This is Now I Know. A bunch of redditors already subscribe and I'm a long-time (six years!) redditor myself, so this felt like a good way to celebrate hitting five hundred issues over two years.

What I write about is pretty eclectic -- basically, what's something new to me and fascinating. The last five, to give you a taste:

All the archives are here (Well, there are about a dozen missing, but I'll fix that this week and next.) They're kind of random, but hopefully interesting.

Keep the questions to Now I Know and I'll answer just about anything. I'll also answer questions about baseball, just because.

(Edit: Proof I am who I say I am)

EDIT 5:00PM: Taking a break for a bit but keep the questions coming! (for real this time)

EDIT 8:50PM: Back at it! Send'em!

EDIT 7:15AM next day: People were asking me how many new subscribers this lead to and I said I'd post it. Roughly 4,000 new people signed up.

Comments: 541 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

metallic_eggplant140 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I love getting your email every morning, and congratulations on 500. So, how do you come up with them, and how long does it take you to write? Also, what is your personal favorite “Now You Know”?

MrDNL94 karma

Where I get ideas from:

  1. I read a ton. My RSS reader and instapaper and unmanageable stuffed, and I read a lot of reddit comments and tweets and at this point, I have lot of people sharing thing with me.
  2. I have a really good feel for what makes something make people say "hmm, neat." Like today, a friend shared some weird political rant article on Facebook and there was a tiny little aside in it which didn't seem possible to me, but, hey, it was, so there you go, topic.
  3. I've been doing this for a long time. I don't mean writing the newsletter... I mean, collecting odd facts and making weird connections in the back of my head. I'm in my mid-30s now but in high school, I used to get teased (in a friendly way) by making random connections between unrelated things. ("Random, Dan, Random!" was the refrain, for what it's worth.) ***


I can write most in an hour, often less. It's really just stream of consciousness at this point. In 2002 I wrote a dots-and-dashes NFL rumors column for a long-defunct site and had to comb through daily newspaper columns (digitally, of course) and turn them into 500-800 word pieces. I got very good at reading a lot of stuff and boiling it down to a short piece, and all under 90 minutes.

The bigger time commitment is the other. Reply to my email and I'll read it and, 95% of the time, reply, for example.

Personal favorite... not really. I mean, I'm sure there are a few I like more than others, but that changes and in any case, it's mostly subconscious.

efischerSC219 karma

What is your RSS reader stuffed up with? I recently started using an RSS feed and it's pretty empty at the moment. I'm looking for some ideas.

EDIT: I'm more than welcoming to any suggestions. Even if they are not from Dan himself. I'm sure some Redditors out there have great suggestions.

MrDNL23 karma

That'd be an excellent AskReddit question.

I'll see if I can dump out my subscription list.

FactorGroup11 karma

A follow up to this question: Do you ever get writer's block when trying to finish an article? Do you have a bunch of articles on the back burner ready to release in case that happens?

MrDNL18 karma

I don't get writers block once I start writing. Happens a lot when I sit down to write and can't pick a topic.

How many I have "ready to go" varies. Right now I have three drafts just about done and two topics I know I want to write about. That's close to my high water mark, too -- until recently, there were MANY days when I was writing tomorrow's newsletter the night before.

napalmx5 karma

Are there days where you're racing against a deadline and don't make it? I've noticed a couple occasions where the newsletter does hit my inbox until late morning. Great job by the way, reading these articles is part of my daily routine!

MrDNL10 karma

Early on that happened a lot. The 6:45 ET send time is 100% because it worked well in my schedule a year ago -- now it's mostly a relic from there. I schedule the emails the night before.

Sometimes technology gets in the way and there's a sending blurp. I made up that word, blurp. But you get the idea, I hope.

flounder19129 karma

Would you be interested in signing up for daily cat facts?

MrDNL179 karma

Only by text message.

st_gulik54 karma


Did you know that the original Scottish Fold was a white barn cat named Susie who was born with a strange ear cartilage mutation near Perthshire, Scotland in 1961? Her new breed wasn't recognized until 1966 and was called a lop or lop-eared before that date. Scottish Fold, however, had many long years ahead of them and had to fight for their right to be show cats for decades after that culminating with Mr. Harvey Laps His Milk Like a Good Boy, a blue and white Scottish Fold, who finally overcame adversity and gained Scottish Folds the right every to be shown as show cats.

