HowStuffWorks Newsletter Quiz

By: Coryn Briere  | 

Answers for Jan. 15, 2022, Quiz

1. True or false: The impact of an asteroid only 200 meters wide would wipe out almost every living thing on Earth.

False. For an asteroid to wipe out most everything on Earth, it would have to be massive; scientists estimate it would take an asteroid about 7 to 8 miles (11 to 12 kilometers) wide crashing into the Earth.


Read More: What If an Asteroid Hit Earth?

2. What food item is forgotten the most by DoorDash drivers?

  • Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory
  • Sodas from McDonald's
  • Breadsticks from Domino's Pizza
  • Fries from Burger King

Before the pandemic, the food item forgotten the most on DoorDash was cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. At the restaurant, baggers kept the cold cheesecake separate from hot items, but then forgot to hand it to the delivery driver.

Eat More: 8 'Bad' Foods That Are Actually Good for You

3. True or false: If an individual is subpoenaed to produce documents for the courts that they do not have, they are not obligated to create them or procure them if they are out of their possession.

True. A named individual (responder) is only obligated to produce documents that exist and are already under his/her custody and control ( source).

Read More: Can You Ignore a Subpoena?

4. True or false: An object's velocity takes into consideration its vector (directionality). For example, running one circular lap of 400 meters in two minutes would yield a velocity of 0.

True. Velocity is a "vector quantity," velocity incorporates both magnitude and direction. On the other hand, speed is a "scalar quantity," a phenomenon that deals with magnitude — but not direction.

Read More: What Is the Formula for Velocity?

5. How long did it take 67-year-old Emma Gatewood to walk the Appalachian Trail, the longest walk-only footpath in the world, in 1955?

  • 36 days
  • 146 days
  • 329 days

Gatewood's hike was notable because of her advanced age, and because she was the first woman ever to complete the trail in a single season.

Explore More: Grandma Gatewood Hiked Into Appalachian Trail History at Age 67


Jan. 8, 2022

1. True or false: An easy way to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius is by using the formula:

(Fahrenheit temp. – 30) ÷ 2 = Celsius temp.


True. To do a rough approximation of Celsius using Fahrenheit you subtract 30 from the Fahrenheit degrees, then divide your answer by 2.

Read More: What's an Easy Way to Convert Celsius Temps to Fahrenheit?

2. True or false: While DoorDash's revenue jumped 268 percent from 2019 to 2020, they didn't end up making any additional profit.

True. The reason that DoorDash has continued to lose money is because they make very little incremental profit when those food orders are placed. According to an analysis by Deutsche Bank, the average DoorDash order was worth $36 during the pandemic. If DoorDash pocketed 30 percent, the company earned $10.80 plus another $2 or so for the service fee. That might sound like a lot per order — especially when it's multiplied by hundreds of millions of orders — but that $12.80 is gross revenue. You still have to subtract the costs of doing business.

The biggest expense for apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats is paying the drivers. Next are advertising and marketing costs, including those "Free $25" promotional campaigns to attract new customers. And then there are returns and refunds, which really eat into the bottom line.

Read More: Who (If Anyone) Makes Money Off Food Delivery Apps, Like Uber Eats?

3. True or false: Driving a car without the gas cap in place can cause serious damage to the engine.

False. A capless gas tank doesn't harm the engine nor does it let the fuel spill out of your car. That's because cars usually have a flapper valve that prevents fuel from leaking out. However, the cap acts as a shield against mud or dirt particles, which may damage the engine if it's left open.

Read More: Is It Bad to Drive Without a Gas Cap?

4. Fact or myth: Every snowflake is unique and structurally different.

Fact. Every snowflake really is different from one another. You might find some that are exceedingly similar (particularly at the beginning of a flake's development) but fully formed snowflakes are indeed structurally different, if only by tiniest of degrees.

Read More: Is Every Snowflake Actually Unique?

5. According to one study, 52 percent of people making New Year's resolutions were confident they'd stick it out. What percentage of people actually stuck to their resolutions?

  • 5 percent
  • 12 percent
  • 32 percent

"Exercise more" topped the list for 50 percent of resolution-making Americans, closely followed by "save money," and "eat more healthily." "Lose weight" and "reduce stress" occupied positions four and five and were set by a third of poll respondents.

Read More: Why Do People Make New Year's Resolutions?


Jan. 1, 2022

1. How many more years will Earth survive before the sun uses up all its hydrogen?

  • 3 million years
  • 64 million years
  • 7.5 billion years
  • 21 trillion years

Scientists suggest that in about 7.5 billion years, the sun will use up its hydrogen and switch to helium, which will turn it into an even bigger ball of hot gas. It will burn up both Mars and Earth, notes NBC MACH. According to NASA, the sun is about 4.5 billion years old.


Read More: How Old Is Earth and How Did Scientists Figure It Out?

2. True or false: Every single planet in our solar system, except for Earth, was named after Greek or Roman deities.

True. Astronomy has always been popular with those who study the capital "C" Classics. Seven out of the eight planets in our solar system were named after Greek or Roman deities. You're living on the only exception to that rule.

Read More: Who Named Planet Earth?

3. True or false: Extinction events appear at random throughout Earth's history.

False. In a study, published in Geoscience Frontiers in November 2021, researchers from New York and California helped pinpoint an important fact about our planet that has huge implications for us: the Earth has a "pulse," or regular peaks of geologic activity. Every 27.5 million years, we can expect an uptick in geologic activity which often results in mass extinction.

Read More: Turns Out Earth's Pulse 'Beats' Every 27.5 Million Years, But Why?

4. True or false: Living microorganisms have been collected from the stratosphere, several species of which have not been found on Earth.

True. UV radiation and extreme temperatures make the stratosphere a rough place for living things. To survive up there, some bacteria depend on sun-blocking pigments and protective outer shells. Fast DNA reparation is another life-saving trick. Hitching rides on storms and volcanic eruptions, microbes use the stratosphere as an atmospheric superhighway. Here, winds carry them across the continents at great speeds, allowing the microbes to disperse. The fact that life can tolerate our stratosphere — even for limited periods — could profoundly impact the hunt for Martian organisms.

