Question of the Day

Who discovered penicillin and when?

Alexander Fleming developed this antibiotic agent in 1928, but it was not widely used therapeutically until 1940.

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Last 7 Days

Is it true that in 1816, freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls destroyed crops in June, July, and August in much of the United States and Europe? If so, what caused them, and could it happen again?

It is true. The 1815 eruption of Tambora, a volcano in the Dutch East Indies, threw such a cloud of dust into the atmosphere that summer temperatures the following year fell dramatically in our latitude. In New England, every month had a frost, and crops were ruined. The same was true in eastern Canada. In Europe, widespread famine resulted. Could it happen again? Sure.

Why is it that when meat is not thawed before frying, it is tough when cooked?

Frozen meat should not be tough when you fry it if you start with a hot skillet for thin cuts of meat and a warm skillet for thick cuts. After the meat thaws, turn up the heat and finish cooking.

How should I season my cast-iron pan?

Before using a cast-iron skillet for the first time, rub the inside and outside with cooking oil and heat it in the oven. Seasoning will prevent food from sticking and from tasting like cast iron.

How does a weather forecaster predict how many inches of snow will fall?

The process involves a lot of math. Forecasting snowfall is done by applying very complicated mathematical equations to known variables such as temperature, wind, and moisture content of the air. In the early days of forecasting, these computations were done by hand and with slide rules. Now forecasters use high-speed computers and have a much higher degree of accuracy -- about 85 percent.

How can I tell if an egg is fresh?

In water, a fresh egg will rest flat on its side at the bottom of the pan. A stale egg will stand up on the broad end. If the egg floats, it's most likely spoiled.

Is there a natural way to lighten my hair without using those smelly hair dyes from the store?

You can use lemon juice, from either a bottle or real lemons. Comb it through your hair evenly, then let it dry in the sun. Do this once a day for about a week, and you'll see results.

Does the Moon rise and set in any particular time pattern?

The rising and setting of the Moon is retarded from day to day, but the delay is not consistent. At moonrise, the Moon occupies a particular place in the celestial sphere. Approximately 24 hours later, the Moon has moved to the east in the sphere, so moonrise and moonset occur a little later. In the northern United States, the daily delay can vary from a few minutes to well over an hour.

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