Question of the Day

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Last 7 Days

I always get confused about the amount of time it takes to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator. What's the formula?

Allow about five hours of defrosting time for every one pound of turkey. That could be several days for a big turkey, so plan accordingly.

Recently, I was surprised to see many dragonflies swooping in our yard. Could this be a weather sign?

This phenomenon usually precedes or closely follows the first real cold snap. We could not find any scientific references on this matter, however.

How can I hang a picture without cracking my plaster wall?

Make a small "X" using two strips of masking tape or transparent tape where you want the nail to hang. Drive the nail through the middle of the X. Your plaster should remain intact this way.

What state has the most overcast days each year?

This is a difficult question to answer because of the large area that some states cover. The amount of cloudiness is also seasonally dependent. An examination of a very broad based climatological analysis of the contiguous (lower 48) states shows that during the fall/winter season (December through February), the state of Washington has the least amount of possible sunshine, hence the most clouds. For the spring/summer season (June through August), that honor goes to the state of Maine, followed closely by Vermont and New Hampshire.

Do cars feel the effects of the windchill factor?

No. The temperature of the wind should have no effect on a car whatsoever. Wind can cause a car's engine to cool down faster if it's parked outside, but its ultimate temperature will be unaffected.

Can you shed any light on the origins of the word taxicab?

Actually, there are two word origins to consider--taxi and cab. Taxi comes from the French, taximetre, which became taximeter (tax per meter) in English. The mechanical meter on which to base fares came into usage about the end of the 19th century. Before automobile taxis, however, there were horsedrawn cabs. In the 1800s, the cabriolet was well-known as a lightweight, two-wheeled carriage that could be easily drawn by one horse. Cabriolet is a French derivative of a word for skipping lightness, or capering. France, Italy, and England all had cabriolets for hire in their bigger cities. These cabriolets were nicknamed cabs and their drivers were cabbys.

Why is a country dance sometimes called a hoedown?

First used in the early 1800's, this term referred to a dance based on the movements of hoeing corn and potatoes, which was the primary entertainment at "hoedown parties" held in the early fall in the American midwest. It soon came to encompass the party itself, which was also call a "hoe-dig" or, in Iowa in the 1850s, a "rakedown".

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