Category Archives: Answers

Slower Than a Turtle- The Speed of Electricity

turtle-light-bulb

Lindsey asks: How fast do electrons flow inside electrical cables? You may be surprised to learn that electrons flow through a typical copper wire much slower than a turtle walks. Each wire that conducts a flow of electrons, producing usable electric current, is composed of billions of atoms. To move along it, the electrons have to traverse these atoms, randomly […]

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Cursive No More?

cursive

Jeremy R. asks: Why do we still teach kids to write in cursive when it’s almost literally never used anymore except in signatures, which are also becoming a thing of the past thanks to e-signing and advancements in payment options? I mean, even teaching kids any handwriting skills is bound to go the way of the Dodo at some point […]

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Is “Peanut Gallery” a Racial Term?

peanuts

Matt J. asks: Was the peanut gallery expression really originally a racial term? Used to refer to those giving unsolicited (and unvalued) advice, the expression “peanut gallery” has its roots in late 19th century vaudeville, although for some, the phrase is considered a racial slur. A typical vaudevillian show of music, drama, comedy, acrobatics, dance and other acts was performed […]

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How Do Other Animals Deal with the Umbilical Cord and Placenta When the Baby is Born?

horse-birth

Brandi N asks: How do other primates deal with the umbilical cord and placenta when the baby is born when they don’t have any sort of medical help to make sure everything’s handled right? Other than certain modern humans, some marine mammals (like whales and dolphins), chimpanzees and a few domesticated animals, mammal mothers typically eat the afterbirth. While most […]

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Origin of Lo and Behold

vision

Richard G. asks: What does the “lo” in lo and behold mean? Like a wordy exclamation point, the two defining words in “lo and behold” mean basically the same thing. Specifically, the word lo!, meaning “look!” first appeared in Middle English (1100-1500 AD) in the 1200s, and essentially was clipped from the early English imperative word for “look,” lok. An […]

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Do Road Hazard Signs Like “Deer Crossing” and “Falling Rocks” Actually Prevent Accidents?

deer-crossing

Sanvi F. asks: It costs thousands of dollars to install even one road sign, so why do they bother putting “warning deer” and “falling rock” warning signs when nobody pays attention to them? Warning of an upcoming curve, playing kids, falling rock, icy roads and, of course, deer, traditional static warning signs litter the sides of our roadways to the […]

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