Question of the Day

Is it true that Benjamin Franklin invented an odometer?

Yes. While he was postmaster in Philadelphia, he created an odometer to measure postal route distances and attached the contraption to his carriage.

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Who said something like "the best laid plans of mice and men?"

The phrase "The best laid plans of mice and men" was first used in a poem called "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns, "The best laid schemes o' mice and men/ Gang aft a-gley;/And leave us naught but grief and pain/For promised joy." The "of mice and men" part was used as the title to a popular John Steinbeck novel, "Of Mice and Men", now a well-known moral fable, stage play, and movie.

What is the red tide that occurs on ocean coasts?

A red tide is a bloom of dinoflagellates that turns the ocean water red. Certain dinoflagellates produce toxins that can kill fish and contaminate shellfish, making the shellfish inedible.

Which way does the air flow around a pressure zone in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Southern Hemisphere, wind rotation is opposite that in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, the wind around a low-pressure area flows clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

What year were the first slaves brought to America and when did people start objecting to this practice?

In 1619, the first black slaves landed at Jamestown, Virginia, a community that was the first European settlement in America, established in 1607. Records indicate that the first formal protest by the white population against slavery was made by the Quakers of Pennsylvania in 1688.

Astrology vs. Astronomy? What's the difference?

Astrology is a tool we use to plan events according to the astrological placements of the Sun, the Moon, and the plants in the 12 signs of the zodiac. The planetary movements do not cause events; rather, they explain the path, or "flow," that events tend to follow. Astronomy is the study of the actual placement of the known planets and constellations. (The placement of the planets in the signs of the zodiac is not the same astrologically and astronomically.)

What were the Blue Moons during the Civil War years (1861-1865)?

A Blue Moon is the second full Moon in a month with two full Moons. Since the time between two full Moons (the synodic month) is 29.530588 mean solar days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds), this is somewhat shorter than all calendar months except February. A Blue Moon will occur on average every two or three years. During the Civil War, from April 12, 1861 to June 2, 1865, only one Blue Moon occurred and that was in July of 1863.

What is an Alberta Clipper exactly?

Any rapidly traveling weather system that originates in the lee of the Canadian Rockies and produces snow can be considered an Alberta Clipper. The system moves quickly over land-specifically across Canada and down into the northern United States. Gusty winds and cold Arctic air are its trademarks.

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