Quickies: Witches, Pumpkin Spices, and Bad Science

  • Origin of the phrase “Roger that” in English – “When a soldier or a radio operator said ‘Roger’ after receiving a transmission, he was simply saying ‘R’ for ‘received’. The alphabet has changed since then, but the practice of replying to a message by saying ‘Roger’ stuck.”
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Brought to You By Brown & Indigenous People – “Let’s look at the major players of the pumpkin spice latte — besides the expected consumers — which are cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and pumpkin (actual pumpkin was added in puree form to the mix in September 2015). All are ingredients that could not exist without the knowledge, and exploitation, of Brown people.”
  • Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages – “In the Middle Ages, witches were thought to have various magical dick-ruining capabilities, the most sinister of which is the ability to make the sex organ vanish entirely. According to Smith, the Malleus Maleficarum details three specific case studies in which witches were said to have magically deprived men of their penises. The first two simply involve men having their genitals hidden by some magical illusion—witches ‘can take away the male organ,’ Heinrich Kramer writes, ‘not indeed by despoiling the human body of it, but by concealing it with some glamour.’ ” (You probably already know this is NSFW, but I’m gonna add this tag anyway.)
  • Hari Kondabolu Says His Mom Is Hilarious — And Not Because Of Her Accent – “Talking about race, there are definitely some white people who don’t like that. And it’s not even always the content, it’s just saying: ‘white people.’ Because a lot of white people are not used to being called white. They get to be ‘people,’ ‘human beings,’ their first name.”
  • Bad science misled millions with chronic fatigue syndrome. Here’s how we fought back – “In other words, while the illness might have been triggered by a virus or other physiological stressor, the problem was pretty much all in our heads. I knew that the right forms of psychotherapy and careful exercise could help patients cope, and I would have been thrilled if they could have cured me. The problem was that, so far as I could tell, it just wasn’t true.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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