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Question of the Day

How many miles on average do a pair of sneakers last?

We're not certain about miles, but the experts say that a good pair of athletic shoes used for strenuous activity such as aerobics or running will support your feet fully for only three to six months. The supportive features break down with age, and the shoes become less helpful in preventing injuries. With the price of these things, you'd think they'd last a lifetime!

Last 7 Days

    Why were butter churns made out of mountain ash?

    To repel witches. Many farmers believed that the wood of the mountain ash, or "wiggin," would keep their farms safe from witches' mischief.

    Have we always had Daylight Saving Time?

    In the United States, Daylight Saving Time was first begun on March 31, 1918, during World War I. This plan provided more light for the evening hours, thereby saving fuel for the war effort. Since then, Daylight Saving Time has been used on and off, with different start and end dates. Currently, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November.

    What does the term "buckdancer's choice" mean, and what is its origin?

    A buck dance, or buckdance, generally refers to a dance done solo. For instance, the buck-and-wing is a solo tap dance that originated in the South. The term also may have come from a ceremonial dance performed by a Native American wearing the costume of a male animal such as a deer or antelope, known as a buck. "Buckdancer's choice," then, would seem to refer to a solo dancer's own style or choice of dance to be performed.

    What is lactose?

    Lactose is a light sweetener and carbohydrate found only in milk. Any product made with milk contains lactose. Bacteria turn lactose to lactic acid, and that's when milk turns sour. Some people cannot tolerate lactose and must avoid milk products.

    Does high-octane gasoline provide better gas mileage than regular?

    High-octane gas will not give you better gas mileage. It may, however, quiet your car's engine by burning cleaner than regular gasoline. According to the American Automobile Association, only about 5 percent of cars sold in the United States really need to use premium gas. If you've been using high-octane gas and want to save money, buy a tankful of regular and listen to the engine as you drive. If you hear your engine "knocking," go back to premium. If there is no knock, you've found a money-saving trick.

    Are you supposed to eat kumquats whole, peel and all? Are there any other citrus fruits that are eaten whole?

    Kumquats are the size of large olives and have sweet skin with slightly bitter flesh. They can be eaten whole, skin and all, and you can also buy them bottled in syrup. We don't know of any other citrus fruits that you can eat whole.

    Sirius seemed to be blinking a lot in late September. I also think it blinked from green to red and white. Is this some new phase Sirius is in?

    Nothing has changed with Sirius. You just observed an unusual amount of twinkling. Earth's atmosphere is not uniform, but instead has cells of different densities and temperatures. As starlight passes through the atmosphere, the light beam is constantly redirected by refraction, and since the cells are in motion, the path of light is changing all the time. The jumping around is one aspect of twinkling, called "seeing." The other aspect, called "scintillation," is changes in brightness and color.

    When is the next total eclipse of the Sun that can be viewed in North America, and how long will it last?

    The next total solar eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017 (maximum duration 2 minutes 40 seconds). An annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible in the United States on May 20, 2012.

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