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Question of the Day

Where can I find information about Curacao, including the language spoken there?

The people of Curacao, at the base of the Caribbean Sea, descend from more than 50 ethnic groups. The native language, Papiamento, is a creole mixture of Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, African, and Arawak Indian. For more information, try this Web site:

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    What is a fresh gale, used to describe wind forces at sea?

    This is a standard phrase used to differentiate wind speeds to help in navigation. Fresh gales are winds of 34 to 40 knots, which produce moderately high waves of great length. Next in severity is the strong gale, which are winds of 41 to 47 knots. These create high waves and rolling seas.

    How can I make fire starters out of pinecones?

    Start with pine cones that are already dried. There are two ways to have fun with pinecones and a fireplace. First, melt any old candle stubs you have. A double-boiler works nicely for this job. Then, dip the pinecones into the hot wax. Let dry, perhaps on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. When dry, store them in a pretty basket near the fireplace and use as needed. The wax helps them burn long enough to help get your fire going. For more special effects, soak the dried pinecones for 24 hours in a solution of 1 pound Epsom salts to 1 gallon water. Let the cones dry again. When you use these as fire starters, they will produce a myriad of colors in the fireplace.

    What is the quickest and easiest method to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit?

    We know there must be an easier way (can anyone help?), but the only method we're sure of is to use one of the following formulas:If you know the degrees Celsius: degrees F = (degrees C x 1.8) + 32.If you know the degrees Fahrenheit: degrees C = (degrees F - 32) / 1.8.

    What is the temperature in outer space?

    Technically speaking, empty space cannot have a temperature. However, a physical object in space will have a temperature, depending upon what the object is made of and how close it is to heat sources (like the Sun). An object that is, say, the same distance from the Sun as our Earth will have a temperature of about 7 degrees Celsius. If it is shielded from the Sun, it will be cooler. An astronaut, would probably run a little warmer than 7 degrees Celsius, because he or she is generating internal energy as well. Obviously, these things are taken into consideration when designing spacecraft and spacesuits.

    How much is the English liquid yard, as in a yard of ale?

    The British drink ale and beer out of a yard glass, which can be nearly a yard or so long. It contains 2 imperial pints, the equivalent of 40 ounces.

    What's the minimum height for a ceiling where you want to install a ceiling fan?

    We wouldn't recommend a ceiling fan in anything under 10 feet. The spinning fan blades should be at least 8 feet from the floor, and there should be at least 1 foot between the fan blades and the ceilings. While many people have installed ceiling fans for decorative purposes in short-ceilinged rooms, they really aren't efficient or attractive in smaller rooms. They do best at the top of very high, sloped ceilings, where they serve the purpose of pushing warm air (which rises) back down and saving on heating costs.

    Can you tell me a bit about Ansel Adams?

    Ansel Adams was born on February 20, 1902. Four years later, in 1906, he broke his nose by falling during an aftershock of the San Francisco earthquake--an accident that left a permanent scar. As an adult, Ansel became a world-famous photographer of the American West.

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