Question of the Day


How can I separate two cooking pots that are really stuck together?

Try dribbling warm vinegar around the rim where the pots are stuck. Warm oil also might do the trick.

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Last 7 Days

How can I clean my copper bracelets?

We recommend cleaning them with a paste of baking soda and water. Let the paste sit on the bracelet for an hour or so, then rub off with a soft, dry cloth.

I saw an old sign that read "Think Safety First . . . Philip Morris" and had a picture of a bellboy on it. What do bellboys, cigarettes, and safety have in common?

The cigarette company's logo -- or mascot -- was a bellboy. In fact, an actor played the role for years, both in TV and radio commercials (his famous line was "Call for Philip Morris!") and promotional appearances. We can't be 100 percent sure, but we think the old signs appeared along roads and highways as public service announcements urging traffic safety.

What was a post road?

A post road was any recognized mail route. Early post offices were just coffeehouses or taverns, and letter carriers were horsemen who worked in a relay system. Richard Fairbanks's tavern in Boston was one such mail repository, established in 1639. Later, both navigable waters (1823) and railroads (1838) were designated as "post roads" by Congress.

Is there a best feeding time for fish, and is this also the best time to see deer, rabbits, and other animals?

All fish in all waters -- salt or fresh -- feed most heavily when the ocean tides are restless, before their turn and in the first hour of ebbing. Fish also feed after sunup for a short while and just before and after sundown. The latter habit also applies to deer, rabbits, and other creatures.

What was the original amount of money given with a Pulitzer Prize?

A mere $500--but that was back in 1917. Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), for whom the prize is named, was publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1878) and the New York World (1883). He made his bequest for the prizes to Columbia University. Today, the president of the university awards the prizes annually, according to the recommendations of the Pulitzer Prize Board, for work that was done during the preceding year. In 1917, awards were given in the categories of reporting (including local, national, and international), editorial writing, history, biography, and autobiography. The next year, drama, fiction, and meritorious public service were added, and several more have been included since then.

Why can you buy canned peaches but not canned nectarines?

Nectarines are pretty much the same as peaches, without the fuzz, and one reason canners give for not packaging them this way is that they bruise too easily. The mechanical processing involved in canning would make them look so bad that people wouldn't want to eat them. Plus, there is a high demand for the fresh version, which is more costly and therefore more lucrative for growers. There are far fewer nectarines than peaches grown, which also may account for the lack of canning.

Do butterflies fly away or hide when it rains?

Check the undersides of leaves or the stems of bushes during the next rainstorm, and you'll find butterflies hiding there. They will not attempt to fly in the rain because the raindrops could do major damage to their delicate wings. Butterflies seek these same hiding places at night or on cloudy days because they rely on sunlight to regulate their body temperature.

Are we able to see out of our galaxy?

Yes, indeed. Our Milky Way galaxy is a flat disk of spirals around a core of about 100,000 light-years in diameter. Looking perpendicular to the disk, astronomers can see other galaxies billions of light-years away. One of our nearest neighbors in the universe, the Andromeda galaxy, is faintly visible with the naked eye on a clear, dark night. People in the Southern Hemisphere can also see two nearby small galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds.

Did something happen astronomically in 1962 that will not be repeated for 4,000 years?

In 1962 there was a Great Conjunction, or alignment of all the visible planets plus the Sun and Moon, along with a solar eclipse. Now that was unusual! Some sources mistakenly suggest that such a planetary alignment occurs only about every 4,000 to 6,000 years, which is not true.

What was the Liberty Party, and does it still exist?

The Liberty Party began in 1839 as an antislavery political party formed in Warsaw, New York, by a group of people who had broken away from the American Anti-Slavery Society. The party nominated abolitionist leader James Gillespie Birney as a candidate for U.S. president. He received only 7,069 votes in the 1840 election. In 1844, he received 62,300 votes, enough to draw support away from Henry Clay, the antislavery Whig candidate, which led to the election of James K. Polk, the pro-slavery Democratic candidate. The original split between the Liberty Party and the American Anti-Slavery Society, two strong abolitionist forces, fueled the pro-slavery sentiment that led to the annexation of Texas as a slave state in 1845. No party goes by that name today.

Does barometric pressure have an effect on birthrates?

Some folks say that when the barometric pressure (the air pressure that can affect weather) drops, births rise. Even some doctors claim that the low barometric pressure that comes with big storms such as hurricanes can make women close to the end of their terms go into labor. One study has been conducted to test this theory, but the results were inconclusive.

What is the best way to repair a cigarette-burn hole in a carpet?

The only way is to cut around the hole, leaving no scorched fabric, and fill the hole with a patch of the carpeting, cut to fit.

What is the speed of the Earth's rotation?

At the equator, the circumference of the Earth is 40,070 kilometers, and the day is 24 hours long so the speed is 1670 kilometers/hour ( 1070 miles/hr). This decreases by the cosine of your latitude so that at a latitude of 45 degrees, cos(45) = .707 and the speed is .707 x 1670 = 1180 kilometers/hr. You can use this formula to find the speed of rotation at any latitude.

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