Read More: The Stratosphere: Where Birds and Planes Fly and Bacteria Thrives

5. True or false: The magnetic north pole is not stationary and its shifts have been accelerating in the last 40 years.

True. Before the mid-1990s, it was — as the journal Nature reports — traveling at speeds of around 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) per year. Its current clip? About 55 kilometers (34 miles) annually.

Read More: Earth's Magnetic North Pole Has Rapidly Shifted in the Past 40 Years

6. True or false: In most parts of the world, high ocean tides happen only once a day.

False. High ocean tides happen twice a day. We experience one when the moon is overhead and, counterintuitive as this may sound, a second high tide takes place when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth. Low ocean tides occur during the periods between those points. (The centrifugal force of our rotating planet helps account for the strange arrangement.)

Read More: Rising Rock: Earth's Crust Has Its Own Tides, Too

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


Dec. 25, 2021

1. True or false: Hens have been known to spontaneously become roosters.

True. The typical hen-to-rooster transition begins with an end to egg-laying and progresses to behaviors and physical traits. A hen will start strutting and crowing, gain weight and grow the quintessential rooster wattles, dark feathers and cockscomb atop its head. The result is essentially a sterile rooster. As far as the experts know, this change only happens to females; a rooster-to-hen conversion has never been documented.


Read More: What the Cluck? How a Hen Turned Into a Rooster

2. What statement about racoons is not true.

  • They wash their food.
  • They can be found in 49 of the 50 states.
  • Raccoons only keep one solitary den.
  • They are excellent swimmers.

Raccoons have multiple dens and will switch between them every few days.

Read More: Raccoons Are Super Smart Urban Survivors

3. True or false: Leeches completely lack any hard components, including teeth.

False. Leeches have three sets of teeth, totaling 300 tiny, razor-sharp, highly effective cutting instruments. Without all those teeth, leeches wouldn't be doing much bloodsucking at all.

Read More: 10 Crazy Facts You Didn't Know About Animals

4. Fact or myth: Lemmings jumping off cliffs en masse is a regular annual occurrence.

Myth. This myth stems from the migrations observed in one lemming species: the Norwegian lemming. During the peak years of this species, a large number of individuals migrate out of their normal habitat and die in large numbers. It's unclear what causes these migrations, but social stress, food shortage or predators are candidates. Suicide is not a good explanation.

Read More: Lemmings Jumping Off Cliffs En Masse Is a Myth

5. Which animal below has red blood, while the rest does not?

  • Octopus
  • Spider
  • Salamander
  • Horseshoe crab

The list of invertebrates that rely on hemocyanin instead of hemoglobin is a long one. Hemoglobin is a key ingredient in the circulatory systems of nearly all vertebrate animals. Yet many spineless creatures use an alternative protein: Hemocyanin. Both are capable of binding to and transporting oxygen. But whereas hemoglobin contains iron atoms, hemocyanin incorporates copper. As a result, blood containing the latter protein looks markedly different from our human blood. When hemocyanin-rich blood becomes oxygenated, the copper turns it blue.

Learn About the Benefits of Blue Blood: 5 Animals Whose Blood Isn't Red

6. Flamingos aren't pink at birth. How do they acquire pink feathers?

  • Eating shrimp
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Hormones
  • Molting

They acquire pink feathers by eating shrimp, meaning pinkness isn't something the birds inherit from their parents. Instead, the color is a reaction to an individual flamingo's environment. So those vibrant pink complexions are part of the flamingo's phenotype, but not its genotype.

Read More: Flamingo Rumps Produce 'Rouge' to Primp Pink Plumage

7. True or false: Mules get their "stubborn" label because they have a deep-seated tendency toward self preservation – so they don't let owners overwork them or typically put them in danger. 

True. Donkeys and mules both have reputations as animals with, um, mulish personalities. They're widely seen as stubborn. Willful. Obstinate, even. Guess what? They aren't. A study done by Canterbury Christ Church University and Devon's The Donkey Sanctuary showed that when it came to showing flexibility toward solving a problem (learning to learn), mules came out on top, followed by donkeys, with horses and dogs bringing up the rear. So why the common misperception? Mules -- and donkeys -- are smart. Really smart. They also have a deep-seated tendency toward self-preservation. So they won't let owners overwork them, nor will they typically put themselves in danger. These characteristics led to the "stubborn" label

Read More: 10 Completely Wrong Sayings About Animals


Dec. 18, 2021

1. With 116 lanes, what country has the largest bowling alley in the world?

  • United States
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Japan

Today Japan has the largest bowling alley in the world, with 116 lanes. Did you know that your bowling ball should weigh about 10 percent of our body weight?


Learn More: 12 Striking Facts About Bowling

2. True or false: Brown noise gets its name from the bowel-loosening and digestive effects it has on humans and primates.

False. Brown noise emphasizes bass notes even further, almost completely eliminating high frequencies from its profile. Natural brown noises can be things like roaring river rapids, heavy rainfall and distant rumbling thunder. This type of noise is named not only for a color, but also for Scottish scientist Robert Brown. In the 1800s, Brown observed pollen particles moving randomly in water and devised a mathematical formula to predict these movements. When this randomizing formula is used to generate electronic sound, a bass-heavy noise profile results. Brown noise is sometimes known as red noise.

Learn More: You Know White Noise, But What's Pink Noise and Brown Noise?

3. True or false: The majority of U.S. states require a court order to allow adoptees' access to their original birth certificates.

True. Only 10 states in the country now offer U.S.-born adoptees and their birth parents unfettered access to original birth certificates: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. But in 18 states, from Arizona to North Carolina to Wyoming, a court order is required to allow adoptees' access to the originals.

