Oops, I Wrote It Again


A week or so ago, I shared the story here about the guy who cheated on the original (that is, the UK) version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” And in doing so, I accidentally cheated you out of a new Now I Know story — because it turns out, I had also written about this guy seven years ago. But alas, I had forgotten.


I honestly did not remember, at all, that I had written about it before. I only discovered the problem late this week, and only because not only did I repeat the story, I repeated the headline. I had sent someone links to three recent Now I Knows and when I copy and pasted the URL to the one from last week, I noticed that it had a “2” in there — it reads “the-million-pound-cough-2” at the end — and that only happens when WordPress sees a repeated headline and needs to differentiate between the old one and the new one. I immediately checked to see what the 2-less URL (that is, “the-million-pound-cough”) yielded, and … yeah, same story, seven years earlier.

As far as I know, this is the first or second time this has happened. (Ironically, I can’t remember that, either.) I do remember a close call though. In November of 2012, I shared this story about where ice cream headaches come from, and again, the dreaded “2 in the URL” thing appeared. I had written the story only about a year prior, but hadn’t done such a good job. The new version was so much better that I shared it, again, with a note at the top explaining my mistake and revision.

Anyway, the good news from all of this: none of you emailed me to tell me that I had re-shared a story, so I guess you either didn’t remember, are new-ish to the newsletter, or didn’t mind! So no harm, no foul, I guess!

The Now I Know Week In Review

I was at a work off-site all week and therefore, haven’t gotten through your emails yet (with maybe two exceptions) so if you’ve sent through a correction, follow-up, or other note, it’s probably not incorporated here. But I hope you enjoyed the stories! In case you missed some, here’s what I shared:

Monday: The King of the Solar Eclipse: An eclipse story for an eclipse day.

Tuesday: The Case of the Missing Space Tomatoes: How do you lose a fruit on the International Space Station? (And is it a fruit or a vegetable?)

Wednesday: I Hadn’t a Scooby About This One: Cockney rhyming slang!

Thursday: The Environmental Intervention That Backfired: I forgot to actually link to the bracelet mentioned in the final paragraph, and I called the Army Corps of Engineers the Army “Core” of Engineers. Both have been fixed!

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend:

  1. The mobster in our midst” (Indy Star, 25 minutes, March 2019 with an update in February 2020). Thanks to reader Caleb V. for sharing this incredible story that only exists because of a chance encounter in a Panera Bread. A New York City crime boss goes to prison because his son testifies against him. The son enters the witness protection program under a new identity and is relocated to Indianapolis. He should be anonymous and the last person profiled in a major newspaper, but that’s not how things went. What happens next I’ll save for you to read. And if you’re interested in the backstory as to how the newspaper learned about this story — and why it’s not an invasion of the son’s privacy — here’s a story about the story.
  2. The Karen Who Cried Kidnapping” (Elle, 14 minutes, June 2023). A woman at a craft shop, for no apparent reason, thinks that a couple is actually there to kidnap, not shop, and then takes to Instagram to make her case. There’s no truth to her theory and no evidence to support it. And as you can imagine, a mess ensues.
  3. Q: Who Found a Way to Crack the U.K.’s Premier Quiz Show?” (New York Times, 22 minutes, April 2024). Unlikely the guy whose story I told twice, this guy wins quiz shows without cheating.

Have a great weekend!