Why do people become disabled?

A disability can be the result of a disease, an accident, or of genetics, which means that it is a condition that a person is born with.

A lot of times disabled people can learn new ways to do things or use special machines or specially trained animals to help them work around their disability.

What are the patterns of stars called?

Fixed groups of stars that seem to form a particular shape, such as that of a person, animal, or object, are called constellations. Astronomers have identified 88 constellations and many of them represent characters from Greek and Roman mythology.

For example, the name Hydra, the largest constellation, comes from the water snake monster killed by Hercules in ancient mythology. Some of the constellation names are in Latin; for example, Cygnus means Swan and Scorpius means Scorpion.

What is e-mail?

People can use the Internet to send electronic mail, known as e-mail, to one another in just a few seconds. Once you type a message into your computer to send to your cousin, let’s say, who lives miles from you across the country, it travels through the wires of your phone line as a series of electrical signals (or, for some people, the signals travel through the same cables that bring them cable television). These signals travel to a station run by your service provider, where a big computer sends them to an Internet routing center. Located all over the world, routing centers, which are linked to organizations and Internet providers, send the countless computer communications that come to them each second along the quickest possible routes to their destinations.

A giant computer there reads the address on your e-mail and sends it farther: depending on the distance it must travel, it may continue along phone lines, be changed into light signals that can travel with great speed along thin glass strands called fiber-optic cables, or be converted into equally speedy invisible bands of energy known as radio waves and transmitted to a communications satellite that will bounce it back to Earth, to a ground station located close to where your cousin lives. Once your message reaches the routing center nearest your cousin, it will be sent to the station of his or her service provider. From there it will be sent along regular phone lines to his or her computer. And all of this happens in a matter of moments.

Are soap, booger, and earwax really jellybean flavors?

Yes! And so are dirt, earthworm, vomit, and grass. It’s not really clear how the folks at the jelly belly company figured out the flavor recipe for each bean, but those that have tried them say they are authentic tasting! Jellybeans, a type of candy made from sugar, corn syrup, and food starch, have traditionally been made with fruit flavoring.

One company, called Jelly Belly, made flavors like butter popcorn, cotton candy, and watermelon in the 1980s. These jellybeans were endorsed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who kept a jar of them on his desk in the White House, and who also made them the first jelly beans in outer space, sending them on the 1983 Challenger shuttle as a surprise for the astronauts.

What is the most common household pet in the United States?

According to a national survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufaturers Association in 2008, Americans owned about 75 million dogs and 88 million cats. Approximately 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, and 34 percent own at least one cat.

According to the American Kennel Club, Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog breed, followed by Yorkshire terriers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. Persian cats are the most popular feline breed, followed by the Maine coon and the Siamese. Combined reptiles are the next popular type of pet, followed by birds and horses.

Which culture began celebrating the new year with a feast of food and alcohol?

The earliest recorded New Year’s festival was in ancient Babylon in what is now Iraq. Before the introduction of a calendar year, the celebration took place in spring during the planting season.

The Babylonian feast was elaborate, lasting eleven days, and included copious drinking and eating in a tribute to the gods of fertility and agriculture. Celebrating the new year was both a thanksgiving and a plea for a successful new harvest.

What causes a rainbow?

A rainbow is an arc that shows all the colors, with their different wavelengths, that make up visible light. Seven colors make up a rainbow, and they always appear in the same order: red, with the longest wavelength, is on the top, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (a deep reddish-blue that is often difficult to see), and violet, which has the shortest wavelength. A good way to remember the order of those colors is by taking the first letter of each to spell “ROYGBIV,” pronounced “roy-jee-biv.” A rainbow occurs when sunlight passes through water droplets and is refracted or bent by their rounded shape into separate wavelengths.

Rainbows can sometimes be spotted in the spray of lawn sprinklers, in the mist of waterfalls, and—most spectacularly—in the sky during a rain shower when the Sun is still shining. A rainbow appears in the part of the sky opposite the Sun. Because the Sun must also be low in the sky, near the horizon, late afternoon is the best time to look for a rainbow if the day has been sunny with a few short rain showers or thunderstorms.

Why do children demand “trick or treat” during Halloween?

When the Irish introduced Halloween to America, children celebrated with a night of mild vandalism. Their bag of “tricks” included breaking or soaping windows or overturning outdoor toilets. Soon they realized that adults would offer candy or other “treats” to stop these tricks. They then offered the homeowner a choice of giving them goodies or suffering the consequences. This mild blackmail demand came as, “Trick or treat?”

How hot is the Sun?

The Sun is extremely hot. The surface of the Sun (or its outer visible layer, called the photosphere) is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,537 degrees Celsius)— about 50 times the temperature required to boil water.

The core of the Sun, where solar energy is created, reaches 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). It is so intense that nuclear reactions take place there.

Why is the ladybug considered good luck?

Called either “ladybird” or “ladybug,” the little red beetle with the black spots is the well-known and beloved subject of a nursery rhyme and is called a “lady” after the Virgin Mary because it emerges around March 25, the time of the Feast of the Annunciation, which is also known as Lady Day.

Called the “Mary bug” in German, the ladybug brings good luck to a garden by eating unwanted pests.