Read More: U.S. Adoptees May Soon Gain Access to Their Original Birth Certificates

4. True or false: Low-Earth orbit, where most satellites reside, is heavily regulated. There are rules about light pollution, atmospheric pollution from launches, atmospheric pollution from reentry and collisions between satellites.

False. There are very few regulations for low-Earth orbit. One simulation showed that in the near future one out of every 15 points you can see in the sky will actually be relentlessly crawling satellites, not stars. This will be devastating to research astronomy and will completely change the night sky worldwide.

Read More: Without Regulation, the Night Sky Will Be Twinkling With Satellites, Not Stars

5. True or false: Cutting up a dryer sheet with dull scissors can actually restore some of their cutting ability.

True. And that's not all! Find out what other dryer sheet hacks people have come up with over the years.

Read More: 16 Clean and Fresh Uses for Dryer Sheets

6. Americans eat 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of added sugar annually. What percentage do soft drinks account for?

  • 10 percent
  • 25 percent
  • 50 percent

Twenty-five percent of the sugar Americans consume annually come from soft drinks, according to the American Heart Association. Fruit drinks account for another 11 percent.

You Might Like: What's the Difference Between White Sugar and Brown Sugar?


Dec. 11, 2021

1. Which president so profoundly believed in astrology that his entire schedule was planned according to astrology charts?

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Richard Nixon
  • Bill Clinton

Both Ronald Reagan (No. 40) and his wife, Nancy, were believers. After Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981, the two leaned more heavily on the practice. So heavily, in fact, that Reagan's entire schedule was planned according to his astrology charts, including the takeoff and landing times of Air Force One, the presidential airplane.


Read More: America's Past Presidents Had Some Really Weird Habits

2. Every morning, what did President Calvin Coolidge (No. 30) have rubbed all over his head while he enjoyed breakfast in bed?

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Coconut oil
  • Pickle relish
  • Olive oil

Calvin Coolidge enjoyed having petroleum jelly rubbed all over his head every morning, while he enjoyed his breakfast in bed, believing that it was good for his health.

You Might Like: Who Was the Youngest President?

3. True or false: Some of Benjamin Franklin's changes to the English alphabet are still used today.

False. He published his new phonetic alphabet in 1779, as well as some letters written in the new mode, but it never caught on. In theory, it was a great idea. Franklin removed six letters from the alphabet that we already knew (c, j, q, w, x and y), as he found them redundant. For example, the letter k could handle the hard c sound, and the letter s could supply the soft c sound, so c got the boot. Franklin also added six more characters (two vowels and four consonants) to add clarity in pronunciation of specific sounds. For example, he made a new consonant to describe the "ng" sound at the end of, say, running or reaping.

Read More: Ridiculous History - When Benjamin Franklin Remade the Alphabet

4. True or false: One of Benjamin Franklin's lesser-known inventions was the flexible catheter tube, made for his brother who suffered from kidney stones.

True. As an inventor, Franklin created many much-needed items that we still use today. Bifocals are a popular invention of his, as is the lightning rod. He also invented things you wouldn't normally associate with him, including swimming flippers (for the hands), flexible catheters and an odometer.

Read More: Top 10 Ben Franklin Inventions

5. For what purpose did Thomas Jefferson continually breed and raise geese?

  • Fresh eggs and poultry
  • Foraging on grass, geese are great 'ecological lawn mowers'
  • A steady supply of quills
  • To serve as guard animals, as he had a fear of dogs

Thomas Jefferson was said to be such a fan of quill pens that he kept white geese at Monticello for the purpose of supplying feathers for his quills. He wrote something like 20,000 letters during his lifetime, so it makes sense that he'd want a flock of geese around to provide him with plenty of writing instruments.

Read More: You'll Never Guess Why Thomas Jefferson Raised Geese

6. Within 24 hours of assuming presidency, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, what did President Lyndon B. Johnson order to be done in the White House?

  • All animals to be removed
  • Phones to be installed everywhere
  • All windows to be blocked out with blinds
  • The entire building to be wheelchair accessible

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office on Nov. 22, 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within 24 hours, President Johnson ordered a dramatic increase in the number of telephones in the White House communications system.

Johnson had phones installed absolutely everywhere — beneath dining tables, coffee tables and end tables, in bathrooms and on window sills, according to Johnson aide James Jones' oral history for the LBJ Presidential Library. Johnson basically built a wired mobile phone network, using phones as call-relay points, so he would never have to end a call. The White House was already wheelchair accessible by that point, which was put into place by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Read More: Ridiculous History - LBJ Talked on the Phone More Than a Teenager


Dec. 4, 2021

1. True or false: Funeral homes do not have to accept caskets that clients buy online or from third parties.

False. It's a federal law that funeral homes must accept all outside caskets, including ones that are bought online or from Costco.


Read More: Grave Matters: Why Are Caskets So Expensive?

2. True or false: In Ghana, bodies often spend months or even years inside refrigerated storage units while the family of the deceased organizes the funeral.

True. After the date and time are set, and the coffin's paid for, the event can proceed. Ghanaian funerals are lengthy, expensive affairs that can last for three full days at a time. Apart from the guests, a typical list of attendees can include musicians, DJs, photographers, caterers and bartenders. Visitors can help the family recoup some of the costs by raising funds on-site — while also making time to dance the night away.

Satisfy Your Curiosity: Ghana's Fantasy Coffins Are to Die For

3. What is true about seahorses?

  • They don't have a stomach, so they must eat constantly.
  • They are extremely fast swimmers.
  • They have multiple mates throughout their mating season.
  • Females give birth to the young.

Seahorses don't have teeth or even a stomach like other marine species. How do they eat? Instead of a mouth that opens and closes like ours, they have a tube for a snout that they use to suck in all their food like a vacuum. They eat pretty much anything small enough to fit through their mouth, which primarily is shrimp-like creatures, baby fish and other small organisms. Because they don't have stomachs, they have to constantly eat.

