How were the boundaries configured for each state? Who set those boundaries?

There's enough here for several doctoral dissertations, but suffice it to say that, before Thomas Jefferson, state boundaries tended to follow natural separators such as rivers and mountain ridges, or historically accepted boundaries. Jefferson, however, successfully proposed that western states be divided into a tidy checkerboard pattern. As a result, every state west of the Mississippi has at least two straight, or mostly straight, sides, except Oregon, Minnesota, and Texas. This square-corner arrangement, however, doesn't translate well on a spherical planet, and some of the lines have been adjusted accordingly. (Guest Expert Nancy Carter, Denver, Colorado)

Last 7 Days

What is the highest mountain in the world?

Mount Everest, which is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet. According to a 2005 reading, it stands 29,017 feet high.

Are more people near- or far-sighted?

About 30 percent of Americans are nearsighted to some degrees. About 60 percent are far-sighted.

In the Bible there is a reference to shields and bucklers. What are bucklers?

A buckler is a small, round shield that is either carried or worn on the arm. Some versions of the Bible translate the phrase you mentioned as simply "small and large shields."

Where did the phrase "round robin" come from when referring to a letter?

A round robin is a written petition, or protest, which is drawn up and circulated for signatures by a group with a common cause. These days the signatures are usually written one beneath the other, but in former times they were arranged in a circle so that no name headed the list, and no one appeared as the ring leader or originator of the protest.

Why are some storms called "Nor'easters?"

On the east coast of the United States, winter storms often form along the Atlantic polar front near the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas, and in the general area east of the southern Appalachians. These are the notorious Cape Hatteras storms -- nor'easters -- which develop to great intensity as they move up the coast, then drift seaward toward Iceland, where they subside.

What is the difference between grade A and grade B in the classification of eggs?

Grades AA and A are nearly identical. The main difference is that Grade A eggs are slightly older than Grade AA eggs. Grade B eggs have stained or abnormal shells, minor blood or meat spots, and other defects.

What is numerology?

Numerology is the study of numbers and how the occult may influence them. Numerology is to numbers what astrology is to stars. A numerologist will believe that each person has a numerological "reading" that can be deduced from his or her birth date, and the resulting reading means something, much like a star sign is said to influence a person born under it. In numerology, a reading of 8, for example, means that person will be self-sacrificing, among other things.

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