Are there any ancient cultures known to have had a Copernican model of the solar system?

We can't find any record of a culture that believed the Sun was the center of the universe, but Copernicus wasn't the first person to say this. Around 270 B.C., on Samos (an island off the coast of what is now Turkey), Aristarchus put forth a theory of a sun-centered universe, which included his belief that the Moon's light came from the Sun. He is sometimes referred to as the Copernicus of antiquity.

Last 7 Days

What will cure a plantar wart?

Since planter warts are caused by a persistent virus, you may think you have them under control by using some home remedy, only to have them crop up again. We recommend a visit to a doctor, who will most likely use liquid nitrogen to "freeze" off a wart and its roots and prevent it from recurring. Most warts are painless, but plantar warts hurt because they grow on the pressure points on the soles of the feet.

Inventions preceded patents, obviously, but can you name some inventions that weren't actually used for several years?

In some cases, inventions evolve over time. Certainly, that was the case with the zipper, which was invented in 1782 but didn't become popular until 1838, when it was connected to Goodrich's rubber galoshes and found its name. Antibiotics were invented in 1910, but they weren't widely used until about 1940. The heart pacemaker, developed in 1928, had to wait until about 1960 for advanced surgical techniques to make it practical. The helicopter was invented in 1904 but not considered useful until 1941, during world War II. Radar followed a similar course: It also was developed in 1904, but it wasn't generally used until about 1939. Oddly, the cigarette lighter was invented before matches, but because it required powdered platinum, it wasn't considered practical.

I've heard of calling on St. Anthony for inflammations and St. Lucy for toothaches, but are there other "saintly specialists" out there?

Here's a partial list to get you started. St. Agatha works against sore breasts; St. Blaise protects against bones sticking in the throat; St. Christopher and St. Mark ward off sudden death; St. Clara and St. Juliana relieve sore eyes; St. Job takes on venereal diseases; St. John works against epilepsy and poison; St. Liberius battles stones and fistulas; St. Margaret is a woman's friend in childbirth; St. Martin takes care of the itch; St. Petronella and St. Genevieve work against fevers; St. Romanus protects against devils; St. Valentine takes on epilepsy; and St. Wolfgang helps cure lameness. Now all you need is the saint for a long memory so that you can remember them all.

How can I remove a photograph that is partially stuck to the glass of a picture frame without ruining the photo?

Try wiping it very gently with a slightly dampened cotton cloth. When the photo has absorbed some of the moisture, pull it gently or scrape under it gently with a thin, flat-edged tool. Remove the photo very carefully. The key here is very little, but just enough, water.

What can you tell me about the Chautauqua movement?

The Chautauqua movement began on the western shore of Chautauqua Lake in western New York State. In 1873, Rev. John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller proposed expanding religious revival meetings to include secular instruction. The Chautauqua Institution, founded in 1874, offered programs in the humanities, sciences, and arts, with visiting speakers such as authors, explorers, scientists, musicians, and political leaders, as well as various forms of entertainment. Thousands of people attended the meetings. Out of the original idea sprang smaller groups in other locations, as well as correspondence courses for home study groups and individuals. By 1912, the movement had taken on a more commercial bent, and traveling lecturers and entertainers were organized. The traveling circuit continued for about twelve years, but the Chautauqua Institution is still going strong today.

Do lizards lay eggs or bear their young live?

There are about 3,000 species of lizards. Most of them lay eggs to reproduce, but a small number of them bear their young live. Among the egg layers, the number of eggs per clutch varies depending on the size, age, and condition of the mother. Large species such as iguanas may lay 50 or more eggs at one time. In the lizard family Scincidae, about one-third of the species bear live young, and those are mostly in the tropical regions. In most other lizard families, the species that are exposed to cold -- either at high altitudes or at extreme latitudes -- are generally the live bearers. (Source:Encyclopedia Britannica Online)

Where is the most accurate place to put an outside thermometer?

To obtain a meaningful reading of the air temperature, a thermometer should be placed where it is not affected by direct sunlight or radiation from surfaces heated by sunlight. Meteorologists use an instrument shelter (a louvered box), but a permanently shaded area will suffice.

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