HowStuffWorks Newsletter Quiz

By: Coryn Briere  | 

Sept. 18, 2021

1. How is decaf coffee made?

  • Coffee beans have been genetically engineered to grow caffeine-free.
  • Planters used artificial selection to eliminate caffeine producers in coffee plants.
  • Coffee beans are treated chemically to strip away the caffeine.
  • Decaf plants already existed in nature and did not require any intervention.

Coffee beans are treated chemically, usually by soaking them in ethyl acetate or methylene chloride (also an ingredient in paint remover). This harsh chemical bath strips out both the beans' caffeine and much of their flavor. U.K. company Tropic Biosciences is currently developing a coffee bean engineered to grow caffeine-free. CRISPR coffee promises a jitter-free cup of Joe, with all the roasty goodness of full-caf.


Learn More About CRISPR: Spicy Tomatoes, Hangover-proof Wine: Is There Anything CRISPR Can't Do?

2. Sriracha is one international hot sauce that has gone mainstream. Where did it originate?

  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • India
  • Jamaica

This sauce was developed in the 1930s in the town of Si Racha. It's most often used by Thai people as a seafood dipping sauce.

You Might Like: Everyone Has a Favorite - Which Hot Sauce Are You?

3. True or false: When you hold up the conch shell to your ear, the sound you hear is actually the ambient noise around you.

True. Conch shells are great at amplifying noise. Unfortunately, the conch's status as a tasty delicacy (not to mention its collectible shell) makes it at risk for overfishing, a fact compounded by the fine distinction between the thin-lipped juvenile (which should not be fished) and the thicker-lipped adult.

Read More: Should You Take a Conch Shell From the Beach?

4. Hot peppers contain capsaicinoids. Who might benefit from this, medically?

  • People with severe seasonal allergies
  • Cancer patients
  • Recovering drug addicts

Capsaicinoids trigger endorphin and dopamine release, which help ease the effects of drug withdrawal. Sometimes people get addicted to hot sauce because of those dopamine releases.

You Might LIke: Without Frank's RedHot There'd Be No Buffalo Wings

5. The Dalai Lama famously said, "I believe that the purpose of life is _________."

  • To better yourself
  • To be happy
  • To be honorable
  • To live it

According to the Four Noble Truths taught by Buddha, our existence is mired in suffering — emotional suffering, psychological suffering, physical suffering. The only way to free yourself from this suffering and obtain happiness is by ridding yourself of the source of all suffering, which is desire and attachment. Sounds easy, right?

Read More: 5 Spiritual Lessons From the Dalai Lama

6. In the phonetic alphabet (Alfa, Bravo, Charlie), what word represents "W."

  • Walnut
  • Wafer
  • Wisdom
  • Whiskey

The phonetic alphabet has changed over the years. Learn where the phonetic alphabet came from and how it evolved into the alphabet we know today.

Read More: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie: Where Did the Phonetic Alphabet Come From?

Missed checking a previous week's quiz? We've added the answers to a bunch of those, too, below.


Sept. 11, 2021

1. Which statement is not true about the mantis shrimp?

  • They aren't actually shrimp.
  • Only a few species of mantis shrimp have been observed.
  • They have the most complex and perceptive eyes in the animal kingdom.
  • They can administer a blow with enough force to crush aquarium glass.

There are around 450 species of mantis shrimp, which aren't actually classified as "shrimp." Mantis shrimp are stomatopods and have been around for nearly 400 million years, making them older than dinosaurs.


Learn more:

2. True or false: Bob Ross had naturally straight hair.

True: When Ross was a struggling painter, he tried to save money by letting his hair grow out and getting a perm. By the time he was successful, the 'do had become part of his company's logo. Annette Kowalski, Ross' longtime business manager, told NPR that "he could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that."

Read more:

3. What was the costliest hurricane to hit North America?

  • Hurricane Harvey
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • Hurricane Maria

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused around $161B in damage. Hurricane Harvey (2017, $121B), Maria (2017, $91B), and Sandy (2012, $65B) are runner ups.

Read more:

4. Based on factors like the number of cat adoptions, pet stores, and veterinarians per capita, what is the cat-friendliest city in the United States?

  • Atlanta
  • New Orleans
  • Miami
  • Los Angeles

The most cat-friendly city is Miami, though Atlanta scores highly as well. New Orleans and Los Angeles are among the top 10 worst cities for cats.

Read more:

5. True or false: In Vegas casinos, the penalty for gambling with asymmetric dice does not include jail time, only up to $10,000 in fines.

False. Under Nevada law, the penalty would include one to five years in prison on top of up to $10,000 in fines. Interestingly, dice haven't always resembled what we find in casinos nowadays and weren't particularly "random." Now, why would anyone make asymmetrical dice?

Read more:

6. What percentage of new cars sold in the U.S. come with three pedals and a stick shift?

  • 1 percent
  • 4 percent
  • 10 percent
  • 22 percent

In 2021, only around 1 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. came with three pedals and a stick shift. Why is stick shift on the decline?

Read more:


Sept. 4, 2021

1. Approximately how much physical money is in the United States?

  • $30.5 million
  • $12.8 billion
  • $2.1 trillion
  • $1.9 quadrillion

According to estimates from March 2021, the total amount of physical currency in the U.S. is $2.1 trillion.


Read More: How Much Actual Money Is There in the World?

2. True or false: Your hands spread significantly more germs when they are damp than when they are dry.

True. Your hands spread 1,000 times more germs when they are damp than when they are dry [source: Smith and Lokhorst]. This is because water transfers easily between surfaces and because bacteria thrive in damp environments.

You Might Like: Has COVID-19 Killed the Handshake?

3. True or false: Ancient Celts and Egyptians wore dreadlocks.

False. Both myths are creative interpretations of ancient artwork. Some Celtic women wore their hair in braids. Many elite Egyptians shaved their heads and wore headdresses made of braided human hair.

Read More: How Dreadlocks Work

4. True or false: We will eventually need booster shots for COVID because immune responses to the vaccine decrease over time.

True. Ongoing research will tell us what that magic window is. Recently, a team of Israeli scientists published a seven months-long study of COVID-19 immunity in individuals who had received the Pfizer vaccine. They found that over that time, the patients' resistance to infection dropped from 95 percent to 39 percent. However, they also determined that vaccinated people remained more than 90 percent protected from severe disease.

Learn More: What Are Booster Shots, and When Do You Need Them?

5. True or false: A study involving four different wines and cheeses found that all of the wines tasted better after eating cheese.

