How many people live in Japan and why is Japan’s population declining?

how many people live in japan and why is japans population declining

Japan’s population is expected to drop to 95 million by 2050. In 2011 about 127,960,000 lived in Japan, and in the 2010 census the population of Japan was 128,056,026. Yup, that means the country’s population decreased. The main reason for the decline can be blamed on a low birth rate, Japan’s birth rate has been … Read more

Why Did Picasso Smoke and How Did Cigar Smoke Save Picasso’s Life?

why did picasso smoke and how did cigar smoke save picassos life

Picasso did smoke, and he credited cigar smoke with saving his life. The story that he told was that he had been born grey and wasn’t breathing. The midwife thought he was dead, but luckily an uncle, who was a doctor, decided to try something desperate, he blew cigar smoke into the infant’s nose. The … Read more

How Multi-Talented Was Picasso Compared To Renaissance Men Like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo?

how multi talented was picasso compared to renaissance men like leonardo da vinci and michelangelo

Pablo Picasso was an amazing and prolific painter. However, unlike Michelangelo, who was also an accomplished poet, or Leonardo, who dabbled brilliantly in the fields of science, math, philosophy, and music, Picasso’s genius in painting did not overlap into other fields. For example, when he tried his hand at writing plays, he took just four … Read more

Which Famous Artist Painted the Most Self Portraits and Why?

which famous artist painted the most self portraits and why scaled

Of the world’s famous painters, Rembrandt painted the most self portraits, with 62 self-portraits. Vincent van Gogh is number two, with 40. He had a good excuse, though, while institutionalized for madness, he didn’t have models or landscape views available. One of his portraits is Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, painted in the mental institution not … Read more

How Do I Apply To Become a Hotdogger and Drive the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile?

how do i apply to become a hotdogger and drive the oscar mayer wienermobile

To get a one year assignment as a hotdogger, you have to be a recent college graduate, preferably in the field of communications, journalism, advertising, or public relations. Be aware, though, that competition is stiff. The company gets about 1,000 applicants a year. For the 1999-2000 year, they hired 21 hotdoggers, 15 of them women. … Read more

Who Built the Taj Mahal In India and Who Was the Taj Mahal Built For?

who built the taj mahal in india and who was the taj mahal built for

The love story surrounding the Taj Mahal is true, but certain facts are generally left out. Here’s the oft-told romantic tale: Indian mogul Shah Jahan was deeply in love with his one of his four wives, whom he called Mumtaz Mahal, or “Ornament of the Palace.” In 1631, Mumtaz, on her death bed, asked Shah … Read more

How Many Steps Does the Capitol Building In Washington, D.C. Have?

how many steps does the capitol building in washington d c have

The Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. has 365 steps, one representing every day of the year. If you’re patient, you can count as you climb to find the step that represents your birthday. Unless, of course, you were born on February 29, sorry. The word “Capitol” comes from Latin, meaning city on a hill and … Read more

How Did Pepsi Get Its Name and Where Did the Name Pepsi Cola Come From?

how did pepsi get its name and where did the name pepsi cola come from

Pepsi got its name from one of its main ingredients, pepsin, a substance used to relieve indigestion. When pharmacist Caleb Bradham concocted the kola nut, pepsin, sugar, and vanilla mixture in 1893, he called it Brad’s Drink. When it became popular, he changed the name in 1903 and began the PepsiCola company. Bradham, who was … Read more

What Is Moxie Soda Made of and What Makes Moxie Soda So Bitter Tasting?

what is moxie soda made of and what makes moxie soda so bitter tasting

Moxie soda, which originated as a patent medicine called “Moxie Nerve Food”, is bitter tasting because it contains Gentian Root. The soft drink has a shockingly bitter aftertaste, credited with leading to the noun moxie, meaning “spunk”, as in “you’ve got moxie.” Some describe the taste as being “like Dr. Pepper with a wicked after … Read more

Who Was Dr. Pepper and Where Did Dr. Pepper Come From?

