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Who is Murphy of Murphy’s Law?

Who is Murphy of Murphy’s Law?

Melissa April 30, 2014 4

Bill D. asks: Who is the “Murphy” who made Murphy’s Law? For those not familiar, Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will.” Early Origins Pessimists have existed long before the Murphy whose

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Why Do We Cry?

Why Do We Cry?

Melissa April 29, 2014 0

Joel asks: Why do humans cry? Anti-bacterial, nutrient-rich, usually involuntary and often stress relieving, crying benefits more than just our eyes. Physiology of Tears Tears are a product of the lacrimal system, which: Has

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What Is the Origin of Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior and Senior?

What Is the Origin of Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior and Senior?

Melissa April 25, 2014 2

Ian K. asks: Why are students called freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors? Rather than referring to a student’s year of study, in U.S. high schools and colleges, first year students are freshmen, second years

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Where Do Insects Go in Winter?

Where Do Insects Go in Winter?

Melissa April 25, 2014 3

Michael asks: Where do insects disappear to in the winter time? As cold-blooded creatures, insects are particularly susceptible to winter’s freezing temperatures. To survive, this class of animals has developed a wide variety of

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Why Doesn’t the Heart Get Tired and Need to Rest Like Other Muscles?

Why Doesn’t the Heart Get Tired and Need to Rest Like Other Muscles?

Melissa April 24, 2014 4

Mindy N. asks: After a long run my leg muscles are tired, but my heart is not.  Why doesn’t the heart need any rest? Anywhere from 60 to 100 times every minute of every

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How Large is a Barrel of Oil and Why Do We Measure It That Way?

How Large is a Barrel of Oil and Why Do We Measure It That Way?

Melissa April 22, 2014 0

Sue T asks: Why do we measure oil in barrels instead of gallons or liters? How much oil is in a barrel? More than just gasoline for our cars, crude oil is transformed into

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Can Eating Poppy Seeds Really Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?

Can Eating Poppy Seeds Really Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?

Emily Upton April 16, 2014 19

Mark asks: Will eating poppy seed muffins cause you to fail a drug test? When Elaine on Seinfeld failed a drug test after eating a poppy seed muffin back in the 1996 episode “The

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What Causes St. Elmo’s Fire

What Causes St. Elmo’s Fire

Scott April 14, 2014 2

Andrew M. asks: What causes Saint Elmo’s Fire? For those not familiar, “St. Elmo’s Fire” is a name for the glow that looks like blue/violet fire surrounding the top of pointed metal objects during

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All About Bees, Wasps, and Hornets

All About Bees, Wasps, and Hornets

Matt Blitz April 14, 2014 0

Mike A. asks: What is the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets? There are many similarities and differences between our little wing-whipping friends. For starters, all can sting you. That said, you may derive

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Do Cow Farts Really Significantly Contribute to Global Warming?

Do Cow Farts Really Significantly Contribute to Global Warming?

Matt Blitz April 11, 2014 11

Shawn asks: Do cow farts really significantly contribute to global warming? There are currently approximately 1.3 to 1.5 billion cows grazing, sleeping, and chewing their cud at any given time on planet Earth. And

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Was the Character of Sherlock Holmes Based on a Real Person?

Was the Character of Sherlock Holmes Based on a Real Person?

Matt Blitz April 10, 2014 3

Sue T. asks: My sister told me Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person. Is this true? In 1887, Doyle published the novel “A Study in Scarlet.” It was the first work to

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

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

Karl Smallwood April 7, 2014 2

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

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How a Donkey and an Elephant Came to Represent Democrats and Republicans

How a Donkey and an Elephant Came to Represent Democrats and Republicans

Matt Blitz April 4, 2014 2

Jennifer asks: Why is a donkey and an elephant associated with the Democrats and the Republicans? The donkey is stereotypically bumbling, slow, and stubborn; the elephant- big and clumsy. Being compared to one of

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In a Transplant/Transfusion, Does the Donor’s DNA Get Integrated Into the New Host?

In a Transplant/Transfusion, Does the Donor’s DNA Get Integrated Into the New Host?

Melissa April 3, 2014 2

Matt asks: In an organ or blood transplant/transfusion, does the donor’s DNA get kept and integrated into the new host? Depending on the type of donation, the DNA stays for a short time, a

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Origin of the Military Song “Taps”

Origin of the Military Song “Taps”

Melissa March 28, 2014 0

M. Havens asks: Where did the Taps song come from that is played during military funerals? Since 1862, “Taps” has played at military funerals to honor the sacrifice of fallen service members. Originally, however,

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Why Do We Need Sleep?

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Melissa March 27, 2014 1

Karla asks: Why do we need sleep? It left Hamlet’s father vulnerable to fratricide, sent Alice down the rabbit-hole, enabled Delilah’s betrayal of Samson and facilitated Gregor’s transformation into a giant beetle. Yet without

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Why Native Americans Didn’t Wipe Out Europeans With Diseases

Why Native Americans Didn’t Wipe Out Europeans With Diseases

Emily Upton March 26, 2014 13

Greg H. asks: Diseases from Europe wiped out most of the Indians, so why didn’t the Europeans also get wiped out by diseases from America? While estimates vary, approximately 20 million people are believed

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The Unmasking of Moriarty

The Unmasking of Moriarty

Melissa March 25, 2014 0

Jill T. asks: My dad told me Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person. Is this true and if so, who? Genius and philosopher, with a “brain of the first

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