True. The study found that all of the wines tasted better after eating cheese – less astringent and sour and in the case of the Madiran, for example, the fruity flavor lasted longer. When having a plate of assorted cheeses, the wine will probably taste better no matter which one they choose

Enjoy More: Happy Hour Alert: Cheese Really Improves the Taste of Wine

6. To make cheese, all you need are three ingredients: milk, a live microbial culture including rennet and ______.

  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Heavy cream

Salt is an essential ingredient to making cheese. It is a natural preservative and helps prepare the cheese for aging. Additionally, it adds flavor, helps with moisture control, and is a key ingredient in the development of a good rind.

Further Reading: What Are the Different Types of Cheese?


Aug. 28, 2021

1. True or false: The average size of new homes has been steadily increasing since 2015 in the United States.

False. The average size of new homes has been steadily shrinking since 2015, when a new single-family home averaged 2,740 square feet (255 square meters). The NAHB believes that the smaller overall sizes reflect a trend of builders adding more entry-level homes to the market.


Read More: How Much Does It Cost to Build a House in the U.S.?

2. A giant sacrificial object is burned every year during Santa Fe's Zozobra. What does this object resemble?

  • A scarecrow
  • A ghostly "boogeyman"
  • A heart
  • The Grim Reaper

The sacrificial subject of this fiery ritual is a giant, animated effigy known affectionately as Zozobra or Old Man Gloom, and residents have been cheering on his flaming demise for almost a century. The effigy resembles a half-ghost half-monster.

Read More: Zozobra: Santa Fe's Yearly Incineration of Sorrows

3. True or false: Birds eat stones to help them digest food. These stones travel with the food through the digestive tract to help break food down during its journey.

False. Swallowed stones end up in the gizzard, which is a specialized, very muscular stomach attached to the "true stomach." These tiny stones help in the grinding of plant material — notoriously hard work, as the cellulose that makes up plant cells is tough and difficult to break down with stomach acids alone. After the gizzard has done its job, the food is passed back into the other stomach to be digested further. In the gizzard, gastroliths often eventually become rounded and smooth, and birds will sometimes regurgitate these, replacing them with sharper stones.

Read More: Why Some Animals Eat Rocks to Aid in Digestion

4. In the Victorian era, if a young lady saw a gentleman she knew out in public and recognized him, how must he then respond?

  • By touching the brim of his hat
  • By lifting his hat
  • By bowing in her direction
  • By giving a nod

If the young woman did see a gentleman friend and felt she couldn't ignore him, she would have to take the initiative and offer her hand. The gentleman had to wait for the lady to recognize him before lifting his hat (not simply touching the brim), and he had to use the hand farthest from her. If she offered her hand, the gentleman had to turn to walk with the lady instead of stopping. And above all else, the conversation itself had to be reserved: Cassell's dictates, "Strict reticence of speech and conduct should be observed in public," without "loud talking" or "animated discussions."

Take the Full Quiz: Prim, Proper and Preposterous: The Victorian Etiquette Quiz

5. True or false: In the Victorian era, a widow was expected to don full mourning dress (deep black) for two years.

True. Mourning attire was a big deal in Victorian times. A widow was expected to wear deep black for two years; in the last six months, she could go into "half-mourning," which meant adding some white, gray or lavender colors alongside the black. Some widows, like Queen Victoria, wore mourning clothes for the rest of their lives.

You Might Like: 10 Ridiculous Victorian Etiquette Rules


Aug. 21, 2021

1. What were Elvis Presley's famous last words?

  • "I have left the building."
  • "I'm going to the bathroom to read."
  • "Let's have steak for dinner."

Presley's fiancé later released a memoir detailing the circumstances of his death in 1977. After having a hard time sleeping, he told her he was going to the bathroom to read, where he famously died.


Take Our Quiz: Say What? The Famous Last Words Quiz

2. How many states does the Appalachian Trail, North America's most famous hiking route, stretch across?

  • 6
  • 14
  • 26
  • 35

The Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states. The trail stretches over 2,189 mountainous miles (3,520 kilometers) from Georgia to Maine. In any given year, some 3 million people hike on it, including more than 3,000 "thru-hikers" who go the entire distance, either in one stretch or in segments over multiple years.

Read more: How North America's Most Famous Hiking Trail Got Its Start

3. Which of the following calendars is based off of the solar year, i.e., the time it takes for the Earth to revolve around the sun, rather than by the phases of the moon?

  • Traditional Chinese calendar
  • Western (Gregorian) Calendar
  • Islamic (Hijrī) Calendar
  • Jewish (Hebrew) Calendar

Much of the world today follows the Gregorian solar calendar, which has its origins in medieval Western Christianity. Conversely, the Islamic calendar or Hijrī, is a lunar calendar. There are 12 months in the Hijrī calendar, with each month being 29 or 30 days long. It would be over 32 to 33 years that the lunar calendar will completely cycle the solar calendar. That's why the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan can fall in October one year, and a few years later it would be in July. It also means that the Islamic New Year is never on the same date and would also depend on the sighting of the moon.

You might like: Muslims Welcome the Islamic New Year 1443 in 2021

4. True or false: A systematic review of 237 studies on blood flow restriction training found that 78 percent reported a "significant" increase in muscle strength compared to a control group.

True. Once blood is allowed back into the muscles, your body will work extra hard to repair them, stimulating growth and strengthening. Essentially, this mimics the effects of very intense exercise using a much lower workload.

Learn more: Why Athletes Love Blood Flow Restriction Training

5. Who is most likely to be injured by turbulence on a commercial flight?

  • Pilots and co-pilots
  • Middle seat passengers
  • Aisle seat passengers
  • Flight attendants

Inflight turbulence is more than a mere nuisance. The FAA reports that 58 people are injured by turbulence on airplanes every year while not wearing their seat belts. And most aren't ticket-holding passengers, either. Of the 298 serious injuries from turbulence that the FAA recorded from 1980 to 2008, 184 involved flight attendants. Most of the turbulence happens at 30,000 feet or higher.

Read more: If Cars Have Shoulder Seat Belts, Why Not Airplanes?

6. If your last name was "Hitch" and your family collectively sent a holiday card to extended family, your sign off would be, "Season's greetings from the ______."

  • Hitchs
  • Hitches
  • Hitch's
  • Hitchs'

To make a name plural, simply add an "s" (for names ending in a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, y) or an "es" (for names ending in s, x, z, ch, sh). No apostrophe needed.

Read more: 4 Ways Apostrophes Are Mangled Every Day


Aug. 14, 2021

1. A survey by Bankrate found that 60 percent of U.S. adults have lent money at some point to a loved one. How many people reported that the experience hurt their relationship?

  • 7 percent
  • 21 percent
  • 63 percent

Additionally, 37 percent said they lost money. Why do people fail to pay back those personal loans?


Read more: What to Do When a Friend Owes You Money

2. True or false: Employers in the United States can legally require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the office.

