How Bad Scheduling and a Misguided Con Scheme Changed the World

Johannes Gutenberg (circa 1400 – February 3, 1468) was responsible for one of the pivotal inventions in all of history: the moveable-type printing press. That invention, more than any other, allowed mankind to begin to collect and disseminate its collective knowledge and progress into the scientific and industrial revolutions. It almost didn't happen. We owe... Continue Reading →

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Meet the Woman Whose Name is on the Declaration of Independence

Women would not receive the right to vote in the United States until 1920. Ironically, 144 years before this oversight was addressed, it was a woman who played a key role in the proclamation of American independence. If you don't know who this woman is, take a look at the Declaration of Independence, and you... Continue Reading →

Which Actor’s Words Are Worth the Most?

We expect successful actors to be paid massive sums to star in our favorite films, but have you ever considered how much they earn, relative to the amount of dialogue they actually speak? Here are the top-earning actors, based on the money earned per word of dialogue. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator While starring as... Continue Reading →

Who was the Best-Paid Athlete of All Time?

In today's era of multi-million dollar salaries for professional sports figures, it might surprise you that even the wealthiest of modern athletes cannot hold a candle to the best-paid sportsman of all time. In 2017 Real Madrid soccer star Ronaldo Cristiano brought in $93 million. As impressive as that is, it is mere pocket change... Continue Reading →

Meet the Latest Contender for a Girl’s Best Friend

Diamonds may still be a girl's best friend, but they can no longer claim to be the hardest substance on earth. As of 2005, that distinction is now claimed by bucky balls.Readers of Commonplace already know that bucky balls (more properly known as buckminsterfullerene) are the among most expensive substances in the world. This scientifically-engineered... Continue Reading →

A Fungus Among Us Is the Largest Living Thing On the Planet

When it comes to the holder of the title of "World's Largest Living Thing," it's a cinch that it must be the blue whale, right? Wrong. The actual holder of that title is likely a mushroom of the species Armillaria ostoyae in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It covers 2,200 acres and is between... Continue Reading →

Do You Think You Know the Tallest Mountain? You Are Probably Wrong

When asked to identify the tallest mountain on the planet, most people readily name Mount Everest. Most people are wrong. The holder of that particular honor is actually Mauna Kea, the tallest point on the island of Hawaii. Why do we think it is Mount Everest? The answer lies in terminology. When discussing how "tall"... Continue Reading →

Using Pennies to Keep Big Ben Accurate Makes Good Cents

Aside from the monarchy, one would be hard-pressed to think of anything more iconically British than the clock in the Elizabeth Tower of Westminster Palace. Its massive bell, Big Ben, has been keeping Londoners on time for over 150 years. In fact, it has maintained almost freakishly accurate time. It is the biggest, most accurate four-faced... Continue Reading →

The Story Behind the World’s Most Insane Amusement Park

People go to amusement parks for thrill rides and to get an adrenaline fix. The excitement comes from the sensation of danger, accompanied by the assurance of safety. Patrons of New Jersey's Action Park got adrenaline -- and more -- from the sensation of danger, accompanied by the real thing. Action Park's safety record was... Continue Reading →

If You Crave Peace and Quiet, This Place is For You

When your "quiet place" isn't quiet enough, what do you do? For Microsoft the answer was obvious: they built their own.   Located in Building 87 of Microsoft's Redmond, Washington campus is the "anechoic chamber." Its name means "echo free," and that is precisely what it is. The room is used for testing Surface tablets... Continue Reading →

Brief Facts About the Shortest Presidential Term

Pedro Lascuráin held the highest governmental office in Mexico briefly. Very briefly. In fact, he holds the record for the shortest term in history as a nation's president. He was sworn in as Mexico's 34th President on February 19, 1913. Less than one hour later, his term of office was over. His administration was not... Continue Reading →

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