Learn More: Seahorses Have Hotels! Plus 9 Other Amazing Seahorse Facts

4. What country invented toothpaste?

  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • China

The Egyptians had a lot of trouble with their teeth, in large part because their bread had grit and sand in it, which wore out their enamel. While they didn't have dentistry, they did make some effort to keep their teeth clean. Early ingredients of their toothpaste included the powder of ox hooves, ashes, burnt eggshells and pumice, which probably made for a less-than-refreshing morning tooth care ritual. Archaeologists also have found toothpicks buried alongside mummies, apparently placed there so that they could clean food debris from between their teeth in the afterlife. Along with the Babylonians, they're also credited with inventing the first toothbrushes, which were frayed ends of wooden twigs.

Explore More: 10 Amazing Ancient Egyptian Inventions

5. True or false: Apple varieties like Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious can be up to one year old by the time they hit the shelves.

True. Apple-harvesting season is very short (about two months in the fall), so in order to extend their lives after picking, apples are usually treated with a gaseous compound called 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) that blocks ethylene. That's not all. By modifying the environment that apples are stored in (mostly by modifying oxygen, carbon dioxide and ethylene and keeping apples cool), certain varieties of apples can be stored up to one year. But not every apple is equally storable. Some fragile-skinned types, like Cortland, Jonagold and Crispin, should be eaten soon after they are picked.

Bite Into More: Your Grocery Store Apple Could Be a Year Old, But That's OK


Mafia Quiz, Nov. 27, 2021

1. True or false: The Italian Mafia (La Cosa Nostra) controls one in five businesses in Italy.

True. Here in the U.S., it's easy to get a sense of the Mafia's business activity through its influence in New York City, where it still hauls trash and erects skyscrapers.


Read More: 10 Businesses Supposedly Controlled by the Mafia

2. What term is so strongly associated with the Mafia that in some parts of the U.S. it's synonymous with "the mob"?

  • "Jackhammers"
  • "Sanitation crew"
  • "Funeral director"
  • "Debt collectors"

The Mafia favors unregulated or cash-based businesses that require the strength and stomach to do things members of polite society avoid. Waste management, for example, has become so strongly tied to organized crime that in some parts of the country the term "sanitation crew" might as well be synonymous with "the mob."

You Might Like: A Gangster's Gangster: Bugsy Siegel's Life and Times

3. True or false: The Mafia's connection to pizzerias is largely overstated and inflated by the media.

False. The Mafia's foodie reputation has a rich history. In the 1980s, for instance, the Sicilian Mafia relied on the so-called "pizza connection" to ship heroin and cocaine to mob-run pizzerias in towns throughout the U.S. using cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Today, mob-run pizzerias, restaurants and cafes are everywhere. An estimated 70 percent of restaurants and bars in downtown Rome are thought to be in the hands of organized crime, producing more than $1.35 billion euros per year.

You Might Like: Racketeering Isn't Just a Crime for Mobsters

4. Roughly translated to English, la cosa nostra means:

  • Keep your nose clean
  • Our thing
  • I took care of that problem. It's in the trunk.
  • What's owed

The FBI misunderstood what recently immigrated mobsters meant when they referred to their lifestyle, or "their thing." Instead, the term came to refer to the Italian-American mob.

Take the Full Quiz: The Ultimate Mafia Quiz

5. True or false: It is estimated that up to 5 percent of the entire planet's GDP gets laundered illegally every year.

True. Money laundering is a ubiquitous practice. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reckons that somewhere between $800 billion and $2 trillion goes through the rinse cycle every year. That's in the neighborhood of 2 to 5 percent of the entire planet's GDP!

Read More: How Money Laundering Works

6. True or false: The entire Mafia is united by one single head — the "boss" or "don."

False. There is no head of the Mafia. The Mafia is not a single group or gang — it is made up of many families that have, at times, fought each other in bitter, bloody gang wars. Most of the other U.S. families are simply named for the city where they operate. Thus, you have the Philadelphia family, the Buffalo family, the Cleveland family and so on.

Read More: How the Mafia Works


Nov. 20, 2021

1. What country requires parents to pick from an approved list of 7,000 baby names, all using traditional spellings?

  • France
  • Denmark
  • China
  • Iran

Denmark, in particular, has some of the most restrictive naming laws. In order to abide by the country's Law on Personal Names, parents may select a name from a list of 7,000 approved names for both boys and girls, all using traditional spellings. To give a child a moniker that is not pre-approved requires review by government officials. Of the estimated 1,100 names that are scrutinized annually, about 20 percent are rejected. Among the thrown-out names? Anus, Pluto and Monkey. On the approved list? Names like Benji, Molli and Fee.


Read More: You Can't Name Your Baby That!

2. True or false: The first person to coin the term "agnosticism" was English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), a fierce defender of Charles Darwin against religious critics who accused him of denying God's role in creation.

True. As a scientist, Huxley didn't bother himself with "beliefs." He sought after the truth. And the truth of any proposition — that God created the vast diversity of nature or that it evolved from natural selection — could only be proven by the evidence. Huxley said that agnosticism itself wasn't a "creed" or set of beliefs, but a principle, namely "that it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty."

Read More: What's the Difference Between Agnosticism and Atheism?

3. What company is the largest producer of tires?

  • Hot Wheels
  • Toyota
  • Element Skateboards
  • Lego

LEGO produces a ton of toy cars and vehicles (as of 2016 about half of LEGO sets included wheels), so that means they produce a ton of LEGO tires to go with them. And even though none will fit your car, bike or motorcycle, Guinness notes, the LEGO tires are made of a rubber compound similar to tires on domestic cars.

Read More: You'll Never Guess What Company Makes the World's Most Tires

4. True or false: A Navy SEAL has never been left behind on a mission or been taken prisoner.

True. There are currently about 2,450 active-duty SEALs (1 percent of all Navy personnel). From day one in SEAL training, trainees are taught the importance of teamwork. Focus is not on the individual. The fact that the SEALs have never left another SEAL behind on a mission is a testament to this belief system. Throughout their training, they learn more and more why teamwork is necessary in the type of work they will soon be entering: SEALs are performing tasks that may not be possible for a single man to accomplish but can be possible for a team composed of men who have the same training and skills. Their success depends on what they can do together as a team.