True. The new guidance from EEOC says that employers can legally require employees get a COVID-19 vaccine before they re-enter a physical workplace if they follow requirements to provide alternative arrangements for employees who are either unable to get vaccinated due to medical reasons or have religious objections.

Learn more: Can My Employer Force Me to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

3. What is a Lazarus species?

  • A species that has remained virtually unchanged superficially for millions of years.
  • A species that was thought to be extinct, only to be discovered at a later date.
  • A species that mimics the resemblance of other organisms or objects.

A species that appears to closely resemble their ancestors are often referred to as "living fossils" and species that take on the appearance of other organisms or objects are described as "mimetic."Lazarus species, on the other hand, refer to organisms thought to be extinct, or absent from the fossil record after showing up for several geologic periods. Lazarus is a reference from the Bible, who was raised from the dead by Jesus.

Dig In: Meet 5 Lazarus Species, Animals Once Presumed Extinct, But Alive and Well

4. Myth or fact: Extremely spicy food can damage your taste buds.

Myth. Spicy foods do not physically damage your taste buds. When you're chowing down a spicy pepper, the chemical responsible for the hotness — capsaicin — sends a signal to your brain in the same way it would if there was an actual fire on your tongue. That's why the brain, which takes these things quite literally, sets off the body's sprinkler system. Your heart starts racing, firing up that "fight-or-flight" mechanism. 

Fire up more: Can Spicy Food Really Burn Out Taste Buds?

5. What are the hottest peppers in the world?

  • Ghost peppers
  • Carolina Reaper
  • Trinidad Scorpion
  • Red Savina habanero

The honor for hottest pepper in the world officially belongs to the Carolina Reaper, which earned its title — beating out a pepper called the Trinidad Scorpion — in 2013. Carolina Reapers rate 2.2 million on the Scoville heat scale.

More Hot Stuff: Is the Carolina Reaper the World's Hottest Pepper?

Missed checking a previous week's quiz? We've added the answers to a bunch of those, too, below.


Aug. 7, 2021

1. Myth or fact: Charging your cell phone overnight damages the battery, which reduces their total capacity.

In a survey of 350 people across the U.S., more than half of poll respondents believed that leaving their cell phones plugged in all night damaged or even ruined the device's battery. Fortunately, it's not true. Your smartphone is an advanced electronic device, one that's intelligent enough to prevent overcharging. However, your smartphone battery has a limited life no matter how you charge it. Current batteries might last for around 400 to 500 charging cycles; after that, you'll likely start noticing a reduction in your battery life throughout the day.


Read more: We Need to Stop Believing These Five Tech Myths

2. The Great Salt Lake in Utah is roughly ____ times saltier than the ocean.

  • 2x
  • 10x
  • 50x
  • 100x

Filled with around 4.5 to 4.9 billion tons (4 to 4.4 billion metric tons) of dissolved salt, the lake has certain areas that are roughly 10 times saltier than the ocean. Why is GSL so salty?

Dive in: Utah's Fabled Great Salt Lake Is Shrinking

3. Roughly how many "water witches" — people who use dowsing rods to try to locate underground water — are practicing in America today?

  • 300
  • 2,000
  • 23,000
  • 60,000

By one estimate, some 60,000 water dowsers are practicing in America today. That's more than 10 times the number of hydrologists, who provide many of the same services as "water witches," substituting science for the forked sticks. So, is there anything to the practice of dousing?

Learn more: Water 'Witches' Pit Science Against Folklore in Search of Groundwater

4. True or false: The big bang theory explains where the universe came from.

False. The big bang theory tries to explain the expansion of the universe. It doesn't say how the universe came to be but what the universe did to become gigantic.

More science myths: 10 False Science Facts Everyone Knows

5. True or false: If you are in an elevator that is falling and about to crash, your best bet is to lie flat on the floor.

True. Laying on the floor would stabilize you and spread out the force of the impact so that no single part of your body would take the brunt of the blow. But, it's still gonna hurt!

Read more: What if You Were on an Elevator and the Cable Broke?


July 31, 2021

1. True or false: The 2.2 ton hardened mass that was found at Chernobyl's nuclear power plant, nicknamed the "Elephant's Foot," is an entirely harmless byproduct of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

False. The Elephant's Foot is extremely dangerous. At the time of the disaster, sensors told the emergency crews that the lava formation was so highly radioactive that it would take five minutes for a person to get a lethal amount of exposure. Furthermore scientists don't know how corium — a rare substance that composes the mass — might behave over the long term, like when it's stored in a nuclear waste repository. What we do know is that the mass is cooling down, but still remains highly radioactive.


Read more: Chernobyl's Elephant's Foot Is a Toxic Mass of Corium

2. Most triathlons follow a traditional pattern of events. What is almost always the first event in a triathlon?

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Biking

Most triathlons follow a traditional pattern of swimming, biking and then running, but there are several adaptations designed to make it more feasible for athletes of all ages and fitness levels to compete. For example, an aquathon combines running and swimming, while a duathlon follows a run/bike/run sequence. Aquabike is a combo of — you guessed it — swimming and biking. 

Read more: What Are the Various Triathlon Distances?

3. True or false: Monkeypox has a far greater mortality rate than smallpox.

False. Dr. Andrea McCollum, an epidemiologist at the CDC, weighs in: "Monkeypox has so far about 11 percent mortality in individuals who do not have prior smallpox vaccination, but smallpox could have ... upward of 80 or 90 percent mortality."

Related: U.S. Sees First Case of Rare Monkeypox in 18 Years

4. Which of these Olympians has the most gold medals of all time?

  • Larisa Latynina
  • Michael Phelps
  • Carl Lewis

Swimming star Phelps has 23 gold medals, way ahead of closest rival Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina who has nine. Phelps has a total of 28 medals, making him the most decorated Olympian in history.

You might like: Surfing Makes Its Olympic Debut and the Waves Should Be Epic

5. How did Saipan, a lesser-known travel gem of the Mariana Islands, come into the possession of the United States?

  • The United States bought it from Germany.
  • They "won" the island during WWII.
  • The island was illegally annexed and taken by force.
  • They formed treaties with the local inhabitants and established an administration and police force to keep order.

Rule over the Mariana Islands jumped from country to country starting in the mid-1600s. It eventually fell under German control from 1899 to 1914, but then was taken by Japan during WWI, which saw it as a barrier to foreign invaders from the East. During WWII, the U.S. and Allied forces invaded, and the Japanese lost the nearly monthlong Battle of Saipan. The U.S. occupied the island and installed a military air base there, which became a turning point in WWII. Having a base so close to Japan meant the Allies could fly the U.S. Army's long-range B-29 Superfortress bombers to strike Japan directly.

