n Be careful what you wish for: We have a shocking revelation to share with you today. The Magic 8-Ball toy is biased toward affirmative answers. Of the 20 messages on its internal icosahedron, five are noncommittal (like “Ask again later” and “Cannot predict now”), ten are affirmative (from “Signs point to yes” to “It is certain”) and only five are negative (from “Outlook not so good” to “My reply is no”).

What was the line of work of the man whom writer H.L. Mencken called “The most dangerous man in America?”

A) Humorist

B) Politician

C) Industrialist

D) Race-car driver

Answer Monday.

Thursday’s answer: During the Middle Ages, the principal textile from which fabrics were made was linen, manufactured from the fiber of the flax plant.

n Surprisingly, the words “faucet” and “false” are closely related. “Faucet” is derived from an old French term meaning “force in” or “make a breach in,” literally “to falsify.” “Faucet” was originally a term for a tap from a barrel or cask. The French word for “false” is the familiar “faux” as in “faux pas” (literally “false step”) and “faux fur.”


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