Read More: How the Navy SEALs Work

5. Which of the following devices was invented to assist someone with a disability?

  • Typewriter/Keyboard
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Sewing machine
  • Dishwasher

Everyone these days has at least one keyboard, but that wasn't always the case. The typewriter was the brainchild of an Italian inventor named Pellegrino Turri. He noticed that his friend, Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano, couldn't write letters by hand, due to her blindness. So, in 1608 he developed the first-ever incarnation of the typewriter, which involved keys and metal arms with raised characters. Turri also invented carbon paper as a way to provide ink for the machine. The typewriter has since morphed into the computer keyboard.

Read More: 8 Everyday Items Originally Invented for People With Disabilities

6. What brand created the first commercially successful laundry pod in 2012?

  • Gain
  • Persil
  • Tide
  • Arm & Hammer

Laundry tablets were first introduced in the 1960s when Procter & Gamble released Salvo. The tablets didn't dissolve well and were off shelves by 1970. A decade later, P&G tried again with Cheer Power pouches. Consumers were not impressed by these either. It wasn't until 2012 that laundry pods found their place in the greater laundry-doing world. That's when P&G finally had success with Tide PODS and many others have followed in their pod footsteps since. Now the market is flooded with all brands of laundry pods.

Read More: Which Works Best: Laundry Pods, Powder or Liquid Detergents?


Nov. 13, 2021

1. True or false: The hundreds of creepy dolls hung up on La Isla de las Muñecas (a popular macabre tourist spot) were put up by just one man.

True. A man named Julián Santana Barrera (the island's caretaker and the young girl's uncle) found his niece's body after she had drowned. Anguished by the loss of his niece and his inability to save her, Barrera began collecting dolls, hanging them up all over the island in an attempt to appease her spirit and assuage his grief. But Barrera was clearly a troubled man, and he soon began to disfigure the dolls. Some dolls are decapitated, others have crushed or painted faces or no limbs.


Read More: Shhh! Don't Wake the Creepy Dollies on La Isla de las Muñecas

2. What is the most common technique used to discover planets outside of our solar system?

  • Extremely powerful telescopes
  • Measuring the dimming of a star that happens to have a planet pass in front of it
  • Observing stars "wobble" as a result of orbiting planets

All of these methods are used to discover new planets outside of our solar system, but "transit" events are the most common way planets are discovered.

Explore More: 5 Ways to Find a Planet (From NASA)

3. True or false: Of the roughly 4,000 planets discovered by scientists, only one planet has been observed (but not verified) that lies outside our Milky Way galaxy.

True. In a paper published Oct. 25, 2021, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team of astronomers and astrophysicists has put forth a new planetary candidate farther away than we've ever seen before. It's called M51-ULS-1b and is located in Messier 51, also called the Whirlpool Galaxy. While humans might never see — or even confirm — the existence of M51-ULS-1b, even its theoretical reality paves the way for more discoveries in the deep reaches of space beyond anything discovered before.

Learn More: Researchers Find First (Potential) Planet Outside the Milky Way

4. True or false: Rainbows are only visible during the day.

False. Rainbows can also occur at night. An evening rainbow is called a moonbow, or lunar rainbow. Moonbows are created when light reflected by the moon hits water droplets in the air. Before you think a moonbow can't be a rainbow if it's made from water and moonlight (not sunlight), remember that moonlight is actually reflected sunlight; the moon doesn't give off any light.

Bust More Myths: 10 Myths About Rainbows

5. True or false: All dolphin species reside in salt waters.

False. There are five dolphin species that live in freshwater rivers; one of them is the Amazon's pink river dolphin. They are distantly related to saltwater-adapted ocean dolphins. In addition to their distinctive pink color, the Amazon's pink river dolphins have another feature that sets them apart from their saltwater cousins. Unlike oceanic dolphins, which have a dorsal fin that protrudes from their backs, pink river dolphins have a hump instead.

Read More: Among Other Amazing Creatures, the Amazon Has Pink Dolphins

6. If you want to sharpen your scissors, what do you cut?

  • A piece of folded up tin foil
  • A stainless steel scrubber
  • A tin soda can
  • A glass cleaning cloth

If those old scissors are getting too dull to use, there's an easy foil-based fix. Tear a sheet of aluminum foil off. Fold it into four quarters. This should result in four foil layers. Then, all you have to do is cut the foil repeatedly. The act of doing this will result in shiny, sharp scissor blades!

Read More: 9 Amazing Hacks for Aluminum Foil


Nov. 6, 2021

1. What's an example of a "lonely negative" or "unpaired word"?

  • Disgruntled
  • Unhappy
  • Disorder
  • Reborn

While the word disgruntled exists, is it possible to be gruntled? The answer is not really. So, why do some words only exist in the negative form, like disgusted, ineffable and unraveled?

Learn more: 'Disheveled,' 'Disgruntled': Why Are Some Words Only Used in Negative Form?

2. True or false: In the original ending of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl is also devoured by the wolf along with her grandmother.

True. In the Grimms' version of the story, "Little Red Cap," Little Red Riding Hood is also devoured by the wolf, but she and her grandmother are then rescued by a hunter who arrives just in the nick of time. Instead of shooting the wolf, he cuts his belly open with a pair of shears, and the girl and her grandmother miraculously emerge, unscathed.

Read more: 10 Fairy Tales That Are Way Darker Than You Realized as a Kid

3. The Odyssey, written by Homer in eighth century B.C.E., solidified Odysseus through millennia as a kind of hero's hero. What kind of writing was the Odyssey?

  • One long, unbroken monologue
  • An epic poem
  • It was written in prose (i.e., regular speech).
  • It was written as a script for a play.