Learn more: Saipan Is the Most Beautiful U.S. Island You May Not Know

6. True or false: Wasps, like bees, are powerful pollinators.

True. Wasps deserve more credit. What little we know about wasps is that they are excellent pollinators and, being apex predators, they are one of nature's most effective regulators of pest populations. Early research shows that wasps aren't picky about their prey, but will hunt down whatever insect is in abundance.

Related reading: Wasps Have an Image Problem, But Here's Why We Need Them


July 24, 2021

1. Which statement is not true about manatees.

  • Their teeth are constantly being replaced.
  • They are not aggressive at all and have no natural predators.
  • They can live up to and over 60 years.
  • They are very social and live in large groups.

Manatees are solitary animals and often swim alone or in pairs. Groups of manatees are called an aggregation, gathering as either a mating herd or an informal meeting around a food supply with no leader or herd structure.


Read more: It's a Manatee's Life: Swim, Eat, Rest, Repeat

2. True or false: Due to its fast growing time, bamboo reaches maturity and can be harvested after three years.

True. Bamboo can grow as much as 3 feet (0.9 meters) per day and reaches harvest maturity in three years, while it can take trees 50 years or more. Bamboo harvested for bamboo toilet paper generates roughly 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to tree-based toilet paper. It requires no tending, irrigation or fertilization, and only needs to be harvested once a year.

Read more: Is It Scratchy? 5 Things to Know About Bamboo Toilet Paper

3. True or false: Smoke from wildfires can become more toxic as it travels through the air and is exposed to the sun and chemicals.

True. How far the smoke travels from its origin affects the ability of smoke to "age," meaning to be acted upon by the sun and other chemicals in the air as it travels. Aging can make it more toxic. Importantly, large particles like what most people think of as ash do not typically travel that far from the fire, but small particles, or aerosols, can travel across continents.

Read more: How Dangerous Is Wildfire Smoke? A Toxicologist Is Raising Red Flags

4. True or false: Most cloth face masks protect against smoke particles.

False. Not all face masks protect against smoke particles. Most cloth masks will not capture small wood smoke particles.That requires an N95 mask in conjunction with fit testing for the mask and training in how to wear it. Without a proper fit, N95s do not work as well.

You might like: How Air Purifiers Work

5. True or false: U.S. federal law forbids stealing someone else's WiFi.

False. There isn't a federal law against stealing someone's WiFi. The 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act penalizes anyone who "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access" but it was passed before WiFi was common. Some states have laws against stealing WiFi. In 2007, a court in Michigan let a man off on felony charges for stealing a WiFi signal from a coffee shop while parked in his car. The man had been checking his email and browsing the internet and said exactly that to a curious police officer. It was eventually determined the man had no idea what he was doing was illegal, let alone a felony. Nevertheless, he was fined $400 and 40 hours of community service.

Read more: How to Detect if Someone's Stealing Your WiFi


Planets Quiz, July 17, 2021

1. What planet is so large that it creates an empty "barycenter" between itself and the sun, which they both orbit?

  • Uranus
  • Saturn
  • Neptune
  • Jupiter

The sun doesn't just exert gravity on Jupiter — Jupiter's so big that its own pull affects how the sun moves, too. The Sol-Jupiter barycenter sits 1.07 times the radius of the sun from the sun's center, or 7 percent the radius of the sun from the surface. The sun also orbits this spot; if you were to look at the planetary plane from above, you'd notice a slight wobble as the sun moves around the Milky Way.


Read more: If You Think Jupiter Orbits the Sun, You're Mistaken

2. True or false: Planets and stars are mostly spherical because their mass is so large that their body collapses onto itself.

True. Little items — like, say, a banana or a lug wrench — can resist this fate because their "self-gravity" is relatively weak, allowing them to retain non-spheroid shapes. However, in planets, suns and other truly massive bodies, the force is so strong that they can't avoid being distorted into spheroids.

Read more: Why Are Planets Almost Spherical?

3. What is gas giant Jupiter mostly composed of?

  • Hydrogen and helium
  • Oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Methane and chlorine
  • Water vapors and argon

Jupiter's two major ingredients are hydrogen and helium, though smaller quantities of methane, ammonia and water have also been detected.

Read more: Jupiter: Anatomy of a Gas Giant

4. True or false: While there are only 8 planets in our solar system (sorry Pluto), only half have moons.

False. Only two planets do not have moons: Mercury and Venus. The reason comes down to gravity and distance from the sun.

Learn more: Why Does Jupiter Have 79 Moons When Earth Just Has One?

5. True or false: Several moons in our solar system have active volcanoes.

True. The moons that have active volcanoes are Io, a moon of Jupiter; Triton, a moon of Neptune; and Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

Related: Where did the moon come from?

6. True or false: Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has been confirmed to have tectonic plates.

True. Some scientists think the existence of plate tectonics could be a prerequisite for life. The plates tend to promote volcanic eruptions, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Such emissions help keep Earth's temperature nice and stable. And that's just one of the benefits they provide to organisms.

Read more: Is Earth the Only Planet With Tectonic Plates?


July 10, 2021

1. Roughly how many calories are burned by Tour de France cyclists who complete the race?

  • 20,000 calories, roughly 35 Big Macs
  • 60,000 calories, roughly 105 Big Macs
  • 120,000 calories, roughly 210 Big Macs
  • 240,000 calories, roughly 420 big macs

Top Tour de France cyclists who complete all 21 stages burn about 120,000 calories during the race — or an average of nearly 6,000 calories per stage. On some of the more difficult mountain stages — like this year's Stage 17 — racers will burn close to 8,000 calories. To make up for these huge energy losses, riders eat delectable treats such as jam rolls, energy bars and mouthwatering "jels" so they don't waste energy chewing.

Read more: How Many Calories Will the Tour de France Winner Burn?

2. True or false: The majority of bee species are solitary and do not make nests.

True. Most bees are solitary, meaning that each mother bee provides for her own nest, and about 70 percent of native bees live in the ground. There are only a handful of honeybee species in the world.

Learn more: Ground-nesting Bees Are Solitary and Often Stingless

3. True or false: The original pronunciation of gif is "jif" (soft "G" sound, like "gin").

True. Some dictionaries do note both pronunciations, but according to the guy who originally created them for CompuServe, it's in fact pronounced "jif." Like the peanut butter.

Take our quiz: How Do You Pronounce This?

4. Which is true about July 4?

  • Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4 and one was born.
  • One U.S. president has died on July 4 and three were born.
  • Two U.S. presidents have died on July 4 and two were born.

