Why do leaves change color in the autumn?

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.

Why is Jell-O® so wobbly?

Jell-O® is made from gelatin, a processed protein that makes it wobbly. Gelatin is made from the collagen in cow or pig bones and skins. Gelatin melts when heated and solidifies when cooled again. When you add the Jell-O® powder to boiling water, the powder dissolves and the weak bonds that hold together the protein chains start breaking apart.

The chains float around in the mixing bowl until you add cold water. As the Jell-O® cools, the chains start bonding again. The chains become tangled when they are stirred, and water gets into gaps between the chains. Once it is refrigerated, the gelatin “chains” harden and the trapped water and flavor make Jell-O® wobbly.

Posted on Categories General

Why when suggesting an exhaustive search do we say,“Leave no stone unturned”?

The advice to “leave no stone unturned” comes from Greek mythology, Wherein the Oracle of Delphi, through his communication with the gods, had acquired great wisdom.

Euripides wrote that When the oracle was consulted about how to find a defeated general’s hidden treasure, he advised that the only way was “to leave no stone unturned.” The expression and the advice have been with us ever since.

What exactly is a “family circle”?

When the early Normans brought fire indoors they built semicircular open fireplaces. To keep warm at night or when the air was cool, the family would sit in a semicircle opposite the one formed by the hearth, creating a complete circle where they would spend time telling stories or singing songs within what they called the “family circle.” When neighbours were included, it became “a circle of friends.”

Posted on Categories General

Where and when did numbers originate?

Thousands of years ago there were no numbers to represent one, two, or three. Instead, people used fingers, rocks, sticks, or eyes to represent numbers. There were neither clocks nor calendars to help keep track of time. The Sun and the Moon were used to distinguish between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. Most civilizations did not have words for numbers larger than two so they used terminology familiar to them such as flocks of sheep, heaps of grain, piles of sticks or stones, or groups of people. People had little need for a numeric system until they formed clans, villages, and settlements and began a system of bartering and trade that in turn created a demand for currency. The Babylonians, who lived in Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, began a numbering system about 5,000 years ago. It is one of the oldest numbering systems in the world. The ancient Egyptians used special symbols, known as pictographs, to write down numbers more than 3,000 years ago. The Babylonians and the Egyptians were the first to complete a system for arithmetic based on whole numbers and positive rational numbers. About 500 B.C.E. the Romans developed a system of numerals that used letters from their alphabet rather than special symbols (for example, III represented three). Roman Numerals was the standard numbering system and method of arithmetic in ancient Rome and Europe until about 900 C.E., when the Arabic numbering system, which was originated by the Hindus, came into use. Today, we use numbers based on the Hindu-Arabic system. We can write down any number using combinations of up to 10 different symbols (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9).

Posted on Categories General

Where is the windiest place on Earth?

Antarctica is the coldest, highest, windiest, driest, and iciest continent on Earth. Winds can reach up to 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour for five hours per day!

Posted on Categories General

Why do the phrases “dressed to the nines” and “putting on the dog” mean very well dressed?

The expression “putting on the dog,” meaning showing off, comes from the practice leisurely wealthy women had of carrying lapdogs to afternoon social functions. “Dressed to the nines” comes from a time when the seats furthest from the stage cost one pence, and the closest, nine pence. Sitting in the expensive seats required dressing up to fit in with the well-off. It was called “dressing to the nines.”

Posted on Categories General

Is it true that a salmon will always return to its birthplace?

Yes, the salmon is most famous for its life cycle. It is born in tiny streams far from the sea, where it spends the first part of its life in freshwater. In the springtime, it migrates down streams to rivers, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles, until it ends up in the open ocean, where it spends much of its adult life. Then, when it’s time to lay its eggs, the salmon makes the journey back to its birthplace to spawn and die. The salmon’s body is rich in oils that are picked up during its life in the ocean. The oil helps give the salmon the energy it needs to navigate the journey upriver.

Posted on Categories General

Why when astonished would someone say, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”?

During the famous Scopes trial in 1925, a Tennessee schoolteacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of breaking that state’s law by teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution rather than the Biblical origins of mankind. The trial was a sensation and astonished many who had never heard that humans might be related to the apes, and from this came the expression, “Well, I’ll be a monkeys uncle.”

Posted on Categories General