The Odyssey was an epic poem divided into 24 books. Nowadays, Odysseus might not be considered much of a hero. He was famous for being able to disguise himself, for tricking people, for lying, for saving his skin, even at the expense of maybe his crew members.

Read more: Odysseus and His Not-always Heroic Odyssey

4. True or false: The poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks in Gorongosa National Park created a selective pressure that favored tusklessness. In the span of just 15 years, the number of elephants born without tusks more than doubled.

True. Elephants being born without tusks is unusual, since tusks are typically advantageous for elephants: The massive animals use the tusks for everything from defense to stripping bark from trees. Stranger still, nearly all the tuskless elephants born were female.

Read more: Ivory Poaching Led Only Female Elephants to Evolve Tuskless

5. True or false: The origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead are the same.

False. Although they're celebrated at the same time of year and share an affinity for skulls and sweets, the origins of Halloween and Day of the Dead are completely different. Halloween started as a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts believed that the veil between the living and dead grew thin around the fall harvest — also the Celtic New Year — allowing ghosts and ghouls to slip in. The Celts dressed up as monsters and goblins to scare off evil spirits and have a little fun in the process. Meanwhile, a version of Day of the Dead existed in pre-Hispanic Mexico as far back as 3,000 years ago.

Learn more about its origins: 10 Lively Facts About the Day of the Dead

Oct. 30, 2021

1. True or false: Magic Erasers — touted for cleaning just about anything from grease to tarnish — are composed of only one ingredient.

True. Magic Erasers are made with melamine resin foam, there are no other added chemicals in them.

You Might Like: 12 'Magical' Hacks for the Magic Eraser

2. What might constitute a "trigger" for someone suffering from misophonia?

  • An object or surface that is colored yellow
  • The sound of someone chewing
  • The thought of being buried alive
  • A surface with many dense holes

Misophonia is a relatively newly classified condition in which people are angered by body sounds like chewing, swallowing, knuckle-cracking or breathing. Interestingly, although leaf blowers aren't mentioned in the diagnosis parameters, it does stand to reason that misophonia may be related — even if distantly — to people's dislike of noisy garden equipment because they are extra sensitive to sound. And it often begins in childhood.

Read More: Why Do People Find Leaf Blowers So Irritating?

3. The blue-ringed octopus holds enough venom to kill more than 20 humans within minutes. How many recorded deaths have been from this octopus's bit?

  • 3
  • 84
  • 432
  • 8,783

Only three known deaths have been from blue-ringed octopuses. Since they are nocturnal, shy, and give plenty of warning when agitated, bites are a rare occurrence.

Read More: The Tiny Blue-ringed Octopus Is the Ocean's Deadliest

4. True or false: A micronation is a small country that has less than 50,000 citizens, such as Monaco or Vatican City.

False. Micronations are generally tiny realms tucked into nooks and crannies on the map, where someone has proclaimed sovereignty that's not recognized by the rest of the world. One such micronation is the Republic of Nirivia on the northern part of Lake Superior, which was named after Nirvana.

Read More: The Republic of Nirivia: A Magical Micronation That Semi-exists on Lake Superior

5. Flyting has been around for centuries. What is a modern example of flyting?

  • Rap battles
  • Pick up lines
  • Wedding vows
  • A personality change after drinking

Flyting is an exchange of insults in verse form. As Dr. Elizabeth Elliott, senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, says, "There's a long history of people insulting each other in poetry." It extends even to today, as scholars have made the connection between rap battles and flyting.

Learn More: Flyting Words: The Medieval Origins of the Insult Rap Battle

6. True or false: All of the ingredients in a witches brew — such as eye of newt and toe of frog — are simply ancient terms for herbs, flowers and plants. 

True. When practicing black magic, mustard seeds (i.e., eye of newt) cast a spell of strife, confusion, discord and disruption. Interestingly enough, though, other types of mustard seeds are thought to provide protection against witches. Legend goes that witches are predisposed to counting and picking up things, so if you scatter mustard seeds around your front door, bed or property, the witch will never have time to get to you as she will be busy counting mustard seeds [White, Hand].

Read More: Is Eye of Newt a Real Thing?

Oct. 23, 2021

1. True or false: While spider silk is superior in strength, silkworms are the main producers of silk for fabrics because spiders can't cohabitate without eating each other, making harvesting spider silk extremely labor and space intensive.

True. Silkworms are easy to farm in large numbers, but spider silk is stronger and tougher. It took 1 million spiders, 70 people, and four years to create an 11-foot by 4-foot textile made completely from golden orb spider silk.

You Might Be Interested In: The Invasive 'Fortune-teller' Joro Spider Is Getting Cozy in the U.S.

2. The Audubon Mural Project commemorates birds in the U.S. that are being threatened by climate change. If humans don't reduce their carbon footprint and global temperatures, roughly _____ of North America's birds may become extinct in the next 60 to 80 years.

  • 1/8
  • 1/4
  • 1/2
  • 3/4

According to climate science studies in a 2019 National Audubon Society climate watch report titled, "Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink," 389 vulnerable bird species are in danger of extinction by the end of the 21st century. Fortunately, the report also shows that three-quarters of these threatened species can be protected if we stabilize carbon emissions and keep global heating below 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius).

Read More: Audubon Mural Project Artists Paint Birds on the Brink

3. You see a person walking with the aid of a cane. What would an all-white cane and a cane with a red segment signify, respectively?

  • Partially blind; completely blind
  • Completely blind; partially blind
  • Completely blind/deaf; completely blind
  • Completely blind; partially blind/deaf

Not all canes are white. A cane with a red segment at the bottom means the user has low vision or is visually impaired, but not totally blind. An all-white cane typically signals the user is totally blind. Those canes that have red and white stripes are for users that are both hearing and visually impaired.