who was dr pepper and where did dr pepper come from

Unlike Dr. Brown, Dr. Pepper was very much a real person, Dr. Kenneth Pepper of Rural Retreat, Virginia. The story goes that the founder and creator of the Dr. Pepper Company, Wade Morrison, got his first job at Pepper’s pharmacy in the 1880s. Morrison eventually left and settled in Waco, Texas, where he opened his … Read more

What Are the Names of Snoopy’s Brothers and Sisters In Charles Schulz’s Peanuts Comic Strip?

what are the names of snoopys brothers and sisters in charles schulzs peanuts comic strip

Here is the order in which Snoopy’s brothers and sisters were introduced in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip: Spike, Belle, Marbles, Olaf, and Andy. Once, Snoopy’s father received a Father’s Day card from “all eight” of his kids, so there are two more whose names we don’t know. The original drawings of Snoopy were inspired … Read more

What Is Postum, Who Invented Postum, and Where Did Postum Come From?

what is postum who invented postum and where did postum come from

Postum is a drink made of bran and molasses that was originally concocted as a substitute for coffee and a digestive aid. C. W. Post created Postum in 1895, then had to convince people to buy and consume Postum instead of coffee. So he did what every desperate businessman would do: scared the bejeebers out … Read more

Who Invented Kool-Aid and How Did Kool-Aid Get Its Name?

who invented kool aid and how did kool aid get its name

You would think Fruit Smack would have been a better name for Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins and his wife Kitty in Hastings, Nebraska, United States. Perkins wanted to do what Jell-O had done, so he kept concocting until he came up with a powdered concentrate for his fruit-flavored drink. He named it … Read more

When Were Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert Knighted By Queen Victoria For Their Comic Operas?

when were arthur sullivan and william gilbert knighted by queen victoria for their comic operas

William Gilbert had to wait until Queen Victoria died before he was knighted. It’s true that Gilbert and Sullivan were both talented men and they equally contributed to the operettas that made them famous. However, Victoria “was not amused” at Gilbert’s lyrics, especially the devastating satires of her governmental officials. She didn’t hold Sullivan’s music … Read more

Why Is Bullfighting Illegal In the United States?

why is bullfighting illegal in the united states

As long as the matador does not harm or kill the bull, bullfighting is legal in the United States. Detroit is one city that has featured bloodless bullfighting, bringing in some of the best Spanish and Mexican bullfighters to demonstrate their skills, speed, and courage without doing overt harm to the animals. In Portugal it … Read more

How Big Is a Polo Ball and What Is a Polo Ball Made Of?

how big is a polo ball and what is a polo ball made of

Traditionally a polo ball is made of willow root, but hard plastic has made significant inroads in the game. The outdoor polo ball is about 3¼ inches in diameter and weighs about four ounces. For indoor polo, players bat around an inflated leather ball 4 1/2 inches in diameter. The oldest polo ground in the … Read more

What Sports Originated In the United States?

what sports originated in the united states

There are at least three sports that originated in the United States. Basketball, Volleyball, invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by William Morgan in 1895, for sedentary businessmen who found the new sport of basketball too strenuous. Rodeo, first formalized as a sport in Prescott, Arizona.

What Happened To Shoeless Joe Jackson After the 1919 World Series Scandal?

what happened to shoeless joe jackson after the 1919 world series scandal

Shoeless Joe Jackson and eight other White Sox players were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati, and were thrown out of baseball forever, even though they were acquitted of criminal charges. For 10 years afterward, Jackson, one of the best baseballers ever, played semipro around the country under various assumed names. When … Read more

How Did Basketball Get Its Name and Where Did Basketball Come From?

how did basketball get its name and where did basketball come from

It would be best not to complain about how basketball got its name, it could have easily been called “box ball” or even “trash can ball.” In 1891, when James Naismith was inventing the game for bored, snowbound students at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, he intended to use wooden boxes for his targets. But … Read more

What Is the Ceremony That Is Performed Before a Sumo Match Called and How Is dohyō-iri Performed?

what is the ceremony that is performed before a sumo match called and how is dohyo iri performed

Each sumo match is preceded by an elaborate ceremony called dohyō-iri which is based on Shintoist traditions. The judges file into the ring with attendants and sword bearers. Each official is supplied with a small ceremonial dagger, originally provided so that he could disembowel himself if he gave a miscall. They perform a short ritual … Read more