Would you like to hear another Daily Cat Facts?

sibjat5 karma

Man, that update to the kitty city story makes the whole thing kind of sad. =/

MrDNL3 karma

Yeah :(

MorbidPenguin3 karma

Now YOU know: there is a Cat City in Taiwan: Houtong.

MrDNL3 karma


Reinbow47 karma

Love your emails! They're great to read when you're on the train =D

MrDNL24 karma

Thanks! :)

superdean41 karma

Big fan of your work! I've gotten all my family and friends subscribed to you. Some of your facts have actually ended up getting me laid as well (bro five).

Anyway, as for questions:

  1. How much do you make off of Now I Know?

  2. When do you write most of the articles? The night before? Or an entire weeks worth over the weekend?

  3. How many people do you have subscribed to you?

Keep up the awesome work!

MrDNL78 karma

Okay, I need to know the backstory to how the facts helped you in that department.

  1. More than beer money, less than full-time job money. Call it "vacation money."

  2. I write whenever I can. Time is a limiting factor, as is the spark to write sometimes.

  3. As of right now, 55,129, assuming they're all people. Some may be cats.

user219625 karma

More than beer money, less than full-time job money. Call it "vacation money."

Thanks for answering this, even if not with a precise number. Sometimes people are so evasive with this question that you can't even get an order of magnitude estimate out of it.

Also, thanks for all the fun facts. I've been subscribed for a few months now (I believe starting when I saw you mentioned on reddit somewhere.)

MrDNL9 karma


johndoe423 karma

I wonder if you'd make a shitload of more money if you had targeted amazon links instead of those ads. I'm not going to be buying a portable toilet, for example. But because your audience is already attracted to learning random shit, your click rates for stuff they'd naturally want like bathroom readers or survival guides, buckyballs or historical infotainment books would be sky high. Just a thought, I know I'd be more apt to click on pre-curated products than algorithmically chosen textual ads.

MrDNL2 karma

I'm actually working on that. Kind of.

jcrewasian12 karma

I sent that bitch a fact. Bitches love facts.

(True story. I used to dumb myself down when talking to girls because I thought all they wanted to talk about was Jersey Shore, but then I got wise and started spitting some Now I Know game.)

MrDNL33 karma


GuessMyName2330 karma

One of my favorite issues was the one about graham crackers basically being invented to thwart masturbation. You said you almost didn't run it due to the subject matter. Are there any interesting topics you haven't run because it was too obscene or controversial?

MrDNL27 karma

The graham crackers one first:

I've known about that for months and... it's a difficult one to write up. First off, the spam filters may eat it up due to the subject matter. Second, it's really hard to not be incredibly snarky and sophomoric. And lastly, I know that there are a lot of parents who talk to their kids about the day's issue and... do I really want to do that to them?

But it's such a great historical oddity, and it's true, so, yeah, it went out. And besides, this one is 10x worse.

I generally don't shy away from publishing things which are truly interesting but I don't want to be political about things, especially about modern things. So that's my one barrier, I guess.

hammertime1811 karma

Blehhh. That is 10x worse.

MrDNL57 karma

Sorry. But I did warn you first.

EDIT: I have Google Analytics' real time thingamabobber open and it's kind of funny to see how many people are reading that. It's the most popular article right now. I feel like I just trolled a bunch of people by accident.

myrmecologist2 karma

err, "The Indian state of Goa sits on India’s eastern shore." Goa is on India's Western shore.

MrDNL5 karma

I don't know east from west. Ever. URL me for that one and I'll fix it?

modestthoughts29 karma

Have you ever had an embarrassing retraction or correction?

MrDNL48 karma

All the time. The general story has been right every time, but I've made some pretty stupid mistakes in the details, like when I talked about presidential assassinations and I said that Warren G. Harding was murdered (he wasn't). Or when I said "centuries" and meant "millennial" or stuff like that.

DBuckFactory49 karma

Do you mean "millenia"?

MrDNL89 karma

Yeah that.

Ninj4s3 karma

So you are human!

MrDNL8 karma

I hope.

millerswiller27 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!

Quick question: When you first started out, did you - at some point - get a big bump in subscriptions? If so, what caused it? Or has the growth been pretty steady from the start?

