Saying “please” and “thank you” is a part of etiquette, or good manners. And good manners make both your home and the world a more thoughtful and generous place. The words “please” and “thank you” are special words because they make dealing with other people go more smoothly. People have to ask for help or permission all the time. Saying “please” shows that your request also comes with respect for the person you are asking. People are usually more willing to fulfill the requests of those who treat them with respect. And after someone gives you something or assists you, it is polite to say “thank you” to show your appreciation. Someone whose actions are appreciated will be more likely to help you out or be generous again.
Tree leaves change color as autumn approaches because the days are shorter and the temperatures are cooler. As the length of the days shortens, the leaves stop their production of chlorophyll, a pigment that provides the leaves’ green color. Other pigments in the leaves, mostly yellow, are then able to show through.
The yellow color is mostly seen in aspen, birch, hickory, willow, and yellow poplar trees. Sugars that are trapped in the leaves as the trees prepare for winter form red pigments, also called anthocyanins. Some trees with red leaves are the dogwood, red and silver maple, oak, sumac, and sassafras.
The light from a star reaches us after refraction as it passes through various layers of air. When the light passes through the earth?s atmosphere, it is made to flicker by the hot and cold ripples of air and it appears as if the stars are twinkling.
When the body temperature rises, the sweat glands are stimulated to secrete perspiration. It is nature’s way to keep the body cool. During the process of evaporation of sweat, body heat is taken away, thus giving a sense of coolness.
If left to their own devices, cows in pasture will regularly show up at the barn for milking twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. The expression “’til the cows come home” first appeared in the sixteenth century when most people were familiar with the cycles of farm life. It was often used when a party went on long into the night — it would have to end in the morning when the cows came home and needed milking.
The expression dates back to the English Crown’s first efforts to control the Irish by outlawing their language and customs. But the unruly Irish were just that, and by the fifteenth century the English still controlled only a small area around Dublin, protected by a fortification called “The Pale,” meaning sharp sticks (i.e., impaled). To the British, to go “beyond The Pale” meant that you were entering the uncivilized realm of the wild Irish.
California, a state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean, is the third largest state by area and the most populous U.S. state. By 2007, California’s population reached about 37.7 million people, making it the most populated state, and the thirteenth fastest-growing state in the nation. Almost 12 percent of all American citizens live in California.
A dozen is a unit of quantity, equal to 12. A baker’s dozen is an informal unit of quantity, equal to 13. Bakers often toss in an extra item for each dozen bought, making a total of 13. This custom is very old, dating at least from the thirteenth century, when the weights and prices of loaves of bread were strictly regulated by royal proclamations called assizes, and bakers could be jailed if they failed to provide fair weight at the listed prices.
Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland, is supposed to transfer the gift of gab to the kisser, but the idea that the word blarney meant a smooth talker came from the mouth of Elizabeth I of England in 1602. She had insisted that Dermot McCarthy surrender Blarney Castle as proof of his loyalty, but he kept coming up with excuses — so many excuses, in fact, that the Queen once exclaimed in exasperation, “Odds Bodkins, more Blarney talk!”
There are about 195 countries in the world today. But because the political world is constantly changing, that number never stays the same for very long. The number 195 includes Taiwan. Although Taiwan operates as an independent country, many countries (including the United States) do not officially recognize it as one. Of these countries, 192 belong to the United Nations (UN), an international organization that aims to get countries to cooperate with one another. The exceptions are Taiwan (in 1971, the UN disqualified Taiwan and replaced it with the People’s Republic of China), Vatican City, and Kosovo. The newest UN members are Switzerland (2002) and Montenegro (2006).