Question

Can you tell me the origin of the term "acid test"? Does it have anything to do with fool's gold?

The phrase "acid test" is connected indirectly to fool's gold. The term was born in the gold rush years of the mid-1800s. Since gold reacts differently to acid than do other metals, an acid test was done to determine whether the metal a miner found was in fact gold. Now the term refers to any test that produces undeniable results.

Last 7 Days

Do you know of a humane way to trap mice?

There is a technique for trapping mice, but not killing them that involves the use of a pail. Punch two holes opposite each other near the top of the pail. Run a wire the long way through a baking powder can from which both ends have been removed. Spread cooking grease on the outside of the can and cover it with bread crumbs. Hang the can so that it can spin freely suspended over the pail. Place a board or mailing tube at a gentle incline leading up to the pail. Mice will be attracted to the bread crumbs and fall into the pail; they will not be able to get out. You can then release the mice a distance from your house.

My husband and I live in Virginia about one hour from the North Carolina border. We are in the process of buying the house we are now renting. Someone who lived in the house before us planted bamboo in the backyard. The bamboo is taking over the yard and the fields beside and behind it. We want to cut it back, but we don't want to burn it if we can find something else to do with it. Do you have any ideas?

Bamboo furniture has become popular again. Find some designs and go for it. If you don't like furniture building, we suggest that you ask your local Cooperative Extension Service agent how to get rid of the bamboo.

Total eclipse of the Sun

This eclipse will be visible from North America. It will begin at 11:47 A.M. EDT and end at 5:04 P.M. All regions of North America will be able to view a partial eclipse at some point during this time span (exact times depend on specific locations). The total eclipse—viewable for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds at most—will be visible only along a narrow path running southeastward from Oregon to South Carolina and crossing through parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Cities that will experience totality include Salem, OR; Lincoln, NE; Kansas City, Jefferson City, and St. Louis, MO; Nashville, TN; and Columbia and Charleston, SC. The next total solar eclipse visible from North America will occur in 2024.

Where does the term "Jim Crow" come from, and what does it mean?

Jim Crow laws allowed discrimination against African-Americans through legal enforcement or traditional sanctions. The phrase comes from a 19th-century song-and-dance act that stereotyped black people.

Where did the phrase "to do the scut work" originate, and what exactly does it mean?

Scut (also scutt or skut) is a noun meaning "someone beneath contempt." Scut work, therefore, is work that should be done only by someone perceived to be lower than yourself.

What did people make per hour working in the year 1900?

At the turn of the last century, the average wage in the United States was 22 cents an hour, which meant that the average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

Where has the most rain in a single year occurred?

The record for a year's worth of rainfall is held by Cherrapunki, India, where, in 1861, 905 inches of rain fell.

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