MrDNL30 karma

It was pretty slow at first. Started it 6/22/10, sending it to 20 people. On 9/22/10, I was at 486, which seems like a lot then but now, not so much.

In December 2010 -- six months in! -- the awesome people at Mental_Floss agreed to syndicate some of my back issues, and the list doubled. 948 on the last day of November, 2,010 on the last day of December.

I've had months where I've picked up a net of +10k subscribers, and I've had a month or two were I've been flat or even down a bit. It's chaotic.

reddogwpb21 karma

After this AMAA is done you should report back on how many subscribers you picked from this. +1 here

MrDNL12 karma


millerswiller7 karma

Thanks for taking time to answer my question. I subscribe to Mental Floss, too. Didn't know they were syndicating some of your content.

Speaking of which . . . have you been contacted about possible book deals?

MrDNL5 karma

Not exactly. Maybe some day. :)

hairlover100320 karma

I love my coffee and Now I Know first thing in the morning. Can't begin to imagine how you find the topics. Just wanted to say thanks. Keep it up.

MrDNL5 karma


MetsaFirez16 karma

Do you get offer's from corporations to advertise their product and talk them up in your newsletter? I am sure you could make a killing, but it would defintely jeopordize your credibility...

MrDNL31 karma

Not really. I've gotten requests for swaps of "dedicated emails" where basically, I'd spam my list for them and they'd spam theirs for me. That's not going to happen because that's really disrespectful to my readers -- I mean, that's not why you're reading.

I'll plug things in that little top italics area if I think it's cool, but otherwise not, and I've asked others to reciprocate before. But if you want to advertise your product w/me, buy the ad space. That's why it's there.

Johnny_Gossamer13 karma

What was your dream job when you were young?

What do you think of George Plimpton?

Do you think you'd be talented at a trivia game show?

MrDNL17 karma

Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer, which is funny, because I am one, and don't practice.

Agnostic about Plimpton... haven't read much if any of his work.

I'm OK at bar trivia but I'd suck at say, Jeopardy. It's "Now I Know" because it's what I just learned, not what You should know.

LadyLantrino12 karma

  1. Do you have another job in addition to publishing the newsletter?

  2. Are there any facts you stumble across that you won't publish due to topic/content/etc?

  3. Is there a goal you're currently working towards with your newsletter, like maybe publishing a "Now I Know" book?

  4. And since this is an AMA.... if there were to be a "Now I Know" fact about you, what would it be?

Thanks for doing this AMA!! Love the newsletter.

MrDNL13 karma

1) Yes. :) Easy to figure out what, but not going to talk about it, sorry. That's the last A in AMAA.

2) Yes. I try very very very hard to be apolitical, which is often hard. I have one draft half-written which I'm not going to publish because it's too politically charged and I can't seem to soften it.

As an aside: I once published something which I assumed was totally politically neutral (I don't recall what it was) and I got two angry emails about it, both about politics, in the "HOW DARE YOU" vein. One was from the left, the other from the right.

3) Maybe. Writing a book takes a lot of time, as does writing the newsletter. I kind of think the latter is cooler but yeah, a book of some sort could definitely happen.

4) I have a voluntary nystagmus.

gyarurabaa14 karma

Or second to last A?

MrDNL9 karma

Oh yeah.

AmRich4 karma

re: 4 TIL I have a voluntary nystagmus. I didn't know there was a name for that. I just thought it was weird that I could do it. Thanks for a personal Now I Know fact!

MrDNL2 karma

Any time!

ryuzaki4912 karma

  1. Do you remember every single article that you have written?

2. What's your favorite one? Answered

Edit: I think my favorite article is "No man's land", cause I never imagined that there would be a part of earth that didnt belong to some country, besides Antartic.

MrDNL15 karma

If you asked me that about a month ago, I'd say by and large, yes. But I've been movingm y archives over to my own site (from Mailchimp's automated one) and I've hit a few where I had absolutely no recollection of what it was about. That kind of sucked.

atotalmonet12 karma


MrDNL30 karma

Favorite reader reply was the unsolicited $100 gift paypalled to me as a thank you. :)

Second favorite... recently at least? I wrote about this abandoned theme park-in-construction in China and the next day, a reader sends me a picture of it. She and a friend (?) were driving in the area, saw a decrepit/unfinished spire in the middle of a field and took a picture of it because it was so weird. They had no idea what it was... and the next day, I emailed her the answer.