Explore More: Self-navigating Cane Could Better Lives for Visually Impaired

4. True or false: Deserts are one of the best places to "hibernate" aircrafts when they are not in use.

True. When an airliner is parked for a while, there are a number of things that the airline has to be concerned about, including humidity corroding engines over time. Airlines all over the world had to park and store their fleets during the pandemic, stashing them in places ranging from the Australian outback to the Mojave Desert in California. By one count, 16,000 aircraft — about two out of three airliners in use — was in hibernation by May 2020, the Spanish newspaper Atalayar reported. (Many of those planes have since been returned to service.)

Read More: Putting Planes in Hibernation Is Complicated; Waking Them Up Is Even Harder

5. True or false: False-negative rates for COVID tests are generally rare, whereas false-positives are far more common.

False. Some of the molecular tests, done via nasal or throat swabs, or by testing saliva and other bodily fluids, carry a false-negative rate of 20 percent. False-positive rates for COVID tests are generally rare; a March 2021 review of four rapid COVID-19 tests found that the tests correctly gave a positive COVID-19 result in 99.6 percent of patients who took it. Another review of 16 different rapid tests found that the antigen tests correctly ruled out infection in 99.5 percent of people who had symptoms and in 98.9 percent of people without symptoms.

Read More: How False Positives Work (and What They Could Mean for Your Health)

6. True or false: It is possible to jump-start a gas car with a hybrid car and vice versa.

True. In general, hybrid vehicles can be jump-started just like a regular car with a conventional gas engine. Not all traditional gasoline cars are the same, of course, but all gas powertrains work pretty much the same, which makes it easy to learn how to jump-start a gas car. However, the unusual layout of many hybrids' powertrains can cause some confusion at first. If you need to use a hybrid car to jump-start another car, the smaller 12-volt battery is what you'll need to use.

Discover More: Can You Jump-start a Hybrid Car?

Oct. 16, 2021

1. The CDC estimates up to _____ percent of adults have a fear of needles that can have effects on their health care, including skipping much-needed vaccines.

  • 5 percent
  • 10 percent
  • 25 percent
  • 45 percent

CDC estimates that up to 25 percent of adults have a fear of needles. If you experience severe emotional and physical responses when you think of or are around needles, you might have trypanophobia.

Read More: Trypanophobia: When the Fear of Needles Has You Stuck

2. True or false: The more phones/devices you have connected to your Wifi the slower your Wifi will be, even if they aren't actively sending or receiving data.

True. Surprisingly, even if a connected device isn't actively sending/receiving data, it will still consume some of the available bandwidth. What this means is that if you have many devices connected, you can start to see slowdowns or drops in your WiFi connection.

Read More: 6 Reasons Your WiFi Keeps Disconnecting and How to Fix It

3. True or false: Crack sealing — AKA the tar squiggles that appear on roads — can keep a road from deteriorating further and makes the road a lot smoother for driving.

False. While it does delay deterioration, crack sealing doesn't usually make the road any smoother; in fact, some motorcyclists call the patches "tar snakes" and complain that they cause accidents and damage to bikes.

Read More: What Are Those Squiggles of Tar on the Road?

4. True or false: The thin atmosphere on Mars makes all types of hovercrafts inoperative.

False. In the short time since NASA's Perseverance rover landed in Mars' Jezero Crater Feb. 18, 2021, it's already made history. Among other achievements, the Ingenuity helicopter detached from the rover shortly after they landed on Mars and became the first craft to fly in the atmosphere of another planet.

Learn More: Nine Months on Mars: Perseverance Makes Major Milestones

5. What was Andy Gibb's first song that hit No. 1 in the U.S. and Australia?

  • "Shadow Dancing"
  • "An Everlasting Love"
  • "I Just Want to Be Your Everything"
  • "(Our Love) Don't Throw it All Away"

In 1976, Andy moved to Miami and began working on his first album, "Flowing Rivers." His first hit "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" was written by Barry and went to No. 1 in the U.S. and Australia in 1977. This was followed by "Love Is (Thicker than Water)," another No. 1 hit. The album went platinum. Yet Andy was insecure in his abilities and felt that much of his success was due to his family connections rather than his talents.

Read More: 5 Things We've Always Wondered About Andy Gibb

6. True or false: Shamanism is not associated with any particular religion nor is it itself a religion.

True. While there are spiritual and mystical connotations to the term, the term "shaman" in and of itself is in no way tied to a specific religion or creed. A variety of formal religions are said to have roots in ancient shamanic traditions, but the specific practices and beliefs vary.

Read More: What Is a Shaman and Can Anyone Become One?

Oct. 9, 2021

1. True or false: A person can nominate themself for a Nobel Prize.

False. You cannot nominate yourself for a Nobel Prize. Nominations for the four most technical Nobel categories — physics, chemistry, medicine and economic sciences — are exclusively by invitation only. Each prize has its own standing Nobel Committee, which sends out nomination requests to roughly 3,000 people, all leading academics in the field and former Nobel recipients.

Read More: Can You Nominate Yourself for a Nobel Prize?

2. True or false: The Nobel Prize comes with a cash reward.

True. From the start, the Nobel Prize gained international attention for the hefty cash award that came with the honor. The very first Nobel Prizes awarded in 1901 came with cash prizes equivalent to nearly $900,000 each in 2018 U.S. dollars. While the value of the prize dipped in the middle of the last century, it made a comeback in the 1990s. The 2021 Nobel Prizes are each worth 10 million Swedish krona (around $1,165,216).

3. What event did Elvis' death completely overshadow in 1977?

  • An unusually strong signal from space that telegraphed letters and numbers.
  • The death of C.S. Lewis, who wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia."
  • President Reagan issuing the "first real tax cut in nearly 20 years."

On Aug. 15, 1977, Jerry Ehman saw an unusually strong signal from a radio telescope that was scanning the cosmos in hopes of picking up communications from an extraterrestrial civilization. Instead of the typical random numbers, there was a stream of both letters and numbers telegraphing a radio transmission 30 times louder than the background buzz of deep space. Ehman was so amazed he circled the code and wrote the word "wow!" next to the printout. Scientists searched in vain for the signal, but couldn't pick it up again. Even today, the "wow" code remains unexplained.