How Do Clowns Register Their Faces So Nobody Else Can Copy the Design?

how do clowns register their faces so nobody else can copy the design

To protect against themselves against theft of idea and business, any clown can register their face with the National Clown and Character Registry for about $20, sort of a trademark locale for clowns. A clown sends photos of his or her made-up face and a replica is painted onto a goose egg for archive purposes. … Read more

How Did the Bronx In New York Get Its Name and What Does the Word Bronx Mean?

how did the bronx in new york get its name and what does the word bronx mean

The word Bronx is the possessive form of “Bronk.” In 1639, Jonas Bronk, or Bronck, moved into the area and laid claim to the place, naming a river, burgs, and streets after himself. The Dutch made “Bronk’s” easier to write by using their possessive “x” and spelling it “Bronx.” The Bronx is the northernmost of … Read more

How Many Days Has Disney World Been Closed Since It Opened In 1971?

how many days has disney world been closed since it opened in 1971 scaled

Disney World has only been closed for one day on September 15, 1999 since it opened in 1971. Although Disney World has shut down early or opened late for many reasons over the years, Hurricane Floyd in September 1995 has been the only event compelling enough to close down Disney’s Florida amusement park for an … Read more

Why Was Robert E. Lee’s Mother Buried Alive In Virginia?

why was robert e lees mother buried alive in virginia

Anne Carter Lee, the Southern general’s mother, suffered from cataleptic spells that caused her to fall unconscious and grow rigid with tremors. As the story goes, she was mistaken for dead during one of these spells and buried in the family plot in Virginia. Hearing a noise a while later, one of the servants called … Read more

Where Did the Word Funeral Come From and What Does Funeral Mean In Latin?

where did the word funeral come from and what does funeral mean in latin

The word funeral comes from the Latin word funus, meaning “funeral,” which comes from the Latin funus, meaning “torch.” Using torches in death and burial ceremonies dates back to Neanderthal times, and the ancient Romans believed funeral torches showed the deceased the way to their eternal homes. Funeral rites and customs are as old as … Read more

What Do Train Whistles Mean Besides “Get Out of the Way”?

what do train whistles mean besides get out of the way

Train whistles used to mean a lot more back before phones, walkie-talkies, and other ways for the engineer to communicate with the rest of the crew. For example, one urgent toot! signaled the brakeman to jump from car to car, applying the brakes on each one, which at one time was the only way to … Read more

How Did the Blimp Get Its Name and What Does the Word Blimp Mean?

how did the blimp get its name and what does the word blimp mean

There are at least two stories about the origin of the word of the word blimp. One is that a British naval officer coined the term while trying to duplicate the sound the giant airbag made when he flicked his fingernail against it. The other story is that the early airships were marked AIRSHIP MODEL … Read more

Why Was the Famous Portrait of George Washington Never Finished?

why was the famous portrait of george washington never finished

George Washington hated the tedium of sitting for days at a time when getting his portrait painted. When he retired from public office, he swore he’d never pose again, until his wife, Martha, suggested that both of them pose for portraits to be hung above the mantelpiece in their home. They chose Gilbert Stuart, a … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Have Been Related To Each Other?

how many u s presidents have been related to each other scaled

More U.S. presidents are related to each other than one might think. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were father and son. William Harrison and Benjamin Harrison were grandfather and grandson. James Madison and Zachary Taylor were second cousins. And finally, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were fifth cousins. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the … Read more

Who Was the Smartest President In the United States and Why?

who was the smartest president in the united states and why

It’s hard to say for sure who the smartest president in the United States was, but James Garfield must be up there in the top percentile. He was a college professor in ancient languages and literature and once published a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean theorem. An ambidextrous man, Garfield also had a nifty trick … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Were Gay and Who Was the Only Bachelor President?

how many u s presidents were gay and who was the only bachelor president

Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure if any former U.S. presidents were gay. However, our only bachelor president, James Buchanan, had that reputation in his lifetime. His longtime roommate, Senator and later Vice President William Rufus De Vane King of Alabama, also never married. According to historians, the two had an inseparable relationship … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Were Born In a Log Cabin?

