Mental Floss

Tuesday Turnip

David K. Israel
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It's time for another whimsical Tuesday Turnip Google search wherein I type a random phrase and we see what kind of interesting factoids "turn-up."

Today I typed in "common 100 years ago" "“ unearthing the following curious entries:

Niacin deficiency, known as pellagra, was common 100 years ago but today is extremely rare. Smoking is no more acceptable than chewing tobacco and spitting on the floor - a habit that was very common 100 years ago and would horrify people now. Plans have been announced to save the British short story. The genre, common 100 years ago, is now, like the red squirrel, a seriously endangered species, according to its supporters. The count began in 1900, when ornithologist Frank Chapman organized a bird census to protest the indiscriminate shooting that was common 100 years ago. Essay tests were common 100 years ago, but they were too expensive to give to everybody everywhere. That's why they were replaced by machine-scored multiple choice tests. "Some seven men form an association", in the rarely-performed Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Utopia Limited, is often quoted by legal writers as evidence that corporate fraud was as common 100 years ago as it is today. While 'one-stop shopping' was quite common 100 years ago with general stores dotting the landscape, we have slowly evolved to a retail dynamic that specializes along category lines. Rather than roll dice, toss coins, or pick balls from urns--methods that were common 100 years ago--today they often use random numbers drawn from a table or generated by a computer. Single parenting was just as common 100 years ago as today [ed note: say wha?] Illegitimacy and extra marital affairs were just as common 100 years ago as they are today, our forebears were just more adept at keeping them secret.

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