February 20, 2014

Why Do We Itch? [Redux]

In my first book of Imponderables, we discussed this weighty question. In the almost thirty years since it was written, the theory that the neural pathways for itching are identical to the ones for pain seems to be degenerating. Now...

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October 21, 2013

Urination Times in Mammals

I've never thought of it before, but Slate informs us that mammals tend to urinate for about the same amount of time -- 21 seconds. They take a stab at an answer too, with a not particularly compelling answer....

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November 22, 2012

Why Are Turkeys Cheaper at Thanksgiving Time?

Shouldn't turkey prices rise when they are in the most demand? Happy Thanksgiving!...

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September 13, 2012

Back in the Day

How far back does "back in the day" go? Pat O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman tackle the etymology of this overused phrase in their excellent blog, Grammarphobia:...

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June 05, 2012

Why Do Some People Hate Raw Tomatoes?

Perhaps for the same reason some people hate cilantro....

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October 04, 2011

The Toilet Paper Debate Rages

More than a few times, I've been asked by readers whether toilet paper should be arranged so that the loose sheets come under or over the roll. In his blog, Matthew Lyons displays the debate in graphical form....

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July 31, 2011

Sunday New York Time Acrostic

A quote from an Imponderables book is featured in today's New York Times. I won't reveal anything else now, but if you want some mini-spoilers, take a look here or for the solution, try this:...

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June 26, 2011

It's Not the Water?

There is a persistent myth that it is the water that makes New York bagels and pizzas superior to other places. Slate's Explainer argues that, at least in the case of bagels, it just ain't true....

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June 04, 2011

More Single-Shoe Sightings (International Edition)

After more than ten years, readers are still sending me stories about finding single shoes, but rare is a sighting so far from Imponderables Central. John Miller, of Auckland, New Zealand, writes: I have just been reading an article on...

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June 11, 2010

Could You Care Less?

We pondered this subject in Who Put the Butter in Butterfly? Here's a different take by David Mitchell:...

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February 22, 2010

It Finally Happened

Today, Amazon sent me an email saying I might be interested in reading the following book:...

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November 04, 2008

Can a Dead Woman Vote?

Slate ponders whether the absentee ballot of a deceased person is counted. The answer; it depends....

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September 07, 2008

Why Do Houses Sell for More Money in the Summer?

No one knows for sure, but here is one cool theory....

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July 03, 2008

Why Don't Competitive Eaters Get Sick More Often?

They do, actually. Even the most famous....

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June 27, 2008

Nasty Noises

We've written about why TV commercials and nails across the blackboard are so annoying. The New York Times just weighed in on the latter subject this week. No big whoop. But the story included a link to a professor who...

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May 02, 2008

Why Are Kids Crazy About Animals?

This is an Imponderable I've received before. Stephen Dubner, and even better, the readers of the Freakonomics blog, weigh in....

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March 07, 2008

Traffic Shock Syndrome Revisited

One of my favorite chapters in my first book discusses why traffic jams on highways disappear for no discernible reason. Japanese scientists are now recreating the effect in the "laboratory." Very cool....

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February 11, 2008

R.I.P Polaroid Instant Camera

In How Does Aspirin Find a Headache?, we discussed why folks flap their Polaroid prints in the air. I guess Polaroid was offended....

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December 01, 2007

Kindle Imponderable

I just noticed that my latest book is available for the Kindle at the "bargain" price of $7.96. I assume the price is lower than the standard ten bucks to provide a gap between the standard edition and the Kindle...

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November 14, 2007

When Do Fish Forsake Water?

The latest discovery: some tropical fish can live out of the water for months....

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October 05, 2007

Why Do We Need an Appendix?

In Do Penguins Have Knees?, we pondered what function the appendix serves. Some new research confirms one of our pet theories....

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September 12, 2007

R.I.P. Alex the Parrot

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Alex, a parrot who had a rich vocabulary and no inhibitions in using it, died at the age of 31. The title question in Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? wasn't the only parrotcentric...

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September 03, 2007

Hear Dave

Hear Dave flogging the release of Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? on Mancow's Morning Madhouse, live tomorrow (Sept. 4) at 10:00 A.M. E.S.T. or online at the link above. Let's see if I can remember what I researched three years...

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August 17, 2007

British Singers with British Accents

I've joined the twenty-first century, folks. After more than a little resistance, I finally broke down and am now in possession of an 80-gig video Ipod. I've have many thousands of records and CD's and I work at home, with...

