By Simon Whistler In this episode, you’re going to learn the fascinating story about a traveling salesman for a printing company who ultimately, through something of a hobby while he traveled, became the man behind the Duncan Hines brand. [TRANSCRIPT]
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By Kathy Padden This Day In History: October 24, 1926
When Harry Houdini and his entourage arrived at The Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1926, the Hungarian-born magician and escape artist was running a fever of 102 degrees. The evening’s performance turned out to be the last of Houdini’s career – and his life.
Houdini had been resting in his dressing room prior to a show in Montréal two days earlier when a college student named J. Gordon Whitehead approached him. He asked Houdini if the claim that he could withstand any punch had any truth to it. Houdini assured him it was true and gave him permission to see for himself.
Whitehead took a few jabs at Houdini’s abdomen while the magician was still reclining and hadn’t had a chance to tighten his stomach muscles and prepare for the impact. The punches inflicted more damage and pain than Houdini anticipated, and he motioned for Whitehead to stop. He was in extreme physical pain but insisted the evening’s scheduled performance must go on as planned.
By the time Houdini was heading for his next show in Detroit, his condition had deteriorated badly. He was running a high fever, but, true to form, insisted on doing his show. He began his nightly performance with several vanishing acts, culminating with making a woman disappear and conjuring a flowering shrub in her place. He made it through the first act but collapsed in pain during intermission. After collapsing yet again after the show was over, he was brought to Grace Hospital in Detroit.
It was quickly established that Houdini had peritonitis due to a ruptured appendix, with it being speculated that the blows to the abdomen may have played a part or at the least made the situation worse. Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the appendix, but the infection had already spread throughout Houdini’s body. His many fans followed his condition through the nation’s newspapers, which posted regular updates.
Harry Houdini held on for a week at Grace Hospital, but finally succumbed on October 31 after taking one last look at his wife Bess. He was 52 years old.
For many years afterward, Bess attempted to contact her husband during séances held on Halloween, the anniversary of her husband’s death. One can only imagine what Houdini’s reaction would have been, considering he believed spiritualism was a load of bunk and went out of his way to discredit it. But this didn’t stop Bess, and it hasn’t stopped the purveyors of the paranormal who attempt to conjure up Houdini every year – to no avail.
J. Gordon Whitehead, the college student who delivered the fatal blows to Houdini’s stomach, left school and became a recluse. He died from malnutrition and was buried in an unmarked grave in 1954.
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Expand for References

Harry Houdini
The Last Days of Harry Houdini

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By Verity
Ever wonder what the difference between fruits and vegetables is? Or how about the difference between jelly and jam? These and other fascinating “difference between” food facts are covered in our latest video below. If you like it, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you liked this video, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.  You might also enjoy:

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Text Version:
The Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables
Would you believe that beans, corn, bell peppers, peas, eggplant, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes are all fruits? That’s because, botanically speaking, fruits are the part of flowering plants that contain the seeds and are the means by which such plants disseminate those seeds.
So what about vegetables? Botanically speaking, vegetables are all the other parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, stems, and even the flower buds.
So why is there confusion here? We can blame it on amazingly ambiguous culinary traditions where it is taste and what it’s served with, not the part of the plant, that usually determines its classification. When it comes to cooking, fruits are generally sweet tasting and vegetables are more savory. Fruits are also often served as part of dessert or as a snack, and vegetables part of the main dish. In neither case, though, is this always true, adding to the ambiguity of the non-scientific classification.
The Difference Between Jelly and Jam
The difference between jelly and jam is that jelly is made from just the juice of fruit while jam is made from crushed fruit. With jelly, after straining everything out of the juice, it is boiled, typically with sugar and pectin added, the latter of which reacts with the sugar and heat to give the jelly a thicker consistency for spreading.
With jam, the solids, even sometimes the seeds if they are small enough, are left in and generally no pectin is needed.
The Difference Between Green and Black Olives
The primary difference between green and black olives is simply the point at which they are harvested. Green olives are picked before they are ripe, while black olives are allowed to ripen on the tree.
Other than that, both are often soaked in a solution containing lye, then fermented in brine, though due to the specific solutions used and time soaked, green olives generally contain about twice as much sodium and black contain more oil.
The Difference Between Kosher Salt and Table Salt
In truth, not much. The primary ingredient to both, not surprisingly, is sodium chloride. Table salt often contains iodine and an anti-clumping agent, like calcium silicate or sodium ferrocyanide. Kosher salt usually doesn’t contain either of these things.
However, the main difference between Kosher salt and regular salt is just the grain size. Table salt is milled such that many of the salt crystals are in the form of tiny cubes. Kosher salt, on the other hand, is larger grained and less processed, allowing it to keep its more random, crystalline structure.
This size difference is directly responsible for how Kosher salt got its name. Contrary to what is often said, Kosher salt is not called “Kosher” because the salt is certified as kosher. Rather, it is because this larger grained version of salt was used in the process of koshering meat, specifically to remove surface blood. Smaller grained salts, like table salt, would have a tendency to absorb more into the meat itself. By using larger grained salt, it can be more thoroughly washed off later, removing the surface blood without making the meat overly salty.
As such, buying Kosher-style salt doesn’t actually guarantee that it is certified kosher. If you’re curious if the salt you have is certified kosher, just look on the container for a K or a U that is circled. If it’s there, it’s kosher, regardless of grain size or added ingredients.
The Difference Between Green, Black, White, and Red Pepper
Grown throughout Southern India and Sri Lanka, the vine Piper nigrum is responsible for green, white and black pepper. Two types of peppers are produced prior to the fruit reaching its fully ripe stage- green peppercorns, harvested in the early stages of ripeness, and black produced by harvesting the fruit just as it starts to turn red. It is then dried, at which point it turns black.
If, however, the fruit is allowed to ripen completely, it will then turn fully red, after which the outer covering is removed, revealing a white center, which is left as a peppercorn or ground into white pepper.
As for red pepper itself, there are several different plants that produce a product called this. For instance, Schinus Molle is a fruit of a South and Central American tree; the berries of the Schinus molle are pink or red when ripe, and are often sold as peppercorns. More popular than this are red pepper flakes which are produced from drying and crushing the fruit of one of the many varieties of Capsicum annuum.
Bonus Facts:

The Cavendish banana is the most common type of banana sold today, but just a bit over a half century ago, exceptionally few stores carried them. At that time, the Gros Michel banana was king, before being nearly wiped out on a global scale quite suddenly thanks to a certain type of fungus. The same thing is presently happening to the Cavendish, which may soon disappear from store shelves if the problem can’t be solved.
Fruit “butters” are generally just a variety of jelly. All the fruit is strained out to leave the juice. The juice is then heavily enriched with a variety of things, such as pectin, and then can be whipped and/or cooked down until it becomes extremely thick.
It is estimated that there are about 865 million olive trees covering 9.6 million hectares of land (twice the size of Switzerland). The only commercial trees grown more than the olive tree are coconut trees and oil palms.
When cooking, pay close attention to whether Kosher salt or table salt is called for in your recipe; if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of table salt, you’ll want to put in about 1.25 to 1.5 tablespoons of Kosher salt to get the right amount of saltiness. (The variation is based on the brand of Kosher salt- different brands have different flake sizes.) To be perfectly accurate, just go by weight, not by measuring spoons.

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By Alvin Ward
In this week’s episode, John Green goes through some less-intelligent facts about sugary treats.

Source: Mental Floss


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By Patrick Allan Using a pop filter helps diffuse the air coming out of your mouth when you speak—especially plosives—and can really amp up the quality of your recordings. This video shows you how to make a basic one out of a few sheets of paper and a tissue.Read more…

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By Patrick Allan How attracted we are to others is based on a lot of different factors, but a recent study suggests there may be an evolutionary connection to why taking risks is an attractive behavior. It just has to be the right kind of risk.Read more…

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By Thorin Klosowski The same team who released the kind of sketchy iOS 7 jailbreak has released a jailbreak for iOS 8.1. Currently, it’s Windows-only, in Chinese, and doesn’t install Cydia by default. Read more…

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By Jane-Claire Quigley on Kinja Roundup, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker Deadspin The Hater’s Guide To Your Local Halloween Store | Gizmodo Lumosity’s Brain Games Are Bullshit | Jezebel Why I Will Never Tell My Daughter to Give You a Hug | Kotaku The Classic PC Games You Must Play | Kinja Popular Posts Read more…

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