PooBrain11 karma

Hi Dan! Thank you for doing what you do. Your articles are endlessly entertaining and extremely well written, and they always manage to brighten my day. Here are my questions:

  1. What made you decided to start Now I Know?

  2. Where do you get all of your interesting topics for Now I Know? Or, since I am assuming you have multiple sources, where do you get most of your topics? And where has been the weirdest or most unexpected place you have gotten a topic for Now I Know?

  3. Which topic covered has been your favorite so far? What do you find the most interesting?

Thanks again for doing this, and keep up the good work!

MrDNL15 karma

Only going to hit #1 because the other answers are elsewhere in the AMA :)

So, why'd I start this?

In 2009, two guys I knew were starting a daily sports email newsletter. I knew the indy sports media world (but not email) and have built audiences for other web startups. They asked me to help build the list. I said sure, easy stuff. Email isn't anything different.


It was so freaking hard. Like, impossibly hard. And I'm supposed to be good at this stuff. It killed me.

So about a year later, I write a few blog posts on my no-longer-existing blog and they're about random stuff. Like, this concept bridge for Hong Kong and the bonus fact here etc., and those were popular on twitter. Rob Neyer, a baseball writer, retweeted the flipper bridge thing and suddenly I had a concept that could work and I could do and ... well, you get the idea. That was June 21, 2010. June 22, I sent the first email out. Called it an experiment and kind of figured the rest out as I went forward.

Tom_Anks10 karma

Awesome! I know it's not Now I Know related, but what's your favourite band?

MrDNL19 karma

I'm not all that into music honestly. I haven't bought (or downloaded) a song in years. I will, randomly, google "here comes the hotstepper youtube" more often than I care to admit.


Jimbles2 karma

Aaaaaaand thanks for the earworm. :P

MrDNL3 karma


No, I'm not. It's awesome.

AlotIsBetterThanYou8 karma

What is your favorite subreddit (other than /r/NowIKnow)?

MrDNL18 karma

TodayILearned probably. My front page is that, Wikipedia, TrueReddit, NYC, Science, RedditDayOf, Startups, Baseball, and Tufts

Crasas8 karma

Tufts University? If so - high five I just graduated from there this year!!

MrDNL21 karma


Crasas17 karma


MrDNL17 karma

Thanks, was worried you were going to leave me hanging.

yuuuuuuuu26 karma


and I come out of nowhere to intercept it from both sides

MrDNL42 karma

You need more friends.

MetsaFirez7 karma

Baseball Question: What is it that makes Justin Verlander so good? Is he just a freak of nature?

MrDNL10 karma

Five plus pitches which he can locate plus excellent endurance.

efischerSC27 karma

  1. How much of this trivia are you activly able to recall? I read your emails every day and sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. Is it the same for you, or does the fact that you write a blurb about everything you learn help keep it in your memory?

  2. How has knowing all this trivia impacted your life? Any fun stories of when the knowledge came in handy? There is a radio ad that plays in my home town asking if the fruit or the color orange got their name first. I know the answer (the fruit!) and the radio asking as if the question is unknown drives me nuts. Do you have any similar experiences?

  3. You work for Sesame Street, correct? What is that like? Any cool stories to share?

  4. I love trivia. The only thing I like more than learning it, is sharing it when it becomes relevant to a conversation. A lot of people do not share my enthusiasm for obscure knowledge and roll their eyes when I go into fact-telling-mode. I'm sure you have experienced something similar. Does this keep you from repeating what must be a ton of interesting facts?

  5. Do you have a large backlog of emails you can send out? How many do you have pre-written? Do you write them every day? Or a ton once a week/month?

  6. Best article? Which are you most proud of?

  7. How many additional subscribers are you hoping to get from this AMA?

  8. How much money do you make from advertising each month?

  9. How do you think someone who enjoys trivia and weird knowledge like the stuff featured in your emails could go about getting their stuff out to the masses. I've fantasied about writing a trivia blog but, I don't think anyone would read it. The market is pretty saturated. How do you think someone could "break into it"?

MrDNL6 karma

Holy cow, that's a lot of questions!

  1. A lot of it. Writing things does that for me. Even in law school, once I typed stuff out it kind of stuck.

  2. Not off the top of my head honestly.

  3. Gonna pass on that one, sorry.

  4. Yep, and that's probably why the newsletter works. I love sharing this stuff and needed people to tell. :-) Without the eye roll BS.

