Mr. Smarty Pants Knows

Hot dogs, (unrelated) gas flares, and other savory tidbits

Mr. Smarty Pants Knows
In a series of studies in 2005-2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs.

Ten years ago, the record at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest was 25 hot dogs. Now it's 68, and competitor Joey Chestnut claims he ate 72 in a practice session.

The 1957 film The Story of Mankind featured the Marx Brothers in their last film together. Groucho plays Peter Minuet, Harpo plays Sir Isaac Newton, and Chico plays a monk. The film also features Vincent Price as the devil and Dennis Hopper as Napoleon Bonaparte.

"Taser" is an acronym for Thomas A. Smith's electric rifle, a fictional weapon from Victor Appleton's 1911 children's science fiction novel, Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.

Some gas flares have been burning in Nigeria since the 1960s. The process of burning off "associated gas" brought up when oil is pumped out of the ground has been illegal in Nigeria since 1984.

The above is information that Mr. Smarty Pants read in a book, magazine, or newspaper; heard on the radio; saw on television; or overheard at a party. Got facts? Write to Mr. Smarty Pants. Why not visit

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