From Holy Water Vending Machines to a Pumpkin Pie Shortage: 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 impending pumpkin pie shortage, a 1st century vending machine for holy water, and the end of perfect security.

Curio #839 | Locks are only in your mind.
Locks and keys have existed for 4000 years, most likely invented in Mesopotamia. Which means lock picking has also been around for 4000 years. Locks appear to have gained popularity soon after their invention. But it wasn’t until the 1770s that they actually became secure. Most historians credit Joseph Bramah with creating the first high security lock called the “Bramah Safety Lock.” His cylindrical lock was far superior to any lock invented prior. Bramah was so confident in his design being 100% theft-proof that he … keep reading.

Curio #838 | Why pumpkin pie might not be on your holiday table
Bad news for pumpkin pie lovers: there’s a canned pumpkin shortage threatening to ruin your holidays! 90% of U.S. pumpkins are grown within 90 miles of Peoria, Illinois. And the Illinois-based company Libby’s supplies 80% of the world’s canned pumpkin! But Libby’s predicts this year’s pumpkin production will be down 50% due to extremely heavy summer and late spring rains–the critical growth period for pumpkins. A spokesman for the company is… keep reading.

Curio #837 | Can you A/B test a government?
Can you A/B test government programs? President Obama thinks so. Extremely common in high tech companies like Google (and Curious!), A/B testing is where you create multiple designs of a web page or app and see which one elicits the most favorable user behavior. Once you have a winner, you iterate —> Read More