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Weed, which is of unknown origin, is a relative term. In the most widely accepted sense, a weed is any troublesome and useless plant growing on cultivated ground to the injury of the crop or vegetation desired. The Oxford dictionary defines*the term as “a herbaceous plant not valued for use or beauty, growing wild and … Continue reading What is a weed?
Strictly speaking, steam is invisible. The term is properly applied to the transparent gas or vapor into which water is converted when heated to the boiling point. The visible mist commonly called steam, which, consists of minute droplets of water in the air, is not formed until the water vapor has cooled and condensed. Related … Continue reading Is steam visible?
The pounding and banging in hot-water and steam pipes is called water hammer or hydraulic shock. This snapping noise is produced by moving water thrown against the sides of the pipes when hot steam comes in contact with cooler water and condenses suddenly. A clanking, sound is produced when a water pipe is hit with … Continue reading What causes pounding in hot-water pipes?
Horses have the ability to sleep while standing. In 1943 Professor C. F. Winchester, member of the animal husbandry faculty at the University of Missouri, said that experiments indicate that horses rest better on their feet than on their sides. Their legs are provided with muscular mechanisms that cause them to ‘”lock,” as it were, … Continue reading Can horses sleep while standing?
It is difficult to obtain accurate information as to the extreme age reached by elephants in the wild state. There is no positive evidence that an elephant has ever lived more than seventy or seventy-five years either in captivity or the wild state, although it is supposed that occasionally one may live to an age … Continue reading How long do elephants live?
Spontaneous combustion is the ignition of a combustible material without the application of external heat or flame. The self-generated heat produced by cotton soaked in oil and confined in a poorly ventilated room sometimes becomes sufficient to ignite the cotton. Fires started by 1 spontaneous combustion are common in coal mines, owing chiefly to the … Continue reading What is spontaneous combustion?
The seven seas is a figurative term denoting all the seas and oceans of the world. It is often explained that the seven seas are the Arctic, the Antarctic, the North and South Pacific, the North and the South Atlantic, and the Indian ocean. This explanation is purely imaginary. The term is not intended to … Continue reading What are the seven seas?
Ginseng is not used in the United States to any considerable extent. A negligible quantity is used by Chinese in America and a trifling amount by makers of medicine and drugs, but the consumption of the root is confined almost entirely to China and virtually the entire American supply is exported to that country. Opinion … Continue reading What is ginseng used for?
It is estimated that there are from fourteen to eighteen square feet of skin on the average adult human body. One investigator placed the figure as high as twenty square feet. Of course, the surface area of the body, which is practically equivalent to the number of square feet of skin, varies with sex, age, … Continue reading How many square feet of skin does the body contain?
Air is a substance and all substances have weight. Air, however, is very light. A column of air an inch square extending from sea level upward as far as the atmosphere goes weighs only about fifteen pounds. This is called atmospheric pressure. Galileo first demonstrated that air has weight by weighing a glass globe, then … Continue reading Does air have weight?
The element hydrogen is the lightest substance known to science. Its specific gravity, compared to air, is 0.0695. Helium, with a specific gravity of 0.139, is the next lightest substance. Specific gravity is relative density, that is, the ratio of the weight of any volume of a substance to the weight of an equal volume … Continue reading What is the lightest substance known?
That it often rains harder after a vivid flash of lightning and heavy peal of thunder is a fact well known to meteorologists. Strictly speaking, however, the rain gush, as weather experts call it, is caused by neither the lightning nor the thunder. According to the United States Weather Bureau, a cloud is electrified when … Continue reading Why does it rain harder after a flash of lightning?
Mexican jumping bean, jumping bean and broncno bean are popular names given to the separate cells of the seed pods of several varieties of swamp shrubs native to northern Mexico and southwestern United States. These shrubs belong to Euphorbiaceae, or spurge family. When the shrub is in bloom or shortly thereafter a bean moth (Carpocarpsa … Continue reading What makes the jumping bean jump?
Odor is the name of the sensation produced when certain substances come in contact with the olfactory region. The term is also applied to the collective diminutive particles that produce this sensation. Very little is known about the sense of smell and it is a disputed question whether it depends on a chemical or physical … Continue reading Does odor have weight?
Such snakes as the bushmaster, rattlesnake and Gaboon viper have long, powerful fangs and are able, under favorable circumstances, to bite through soft-leather and rubber of the thickness generally used in making shoes, boots and leggings. No species of snake, however, is able to bite through the hard, thick leather used in heavy boots, leggings … Continue reading Can snakes bite through leather shoes?