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July 18, 2007

Political Contributions Imponderable

I was playing possum a little bit when I mused in my last entry about why so many contributions "of the stars" were for $2300 and $4600. I knew that the maximum contribution for an individual was $2300, but I...

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July 08, 2007

Why Do [Most] Forks Have Four Tines?

Good Imponderable. But actually I wasn't asked this. Bram Cohen, creator of BitTorrent, has some thoughts on the subject on his blog. The comments by his readers are worth a look, too....

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July 01, 2007

Flea-Flicker

Mark Vranicar of Kansas City, Missouri asks: What's the origin of the term "flea-flicker" in football? This is the kind of etymological question that doesn't make it into my Imponderables books, but I was curious about this myself. Pete McEntegart,...

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May 31, 2007

Finally, the Answer to Gilligan's Island

The Professor did us proud. As we posted yesterday, the Profesor posed an Imponderable question and teased the answer. Our intrepid reader, Sondra Harris, whose name has adorned many an Imponderables book with her wit, was the first to spot...

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May 30, 2007

Gilligan's Island Meets Imponderables

At least the Professor meets us (see bottom of this page). Can anyone find the answer to the immortal Imponderable?...

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January 05, 2007

Death of a Fruitcake

Since we've been writing about "Does Anyone Really Like Fruitcake?" for more than a decade, and hearing often from folks who profess such love, we herewith provide equal time....

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December 16, 2006

Lethal Injections

If you're in my line of work, you are prepared to receive this in your inbox a few times a week: "Why Do They Use Sterilized Needles in Lethal Injections?" I take the question seriously in Why Do Pirates Love...

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December 11, 2006

Why Does Diet Coke Float and Coke Classic Sink?

One of my favorite Imponderables in Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? is this carbonated mystery. I received one email who doesn't believe the premise of the question. It's true! It's true! I tested the thesis myself at Imponderables Central, and...

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November 16, 2006

Dave on the Radio Friday

I'll be on live tomorrow, Friday, on Denver's KOA-850 AM from 10-11 Rocky Mountain Time (that's noon-one P.M. E.S.T. for the time-zone conversion impaired). You can listen in online and even throw a few Imponderables my way. This must be...

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November 05, 2006

Why Can't You Buy Grape Ice Cream?

One of my favorite mysteries from Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? is a great Imponderable submitted by Michael Johnson of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We've got grape candy, grape juice, grape jelly, and grape Popsicles. But where is the grape ice...

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November 01, 2006

Spinoffs

My publisher, Collins Reference, a cozy little divison of the vast HarperCollins empire, has just issued two "greatest hits" compilations of Imponderables. One is Fun and Games, devoted to sports, games, and popular culture. The other tackles science. Both...

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October 26, 2006

You Can Tickle Yourself

In Why Do Pirates Love Parrots?, there's an update on an Imponderable we first discussed in Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?: "Why Can't We Tickle Ourselves?" In Dogs, the best we could do was point out that Freud wrote...

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October 13, 2006

Finally...

My author copies have arrived. Next week, I'll be sending books out to folks who were first to ask Imponderables in the new book. Thanks for your patience....

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October 11, 2006

The Origins of Applebee's

Reader Dawn Weese writes: Why is Applebee's callled Applebee's? The restaurant doesn't sell a lot of items with apples in them and doesn't have anything to do with bees. I assumed that the restaurant was named after its founder. Wrong!...

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October 06, 2006

I Wish I Were in Cambridge, Massachusetts...

...so that I could have attended the IgNoble Awards. I would especially like to have cheered on Dr. Piers Barnes and Nic Svenson for their groundbreaking research in mathematics, "for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost)...

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October 02, 2006

Par for the Course

I'm not a morning person. Not at all. So it's hard to be witty in interviews when I'm waking up four hours before I ordinarily do, especially when I don't sleep well the night before, fearing I'll oversleep. I've put...

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October 01, 2006

I'm Cramming...

and for once, it's not food I'm cramming. I'm studying my own book, because I start with interviews tomorrow for the release of Why Do Pirates Love Parrots?. Studying on Sunday night conjures up some rather unpleasant schoolday memories. One...

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September 28, 2006

It's Always Something (This Time, It's the Football Field)

Just like with Do Elephants Jump?, Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? has been out for less than a week and a sharp-eyed reader found a mistake. A really dumb one. On page 83-84, we discuss why an American football field...

