| Friday, January 21, 2005
| LIFE'S IMPONDERABLES...PART TWO
|What is the Difference Between a "Mountain"
and a "Hill"
Most American geographers refer to a hill as a natural
elevation that is smaller thatn 1,000 feet. Anything
above 1,000 feet is usually called mountain. In Great Britain,
the traditional boundary line between hill and mountain is
2,000 feet. Some geographers says, "Hill" conjures up a rolling
terrain; "montain" connote abrupt, peaked structures.
(submitted by Thomas J. Schoeck of Slingerlands, NY)
What is the Purpose of the Beard on a Turkey?
All of our poultry experts felt that the beard has no
specific anatomical function, but this does'nt mean the
beard has no purpose. The beard is a secondary sex
characteristic of the male, a visual differentation between
the sexes. How could a hen possibly resist the sexual allure
of the beard on strutting Tom?
(submitted by Mrs. Anabell Cregger of Wytheville, VA)
Why Are MosT Pencils Painted Yellow?
Pencils came in various colors before 1890, but it was in
that year the Austrian L & C Hardtmuth Company developed a
drawing pencil that was painted yellow. Available in a range
of degrees and hardness, the company dubbed their product
In 1893, L & C Hardtmuth introduces their Koh-I-Noor at the
Chicago World's Colombian Exposition, and Americans responded
favorably. Ever since, yellow has been synonymous with quality pencils.
(submitted by Robert M. Helfrich of Pittsburgh, PA)
Why Do Roaches Always Die on Their Backs?
Professor Henry H. Ross, affilited with Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University, said that when a Roach dies,
its legs stiffen and the cockroach falls on the side.
Because most roaches have flattened body form with narrow sides,
the momentum of the fall rolls them onto their sides.
John J. Suarez, technical manager of the National Pest Control
Association, adds that small cockroaches, such as the German
and brown-banded, are more likely to die on their backs.
Larger cockroaches with lower centers of gravity, such as the
American and the Oriental, occasinally die face down.
(submitted by Gloria Stiefel of Orange Park, Fl.)
What's the Difference Between Popcorn and Other
Corn? Can Regular Corn be Popped?
There are five different tpes of Corn: DENT, FLINT, POD,
SWEET and POPCORN. Popcorn is the only variety that will
pop consistently. Gregg Hoffman of American Popcorn, said
other corn might pop on occasion but with little regularity.
The key to popcorn's popping ability is, amazingly, WATER.
Each popcorn kernel contains water, which most popcorn
processors try to maintain at about a 13.5% level. The water
is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel.
Surrounding the soft starch is a hard enamel-like starch.
When the kernel is heated for popping, the water inside heats
and begins to expand. The function of the hard starch is to
resist the water as long as possible.
When the water expands with such pressure that the hard
starch gives way, the water bursts out, causing the popcorn
kernel to explode. The soft strach pops put, and the kernel
turns inside out. The water, converted into steam, is released,
and the corn pops.
(submitted by David Andrews of Dallas,Tx.)
Why Do Doctors Tap on Our Backs
During Physical Exams?
Doctors insist that there is a sound reason to tap out backs.
Short of an Xray, the tap is one of the best way to collect
information about our lungs. The space occupied by the lungs
is filled with air. The two lungs are contained in the two
pleural spaces, full of air, and lung tissue itself contains air.
Dr. Frank Davidoff, associaate executive vice president,
Education, for the American College of Physicians, said:
"In 1754, a Viennese physicain named Leopold Auenbrugger
discovered that if you thumped the at patients' chest,
it would give off a more hollow sound when you tapped over
the air filled lung space, and a more "falt" or "dull" sound
if you tapped over a part of the chest that was filled with
something solid, like muscle, bone, etc." Auenbrugger found
that by thumping a patient's chest, abnormal lessions in the
chest cavity, such as fluid or a solid tremor in the cavity
where air filled lung ought to be, produced a sound different
from the given off in a healthy air filled chest.
(submitted by Ricahrd Aaron of Toronto, Ontario)
What Causes Bags Under Our Eyes?
Let us count the ways, in descending order of frequency:
1. HEREDITY. That's right. It wans'nt that night on the
town that maded you look like a raccoon in the morning.
It's all your parents and grandparents' fault. Some people
are born with excess fatty tissue and liquid around the eyes.
2. FLUID RETENTION. The eyelids are the thinnest and softest
skin in the entire body, four times as thin as "average" skin.
Fluid tends to pool in this portions of the skin. What causes
fluid retention? among the culprits are drugs, kidney or liver
problems, salt intake,. and very commonly, allergies.
3. AGING. The skin of the face, particularly around the eyes,
loosens with age. Ages is more likely to cause bags than mere
sleepiness or fatigue.
4. TOO MANY SMILES AND FROWNS. The expressions noit only can
build crow's feet but bags.
Another less fascinating explanation is given by Dr. Tom Meek
of the American Academy of Dermatology, in NY Times:
"the circles are probably caused by shadows cast from overhead lighting...."
(submitted by Stephen T. Kelly of NY,NY)
Why Do We Seem to Feel Worse at Night
When We Have a Cold?
Dr. Ernst Zander, of Winthrop Consumer Products said:
"Nasal obstruction, produced by a great variety of conditons,
ususally seems worse to a patient when he is lying down.
This is because tissue fluids and blood tend to pool in the head
and more when he is recumbent than when he is standing."
Why Did the Chinese First Use Chopsticks?
Tne conventional wisdom in this subject is that the Chinese
consider it the chef's duty to carve meat or slice vegetables
into bitsize morsels. Chopsticks were then invented to serve
as efficient tools to pick up morsels of food and rice. But
therr is much evidence to suggest that their use was originally
motivated bit by aesthetics but by practical considerations.
Chopsticks were introduced sometime during the Chou Dynasty,
probably a century or so before the birth of Christ. Until the
Chou Dynasty, stir frying did not exist. But China faces a serious
fuel (wood) shortage. Forests were cut down to clear land for
agriculture to feed a burgeoning populations. Stir frying developed
as the most efficient method to use the least amount of food as
fuel for the shortest period of time. Because the food was cut
before stir fying, the meat and vegetables cooked much faster
than by other methods.
During the Chou Dynasty, few people owned tables, a luxury,
especially with the wood shortage, so a utensil was needed that
would allow diners to eat with one hand only --the hand was needed
to hold the bowl of rice. Because most chinese have sauces,
chopsticks enables users to scoop up food without getting goop
all over their fingers.
And why did the Chinese decide to use chopstsiklcs on the middle
of this supposed wood shortage? Only some of the chopsticks were
made of wood. More were made of Ivory and Bone.
|posted by infraternam meam @ 5:06 AM