Question

What is the dividing line between cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds? How tall does a cumulus cloud have to be before it is called a cumulonimbus cloud?

In the four major cloud groups, cumulus and cumulonimbus are "clouds with vertical development." Cumulus clouds are detached, fair-weather clouds with relatively flat bases and dome-shaped tops. They usually don't have extensive vertical development or produce precipitation. Cumulonimbus clouds are unstable, large, vertical clouds with dense, boiling tops that bring showers, hail, thunder, and lightning. Vertical-development clouds have bases ranging from 1,600 to 20,000 feet. The cumulus-type clouds usually are in the lower range.

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How should I carve and clean a pumpkin for cooking?

First, scrub the outside of the pumpkin with a vegetable brush. Cut the pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scrape out the fibers and the seeds. A serrated grapefruit spoon works great for this. Cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces, then place them skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Add water to just cover the bottom of the dish, and cover tightly. Bake in a 325 degree oven until the pumpkin is fork tender. The time will vary depending on the size of your pieces. Let it cool, and then either cut off the peel or scoop out the flesh.

How can I remove water discolorations from my bathroom marble counter?

Look for a scouring cream on the market that is designed to remove stains from marble without scratching. Also, try cutting a lemon in half, sprinkle one half with salt, then rub it over the stains.

What breed of dog bites the most people annually?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study dog bite incidents, including the types of dogs most likely to bite. The breeds that the CDC considers to pose the highest risks are pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chows, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Akitas.

What is amber, and where does it come from?

Amber is actually fossilized tree resin that has been chemically changed by being buried in the ground. It is found throughout the world, but there are significant deposits along the Baltic Sea, in sands that are thought to be 40 million to 60 million years old. Frequently, amber has fossil insects or plants embedded in it. Amber that is deeply colored and translucent to transparent is a valued gem.

Should sweet corn be suckered?

Sweet corn should certainly be suckered. Suckers are shoots from a corn plant that may or may not set ears. Even if they do set ears, the ears are usually quite small and never amount to anything. These shoots have a negative effect on the main plant, drawing energy away from it in the form of nutrients and, more important, soil moisture -- hence the name "sucker." The bottom line is, pull off those suckers! The main plant will be stronger and healthier, and the ears will be bigger.

Where can I find the quote "Cry 'havoc!' and let loose the dogs of war"?

That would be in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, act 3, scene 1.

What's the best way to keep roaches from entering my home? I'm having to battle the full-grown ones every day. I'm sure they are getting in from outside.

Sprinkle boric acid powder under appliances, behind the refrigerator, under counters, and in any other places that are out of the reach of children and pets. The roaches will step in the boric acid and ingest it when they groom themselves (yes, they do groom). Roaches love the area under the refrigerator -- especially the drip pan and motor -- so vacuum up dirt and dust and wash the drip pan often. You can also make a trap with a glass jar about four inches high. Put some bacon grease and a small chunk of banana at the bottom. Smear a band of petroleum jelly about three-quarters inch wide around the inside of the jar, about one-half inch from the top. Stand it in an area where roaches are a problem. The bugs can crawl in but not out. A common passageway for roaches is through the holes for the plumbing under the kitchen sink. Plug these tightly with rags, and you'll stop the roach traffic there.

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