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September 27, 2006

This Blog Entry Intentionally Left Unblank

"tHIS

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September 26, 2006

Do Elephants Talk?

There are two Imponderables in Why Do Pirates Love Parrots?: Why is an elephant's nose called a trunk? And "Do Giraffes Vocalize?" Then, by coincidence, my pal Terry Joseph noted the strange claim that an elephant, using his mighty trunk,...

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September 25, 2006

Pirates Has Landed!

I'm starting to hear from readers that the new book has arrived at bookstores. Next week, I'll start doing radio interviews (most of which I'll post in the news headlines on top of the page). I'm planning on blogging at...

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September 20, 2006

The Day After Pub Date

Yesterday was the official publication date of Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? How did I celebrate? By going to the Mets game. This is the earliest an Imponderables book has been published, and truth be told, things are running a...

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September 19, 2006

Talk Like a Pirate Day

What better way to honor the publication date of Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? than to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day?...

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September 09, 2006

Willi Ninja, R.I.P.

The "Godfather of Voguing," Willi Ninja, died in New York City this week. Most of the obituaries focus on how Ninja was one of the stars of the fabulous documentary, Paris Is Burning, the marvelous 1990 documentary, and how Willi...

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September 08, 2006

Why Teens Don't Care

It's not their fault. Biology is destiny....

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Are Silver Fillings Dangerous?

In Do Elephants Jump?, we discussed why silver fillings don't rust. One of the issues raised was whether silver fillings, or more accurately, amalgam fillings that include mercury, are safe. This controversy is unlikely to go away quietly, but the...

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August 08, 2006

Actual News!

If you look above, you'll see some new announcements that will be of interest to Imponderables reader. A new index is right here; and a new Imponderables book is lurking around the corner....

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July 12, 2006

Free At Last!

I just handed in my "final pass" at the manuscript for my forthcoming tome, Do Pirates Have Parrots? I'm a happy guy. Want a sneak peak at the cover? Here's the Amazon link and here's B&N's Amazon says the book...

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May 28, 2006

Mail Problems at Imponderables Central

Yikes. Due to my own ineptitude, I just accidentally trashed about 750 emails in my inbox. I'd estimate about 500-600 are emails from readers, all ones I haven't replied to. I'll be able to resurrect some of them from my...

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May 24, 2006

Seeing Stars

In Do Elephants Jump?, I wrote about why you can't see stars in photos taken from spacecraft. Yesterday's Q&A column in the New York Times tackled the same question (with a similar answer), but also linked to a photo from...

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May 08, 2006

Poor, Pitiful Me

There is much I want to share with you and planned to attack it last night, but I came back from a trip to Chicago sick as a dog. Will post as soon as I can sit up for more...

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April 28, 2006

Can I Pose My Own Imponderable?

For the second time this month, I am staying in a hotel room with a king-sized bed. The last time, it was in a Marriott; this time, an Embassy Suites (owned by Hilton). A kind-sized bed is twice the width...

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April 12, 2006

Corrections

I handed in the manuscript for Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? on Monday, April 3, and my editor was gracious (and fast!) enough to give me the manuscript back exactly a week later. Although he (Phil Friedman, also publisher of...

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March 31, 2006

To Do List

Sorry for the lack of postings. I've been just a tad obsessed with trying to finish my manuscript for the next Imponderables book. Tomorrow is the big weigh-in. If I haven't lost 13 pounds in the last 13 weeks, I'm...

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March 27, 2006

Imponderables Status Report

Exciting developments here at Imponderables Central. I just received a copy of cover art for my forthcoming book (the manuscript I'm handing in on April 3). And Amazon just uploaded a page where you can pre-order it. You can't see...

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February 16, 2006

Dave on the Radio Friday

I'll be appearing tomorrow on Leonard Lopate's Show on WNYC, live, from 1-2 P.M., E.S.T. If you're in the New York area, you can listen at 93.9 FM or 820 A.M. Because it's New York's NPR station, you don't have...

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February 15, 2006

Long Time No See

Sorry I've been so scarce of late. I have been fighting a cold and wrestling with the manuscript for my next book. So far, the cold is winning. It's 6:04 A.M. and I haven't gotten to sleep yet. Bah! A...

