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Question of the Day

Does tomato juice actually work for a dog that's been sprayed by a skunk? If so, why?

Tomato juice is definitely a top contender for eliminating skunk odor because of its price and effectiveness. Plus, like any good home remedy, you're more likely to find tomato juice than a commercial pet product in your cupboard. It's OK to dilute the tomato juice with water before you apply it to your pet's coat. Wear rubber gloves and use a basin to catch as much of the runoff as you can, then reapply it for maximum benefit. You may have to repeat the bath. Even then, some residual smell is apt to remain for a few days. If you don't have tomato juice handy, try bathing your pet with diluted vinegar, either white or apple cider. As for why these remedies work, we assume it's the acidity that helps neutralize the skunk smell, which is essentially an oily musk scent. The tomato juice or vinegar cuts through the oiliness and helps break it down so that it can be rinsed away with warm water.

Last 7 Days

    What exactly does it mean to irradiate food?

    Scientists have experimented with irradiation as a preservation method since the early part of this century. It exposes the food to ionizing energy, usually from a radioactive source such as cobalt 60. In low doses, radiation kills microorganisms and insects. In higher doses, it sterilizes food and destroys more microorganisms. The radiation energy passes through the food, and most is not absorbed. Absorption depends on the chemical makeup of the food.

    Why is the police department of London called Scotland Yard?

    Scotland Yard is the office of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police in London. The first location of this office was in a building that was formerly the residence of the kings of Scotland when they came to London.

    How many words are in the English language?

    English consists of about 600,000 words (though the number keeps growing). The good news is that experts consider a person fluent if he or she knows only about 2,000 of them. Most of us use more than that in everyday conversation, but the norm is still only a few thousand. Even professional writers are said to use only about 50,000 words, leaving a lot of words unsaid. Perhaps that's for the best.

    What is a hot posset? I know it is a drink from the medieval times, but that is all.

    Posset is a Middle English word of uncertain origin, but there's no uncertainty about what it is. It's a drink composed of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other liquor, with sugar and spices sometimes added. It was (and still is) popular not only as a delicacy but also as a remedy for colds and other infections.

    What is the formula for the time it takes for you to hear thunder?

    The formula we know is for calculating the distance of a lightning flash. Count the number of seconds between seeing a flash of lightning and hearing the sound of the thunder. Divide that number by 5 to determine how many miles away that lightning bolt was.

    If everybody has their wisdom teeth yanked out, why do we have them in the first place?

    Other than providing dentists and oral surgeons with a steady source of income, wisdom teeth are useless to us now, but our ancestors needed them. Primitive human beings ate meats so tough that the extra molars in the back of the mouth aided them in ripping and chewing the flesh. As humans evolved, our brains became larger (well, for most of us) and our face positions moved farther downward and inward. Our protruding jawbones moved backward, making the jaw itself shorter -- hence, no room for those back teeth! Most people's jaws no longer have the capacity to accommodate these teeth and, thank goodness, we don't need them for meat-eating.

    How can I get the cat urine smell out of my carpet? And is there some way to keep cats out of a room?

    Cats, like many other animals, tend to urinate repeatedly in the same places. When cleaning or removing urine stains, you must neutralize the odor -- not just mask it -- or the cat will likely return to the spot and dampen it again. Urine can seep down into the carpet padding and floor boards, so start cleaning the area as quickly as possible.1) First, absorb as much urine as possible by pressing the area with paper towels, then rinse with water.2) Apply diluted vinegar (3 parts vinegar to 1 part water) to the spot (do not rub) and let dry. (Test a small section first to make sure that the vinegar won't harm the carpet.) Rinse the area with water.3) Sprinkle baking soda over the spot, let sit for several hours, and then vacuum. Repeat as necessary. With regard to keeping cats out of a particular room (assuming the room doesn't have a door), you'd have to either keep them penned or erect a barricade that they couldn't vault; but one way to break a cat's habit of urinating in a room is to dip a cotton ball in lemon extract, squeeze out the excess, and place it in an aluminum tea ball (designed to hold loose tea). Hang the tea ball by its hook in the spot where your cat is urinating -- the smell should keep the cat away. Refresh the lemon once a week until the cat is trained.

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