Category Archives: Answers

When Did People First Start Clapping to Show Appreciation?

clapping

Mark D. asks: When did we start clapping to show that we like something? Clapping is the near-ubiquitous way we show our appreciation of something, particularly when we’re in large groups. But have you ever wondered why slapping our hands together has come to be so closely associated with approval and where the practise originated from? To begin with, the […]

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Can Color Blind People See More Colors When They Take Hallucinogenic Drugs?

colors2

Sam asks: If you gave a color blind person something like LSD or some other sort of hallucinogenic drug, would they see colors they couldn’t before? First a little primer on colour blindness from the good people at ColorBlindAwareness.org: Most color blind people are able to see things as clearly as other people but they unable to fully ‘see’ red, […]

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How Commercial Airplanes Keep a Steady Supply of Fresh Air and How the Emergency Oxygen Masks Supply Oxygen Given They are Not Hooked Up to Any Air Tank

airline-oxygen-mask

Jimmy K. asks: Why is there a plastic bag attached to airline oxygen masks if they don’t inflate? Because the economics of having large oxygen tanks aboard airliners simply doesn’t work out (not to mention that the air quality inside the plane would rapidly become unpleasant if fresh air wasn’t constantly supplied, regardless of the oxygen levels), commercial airplanes have […]

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Is There Any Difference at all Between Men’s and Women’s Razors and Shaving Creams?

shaving-products

Katy E. asks: Are there any differences between razors and shaving cream for men and women beyond cosmetic? Shaving companies almost universally put out both a men’s and women’s version of each of their products, with the women’s version generally costing quite a bit more. But is there actually any difference between the so-called “gendered razors” and shaving cream or […]

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Is Honey Vegan?

honey-bee

Melissa asks: Is honey considered vegan? There’s a reason there’s the expression “busy as a bee.” These buzzing insects’ entire lives are dedicated to making sure the hive keeps humming and the next generation of bees are born. Worker bees are consistently building, cleaning and protecting their home. When they are not tending to the hive, they are foraging for […]

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Why Are Shoe Sizes as They Are?

foot-measuring

Kim A. asks: How did they come up with the standard sizes for shoes? Seemingly arbitrary, there is a crazy logic (and a lot of muddy history giving rise to tradition) behind the numbers assigned to different shoe sizes. During the reign of England’s Edward II (1284-1327), certain measurements became standardized.  Most pertinent to the discussion at hand: Three barley-corns, […]

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Why Do People Stick Out and Bite Their Tongues When Concentrating?

boy-biting-tongue

Jon K. asks: Why do I sometimes naturally bite my tongue when concentrating on things? The short answer as to why some people bite their tongue when concentrating is that the tongue requires a surprising amount of brain power to manage- beyond general motor control, it’s covered in various types of sensors constantly providing feedback to your brain about what’s […]

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