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January 20, 2006

A Million Little Calories

How can my books be autobiographical? Is it a coincidence that I'm on a diet and I keep writing about food and drink for the next book. And although there's a stray Imponderable about iced tea here, and salmon and...

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January 13, 2006

Any Gastonians Out There?

Is anyone reading this from the Gastonia or Charlotte, North Carolina area and willing to do a brief piece of research for me? It involves a brief visit to a local establishment and a taste test. All expenses paid! Shoot...

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January 07, 2006

Yawning Contagion Revisited

In the next Imponderables book, I'm going to include a section of Updates. Most of the entries consist of new developments in Imponderables and Frustables I've already tackled. One of my favorite Frustables is "Why Is Yawning Contagious?" There has...

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January 03, 2006

My New Year's Resolution for theSite

Soon, the master index I assembled for Do Elephants Jump? will be available here at Imponderables.com. You've asked for this feature for a long time, and I just wanted you to know that I was listening....

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December 23, 2005

The Title Hunt

Sorry that I've been a bad blogger of late. I'm working hard on the next Imponderables book, and have been low in inspiration. Coming up with a title for my books is always an exercise in exquisite torture. This time...

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November 17, 2005

Pink Boxes

I've been asked this Imponderable in the past, but for some reason, I've received the following mystery three times in a month: Why are bakery boxes usually pink? I'd be curious to know if the last time you went to...

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November 16, 2005

Bathrobe No-Go

My unscientific sample of emails from you (thanks!) indicates that the two bathrobe Imponderables probably won't appear in my next book. Although some of you reported that your women's robes didn't have belt loops, many do. And although men's bathrobes...

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November 14, 2005

Go Into the Closet for Dave

I've received two Imponderables about bathrobes, and I'm thinking about researching them for my next book. But I'm not sure the premise of either one is correct. So, you could do me a favor by checking your bathrobes and emailing...

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November 11, 2005

Can Penguins Walk Up Stairs?

That was a question submitted by Rochelle Pittis, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington,on behalf of her first-grade class. Penguins are more than capable of hopping most stairs, and we have empirical evidence of how they go down stairs....

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November 02, 2005

A Sixth Sense?

How can we explain why a craving for fatty foods seems universal? Some French scientists think they know why....

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October 31, 2005

Never Mind

Whoops. I was supposed to appear on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends tomorrow. But George W. scuttled my plans by suddently offering a Supreme Court nominee. How dare he! To be rescheduled......

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October 30, 2005

I Be Floggin'

This week, much of my workday will be devoted to promoting the release of my new paperback. See the "News From Imponderables Central" above for the details. Forgive me if the blog entries are sparse and/or incoherent. I more often...

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October 28, 2005

Malarky at Borders

If you're thinking of buying Malarky for the holiday season, you might want to hightail it to a Borders bookstore. Borders is selling my game in a special package that includes a free Imponderables book. Unfortunately, the offer is good...

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October 18, 2005

Where Does the Caffeine Go?

In Are Lobsters Ambidextrous? (originally published as When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth?), I discussed what happens to the caffeine that's taken out of coffee. Now in a four minute photo-essay on the National Geographic site, you can see...

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September 08, 2005

We Are Syndicated

As of now, this site can be brought to you by RSS. If you have no idea what this means, worry not. You need not a change a thing about how you read this website. Here's a primer on how...

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August 16, 2005

Poodles Turn Into Lobsters

As the News From Imponderables Central above reports, two more Imponderables books have been republished in paperback. How Does Aspirin Find a Headache? has a new cover, but When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth? has a new name: Are...

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August 08, 2005

I'm So Excited!

These are exciting times at Imponderables Central. I'm happy to report that a contract for my eleventh Imponderables® book is signed, sealed, and delivered (for details, see "News from Imponderables Central" above). I'm going through scads of mail, e- and...

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August 07, 2005

Why Do We Need Sleep?

We ain't fish....

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August 01, 2005

Glitches at Imponderables Central

We've been experiencing some problems with emails in the past 96 hours, and some of you might have bouncebacks if you sent mail from July 28-July 31. If so, please retry. All is well now and we'd love to hear...

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June 27, 2005

More on Macadamias

We heard from Suzanne Shriner, from the Big Island of Hawaii. Suzanne is the co-owner of Lions' Gate Farms. Suzanne read our follow-up discussion of why nature provided a shell for macadamia nuts that animals can't seem to crack Suzanne...

