Best of 2014

What were the top posts of 2014 here at “Questions that Need Answering”? Well, it depends who you ask… We’ll start with the posts most popular with readers, then I’ll throw out some of my own personal favorites…

Most Popular Posts of 2014

#1 – Is Bing really as good as Google? Apparently, I’m not the only one that thinks Bing is a joke. At least we can take Microsoft execs seriously, though! I kid you not… Microsoft is a professional organization.

Google vs Bing Comic

Well, we know what the internet cartoonists think… (Image credit: owlturd.com – yes, you read that right.)

#2 – What’s the pink stuff in my shower / tub / toilet / sink? Frankly, this is borderline click bait. I should be ashamed of myself. “A local housewife found a disgusting secret in her bathroom. You’ll never guess what it was…”

Pink Stain

Credit: North Dakota State University Agricultural Extension

#3 – What goofball decided “A Few of My Favorite Things” was a Christmas song? Yeah, I think people are pretty mad about this one too…

Maria's not an asset to the abbey. Or your Christmas playlist.

Maria’s not an asset to the abbey. Or your Christmas playlist.

#4 – Why are there colored dots on my soda can?

Soda Can Dots

#5 – How do you beat that stupid game at Cracker Barrel? If you’ve eaten there, you’ve wondered this.

Cracker Barrel Game

“Leave four or more’n you’re just plain ‘eg-no-ra-moose.'”

My Personal Favorites

#1 – How much dirt would it take to bury Cary, NC? A serious quantitative answer to an absolutely pointless question. Because who wouldn’t want to turn their hometown into a mountain of dirt? This one had me dusting off my GIS skills (no pun intended) and doing some serious computational work.

Cary_Under_Dirt

Image Credit: Ethan Kan

#2 – Are stores really decorating for Christmas earlier than they used to? I slogged through 80 years of New York Times articles to find the answer to this question… If we use the date that the Christmas Tree is put up in Rockefeller Center as a proxy for when big business decorates for Christmas, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’!

Rockefeller Tree Graph

#3 – What’s the best Pass the Pigs strategy (Part 2)? In which we learn how to create an artificial intelligence engine capable of playing a perfect game of Pass the Pigs. It’s not useful at all, but it’s a great way to learn a little bit about probability, programming, and artificial intelligence.

Pass the Pigs

Image Credit: Larry Moore

#4 – How much energy is stored in American body fat? Another completely useless mathematical exercise. It’s gross, it’s math-heavy, and it’s a lot of fun. (Of course, another option here would have been to ask how much soap Tyler Durden could make with it…)

Fat Energy Graph

Let’s be honest – this is pretty gross.

#5 – Is Newton’s Folly Hard Cider just Woodchuck with a different label? I don’t always drink cider. But when I do, I research its origins thoroughly.

Woodchuck vs. Newton's Folly

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