From Robotic Trash to the Senate's Sweet Secret: This Week's Curios

Every day of the year, CEO Justin Kitch writes a quirky fact, known as the Daily Curio, intended to tickle the brains of lifelong learners everywhere. This is a weekly digest.

Last week's Curios covered the future of robotic trash collection, 19th century "prescription" beards, and the sweet history of the U.S. Senate candy desk.

Curio #846 | The Victorian beard movement
In case you haven't noticed, beards are back in style. Facial hair trends aren't new--beards have been repeatedly in and out of style throughout recorded history. In the 18th century, men were almost always clean-shaven. Beards were reserved for outcasts and rebels. Then during the mid-19th century, there was a sudden transformation in the face of masculinity. In just a few years around 1850, beards rose to extreme popularity, thanks to the Victorian 'beard movement.' The change can be... keep reading.

Curio #845 | The U.S. Senate has a candy desk on the floor
On Halloween, we learned how the candy industry lobbied Congress to extend Daylight Saving Time. Here's another Congressional candy story. This one's about the "candy desk" of the U.S. Senate. In 1965, California's George Murphy joined the Senate. Murphy had a sweet tooth, and kept a drawer of his Senate-floor desk filled with candy. In 1968, Murphy moved to an aisle desk in the last row on the Republican side--near the main entrance to the Senate chamber. This meant more... keep reading.

Curio #844 | These robots don't drive the cars, they pick up the garbage
Driverless cars seem to be getting most of the robot-related press these days. If you ask me, that's an idea fraught with peril. But meanwhile the car company Volvo has paired with Sweden's top waste management firm, Renova, to automote something a bit less sexy: garbage collecting. Called Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, or ROAR, the idea is to develop robots that gather... keep reading.

Curio #843 | Stressed out? Wash some dishes.
I hope my wife isn't reading this. A new study suggests washing dishes can significantly lower stress, and improve our general health and well-being. The only catch is you have to wash them mindfully. Huh? Mindfulness is a form of therapeutic meditation that works by focusing our attention on an object or activity. Essentially it's the practice of being... keep reading.

Curio #842 | Night flying used to be a lot more sketchy
In yesterday's Curio, we learned how the development of railroads led to standardized time zones in the US and abroad. The railroads were also instrumental in another advancement that isn't obvious: air mail. Not long after the Wright brothers' first flight, folks began trying to use planes to expedite mail service. By 1918, regularly scheduled airmail service began in the U.S. In 1920 the Transcontinental Air Mail service was established between New York and San Francisco. Radio navigation didn't exist yet, so planes... keep reading.

Curio #841 | How trains and the English tamed time
Yesterday we learned how the candy lobby influenced Daylight Saving Time. Today we learn about time standardization. For that, you can thanks trains. Before railroads, there wasn't a need for clocks to match precisely from one place to the next. So time was determined locally. Each town kept their own time, normally determined by using a local sundial. But these discrepancies weren't a real problem until trains. Not only did railroads... keep reading.

Curio #840 | How the candy lobby created light
Happy Halloween, and Happy Last Day of Daylight Saving Time! For the ninth consecutive year, American children will be enjoying an extra hour of daylight this evening for candy collecting. That's because since 2007, the U.S. has "turned back" clocks from Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in October. Making Halloween an hour brighter. The 2007 change was supposedly made to save energy. But according to... keep reading.

Want more amusing facts? Check out the archive of 800+ Daily Curios, or sign-up for to get the Daily Curio email delivered right to your inbox!