Category Archives: Answers

What Function Does Natural Aspirin Serve in Plants?

white-willow-bark

Blain F. asks: What function does natural aspirin serve in the plants that produce it? Salicylic acid is found in varying degrees in a wide range of plants including potatoes, tobacco, unripe fruits (including blackberries and blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, green pepper, tomato and olives), mushrooms, and, of course, willow. A phenolic compound, together with cytokinins, auxins, gibberellins, ethylene and abscisic […]

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Why Phone Keypads and Calculator/Keyboard Keypads are Arranged Differently

Prototype Push Button Phone (1948)

John T. asks Why do keyboard keypads number 7,8,9 on down and phone keypads number 1,2,3 on down? It’s not clear why numbering pads designed for calculation have 7-8-9 at the top, although the practice of placing the larger numbers above the smaller can be seen as far back as the late 19th century on early mechanical cash registers, often […]

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The Origin of the Color Belt Scheme in Martial Arts

blackbelt

White, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and black, the colors of martial arts belts denote student development, skills and experience. However, contrary to popular belief, using colored belts to denote rank or ability in martial arts is a relatively recent invention in the otherwise ancient arts- one that was only introduced around the turn of the 20th century. Much of […]

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The Truth About Your Flammable Farts

sun-fart

Alex B. asks: Why are farts flammable? Contrary to popular belief, it’s probably not methane leaking from behind that reckless “bros” light on fire (known as pyroflatulence); rather, it’s most likely primarily hydrogen. In a typical, healthy body, human farts are comprised primarily of hydrogen, nitrogen, some carbon dioxide and potentially a small amount of methane and oxygen. These farts […]

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