Read More: 10 Monumental Events That Were Overshadowed by Other Events

4. True or false: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University, as shown in 2010's "The Social Network."

True. Zuckerberg left the Ivy League school in 2005, but Harvard gave him an honorary degree 12 years later.

Take the Full Quiz: Reel vs. Real History: How Accurate Are Your Favorite Movies?

5. True or false: Round windows replaced square windows in airplanes because they are much stronger and resist deformation.

True. Engineers determined that the sharp edges of the planes' squared windows created natural weak spots, causing "metal fatigue failure." These corners were easily stressed, then further weakened by air pressure at high altitude. Rounded windows, on the other hand, are able to distribute the pressure evenly because they have no corners for stress to concentrate, reducing the likelihood of cracks or breaks. Circular shapes are also stronger and resist deformation, making them more able to withstand the repeated pressure differences between the inside and outside of the aircraft.

Read More: Why Are Airplane Windows Round?

Oct. 2, 2021

1. True or false: New archeological evidence dates our species setting foot in North America to around 23,000 years ago.

True: Footprints were unearthed at White Sands National Park in New Mexico, which were made by a group of teenagers, children and the occasional adult, and have been dated to the height of the last glacial maximum, some 23,000 years ago. That makes them potentially the oldest evidence of our species in the Americas.

Read More: The Proof Is in the Footprints: Humans Came to Americas Earlier Than Thought

2. True or false: Uranium glass gets its characteristic glow and tint from the radioactive material uranium, which makes the glass unsafe to collect in your homes.

False: Uranium glass is something that is radioactive — just like everything else. The radioactivity is comparable to the exposures you get from flying in an airplane, or inhaling air in your home, which has radon in it. So, for all practical purposes, there is no risk or an infinitesimally small risk associated with uranium glass. Which, for collectors and admirers, is good news. Because glass that glows is pretty cool.

Read More: How Uranium Glass Got Its Glow On

3. True or false: Coconut palm trees are native to the Hawaiian Islands.

False: The lineage of palm trees has been traced to regions of India, Northern Africa, regions of Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific Islands. Though coconut palms aren't native to the Hawaiian Islands, they are commonly found growing there and elsewhere in the Pacific. Atlas Obscura reports that nearly 40 percent of the world's islands exist within the climate zone that's hospitable to coconut trees.

Read More: Coconut Palm Trees Could Save Your Life on a Desert Island

4. How much more powerful is the James Webb Space Telescope than the Hubble Space Telescope?

  • 5x
  • 30x
  • 100x

Slated for a Dec. 18, 2021, launch date from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, Webb was built by an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and is charged with answering some very ambitious questions. It also will take astronomers closer than ever to the beginning of time, granting glimpses of sights long hypothesized but never before seen, from the birth of galaxies to light from the very first stars.

Read More: How the James Webb Space Telescope Works

5. True or false: A leech can survive in a human throat for over a week.

True: In 1895, a man named Surgeon-Lieutenant T. A. Granger of the British Indian Army drank water out of a rainwater tank when he suddenly felt something catch in his throat. When he tried to cough it up, he couldn't. Then, the thing caught in his throat began to move. He had difficulty swallowing and felt like he was going to choke on the writhing obstruction, and it caused him to vomit and to spit up blood repeatedly. A 2.5 to 3 inch-long leech was pulled out by a doctor 11 days later.

Consume More: Here's What Happens When You Swallow a Leech

6. True or false: Car dealerships do not have the right to refuse test-drives to customers.

False: Here are some common scenarios where the dealership might decline to let a customer test a car:

  • The person does not have a driver's license.
  • The person appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The car they want to drive is rare or unusual.
  • The car they want to drive is very high performance.

Read More: What Happens If You Wreck a Car on a Test-drive?

Sept. 25, 2021

1. True or false: The duty of protecting legislators, staff members and visitors against crime and terrorism in the U.S. Capitol complex falls on the Secret Service.

False. The United States Capitol Police (USCP) might not be as well-known as the FBI and the Secret Service, and there's never been a TV series based upon its exploits. Nevertheless, the agency, which has more than 2,300 officers and civilian employees and a budget of approximately $460 million, is tasked with what experts say is one of the most difficult, complicated and challenging jobs in law enforcement. Its mission is to safeguard legislators, staff members, visitors and the buildings in the Capitol complex from risks ranging from routine crime and disruptions to acts of terrorism.

Explore More: U.S. Capitol Police on High Alert to Protect Congress and Democracy

2. What's the average cost of a wedding in the United States?

  • $10,000
  • $22,000
  • $30,000
  • $48,000

The average wedding cost is $30,000 in the United States. Find how much you can save by making a few adjustments to your budget.

Read More: How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget: The Complete Cost Breakdown

3. True or false: All fermented foods contain live microorganisms when we eat them.

False — heating or cooking after fermentation kills whatever organisms fermented the food.

Learn More: Food Fermentation: How Microorganisms Make Food Delicious

4. Siberia is known as one of the coldest places in the world, yet each year, it experiences more wildfires of increasing severity. How many wildfires in Siberia are caused by human activities?

  • 1 in 10
  • 6 in 10
  • 9 in 10

Nine out of every 10 of these wildfires are caused by human activities. That includes things like campfires that aren't put out, sparks from passing coal trains or old electrical lines breaking. The other one of the 10 fires is caused by lightning.

Read More: Siberia's Wildfires Dwarf All Others on the Globe Combined

5. True or false: The youngest person to become president of the United States was also the youngest person to die in office.

True. The youngest person to become president by election was John F. Kennedy, who won the 1960 presidential election and was inaugurated at age 43. On Nov. 22, 1963, when he was just barely past his first 1,000 days in office, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, also becoming the youngest president to die in office.

Read More: Who Was the Youngest U.S. President?

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?

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.

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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.

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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?

Originally Published: Nov 19, 2020