  5. I write four to six a week. Very little back lock.

  6. Don't have.

  7. Hope? A billion or two. Expect? Whatever is fine. :)

  8. Answered a few times elsewhere :)

  9. That's a good one. I think the same concerns were true two years ago when I started this, and I broke into it. Find something different, some sort of angle/differentiator, and work hard at it.

[deleted]2 karma

back lock


MrDNL2 karma

Yeah, that.

minderaser6 karma

I've been a subscriber for a couple of months and overall I quite enjoy it. How long does it take to do an issue from research to queuing it up for mailing?

MrDNL5 karma

I can do the whole thing -- find concept, write it, set it up for send -- in under an hour if I'm inspired. But I have a reader who edits them when he has some time (thanks Steve!), so if you factor that in, about a day.

[deleted]6 karma


MrDNL10 karma

Very little. The stuff comes to me in my every-day habits.

DukeSpraynard3 karma

Every-day habit of browsing the web?

MrDNL4 karma


Fishermichaels6 karma

Do you personally know TheForderator and sirsosay the other mods on the sub about your newsletter, /r/nowiknow/?

What made you start the newsletter?

Do you enjoy /r/todayilearned more than most people?

How has Reddit changed in your 6 years on the site?

EDIT: Do you wish you middle name was Day?

MrDNL10 karma

I don't know anyone on the NowIKnow subreddit personally.

(Starting the newsletter I answered elsewhere.)

I like TIL a lot. It's very pop-culture-y now which is nice because I'm not, so it's not all that redundant :)

I'm sure reddit has change a ton over my six (!) years here but honestly, it's been more evolution than anything else, and I don't really think about it. I mean, I was obviously here way before subreddits, but can't recall that time period.

EDIT: Just saw your edit. No.

Fishermichaels3 karma

Thanks for the reply!

I thought of some more questions if you don't mind.

Do you wish you middle name was Day?

Would you mind researching and doing an article on anesthesia and redheads? Those of us on /r/RedHair would certainly appreciate it!

Thanks again! You're awesome.

MrDNL8 karma

Sure thing:

1) His last name is Day-Lewis. His middle name isn't Day. And it goes back generations. I may do one about him because he's fascinating, too. I mean, dude saw a ghost. A GHOST.

2) Yeah, I keep meaning to do that one. There's something else about redheads (not the no soul thing, I stick to facts), but something about sperm donation. The hard part (pardon the pun) about that one is that I have to get it through spam filters, and typically, anything involving those types of words gets stuck.

trashyyx5 karma

What's the last thing you ate? :)

thanks for your always inspiring newsletter though!!

MrDNL17 karma

A baby carrot.

Which, of course, aren't babies.

DeltaShield5 karma

Hey Dan ! Thanks for doing this , i always look forward to your e-mails

  1. Did you ever publish something that you came to find wasn't entirely accurate after the fact ?

2 . Bringing us such interesting news , do you find that you dont get "surprised" by the news you find yourself as often anymore ?

MrDNL4 karma

  1. Nope. I've come close though. Cant' remember the (non-)fact, honestly.

  2. Not at all. The world is so fascinating.

cardern5 karma

I love the newsletter :) At this point, do you make enough from ad revenue to comfortably quit your day job if you want? If not, are you close?

Feel free not to answer this one, but about how much do you make from each issue in ad revenue, and does it fluctuate much depending on the issue? Have the new insert ads that you have been trying made a positive or negative impact, both in terms of money and reader perception? What is your current subscriber growth rate?

MrDNL6 karma

I don't. Not even close. But I probably could at about 250,000 subscribers. Could, but wouldn't. I like having my own little side project (even if it could be a not-so-little project).

Afronanny4 karma

Have you considered making a mobile app? I love your e-mails but sometimes don't have time to sit down at the computer in the morning to read them.

MrDNL3 karma

Yeah but it's a pain... I hope a redesign can help there.

Prose_and_Cons4 karma

What is your favorite fact, one that still stuns you know matter how much you think about it?