Incredibly, both Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founding Father John Adams died on the very same day: July 4, 1826. Even more insane, that year was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. In 1831, just five years later, James Monroe became the third U.S. president to die on the Fourth of July. Calvin Coolidge is the only U.S. president who was born on the Fourth of July.

Related: 14 Fantastic Facts About the Fourth of July

5. True or false: One of the best ways to treat a burn is to immediately put ice on it.

False. Using ice or ice water can do more harm than good. Extreme cold can cause further damage to the tissue. Cleveland Clinic advises running the wound under cool water for five minutes instead.

Related: 10 Emergency Medical Procedures That Can Be Done on the Fly

6. How long did Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, live in a France airport after he lost his refugee papers and couldn't continue to his final destination of Belgium.

  • 6 months
  • 18 months
  • 6 years
  • 18 years

His story reportedly inspired the movie "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks. Without his papers, he could not board his plane for England. Nor was he permitted to leave the Paris airport and enter France. He soon became an international hot potato as his case bounced back and forth among officials in England, France and Belgium. At one point French authorities offered to allow him to reside in France, but Nasseri turned down the offer, reportedly because he wanted to get to his original destination, England. And so he stayed at Charles de Gaulle Airport for nearly 18 years. He left only in 2006, when his declining health required hospitalization.

Read more: How Can People End Up Living at Airports for Months or Years?

July 3, 2021

1. Who claimed to have a life-changing revelation with a phrenology practitioner (a debunked science measuring skull bumps to predict traits) and "learned" he had an inventive talent?

  • Nikola Tesla
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Orville Wright
  • Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison claimed he had a life-changing revelation after one of the "phrenological Fowlers" felt his head bumps. "I never knew I had an inventive talent until Professor O.S. Fowler examined my head and told me so," he was quoted as saying in the September 1904 issue of The Phrenology Journal and Science of Health. "I was a stranger to myself until then."

You might like: Why Was Phrenology All the Rage in Victorian Times?

2. Who originally wrote, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger"?

  • Marx
  • Nietzsche
  • Socrates
  • Marcus Aurelius

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (who was famous for the quote "God is dead") was the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. He was expected to follow their path, but the precocious young Nietzsche had his own ideas. And these were enormously influential in the 20th century.

Read more: 'God Is Dead' and 4 Other Quotes From Nietzsche, Explained

3. Fact or myth: Dishwashers save a significant amount of water compared to hand washing.

Fact. Today's dishwashers only use 3-5 gallons to clean an entire load. Handwashing can use 4 gallons of water every two minutes. A standard ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher saves an average of 3,870 gallons (14,650 liters) of water over its lifetime. Plus, it only costs an average of $35 per year to operate.

You might like: What's the Difference Between Toilet Paper and Tissue?

4. What was the first animal species to travel to space and circle the moon?

  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Tortoise
  • Monkey

Two tortoises were sent on Zond 5, a Soviet spacecraft, in 1968 to circle the moon. Both tortoises survived the trek. Although each one lost about 10 percent of its body weight, they were found to be in good health overall. Caretakers also reported that the adventure didn't hurt their appetites; the creatures enjoyed some nutritious dinners after coming home.

Read more: The Time Two Russian Space Tortoises Beat Apollo to the Moon

5. What country is the United States most in debt to?

  • China
  • Taiwan
  • Japan
  • Canada

In 1989, New York real estate investor Seymour Durst spent $120,000 to erect a "National Debt Clock" in Times Square to track the exact amount of money that the U.S. federal government was borrowing to pay its bills. By June 2021, the upgraded clock — which can now display up to a quadrillion dollars — registered more than $28 trillion. The United States owes Japan  $1.2 trillion, as well as 6.2 trillion to itself in intragovernmental holdings.

Learn more: Top 10 Countries the U.S. Owes Money To

6. True or false: During Victorian times, a "Marriage market" took place between January to June every year. During this time ladies and gents mingled under supervision to find a spouse.

True. People could only look for a spouse within their own social class and it was common for women to seek out the eldest son, as they kept the estate. The "marriage market" began in January and ended in June. If a young lady couldn't find a husband in three seasons, she could largely expect to spend her life as a spinster. Couples were never allowed to be alone with each other and would only converse in the presence of a chaperone. A gentleman would call on a lady at her family home to spend time together and determine each other's character.

Read more: 10 Ridiculous Victorian Etiquette Rules

June 26, 2021

Thanks for taking our weekly newsletter quiz, reader! Questions and answers follow. E-mail us and let us know how you did. Have a wonderful weekend!

1. Myth or fact: During a tornado you should open your windows to help equalize pressure and reduce flying debris.

Myth. When this theory was tested by researchers, they found that leaving windows open actually caused the force of the tornado to push up on the roof of the house, while the gusts of the twister lifted the roof. Open windows and doors, in other words, resulted in an airborne roof.

You might like: What's the Difference Between a Cyclone and a Hurricane?

2. What are green coffee beans?

  • Coffee beans that are harvested and sold in an eco-friendly manner
  • Coffee seeds that are not ripe enough to be harvested
  • Raw coffee seeds that are ready to be roasted.

Raw coffee seeds that are ready to be roasted. Did you know that you can roast your own beans? All you need are green coffee beans, a skillet, and the zest to try something new!

Learn how it works: How to Roast Green Coffee

3. True or false: If a drone enters your property and hovers at a height 5 feet (1.5 meters) or less, you are legally allowed to shoot it in the United States.

False. You are not allowed to shoot at a drone. The FAA describes a drone as an aircraft and Title 18 of the U.S. Code prohibits you from shooting, wrecking or damaging one. You might be fined or even jailed. In case of a threat, contact your local police or law enforcement agency to tackle the issue.

Read more: What to Do If a Drone Is Spying on You

4. How much ice cream does the average American consume each year?

  • 6 pounds (3 kilograms)
  • 23 pounds (10 kilograms)
  • 82 pounds (37 kilograms)

23 pounds (10 kilograms). Americans love their frozen desserts. About 6.4 billion pounds of ice cream and frozen yogurt were produced in the U.S. in 2019.

Related: What's the Difference Between Ice Cream, Yogurt and Gelato?

5. Tarrare, an 18th-century century French man with a truly insatiable appetite, was asked to swallow a box containing a note and deliver it across enemy lines. What was his reward for accepting this mission?

  • 12 gold coins (or 288 livres, equivalent to a 4-5 months worth of unskilled labor)
  • 30 pounds (13 kilograms) of bull's lungs and livers
  • Farmland and a few cattle
  • 100 gallons of wine

30 pounds (13 kilograms) of bull's lungs and livers. Tarrare's tale isn't for a weak stomach. Raw bull's lungs and livers were a rather tame meal in comparison to his other "food" choices. He readily ate anything that was put in front of him, from live animals to corpses, as well as inanimate objects like coins and corks. After crossing enemy lines with the box still inside him, he was captured and sentenced to hang. Only at the 11th hour did the Prussian general have mercy on Tarrare's soul and send him back to French lines with a warning.