how many u s presidents were born in a log cabin

Seven U.S. presidents were born in a log cabin. They included Abe Lincoln, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Andrew Jackson, and James Garfield. A log cabin was the first generation home building erected quickly for frontier shelter. Historically log construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and the first log cabins were probably built … Read more

Who Was the First Writer To Submit a Typewritten Manuscript and When?

who was the first writer to submit a typewritten manuscript and when

Mark Twain was the first writer to submit a typewritten manuscript, with Life on the Mississippi in 1883. A sucker for new gadgets, he was one of the first people to buy a typewriter, calling it a “curiosity-breeding little joker.” Mark Twain’s wit and satire earned praise from both his critics and peers. After his … Read more

Did Shakespeare Ever Mention America In Any of His Plays?

did shakespeare ever mention america in any of his plays scaled

Shakespeare mentioned America once in his plays. In The Comedy of Errors, during a discussion between Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse, Dromio describes a woman, a rather large woman, who, in his mind, is globe shaped. During the course of the conversation, Antipholus urges Dromio to keep pinpointing geographic locations on her large … Read more

Where Did the Story of Frankenstein Come From and Why Did Mary Shelley Stay Up To Write the Story?

where did the story of frankenstein come from and why did mary shelley stay up to write the story

The story of Frankenstein came from a ghost story party in 1816. Nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley, her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, her pregnant stepsister, Claire Clarement, Lord Byron (father of Claire’s unborn child), and Byron’s physician, John Polidori, were all staying together on holiday in Geneva, Switzerland. To fill the long, rainy nights during this stay, … Read more

Why Was the Fairy Tale “Little Red Riding Hood” Banned In California?

why was the fairy tale little red riding hood banned in california scaled

A traditional version of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood” was banned in the town of Empire, California, in 1990. Ironically, it wasn’t because of the sexual undertones in the story of the beautiful young girl being seduced by the aggressive, conniving wolf, or the gory attack on the grandmother. Nor was it because … Read more

Where Did Aesop’s Fables Come From and How Many Fables Did Aesop Write?

where did aesops fables come from and how many fables did aesop write

Depending on the source, Aesop wrote anywhere between zero and several hundred fables. According to some scholars, Aesop was a Greek slave who, between 620 and 565 B.C., wrote down folk tales he’d heard. His name became associated with tales that centered around the animal kingdom and always contained a moral. Tradition has it that … Read more

Where Did the Word Loony Come From and What Does the Term Loony Mean?

where did the word loony come from and what does the term loony mean

Although many believe that the word loony came from the loon’s laugh-like call, the word loony, or looney, is just a short version of the word lunatic. Lunatic has been in use for almost 1,000 years and comes from luna, the “moon,” based on the belief that insanity was affected by the moon’s phases. In … Read more

What Is Cold Filtered Beer and What Does Cold Filtered Beer Mean?

what is cold filtered beer and what does cold filtered beer mean

Cold filtered beer is just an advertising term and clever marketing. All beer is “cold filtered”, it just means using fine screens to remove particulates, including microbes. If combined with sterile handling, the filtering eliminates bacteria, which means that the beer doesn’t have to be pasteurized. Unpasteurized beer can legally be labeled “draft” beer, even … Read more

What Does the Evil Eye Mean and Where Did the Evil Eye Come From?

what does the evil eye mean and where did the evil eye come from

The superstition of the Evil Eye goes back centuries, and can be found in societies throughout the world. Ancient Romans claiming to possess the Evil Eye could be hired to charm enemies. Ancient India revered and feared the phenomenon, as did cultures in the Near East. For hundreds of years, gypsies were accused of possessing … Read more

Who Invented the Comic Strip and Who Was the First Comic Strip Character Ever?

who invented the comic strip and who was the first comic strip character ever

Richard Felton Outcault is widely regarded to have invented the modern comic strip, and was born on January 14, 1863. Outcault’s “Yellow Kid’ is considered the first comic strip character, and appeared in Hearst’s New York Journal in 1896. The Kid was a bald, floppy-eared, buck-toothed, grinning kid in a huge yellow shirt. Barefoot and … Read more