MrDNL13 karma

I've already answer this (I don't have one) but it's such a popular question, I'm going to make it up. :-)

This one.

turnipradish4 karma

I'd just like to thank you for continually sending really awesome facts and stories to my inbox. It lightens up my work day every day. Other people have already asked my question - Where the hell do you find these things? So don't worry about answering it. I would like to commend you, however, on always writing about things that I've never heard of before. Too often the "interesting facts" you find online/people tell you about are 1) Poorly sourced or not at all true or 2) Something everyone has heard a thousand times or 3) Both of the preceding.

All-in-all, thank you so much for the tidbits and good on you for doing it so well.

MrDNL16 karma

Thanks :)

What I've learned is that there's a HUGE difference between interesting facts (or factoids, I guess) and interesting stories. Example:

Moon landing was 1969. The Little Mermaid came out in 1989. It's 2012. So the Little Mermaid was closer to the moon landing than to present day. That's mind-blowing interesting...

... but it's not a story.

FactorGroup4 karma

I subscribed to your emails when you did your last AMA. It's a great thing to wake up to and read on my way to school/work. Is Now I Know your primary source of income? How do you come across all of this obscure stuff?

MrDNL2 karma

It's not my primary source of income. Couldn't be, at least not at this point.

fairmountst4 karma

Do you have stats on which issue led to the most unsubscribes? Any theories why, or was it just random?

MrDNL3 karma

I don't really. It'd be random.

artifaxiom3 karma

Thanks for doing this, I very much enjoy your daily emails =) Questions for you:

1) Do you find it stressful feeling that you need to find something new and interesting every day?

2) What are some of your favourites of the 500?

3) Do you feel the quality of Now I Know has changed over the 500? If so, for better or for worse?

MrDNL3 karma

There are definitely times when I get stressed out over not having something to write. But then I find something.

My favorite category of stuff, probably, is the arcane places on the map. I'm a terror near a world map now. A lot of "see that little dot..." with a story.

The quality... I think it's changed. It happened organically, though. There are older ones I look at now and I think "wow, that's really short" or "wow, I said that?"

Santafio3 karma

How does the newsletter differ from the archived stories? Is there something extra?

MrDNL6 karma

The newsletter one has a personal message from me on top of each. Sometimes I share interesting things, sometimes I just say hi, sometimes I announce things like this AMA :-)

the-velocirapper3 karma

Thanks for the AMA! How do you manage to come up with new things to write about every day?

MrDNL18 karma

Honestly, I just make shit up.

Tomorrow's is going to be about how you actually have three kidneys, but only if you are descended from Genghis Khan or Woody Allen.

reubeningber3 karma

For those of us also writing/curating a daily newsletter can you give us some advice on advertising? and how do you get more people to subscribe?

MrDNL5 karma

Getting subscribers is a freaking grind. It's horrible. Terrible. Really. You really need to get people to say "this is cool, try it out" and that's hard to do. I got a nice boost in the start b/c I know Jimmy Wales personally and he stuck his neck out a bit for me.

Don't worry about advertising until you have to. After that, it'll come. LiveIntent and Launchbit are good though -- google those.

blackthesky132 karma

I just discovered your Now I know (on Reddit... Of course...) emails and while I was extremely hesitant to sign up for another mailing list, it was so well worth it!

Have you ever had a situation involving inaccurate information brought to your attention by a reader? I imagine most readers are like me and rarely fact check things. Regardless, I find your emails to be a great way to start the morning. Thanks!!

MrDNL2 karma

People do all the time... and it sucks to send something wrong to 50,000 people. Oh boy, does it suck.

ponkispoles2 karma

How does it feel that after about 10 minutes everyday someone posts your Now I know in TIL and steal your Karma?

MrDNL5 karma

When it happens it feels AWESOME! I love it when people post my stuff! I wish it happened more often but /r/TIL has a rule about things being two months old, based on publication date, so the fact that part of Niagara Falls was shut down in the 1960s doesn't matter -- all that matters is that the issue was published today. So they don't get there any more.

ecm19992 karma

I actually found out about Now I Know from reddit! So lets flip the question- how did you find out about reddit?

MrDNL2 karma

No idea. Been here for six years! Can't remember :(

tobintobin2 karma

Hi Dan! Thanks for this - I love your work!

I've always been curious: how much $$$ do you make doing what you do?

Do you hope to one day make a living off the newsletter solely? You experiment a lot with advertising formats (recently) so my interest is peaked.