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May 02, 2005

Dave Appearing in Braintree, Massachusetts May 3

If you are in the Braintree/Quincy/Boston area, please stop by the Lord & Taylor. I'll be signing books from 3:00-4:00 P.M. Donate $5 to local charities and you can get a free copy of Do Elephants Jump?and other books, too....

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April 24, 2005

The Popcorn Imponderable Popped?

Some professors think so....

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April 18, 2005

Dave Appearing in Farmington, Connecticut

If you're in the Hartford area and would like to make a five-dollar contribution to charity, come and meet me at the Westfarms Lord & Taylor this Tuesday, the 19th. I'll be signing complimentary copies of Do Elephants Jump? between...

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April 02, 2005

Do Animals Laugh?

It's a question I've received many times from readers. At least one scientist says the answer is yes....

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March 17, 2005

X Marks the Spot

And geneticists now think they can explain some of the differences between men and women now that the genetic code of the X-chromosome has been unraveled. Gee, hundreds of Imponderables might be swatted away at once....

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March 09, 2005

Is Yawning Contagious?

One of the most popular Frustables from my books is going to be discussed on the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters tonight at 9:00 P.M. and repeated at midnight. I'm curious to see if they interview Dr. Robert Provine, my main source,...

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January 12, 2005

Going Postal

Yikes. I've heard from several readers that mail to the Imponderables P.O. box listed in Do Elephants Jump? has come back unopened. Here's the deal. If you've sent the letter to "Dave Feldman," I've gotten it. If you wrote to...

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January 09, 2005

Shakes and Nods

When the reporter from the Christian Science Monitor asked me for some Imponderables that were tough for me to answer, one of my replies was: Why does a nod of the head mean "yes" and a shake mean "no"? Christine...

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January 07, 2005

Cops and Flashlights

In Do Elephants Jump?, I answer why police officers often hold flashlights in an overhand grip (like you might hold a knife to stab someone rather than an underhand grip like you would hold a fishing rod). I was asked...

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December 29, 2004

Snowed Under

Welcome to all the folks who've found this site as a result of my appearance on the CBS Early Show and CN8's Real Life with Mary Amoroso. The good news: My inbox is overflowing from readers who received my books...

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December 27, 2004

Dave on TV

I'll be on two national TV shows this Tuesday, December 28. I'll be on the last half-hour of tbe CBS Early Show, chatting with Tracy Smith about my new book, Do Elephants Jump? I'm currently scheduled for 8:42 A.M., E.S.T.,...

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December 06, 2004

Shameless Self-Promotion

There's a nice little story about my latest book, Do Elephants Jump? in the Periscope section of this week's Newsweek. Minus the graphics, you can read it here....

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December 02, 2004

Imponderables in USA Today

In the interest of self-promotion, I can't resist:...

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November 24, 2004

Mea Culpa

I've written twelve books, and I've waited until my latest book, Do Elephants Jump?, to commit my biggest blunder. On page 156, I answer the Imponderable: Why Do We "See Stars" When We Bump Our Head? My answer begins: "Want...

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November 20, 2004

Hear Dave Live on the Web

I've started doing quite a few radio interviews to promote Elephants. A couple of readers have emailed me asking about whether any of these broadcasts are streamed (live or not) on the Web. So I checked out the websites of...

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November 15, 2004

Why Do Beavers Build Dams?

One of the chapters in Do Elephants Jump? is devoted to this weighty question. Maybe I'll have to amend my answer after reading this latest development, one that explains why beavers are busy as a beaver....

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November 01, 2004

All the Imponderable News That's Fit To Print

Reporter Christine Armario spent quite a bit of time researching her article about me in the Christian Science Monitor. I'm especially happy she quoted a long-time reader, Craig Kirkland. You can read the article online here....

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October 31, 2004

Find the Elephant

Right about now, my new book, Do Elephants Jump? should be arriving in bookstores. I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know when you see it (so far, it hasn't landed in New York). I assume that the...

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October 07, 2004

The Elephant Has Landed

I just received my first copy of the finished Do Elephants Jump? This is always my happiest day in the publishing process. At several stages, I've had to review the manuscript I've submitted. I always loathe what I've written soon...

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September 12, 2004

Let the Blog Begin

Every blog has to begin somewhere and sometime. This is where and when for mine. Why a blog now? 1. I’ve got three new books coming out: one new hardback and two reissues. And the blog is a craven attempt...

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