Make your own free website on
knowledge...the antidote of fear
Previously Asked Questions


Home | About me... | Previously Asked Questions | You may ask... | Links... | Contact Me

Didja Know...
Hugh Hefner put together the first issue of Playboy Magazine while moonlighting from his job with "Children's Activities" magazine.

Why do things appear darker when they're wet?

Grab a white shirt, dip it in water, and voila, it turns
gray right before your very eyes. If we hadn't all seen it
much too often it would make for an impressive magic trick.

What causes this optical transformation is simple science.
When fabric gets wet, light coming towards it refracts
within the water, dispersing the light. In addition, the
surface of the water causes incoherent light scattering.
The combination of these two effects causes less light to
reflect to your eyes and makes the wet fabric appear darker.

Why is a leading indicator of a trend called a bellwether, as in a bellwether stock?

The "wether" in bellwether is a castrated sheep, the one the rest of the pack follows. The bell around it's neck
tells the shepherd where all the sheep are headed. Hence our
use of "bellwether" as a leading indicator.

They weren't invented in France, so why does everybody call
them "French fries?"

It's true, the French fry wasn't invented in France.
(Its origin is probably Belgian.) But the "French" in
French fries doesn't refer to its country of origin. It
refers to the way in which this side dish is prepared.

Food that is cut into strips is said to be "Frenched."
Since French fries are strips of potato that have been
fried, they became known as French fried potatoes, or
"French fries."

Why is it called a "hamburger" if it doesn't contain ham?

At first glance, it seems that the word "hamburger" is a
combination of the words "ham" and "burger." Therefore, one
naturally assumes that a hamburger is a burger that
contains ham.

But the word "hamburger" actually traces its roots back to
Hamburg Germany, where people used to eat a similar food
called the "Hamburg steak." Eventually, the Hamburg steak
made its way to the United States, where people shortened
its name to "hamburger."

Why doesn't drinking water cool your mouth after eating
spicy food?

The spices in most of the hot foods that we eat are oily,
and, like your elementary school science teacher taught you,
oil and water don't mix. In this case, the water just rolls
over the oily spices.

So what can you do to calm your aching tongue? Try one of
these three methods. Eat bread. The bread will absorb the
oily spices. A second solution is to drink milk. Milk
contains a substance called "casein" which will bind to the
spices and carry them away. Finally, you could drink
something alcoholic. Alcohol will dissolve the oily spices.

What's a papal bull?

In fact, that kind of bull has nothing to do with it. A papal bull is a document in which the Pope presents his views on a significant subject. Catholics are supposed to give it serious thought. Traditionally, this document became official once it received the papal seal -- which in Latin was called the "bulla." Over time . . . you guessed it.

Are there any Christians who do not celebrate Christmas?

Retailers who depend on Christmas gift sales for a major part
of their annual profits probably consider this a rather un-
Christian way to behave. And indeed there is a group that
falls into this category, if one classifies Jehovah's
Witnesses as Christians.

The Witnesses do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. But
they rank Him just under God and do believe in the teachings
of the Old and New Testaments. Founded in the United States
in the 1870s, they base their creed on a passage from Isaiah
(43:12): "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God."
They observe holidays only when the Bible literally says to
do it, and it says nothing about celebrating Christmas.

Were hot dogs ever made of dogs?

Nah. But when they were first introduced, people wouldn't
touch hot dogs for fear that they were made of dogs.

So, how'd the hot dog get its strange name?

The hot dog was originally called "frankfurter" after Frankfurt,
Germany, its birthplace. But from the beginning people called
it "dachshund sausage," because it looked like the long, thin dog.

In the US, the German sausage was especially popular with New York
baseball fans, who bought the newfangled sandwich from vendors who
sold them by yelling, "Get your dachshund sausages while they're
red hot."

Ted Dorgan, a leading cartoonist, thought these vendors were so
comical, that he decided to lampoon them. In his cartoon, they were
shown selling REAL dachshund dogs in a roll, yelling "Get your hot
dogs!" at each other. The name stuck, and the rest is history.

When & where did rap music begin?

The roots of rap are in African-American culture's powerful
oral tradition. That means the blues and gospel music, the
black church and its minister's cadenced sermon. It draws
from the "dozens," the ghetto verbal duel of insults and
retorts. You can even hear it in the civil rights movement.
(Danny Simmons, father of Russell Simmons of Run-DMC,
motivated a busload of demonstrators in the 1963 March on
Washington with witty, biting, sometimes rhyming patter -- I
have it from a firsthand source.) Disco DJ's brought it into the commercial realm, rapping over recorded music. The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (1979) is said to be the first rap recording.