Read more: Tarrare

6. True or false: Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring minerals on earth.

False. Although diamond was the hardest material Mohs put on the scale, there are six materials that are now known to be harder, like wurtzite boron nitride or a pure lonsdaleite meteorite, but the other four are not naturally occurring.

Read more: How the Mohs Scale Ranks Hardness

June 19, 2021

1. By the time Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in history, was 18 months old, how much did he weigh? (Hint: 24 pounds or 11 kilograms is the average for that age)

  • 15 pounds (7 kilograms)
  • 24 pounds (11 kilograms)
  • 41 pounds (19 kilograms)
  • 62 pounds (28 kilograms)

At 6 months old, he weighed 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) then 62 pounds (28 kilograms) by age 18 months. By 8, he was 6 feet, 2 inches (1.8 meters) tall and 195 pounds (88 kilograms). His two brothers and two sisters were all average in both height and weight.

Read more: At 8'11," Robert Wadlow Was the World's Tallest Man

2. True or false: The vast majority of appliances have plugs that have a hole in each prong.

True. There are three reasons for the holes. First, if you look at the contact wipers in the outlet, you would find that they have corresponding bumps on them, which help grip the plug prongs more firmly. Second, manufacturers can "lock-out" users by tying a plastic band through the holes and attach a message that requires them to do something before plugging in the device. Third, there is a small savings in raw materials (metal) for the manufacturer of the actual plug prong.

You might like: How did Nikola Tesla change the way we use energy?

3. Where does the name WD-40 come from?

  • It was the 40th version of the formula that worked.
  • It was reported to have 40 uses at the time.
  • There are 40 ingredients in the formula.
  • The founder considered 40 to be his lucky number.

WD-40 was created in 1953 by Norman Larsen, an employee of the newly formed Rocket Chemical Company. It was produced specifically for use in the aerospace industry. The WD in the product's name stands for water displacement, while the 40 was added because it took the fledgling company 40 tries to perfect the formula.

Read more about survival tools: 10 Must-have Survival Tools You Probably Already Have

4. Which country is more likely to use metal chopsticks than bamboo?

  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea

Korean barbeque is extremely popular in its home country. It involves cooking meat on a grill that's built into the dining table itself. Customers cook their own meat and take it off the grill once it's cooked. Unlike bamboo, metal chopsticks won't burn when exposed to the heat or flame.

Read more: How Chopsticks Became the Staple Utensil of Asia

5. True or false: Newer vehicles with keyless (push button) ignitions are impossible to hot-wire.

True. These cars work more like computers. They unlock whenever the key fob is in the vicinity, and the ignition starts with a press or turn of a button. There's no ignition lock cylinder to bypass. These changes basically rendered the entire hot-wiring process obsolete. But that doesn't mean that your car is less likely to be stolen.

Related: What's the Point of Car Alarms If Nobody Calls the Cops?

June 12, 2021

1. True or false: The British Royal line of succession will always go to the next male in line, even if there is an older sister.

False. Before the Succession to the Crown Act, passed in 2013, males were always given priority over females. However, the Act ended the system of "male primogeniture," so the monarchy is equally available to both sexes — the oldest child is now next in line for the throne, followed by the child next in age and so on. (This change applies only to those born after Oct. 28, 2011.)

Read more: The Tangled Line of Succession to the British Throne

2. Google continues to be the top search engine in 2021 with a whopping 92.2 percent of the worldwide market share. What company is the distant runner up?

  • China's Baidu
  • Yahoo
  • Bing
  • DuckDuckGo

Far behind Google is Bing (8 percent), China's Baidu (7.3 percent) and Yahoo (3.4 percent).

Related: Why You Should Consider Using a Private Search Engine

3. True or false: Even though there were fewer drivers on the road in 2020 (due to COVID-19), there were more fatalities in 2020 than in 2019.

True. More people died in car crashes in 2019 — a 7.2 percent increase in fact. Early numbers indicate 38,680 people died on the road in 2020, which is the largest projected number since 2007. So if Americans drove so much less, why were there so many more fatalities on the roads? Three reasons: impaired driving, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt.

Read more: Americans Drove Less, but Had More Fatal Crashes in 2020, NHTSA Says

4. True or false: On hot summer days, tires are more likely to 'blow-out' if they're underinflated.

True. Car tires are more prone to blow-out when they are underinflated. When a car is driving down a road, the sidewalls of the tires are flexing (bending, grabbing the asphalt), which creates heat. If the tire pressure is correct, then the heat created is minimal. But if the tire pressure is low, then the sidewalls have to do a lot more flexing, and create a lot more heat. Add in the summer sun and eventually the bonds in an under-inflated tire can break down and you have a blowout.

Read more: Why Do Tires Blow Out More in Summer?

5. A 2012 study by University of Michigan researchers found that about _____ out of 10 New York City residents were chronically exposed to levels of noise that were high enough to harm their hearing.

  • 1
  • 5
  • 9

Luckily, hearing aid technology is improving.

Learn more: Modern Hearing Aids Do Way More Than Help You Hear

6. In order to instigate an uprising against his ruler Persian King Darius I, how did Histiaeus (a Greek advisor) send a message to his son-in-law, Aristagoras?

  • He used urine as "invisible ink," which reveals itself over a flame.
  • He delivered a painting with an inscribed message on a concealed portion of the back.
  • He sent a normal message but italicized words to form a secret message.
  • He tattooed the message onto the head of the slave and allowed the hair to grow back, which was shaved upon arrival.

The adviser got his wish: Aristagoras stirred up the Ionian Revolt of 499 through 494 B.C.E. — Darius I ultimately prevailed, but the revolution catalyzed the Greco-Persian Wars (you know, the ones dramatized in the movie "300").

Read more about Steganography: Steganography: The Art of Hiding Messages in Plain Sight

June 5, 2021

1. What's the most "liked" video on YouTube?

  • "Dynamite" - BTS
  • Wiz Khalifa – "See You Again" ft. Charlie Puth
  • Baby Shark Dance
  • Luis Fonsi – "Despacito" ft. Daddy Yankee

This "most-liked" and "most-viewed" video of all time has more than 44 million likes (as of May 2021) and well over 7 billion views. Shot in Puerto Rico, the insane success of Fonsi's entirely Spanish-language video is due to its appeal on an international scale.

Read more: What's the Most-liked Video on YouTube?

2. What's the difference between barbecuing and grilling?

  • They're the same thing.
  • Grilling is on a low fire, while barbecue is on a hot fire.
  • Barbecue is on a low slow fire, while grilling is hot and quick.

