A hiccup is a noise that your body makes when your diaphragm, the muscle barrier between your stomach and lungs, gets irritated and has spasms. The “hic” part of the sound is caused when air is sucked into your lungs, and the “cup” part of the sound happens when a special flap called the epiglottis, located between your tongue and vocal cords, slams closed over your windpipe.
Your diaphragm can become irritated from eating too much food, which causes an enlarged stomach to press against the wall of the muscle. Your diaphragm can also become irritated from lifting a heavy object or from breathing in too much air, which affects your normal breathing pattern. Hiccups may last a minute or two, but generally go away with time. Holding your breath, drinking a glass of water, or having someone scare you generally does not work to get rid of hiccups, since your diaphragm needs time to relax again.
Yes. The red coloring that makes many juices and jams red is from a natural dye called carmine. Carmine is derived from conchineal, or conchineal extract, Which comes from the bodies of a female beetle (Dactylopius coccus) that lives on the Opuntia cactus. The insect is boiled and the scales of the insect are crushed into a red powder.
It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound of cochineal. The ancient Aztecs used cochineal as a dye for cloth and other items, and today it is widely used as a coloring agent for food, beverages, and cosmetics.
A charley horse a muscle cramp, or sudden, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle. This type of pain is generally felt in the legs, sometimes after heavy exercise, and usually lasts just a few minutes.
The expression probably came from the word “charley,” which is used to describe a horse that is lame.
The head louse is a tiny, wingless insect that lives in human hairs and feeds on very small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Although they may sound kind of disgusting, lice appear often on young children in common settings, such as school. Lice aren’t dangerous and they don’t spread disease, but they are contagious and can be very annoying. Their bites may cause the scalp to become itchy and inflamed, and scratching may lead to skin irritation. They can be hard to get rid of, and take lots of work to make them go away and stay away.
Usually, using special medicated shampoos and thoroughly cleaning sheets, carpets, clothing, and personal products, like combs and brushes, gets rid of the pesky insects. Kids should try to avoid head-to-head contact at school (both in classrooms and on the playground) and while playing at home with other children. They also shouldn’t share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bandanas, ribbons, barrettes, towels, helmets, or other personal care items with anyone else, whether they may have lice or not.
The greenhouse effect describes a warming phenomenon. (In a greenhouse, closed glass windows cause heat to become trapped inside.) The greenhouse effect occurs when a planet’s atmosphere allows heat from the Sun to enter, but refuses to let it leave. A good example of the greenhouse effect can be found on Venus.
There, solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere, reaches the surface, and is reflected back into the atmosphere. The re-radiated heat is trapped by carbon dioxide, which is abundant in Venus’s atmosphere. The result is that Venus has a scorching surface temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 degrees Celsius). The greenhouse effect can also be found on Earth and in the upper atmospheres of the giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
The ribs are thin, flat, curved bones in your upper body that form a protective “cage” around the heart and lungs. The ribs are comprised of 24 bones arranged in 12 pairs that form a kind of cage that encloses the upper body and gives the chest its familiar shape. The ribs serve several important functions.
They protect the heart and lungs from injuries and shocks that might damage them. Ribs also protect parts of the stomach, spleen, and kidneys. The ribs help you to breathe. As you inhale, the muscles in between the ribs lift the rib cage up, allowing the lungs to expand. When you exhale, the rib cage moves down again, squeezing the air out of your lungs.
Sirius, the “dog star,” is within the constellation Canis Major and is the brightest in the heavens. The ancient Egyptians noted that the dog star’s arrival in July coincided with the annual flooding of the Nile, which was important for a good harvest.
The Romans believed that, because of its brightness, the dog star Sirius added to the heat of the summer sun, and so they called July and August “the dog days.”
An ear thermometer reads the spectrum of thermal radiation given off by the inner surfaces of a person’s ear. All objects give off thermal radiation (including the light emitted by a glowing incandescent light bulb) and that radiation is characteristic of their temperatures. The hotter an object is, the brighter its thermal radiation and the more that radiation shifts toward shorter wavelengths.
The thermal radiation from a person’s ear is in the invisible infrared portion of the light spectrum, which is why you can’t see people glow. But the ear thermometer can see this infrared light and it uses the light to determine the ear’s temperature. The thermometer’s thermal radiation sensor is very fast, so it can measure a person’s body temperature in just 168 a few minutes.
Everyone with children has kissed a small bruise or cut to make it better. This comes from one of our earliest medical procedures for the treatment of snakebite. Noticing that a victim could be saved if the venom was sucked out through the point of entry, early doctors soon began treating all infectious abrasions by putting their lips to the wound and sucking out the poison.
Medicine moved on, but the belief that a kiss can make it all better still lingers.
Disease and poverty exist all over the world. The areas with the most disease and poverty are countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. In these areas, people do not have enough food to eat, water to drink, or money to live.
They have diseases like AIDS, which weakens the immune system, and cholera, an intestinal infection. In the United States, about 33 million people live in poverty, according to government statistics. Almost 12 million of these people are children, and about 3.5 million were age 65 or older.