Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Where did the idea come from that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was an apple? Genesis just says “fruit.” Does Jewish tradition have it as an apple, or is it strictly a Christian thing? Come to think of it, the fruit of discord of the Greek goddess Eris was also an apple. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

In Judith A. Jance’s mystery novel Partner in Crime (2002), the murder weapon is sodium azide, a chemical used in auto air bags. She got her story idea from a magazine article about how poisonous sodium azide is. The chemical is not deactivated when cars are sent to junkyards. Since this book was written, has […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I saw an article the other day saying that 45 percent of the U.S. population believes that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. That would certainly explain the election results of the past few years, but I don’t believe it. A near majority of Americans simply cannot be that retarded. I looked on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Are titanium batteries really better than alkaline? Or is this some sort of new marketing ploy? –Beth Hanes, via e-mail I’ve been pointing those who claim “battery memory” as truth toward your archive for quite a while, but the true believers insist, “He was talking about nicad batteries. Nickel metal hydride batteries are different.” Common […]

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The Straight Dope

What happens if a werewolf bites a vampire? Or vice versa? –Rob and Shane, via e-mail If you assume a vampire has the same caloric/nutritional requirements as us mortals, how much blood would they have to suck each day? –Robin, via e-mail If you have sex with a zombie are you at risk of becoming […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Recently, a safety poster at work published the following information: “Myth: People who abstain from alcohol are alcohol-free, and can’t be arrested for DUI. Fact: False. People continuously produce alcohol inside their own bodies, a process called endogenous ethanol production. In some cases, enough alcohol can be produced to lead to intoxication.” What?! You mean […]

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The Straight Dope

According to the History Channel’s The History of Sex, the ancient Romans ate a specific plant for birth control purposes. It was described as being enormously effective, to the extent that it was extinct by the fall of the empire. I’m sure a quick Web search would tell me the story of a worthless little […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I went to lunch with some friends on Sunday. There’s one girl who thinks she knows everything and is always peppering us with stories and factoids to show off. Sunday she throws this nugget out: In domestic killings, the number one weapon used is not guns, but frying pans. This can’t be true, can it? […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

According to the History Channel’s The History of Sex, the ancient Romans ate a specific plant for birth control purposes. It was described as being enormously effective, to the extent that it was extinct by the fall of the empire. I’m sure a quick Web search would tell me the story of a worthless little […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

On a recent visit to Chicago, I noticed that Lake Michigan, close to shore, looks more like the waters of the Caribbean (crystal clear, light aqua color). When I grew up in the city years ago the lake was just a bucket of sludge. I’m told the change in clarity is due to zebra mussels […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

We’re all taught in B-school that market prices are determined by supply and demand. I can’t for one minute believe this is true of crude oil prices. Demand appears to be static (that is, static at a given moment, although steadily increasing with time) and not affected by price at all. China isn’t going to […]

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The Straight Dope

I would love to believe the legends about the Mandan Indians, reputed to have descended from an ill-fated colony of Welshmen who arrived in ships in the 1100s. Their leader was a prince named Madoc. Are you going to burst my bubble? Or is there something to this? –Bill Morse, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin Welsh Indians? […]

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The Straight Dope

Early this morning after a night of drinking I woke up and really had to pee. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. But what happens if I don’t? Is there a long-term health risk if I regularly choose to hold it? If alcohol is thrown into the equation, are there other effects or […]

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The Straight Dope

Popular opinion holds that gasoline is unstable and lasts six months at the most; some claim it loses its “edge” after as little as two weeks. Practical experience seems to show that gasoline can be stored without special precautions for years with no noticeable deterioration. Storage conditions are supposed to make a huge difference, but […]

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The Straight Dope

Do unborn babies pee and/or defecate in the womb? –Realtime, via e-mail That’s two questions, so two answers. Number one: yes, and it’s a good thing they do. Number two: yes, but you better hope they don’t. Fetal urination is normal. It’s part of that “miracle of life” folderol the nature programs exalt just before […]