca

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Plants absorb carbon dioxide and feed us oxygen. So it's pretty much a no-brainer: Plowing down our forests is a bad idea. What's driving the destruction? And is anything being done to stop it?

By Debra Ronca & Sascha Bos

Do you have a bushel of banana peppers from your garden, and nothing to do with them? Never fear. We have ways to use them all.

By Debra Ronca & Shaun Chavis

We often see people toss salt over their left shoulders while cooking, but where did this tradition come from?

By Debra Ronca

There are so many wives' tales about how to predict your baby's gender. Here's a closer look at one of the more popular: the ring test.

By Debra Ronca

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Sailors are known for superstitions about good and bad luck while sailing, including one about the name of the ship itself.

By Debra Ronca

It's an iconic holiday ritual: two kids fighting over a wishbone. Each struggles to crack the bone and get the bigger piece, ensuring good luck. What's behind this rather odd piece of folklore?

By Debra Ronca & Yara Simón

When you wish for continued good luck, you might find yourself rapping your knuckles on the nearest table or piece of wood. Why does knocking on wood have anything to do with luck?

By Debra Ronca & Desiree Bowie

Lucky horseshoes are meant to bring good fortune. But which way are you supposed to hang it, and why are there seven holes in a horseshoe? Read on to find out.

By Debra Ronca & Austin Henderson

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There are numerous superstitions that we unthinkingly adhere to, such as walking under a ladder. But why is it supposed to be so unlucky?

By Debra Ronca

Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo, Aileen Wuornos: all serial killers, and three of many with 13 letters in their names. Coincidence or is there a link between murder and the maligned number 13?

By Debra Ronca

Many creative people earn money over time in the form of royalties. Of course that still counts as income, so the IRS expects money over that time, too.

By Debra Ronca

From intense craving to shame over loss of control — this is the life of the chocoholic. Is the term chocoholic just a joke, or does science say there's something to it?

By Debra Ronca

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Spend all of your time at a 9-to-5 job dreaming of adventure? Then, maybe it's time you check out our list of 10 jobs that will get you out of the office and into something unforgettable.

By Debra Ronca

Tattoos used to be taboo. But today nearly one in three people has one. And some people are getting them for reasons other than to decorate their bodies.

By Debra Ronca & Sarah Gleim

If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you'll need high-efficiency detergent -- or else you might find a mountain of suds in your laundry room. Which brands are best?

By Alia Hoyt & Debra Ronca

Don't spend all the money you received in a settlement just yet; you probably have to pay taxes on it.

By Debra Ronca

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Want to make money playing video games? Or earn a living eating food or wearing shoes? It's possible if you become a product tester. Check out these 10 cool product tester jobs.

By Debra Ronca

The story of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack, is one of the most enduring tall tales in North America. Most of us assume that the character is a fictional creation, but was he actually based on a real person?

By Debra Ronca & Melanie Radzicki McManus

We know that humans are largely responsible for fueling global warming with our carbon emissions. So what if we could seize all that carbon and squirrel it away in a safe place? Well, we can. It's just hard and really expensive.

By Debra Ronca & Mark Mancini

Those green and brown stains in your toilet aren't your fault. They got there through the minerals in your water. The question is, how do you make them disappear?

By Debra Ronca

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Perhaps because it is such a rare occurrence, when a baby is born with a piece of the amniotic sac still attached to its head or face, it's seen as a sign of good luck in many cultures.

By Debra Ronca

In the classic film "Cool Hand Luke," the title character gulps down 50 hard-boiled eggs in less than an hour. Is this a trick you can (or should) try at home?

By Debra Ronca