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Daniel Ganninger

When you go through airport security, you have to put any items you’re carrying or in your pockets in a round bucket. After it goes through the x-ray machine, you only have to pick everything up to be on your way.

But it seems that enough people are forgetting that part and leaving their change behind. Not to worry, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) keeps track of it and makes sure it gets put to good use.

In the fiscal year 2019, unclaimed money (coins and paper money) left at TSA security checkpoints from airports across the US added…


A Fish With a Difficult Name

Some names can be tough to pronounce, and the official fish of Hawaii could take the prize as the most difficult. The state fish of Hawaii is the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or if you would rather not tie your tongue in knots, it’s also called the reef or rectangular triggerfish. In Hawaiian, the name means “triggerfish with snout like a pig.”

The rectangular triggerfish is a tropical reef fish. They sometimes make grunting noises to possibly warn of intrusion by predators to their territory, which they can be aggressive in defending. They also use jets of water from their mouth to uncover…


If you’ve ever seen a waving piece of paper under the windshield wiper of your car, you’ve probably experienced a feeling of instantaneous dread knowing what you’re going to read. It’s most likely a dastardly parking ticket that you’ll now have to pay for with your hard-earned dollars.

Now think what you would do if you got three or four a day, and they were just part of the job. …


In 1848, an accident injured a 25-year-old railroad worker named Phineas Gage. It was thought that he was never the same person again. His case became the first time a link was made between trauma to the brain and a change in personality.

Phineas Gage was part of a railroad crew excavating rocks for a new railway bed in Cavendish, Vermont, on a fateful day in September 1848. As he was using a tamping iron to pack explosives into a borehole, something terrible happened. The explosive powder detonated and sent the 13.25 pound, 43-inch-long tamping iron straight into Gage’s face…


After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was forced to consider that an invasion by Japanese forces on the Hawaiian Islands was entirely possible. The government also realized that if the Japanese did invade, they would have the ability to get their hands on a hefty amount of US currency.

In response to these possibilities, the government began recalling all regular US bills throughout the islands a little more than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor and set limits on how much regular currency businesses and citizens could possess. The plan was…


There is a statue of George Washington in a place you wouldn’t think he would be. The statue of the first president and leader of the American Revolution stands in Trafalgar Square in London outside of the National Gallery.

The statue was a gift from the state of Virginia in 1921 and commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Washington is depicted standing with his left hand resting on thirteen rods which represented the original thirteen colonies.

But Washington had once vowed to “never set foot again on English soil.” So to make good on that promise, soil…


A Taxi Warning System

In New York City taxicabs, there is an amber light on the left side of the trunk and sometimes on the cab’s hood. When the driver activates these lights, they blink to summon the police that the driver is having an emergency. According to the NYC rules for distress signal lights that are required on all taxis, the lights must be able to blink 60–120 times per minute, and the driver must be able to reach the button to activate them easily and silently. Source


You might not see this decorative lawn icon dotting the front yards of suburban homes much anymore, but the pink plastic flamingo used to be a big deal. Now it has grown into a form of art.

The birds first came around in 1957, and they didn’t start in a place where you would expect flamingos to be. They were invented in Leominster, Massachusetts. Leominster was a mecca for plastics, not because of the eventual invention of the plastic flamingo, but because of the plastic comb.

It began when Don Featherstone was hired by Union Products, a plastic company in…


In 2014, the State of Colorado responded to a repeated problem of people stealing a particular number on a mile marker sign along an interstate.

The Colorado Department of Transportation switched mile marker “420” to “419.99” on Interstate 70 east of Denver because there had been multiple thefts of the “420” sign. The Colorado Department of Transportation said the sign had been changed sometime during 2014 because of the thefts.

Why was there a rash of thefts on the sign? It’s believed (and probably pretty certain) to be because the number 420 is associated with smoking cannabis, which is also…


Think about this the next time you’re out at your favorite local seafood restaurant enjoying an expensive lobster platter. The lobster hasn’t always been considered a delicacy like it is today.

In Colonial America, lobsters were so plentiful on the shores of the northeastern United States that they were called the “poor man’s protein” or the “cockroach of the sea.” Because of their utter abundance, they were fed to prisoners and servants, eaten by the poor, and having a shell in a house was looked upon as a sign of poverty. Native Americans even used lobsters as fertilizer. …

Daniel Ganninger

The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew and the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books. Connect at knowledgestew.com and danielganninger.com

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