Subscribe to the OSS Weekly Newsletter!

Did You Know?

Plastered bread

3 Apr 2017

Plaster of Paris derives its name from the fact that it was originally obtained from rock quarried at Montmartre, a suburb of Paris. This common construction material indirectly led to the first...

Anesthesia's Origins

20 Mar 2017

In 1853 the Queen’s personal physician, Dr. John Snow dripped an ounce of chloroform on a handkerchief which was then held next to the royal mouth as Prince Leopold was delivered.  Her Majesty was...

Black French Fries and Green Coffee Beans

20 Mar 2017

Chances are you’ll see sodium acid pyrophosphate or sodium bisulfite listed on the label of a package of frozen French fries. They’re added to deal with that bane of potato lovers, the dark, gray...

Antivenins for Snake Bites

20 Mar 2017

To make an antivenin, small doses of poison are injected into horses or goats.  The amount of toxin is not enough to kill the animal but is enough to trigger the production of antibodies.  These...

Gelotophobia: The Fear of Being Laughed At

20 Mar 2017

Gelotophobia can best be defined as the “potentially debilitating fear of being laughed at.” A person suffering from gelotophobia may hear a stranger’s laugh and believe it is aimed at him or her....

Castrated Goats Lose their Smelliness

20 Mar 2017

Think of a ghastly smell. Skunk? Halitosis? BO? Outhouse? Rotting fish? Rancid butter? Dog flatus? Decomposing flesh? All devastating. But let’s not forget the penetrating fragrance of a billy goat...

South American Poison Dart Frog

20 Mar 2017

There are several species of such frogs which contain such powerful toxins that just brushing against its poisonous skin is enough to kill an adult human. One hundredth of a milligram of...

Hold Your Nose for the Durian Fruit

20 Mar 2017

The durian grows mostly in southeast Asia where it is referred to as “The King of Fruit.” The only problem is that the king needs a bath. While people speak in exalted terms about the taste of the...

The Origins of Vitrol

20 Mar 2017

Sulphuric acid, which has the traditional name, “oil of vitriol.” It is a nasty, corrosive liquid, making “vitriolic” an apt term for virulent language. At first it may seem odd that the term ...


Back to top