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Question of the Day

How can I make clotted cream?

Clotted cream is made by gently heating unpasteurized, unhomogenized cream or rich milk until a semisolid layer of cream forms on the surface. After it cools, you can skim off the thickened cream and refrigerate it.

Last 7 Days

    Why does the barometer rise instead of fall during a northeaster off the Atlantic coast?

    The famous and usually nasty "nor'easter" blows from the northeast, against the prevailing southwesterly flow of the Gulf Stream as it flows up the East Coast. A low-pressure area offshore creates strong winds that rotate counterclockwise around the low (sometimes referred to as "left around a low"), accounting for wind direction and intensity. It may appear that the pressure rises, but remember that all air pressure readings are relative to other air pressures. As the center of the low-pressure area, the area of the lowest pressure, passes and moves away, the pressure "rises," but it is still a low-pressure area relative to other air masses.

    When did NASA begin using the Hubble Space Telescope?

    NASA launched this telescope on April 24, 1990, to enable us to see farther into space than an Earth-based telescope would allow.

    How come egg whites whip up best in a copper bowl?

    When you use a metal whisk in a copper bowl, you are creating an electrostatic force that reduces both the time and the energy needed to whip up perfectly fluffy whites. The copper helps stabilize the egg whites as well, but a pinch of cream of tartar will do the same job. If you don't have a copper bowl available, stainless steel is the next best thing.

    What is the hottest time of day? 3 P.M., or noon?

    The hottest time of the day is around 3 p.m. Heat continues building up after noon, when the sun is highest in the sky, as long as more heat is arriving at the earth than leaving. By 3 p.m. or so, the sun is low enough in the sky for outgoing heat to be greater than incoming. Sometimes the hottest time is earlier because a weather system moves in with cool air early in the day.

    A bountiful crop is often referred to as a bumper crop. Where does this term come from?

    Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.) dates the noun bumper ("a brimming cup or glass") to the year 1676. The adjective, meaning "something unusually large," dates to 1885.

    Even though I've put cedar in my drawers and hung cedar-scented sachets in my closets, I still have moths flying around my family room and kitchen at night. How can I get rid of them?

    It sounds as though you have a problem with clothes moths. The moths are most likely coming into your home from outside, attracted or confused by the light. Look for their entrances and close them up. If moths are in your clothes, infested items should be discarded, dry-cleaned, or washed in hot soapy water and dried at a high temperature. Thorough vacuuming will remove most of the moth larvae in your carpets if you have an infestation. Clean cracks, crevices, corners, and underneath objects.

    Can you find kangaroos anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere?

    Only in zoos. Kangaroos are not only confined to the Southern Hemisphere as their natural habitat, but they are also limited to Australia itself! The theory is that kangaroos, a group of mammals known as Marsupials, evolved after Australia became isolated by sea, approximately 60 million years ago. Any kangaroos you see any where else in the world are certainly imported!

    How long is the solar cycle?

    The solar cycle is the periodic change in the number of sunspots. (Sunspots are a big factor in The Old Farmer's Almanac annual weather forecasts.) The cycle is the interval between successive minima (periods of low sunspot activity) and is about 11.1 years. During the cycle, solar flares, sunspots, and other magnetic phenomena move from intense activity to relative calm and back again.

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