Naturalists are agreed that venomous snakes are immune to their own poison when it is swallowed. There is a difference of opinion, however, as to whether snakes are susceptible to their own poison when it is injected into their blood. The late Raymond L. Ditmars believed they were not. On the other hand, reputable authorities … Continue reading Can snakes poison themselves?
An electric fan running in a perfectly insulated and hermetically . sealed room would not make the air in the room cooler, as commonly supposed. In fact, because of the friction developed in the fan, the temperature of a room is slightly increased instead of decreased by setting the air in rapid motion. The cooling … Continue reading Does an electric fan lower the temperature of a room?
Rainbows by moonlight, known as moonbows, are unusual but not rare phenomena. Aristotle referred to lunar bows about twenty-two hundred years ago, and they are well known to scientists, although they are not often observed, chiefly because of the faintness of the light at night. Only under exceptional conditions can the colors of a moonbow … Continue reading Does moonlight ever produce rainbows?
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Theories seeking to explain the cause of thunder have been revised many times since the days of the Greek philosophers who believed that thunder was caused by clouds bumping into one another. In more recent times it was almost universally believed _by scientists that the noise of thunder is produced by the sudden inrush of … Continue reading What causes thunder?
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The lead in modern pencils and crayons is natural graphite mixed with clay to give it the desired degree of hardness. Graphite, one of the softest of minerals, is a crystallized form of carbon and is chemically identical with diamond, the hardest mineral. In nature graphite occurs in both crystalline flake and amorphous forms. It … Continue reading What is “lead” in pencils?
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The raccoon washes or soaks its food before eating, and it was the original “dunker.” It holds the food in its fore paws and shakes it in the water. The coon generally lives near a stream and much of its natural food consists of frogs, crawfish, stranded fish and similar creatures captured in shallow water. … Continue reading What animal washes its food?
Notwithstanding numerous reports to the contrary, the United States Geological Survey is of the opinion that none of the Great Lakes ever freezes over completely. This opinion is confirmed by the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company. Shallow regions along the shore are frequently covered with, ice. and sometimes: the, ice. extends, many miles  i … Continue reading Do the Great Lakes ever freeze over?
What requires more force, filling an elevated tank through the bottom or filling it by means of a pipe leading over the top?
The answer is that more work or force is required when the water is pumped over the top of the tank. Contrary to the popular notion, the water going into the tank from the bottom does not have to lift the weight of the water in the tank; it lifts only a column of water … Continue reading What requires more force, filling an elevated tank through the bottom or filling it by means of a pipe leading over the top?
There is no distinct species of white tree squirrel in the United States. All white-squirrels, says the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, are mutations or sports of either the common gray squirrel or the fox squirrel. It is not unusual for whole families of ‘squirrels to be albinos. In fact it frequently happens that … Continue reading Is there a species of white squirrel?
A bear cub at birth is smaller in proportion to the size of the mother than the young of any other mammal except marsupials. When born a cub is eight or nine inches long and weighs only about 12 or 15 ounces. Adult female bears of some species often weigh 500 pounds or much more … Continue reading How large is a bear cub at birth?
Scientists differ somewhat on this subject, but the weight of authority favors the view that hair/ including the beard, ceases to grow at death. Some of the Spaniards under Hernando Cortez in Mexico found a teocalli in which was a row of Spaniards sacrificed by the Aztecs. “Their hair and beards/’ wrote Bernard Diaz del … Continue reading Does the hair grow after death?
It is commonly said that the giraffe is absolutely voiceless and is the only four-footed mammal that does not make some vocal sound characteristic of the species. Dr. William M. Mann, director of the  National Zoological Park, wrote to the author March 19,1931: “I believe it is true that the giraffe has no characteristic … Continue reading Does the giraffe have a voice?
There is a widespread belief that when an ostrich wishes to hide it buries its head in the sand and imagines that it cannot be seen because it cannot see. This baseless myth in one form or other dates back at least two thousand years. The ostrich has become the symbol of folly and is … Continue reading Does the ostrich bury its head in the sand?
Bells Theorem is one of the most incredible theorems in physics. Related posts: What is the difference between Newtonian and Quantum Physics? What is Quantum Physics?
Everyone has heard the story of Issac Newton being struck on the head by a falling apple. This famous story perfectly illustrates Newtonian physics. Simply put, Newtonian physics is the study of the laws of physics that were studied by Newton and later physicists that deal with the “everyday world” physical events that can be … Continue reading What is the difference between Newtonian and Quantum Physics?
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If you have been following the television show “Lost” you have probably noticed some hot topics of modern physics making it into the storyline. There are quite a few of them. I probably haven’t noticed them all but the ones that jump out at me are 1) Time Travel of Information 2) Parallel Universes. What … Continue reading The Physics of “Lost”