MrDNL3 karma

Vacation money -- more than beer money, less than full-time job money. And no, I don't want this to be my full-time job. I'd be very happy if, financially, it could be, however :-)

ripkif3182 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Mr. Lewis! I always look forward to your emails. Although I have come across some of the facts from your emails before, it's always fun to go back and have an "Oh yeah!" moment. Now for my question: Whenever I come across something interesting, is there a way I can send it to you for use in a future issue? Or for example, if you get many emails with ideas from subscribers, there could be an annual user submitted stories with links going out to other articles on the Internet or a special page in your archives? (and sorry for the formatting as this was written on my phone)

MrDNL2 karma

My real email address is in the reply line of the emails. Hit reply. Say hi, send me the link.

Lots of people do it.

And call me Dan, not Mr., thanks :)

tbot21122 karma

I love reading Now You Know; I've had an interest in trivia (and quadrivia) since I was young. I played quiz bowl in high school and tried out for Teen Jeopardy.

My question is, have you ever tried out for, or been involved in, Jeopardy or any other competitive trivia game such as Quiz Bowl?

MrDNL3 karma

Sad story... at least for me.

In elementary school we had a "Knowledge Bowl" thing where the entire 4th and 5th grades took trivia tests and the top scorers faced off in an assembly for parents etc. I made it to the assembly both years, and was the top scoring qualifier as a 5th grader. But in 5th grade, I got sick that day and couldn't compete. :(

HaitianSensation2 karma

Hey Dan! Love the newsletter. I've only subscribed for a month and I'm already hooked. Two questions. First, do you ever get to travel to some of the more unique places you detail in your findings? And out of your 500 postings, which Now I Know received the biggest response?

MrDNL2 karma

I've been to a few of the places, but that's only by coincidence. I took the picture for this one -- it was embedded into the street on Park Avenue near 53rd Street. When I realized/learned what it was, I went to take the picture. I've seen this stone marker because I went to Tufts and it's not something one can avoid at four (OKAY OKAY FOUR AND A HALF) years there. But I haven't sought out places generally. I haven't been here even though I've been in the general vicinity.

shay_the_funny_whore2 karma

I love reading your newsletter first thing when I get to work! Now for my question: What is the most bizarre/oddest "Now I Know" that you've written?

MrDNL2 karma

Bizarre/oddest... hmm.

Maybe this guy? I feel like the world would be a better place if he weren't so bizarre. As in, if what he did was normal. Maybe.

ndevito12 karma

I'm going to hop on the baseball side of this. Who is your favorite team? Anything else you would like to share on your love of baseball?

Love the newsletter. I usually let a bunch build up in my inbox then read them when I'm bored.

MrDNL1 karma

I'm a die-hard Mets fan (and trust me, it's been tough). Here are some baseball things I've written recently:

ndevito12 karma

These are AWESOME! I had no idea you were such a baseball nut.

As a fellow trivia and baseball fanatic, if we ever cross paths, the first couple beers are on me!

MrDNL2 karma

Thanks :)

azufaifa1 karma

Hi Dan. I love your newsletter, it is a great read.

Do you have any plans of translating them / offer them in a different language? I know some people who would love your newsletter but their English is not that good. I've translated a couple for them, and they've found it really interesting and would like to suscribe, but because of the language barrier they don't.

MrDNL2 karma

No, but if others want to, feel free, just tell me first if you can.

maxpnem1 karma

Hi! I was so excited when I found out you were doing an AMA! I haven't subscribed to NIK for so long (at least a few weeks, maybe a couple months), but so far I've loved every email. I've learned so much, and I pass on the fun stuff I learn to my friends. A few questions:

  1. Why? Why do this? I see that it just started as an experiment, but why keep it up?

  2. why don't they always come at the same time? It could just be my mail server, but do you send them out at different times?

  3. Do you subscribe to any religion, if so, would you be comfortable telling us?

  4. I'd like to start a column like NIK for my school newspaper. I know a lot of random facts, but I usually can only come up with them in situations that remind me of them. How do you remind yourself of all the random things you know? Do you have a trick?

Thanks again for doing this AMA, and keep 'em comin!

MrDNL2 karma

  1. It's fun.

  2. I send them at 6:45 ET but sometimes there are blips in the sending. Nature of the beast.

  3. I'm Jewish.

  4. Instapaper is your friend.