Barbecuing and grilling are often mistakenly thought to be the same thing but they're not. Barbecue takes place on a low fire for a long period of time ( a technique called "low and slow") while grilling refers to a quick cook on a hot fire.

Take our BBQ quiz: Come and Get It! A Spicy Barbecue Quiz

3. True or false: Royalties earned by TV actors on reruns are typically a very stable income, as long as the show remains running.

False. The amount paid out decreases after each rerun — so by the 13th rerun, the amount has decreased to 5 percent of the original fee the actor was paid for her appearance in an episode. This 5 percent will be paid every time an episode is run forever.

Read more: Can a TV Actor Live Off Royalties Forever?

4. True or false: Most reality shows have clauses that do not allow contestants or competitors to speak negatively about the show, even after it's over.

True. Contestants may also not be able to disclose anything about their experience on the show either.  In 2010, contestants on "Survivor" faced a $5 million fine every time they broke the show's confidentiality agreement. And don't think you can negotiate such clauses away — unless, perhaps, you're a celebrity or have similar clout. The courts will typically uphold these contracts. So don't count on a sympathetic judge to rule in your favor if you suffer physically or mentally afterward, or are simply unhappy with your portrayal.

Read more: 10 Secrets of Filming Reality TV Shows

5. Which of the following TV shows is not a "spin-off":

  • "The Jeffersons"
  • "Frasier"
  • "Seinfeld"
  • "The Simpsons"

Read more to find out how the rest became successful spin-offs!

Check it out: 10 Spin-off TV Shows That Made It Big

May 29, 2021

1. In 2017, approximately how many phone calls were made to 911 in the United States?

  • 900 thousand
  • 12 million
  • 240 million

A bit of history for you: Before 1968, there was no standard emergency number. People called the numbers of the nearest police station or fire department when they had an emergency. As far back as 1957, the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended the use of a single number for reporting fires.

Related: Why Was 911 Chosen as the Emergency Phone Number?

2. True or false: Only audible noise — sounds within the range of human hearing — has the power to cause negative effects on the human body.

False. Research has linked ultrasound, which can penetrate and heat living tissue, with ailments such as dizziness, balance disturbances, tinnitus — a persistent ringing in the ears — and fatigue. Infrasound — inaudible low frequency sound — also can affect the human body.  If infrasound is the right frequency and sufficiently intense, according to neuroscientist Seth S. Horowitz, it could cause a person to see colored flashes or even experience breathing difficulties.

Related: When Sound Makes You Sick

3. True or false: In an experiment where 5,000 fictitious resumés were submitted to "help wanted" ads in Chicago and Boston newspapers, resumes with whiter-sounding names (think Emily or Greg) received 50% more callbacks than stereotypical black names (like Lakisha and Jamal).

True. In a separate experiment, even white job applicants with criminal records received more callbacks (17 percent) for the same jobs than Black applicants with no criminal record (14 percent).

Learn more: Systemic Racism Is More Than Simple Prejudice

4. Approximately what percentage of tropical storms turn into hurricanes?

  • 8%
  • 25%
  • 50%
  • 90%

About half of the tropical storms that formed over the past two decades grew into hurricanes, and about half of those became the monsters of coastal destruction we call major hurricanes. We're now accustomed to seeing about 16 tropical storms per year, though that number can vary quite a bit year to year.

Learn more: Here's How Scientists Predict the Next Hurricane Season

5. Many major cities in the U.S. have Chinatowns. How many Chinatowns is New York reported to have?

  • 3
  • 5
  • 9

New York has nine Chinatowns, according to Eater. Outside of the U.S., some of the best-known Chinatowns are located in London, Toronto, Melbourne, Australia and Havana, Cuba. The world's oldest Chinatown is in Manila, the Philippines.

Read more: The Rise, Fall and Future of Chinatowns in the U.S.

May 22, 2021

1. The flu caused 34,000 deaths in the 2018-2019 flu season and 22,000 deaths in the 2019-2020 flu season. How many deaths was the flu responsible for in the 2020-2021 season?

  • 28,000
  • 17,000
  • 8,000
  • 600

Overshadowed by a global pandemic, the 2020-2021 flu season was little more than a blip on the radar. For a virus that killed about 22,000 people during the 2019-2020 flu season, and 34,000 the season before, the influenza virus infected slightly more than 2,000 and killed only 600 during the 2020-2021 season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read more: The Flu Was Nonexistent During COVID. What Does That Mean?

2. True or false: Contemporary and modern art refer to the same movement.

False. Don't confuse contemporary art with modern art. Modern art came before contemporary art, and was a movement of the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Contemporary art describes the artwork that is being created today.

Read more: There Are No Art Movements Today, Says Michael Rooks of Atlanta's High Museum

3. The small pocket sitting inside the right-front pocket of Levi blue jeans was originally intended to hold what?

  • Coins
  • Pocket watch
  • Matches
  • Identification

The pocket was originally intended for pocket watches, dating back to Levi's first pair of jeans that hit the market in 1897.

Related: The Ridiculous Reason Most Women's Clothes Don't Have Real Pockets

4. Fire departments across the United States responded to nearly _____ fires involving dryers per year.

  • 2,000
  • 14,000
  • 52,000

Nearly 14,000 fires involving dryers were responded to per year between 2014-2018.  About one-third of the fires were caused by dirty vents — those clogged with lint, dust and fiber. When was the last time you cleaned your dryer? 

Read more: How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

5. What country are blue jeans banned in?

  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • China
  • Uganda

Jeans are banned in North Korea as part of a push to eliminate Western cultural influences from its society. In fact, violators of the ban could end up in a labor camp.

Read more: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Blue Jeans

May 15, 2021

1. True or false: Rewilding is different from most conservation efforts in that it doesn't just look at saving one particular animal, instead it involves dozens if not hundreds of projects that aim to enable ecosystems to restore themselves.

True. There isn't one clear definition of rewilding. However, the general purpose is to restore the abundance and diversity of wildlife to a place. It's a large-scale restoration of nature to allow nature to eventually look after itself again.

In the news: Scotland Could Become the World's First 'Rewilding Nation'

2. Each of these companies are worth more than $1 billion. Which one did Elon Musk not create or co-found?

  • PayPal
  • SpaceX
  • Stripe
  • Tesla

Elon Musk is so business-savvy that he's created or co-founded not one, not two, not three, but four companies that are worth more than $1 billion each: PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.

Read more: 10 Intriguing Facts About Elon Musk

3. What part of the rhubarb plant is poisonous?

  • Leaf
  • Stalk
  • Flower head
  • Roots

Rhubarb leaves contain a lethal toxin known as oxalic acid. Although other plants contain oxalic acid in small amounts, rhubarb leaves contain a more potent dose of it, which makes them more toxic to humans.

