How many of these questions can you answer without calling the New York Public Library's Telephone Reference Service?
Who really designed the American flag?
How hot is the sun's surface?
How does quicksand work?
When was the Ark of the Covenant last seen?
Who sat at the Algonquin Round Table?
Where does the name "The Grateful Dead" come from?
Why is Christmas abbreviated as Xmas?
Can any creatures besides humans get a sunburn?
How many muscles does it take to smile? To frown?
Why are rabbits' feet considered good luck?
You could, of course, do all the painstaking research yourself. Or you could pick up the phone and call the resourceful, erudite, quick-witted librarians of the New York Public Library's Telephone Reference Service, Tel Ref, for whom questions like these are all in a day's work. For the past twenty years, Tel Ref has met the information needs of a public as diverse as the subjects in the Library's catalog, and now they've compiled their most interesting, unusual, and most-often-asked queries into The Book of Answers -- a delight for browsers, a treasure trove of fascinating information, and the perfect companion to The New York Public Library Desk Reference. [via]