Category Archives: Answers

Why Fruits Change Color and Flavor as They Ripen

fruit-rainbow

Jay G. asks: Why do fruits change colour and flavour when they ripen? Fruits and vegetables (see: The Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables) come in a wide array of colors that change throughout their ripening process, with the brightest colors often occurring when the fruit is optimally ripened.  But why do fruits change color at all? There are two ways […]

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Why Is Comfortable Air Temperature So Much Lower Than Body Temperature?

cooling-off-in-sprinkler

Jared U. asks: Why isn’t normal body temperature the temperature that humans are most comfortable in? Each summer as temperatures approach 98° Fahrenheit (about 37° Celsius), we hear news stories about people suffering (and sometimes even dying) from overheating. Yet these temperatures are essentially the same as normal body heat. So why isn’t this a comfortable temperature for us? Our […]

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How Anti-Fog Spray Keeps Glasses from Fogging Up

girl-with-foggy-glasses

Roman S. asks: How does spitting in swimming goggles keep them from fogging up? The “fog” you may sometimes experience on your glasses or goggles occurs when atmospheric humidity near the lens condenses; this happens due to a relatively significant discrepancy between the temperature of the lens and the surrounding air. As the surface attempts to reach an equilibrium between […]

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Why Teachers are Associated with and Traditionally Given Apples

apple

Gloria N. asks: Why is the stereotype to give apples to teachers? Widespread publicly funded, mandatory education has only been around since about the 19th century. Before then, the responsibility of providing schooling to children fell primarily on their families. Upper- and middle-class families tended to hire tutors or send their children to a private school run by a schoolmaster. […]

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Why Don’t They Bother Putting the Apostrophe in “DONT WALK” signs?

dont-walk

Jared L. asks: Why aren’t there apostrophes in the Don’t Walk signs by street intersections when it’s spelled out rather than using pictures? No one is sure when exactly the first WALK/DONT WALK style signs were installed. Even the Federal Highway Administration isn’t sure, though it is thought that the first such sign was likely installed sometime in the early […]

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Why Did Yankee Doodle Stick a Feather in His Cap and Call It Macaroni?

macaroni

James H. asks: Curious question for you, but something I’ve always wondered about. Why did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his hat macaroni? While silly and irreverent, the song “Yankee Doodle” holds a rather patriotic place in many American hearts and is even the official state song of Connecticut. Today, the jingle may bring to mind a proud revolutionary […]

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Inventing Bubble Gum

Bubble-gum

Gracen A. asks: What is original flavor bubblegum supposed to taste like? Bubblegum, the ambiguously flavoured, obnoxiously pink candy gum that is the favourite treat of Violet Beauregarde and, seemingly, a shocking amount of stock photo actors was first invented in 1928 by an accountant called Walter Diemer. Despite being asked in dozens of interviews throughout his life, Diemer took […]

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Could Piranha Really Turn You Into a Skeleton in a Matter of Minutes?

Piranha

Rondon B. asks: How long would it take piranhas to turn an adult human into nothing but bones? Asking for a friend… Alongside sharks, crocodiles and that fish people incorrectly believe can swim up a stream of urine if you pee in the Amazon, piranhas are amongst the most feared aquatic creatures on Earth. This is mostly due to the […]

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What Happens to Big Food Made to Break World Records?

Guiness World Record

Randal T. asks: When someone makes some giant food item for publicity, what do they actually do with the thing after? According to Guinness World Records, the de-facto authority on world record breaking, this is one of the most common questions they’re asked alongside “What record is broken the most often?” (the heaviest object lifted with glue according to them) […]

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Why Are You Not Supposed to Use Twice Boiled Water for Tea?

tea-service

Jeremy W. asks: Is it true that drinking tea made from twice boiled water is bad for you? There’s a rather persistent idea that “reboiling” water (i.e. boiling water two or more times and allowing it to cool in-between) while making a cup of tea is potentially harmful to your health, with some going so far as stating that regularly […]

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Why Clocks Run Clockwise

Antique-Clock

Nathan B. asks: Why is the standard to have handed clocks turn clockwise? Pretty much everyone knows that if you’re asked to pass something clockwise around a table, you hand it to the person on your left because that is the same direction that the hands of a clock move. But what you may not know is that this standard […]

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Why Does the Yolk of an Overcooked Hard-Boiled Egg Turn Green?

hard-boiled-egg

Laura K. asks: Why does the yolk of a hard-boiled egg sometimes turn green? The process of hard-boiling an egg involves denaturation. During this process, the amino acid chains found in the proteins in the egg are altered from their original, raw egg state, with the denaturation temperature varying somewhat depending on the specific protein in question (see chart here). […]

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