Read more: Rhubarb: The Poisonous Veggie You Can Totally Eat

4. When was the first practical dishwasher invented?

  • 1886
  • 1922
  • 1955
  • 1978

The first practical dishwashing machine was invented in 1886 by Josephine Cochran. Her company went on to become what we know today as KitchenAid. The dishwasher was operated by hand; using a crank a person could spray soapy water into wire compartments containing dishes. The dishwasher was adopted by hotels and large restaurants. It wasn't until the 1950s when dishwashers were sold to the general public.

Related: Do You Need Soap to Get Your Dishes Clean?

5. True or false: One study found that during winter more than half of Southern California's homes featuring gas stoves had indoor pollutant levels exceeding safe limits. This can be mitigated substantially by always using a kitchen exhaust fan when cooking.

True. You've undoubtedly seen ominous smog that hangs over heavily polluted metropolitan areas. Now, imagine that your kitchen stovetop might create more pollution than some places that have famously filthy air. That's because cooking over high heat produces carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, fine particulate matter and other potentially dangerous byproducts. (Electric stoves don't produce carbon monoxide and only small amounts of nitrogen dioxide, though they do produce fine particulate matter.) Ducted hoods are the best solution to this problem, as they suck in contaminated air and then vent it to the building's exterior.

Read more: Time to Vent: Why You Need to Turn on the Kitchen Exhaust Fan

May 8, 2021

1. The most expensive car in the world sold for a whopping $48.4 million. What was the car manufacturer?

  • Ferrari
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Duesenberg
  • Aston Martin

In 2018, RM Sotheby's sold a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for nearly $50 million. The car was estimated to bring in $45 million, so this huge price was not actually a shock when the hammer fell. Why is this old car worth so much? For one thing, it has matching numbers, which means the engine and the chassis originally came together from the Ferrari scuderia. There were only 36 built, and this was the third in that series. Legendary driver Phil Hill tested it in a race before it was sold to its first owner, who won races in it throughout the 1960s — without a single accident.

Related: 13 of the Hypest Hypercars Ever

2. Myth or fact: If you feel symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, that means that the vaccine is working well and you'll mount a stronger immune defense against the real virus.

Myth. The bottom line is you can't gauge how well the vaccine is working within your body based on what you can detect from the outside. Different people do mount stronger or weaker immune responses to a vaccine, but post-shot side effects won't tell you which you are. It's the second, adaptive immune response that helps your body gain vaccine immunity, not the inflammatory response that triggers those early aches and pains.

Read more: What Do Your COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Tell You?

3. Many people have become accustomed to saying "gesundheit" when someone sneezes. The term comes from Germany and means:

  • "God bless"
  • "Health"
  • "Live long"
  • "Mercy"

The idea is that a sneeze typically precedes illness. It entered the English language in the early part of the 20th century, brought to the United States by German-speaking immigrants.

Read more: Why do we say 'bless you' or 'gesundheit' when people sneeze?

4. True or false: Restaurants in the U.S. are required to enforce "no shirt, no shoes, no service" by law in order to comply with health codes set by the U.S. Department of Health.

False. "Shirt and Shoes Required" signs never had anything to do with enforcing health codes, despite the fact that several early versions of the sign included the addendum, "By order of the Board of Health." There is no U.S. federal law that enforces this rule. However, business owners can still refuse to serve someone without a shirt or shoes. That is because they are allowed to enforce any dress code in their establishment, as long as it is not discriminatory.

Read more: Where Did 'Shirt and Shoes Required' Come From?

5. What is a "minced oath?"

  • When you tell the truth, but omit important information in a dishonest way.
  • When you substitute a taboo word for a similar sounding word.
  • When someone is paid off to lie on the stand.

"Holy cow" for example is a "minced oath." It's when you substitute a kind of maybe similar-ish-sounding word for a taboo word. That's why we have "frickin" and "dang it" and "shizz." In this case, "cow" is probably a stand-in for "Christ" so the speaker wouldn't take the Lord's name in vain.

Read more: Why Do We Say 'Holy Cow'?

May 1, 2021

1. True or false: A federal ban exists in the United States that prevents slaughtering horses for human consumption.

False. No federal ban exists on slaughtering horses for human consumption, but many states have their own laws regarding horse slaughter and selling horse meat. The ban on slaughtering horses for meat "has become an annual fight" in Congress, according to USA Today. There is bipartisan support for banning it permanently, something the Humane Society of the United States supports but the American Veterinary Medical Association does not.

Read more: Banned in the U.S.A: 8 Foods You Can't Eat in America

2. The "biggest art heist in history" occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and involved two Rembrandt paintings, a Vermeer, a Manet and five Degas drawings, among a few others. What's the reward for providing information leading to the recovery of the stolen work?

  • $50,000
  • $200,000
  • $1 million
  • $10 million

That's a small penance to pay for finding these lost pieces of art. Experts put the value of loss at about $200 million. Today, the artwork is worth somewhere around $500 million.

Read more: Reviving the Story Behind the Greatest Art Heist Ever

3. What country eats the most sweets per capita in the world?

  • France
  • Sweden
  • United States
  • Belgium

A study conducted by Jordbruksverket (Swedish Board of Agriculture), found that Sweden actually has the highest candy consumption per capita in the world. The board concluded that the average Swede eats about 35 pounds (16 kilograms) of candy per year. Thirty-five pounds – that's literally three times the average amount of sugar recommended by the World Health Organization.

Read more: Swedes Love Candy So Much They Celebrate It Every Saturday

4. What animal holds the world record for having the most names?

  • Cougar
  • Donkey
  • Gorilla
  • Mallard

Often called "the cat of many names," it's referred to as the puma, panther, mountain cat, mountain lion, mountain screamer, painter and catamount, just to name a few. In fact, the cougar has more monikers than almost any other living mammal, around 40 in English alone.

Read more: What's the Difference Between a Mountain Lion and a Cougar?

5. True or false: Hornets and wasps diverged around 40 million years ago on the evolutionary tree, and represent very distinct groups of species.

False. Hornets are just a kind of wasp, and wasp is a very broad term that covers many different species with different lifestyles. Hornets are generally a little chubbier and larger than their svelte wasp brethren, and some species forego common yellow and-black striping for white and black markings. Their increased size means they also carry a substantial load of venom, so in some cases these insects are more dangerous than other kinds of wasps. Fortunately, if you leave hornets and wasps alone, they generally want nothing to do with you, either.

Read more: What's the Difference Between a Hornet and a Wasp?

Originally Published: Nov 19, 2020