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Question of the Day

When and where was artificial snow for skiing introduced?

Who made the first artificial snow is unclear. It may have been made around the same time in different places. One claim is that three engineers used a garden hose, a 10-horsepower compressor, and a spray-gun nozzle to make a 20-inch-deep, 20-foot-wide pile of snow at a ski factory in Milford, Connecticut, in March 1950.

Last 7 Days

    What is the origin of using a K for scoring a strikeout in baseball?

    The K comes from a scoring system devised by New York journalist Henry Chadwick in the 1860s. Since he had already used the letter S to indicate a sacrifice, he chose the most prominent letter in strike for a strikeout.

    What can I use to get rid of a mildew smell in a leather bag?

    It's tough to get that smell out of leather, but here's a suggestion. Get a large plastic garbage bag and sprinkle baking soda in it, perhaps a quarter cup. Sprinkle a bit more baking soda inside the leather bag and leave it open. Place the leather bag in the garbage bag, seal it, and let it sit for a day. If the leather bag still smells, repeat the process with a new garbage bag and new baking soda, again and again, until the smell is gone.

    Why were wooden bridges covered?

    The cover protected the bridge from wind, rain, and snow. That is one reason so many covered bridges from the 1800s are still drivable today.

    Do elephants have teeth?

    The two species of elephants have two upper incisors that grow into tusks, so the tusks could be said to be the elephants' teeth. (However, some female elephants do not grow tusks.) These tusks are not much help in eating. Elephants use their trunks to detach vegetation and put it in their mouths.

    Why do people say "The devil is beating his wife" to describe a rainstorm that occurs while the sun is shining?

    Some variation of this expression pops up often in Dutch and Hungarian, but we can't find a direct link between it and a sun shower. We did, however, find these sayings about sun showers: "The devil is getting married" (Hungarian), "The devil is kissing his wife" (Appalachian), and "The devil is having a parish fair" (German). We found a whole slew of other sayings describing this weather phenomenon, including many involving animal weddings, such as "The rats are getting married" (Arabic) -- or the bears (Bulgaria), jackals (India), tigers (Korea), or leopards (Africa).

    What is the normal life expectancy of the common housefly?

    The life span of a house fly is normally 17 days, which, depending on whether that fly is outside or in your bedroom, may be 16 days too many.

    What is meant by the term "heating degree-day"?

    Early in the 20th century, engineers developed the concept of heating degree-days as a useful index of heating fuel requirements. They found that when the daily mean temperature (calculated by adding the day's maximum and minimum temperatures and dividing the total by 2) is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, most buildings require heat to maintain a 70-degree indoor temperature. Each degree of mean temperature below 65 degrees is counted as 1 heating degree-day. The greater the number of heating degree-days, the more fuel is needed to maintain an indoor temperature of 70 degrees. For example, a day with a mean temperature of 35 degrees would be rated as 30 heating degree-days and would require twice as much fuel as a day with a mean temperature of 50 degrees (15 heating degree-days). Conversely, "cooling degree-days" are used to determine air-conditioning requirements.

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