Which mammal spends the most time sleeping?

The western European hedgehog—which likes to live in hedges—spends most of its life asleep. It builds a nest of grass and leaves among tree roots or under a bush, and spends about 18 hours a day there during summer months. It wakes up at night to eat, sniffing out worms, insects, snails, and snakes for its evening meal.

During the winter months, it hibernates (sleeps all the time). When it sleeps or senses danger, the hedgehog rolls into a tight, spiny ball for protection. Related creatures, including sloths, armadillos, and opossums, sleep almost as long as the hedgehog—accumulating up to 17 hours each day! Other animals that sleep a lot are the dormouse (about 17 hours), koalas (about 15 hours), and all kinds of felines, including pet cats.

What is a quasar?

In 1960, astronomers discovered some mysterious space objects and called them quasars because they were discovered to be a strong source of radio waves. In fact, the term “quasar” comes from the words “quasi-stellar radio source.” Quasars are sources of light or radio waves, just like galaxies, that emit enormous amounts of energy.

They are the most distant objects scientists have discovered. They are very bright (as bright as hundreds of galaxies, burning with the energy of 1 trillion Suns) and much smaller than most galaxies. Today, many astronomers refer to these objects as quasi-stellar objects, or QSOs.

What is aloe vera?

A cactus-like plant of the lily family, aloe vera grows wild in Madagascar and on the African continent. It also is cultivated in Japan, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the United States. People around the world have used its gooey, jelly-like sap for healing and cosmetic purposes.

Aloe extracts can be used to treat digestive problems, including constipation, and aloe oils are used in cosmetic creams to help keep skin soft and to treat minor skin irritations.

Who was the first man in space?

The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when he made a full orbit of Earth in Vostok I on April 12, 1961. Although he was in space less than two hours, he became an international hero.

The United States launched the first American into orbit on February 20, 1962: Astronaut John Glenn completed three orbits of Earth in Friendship 7, traveling about 81,000 miles (130,329 kilometers).

What do we mean by the “sixth sense”?

Humans are credited with five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. So someone with a “sixth sense” is gifted with an unexplained perception outside of the common five.

The expression sixth sense comes from a study of blind people reported in 1903 in which it was found that, although deprived of sight, some of the subjects could perceive or sense certain objects in a room in a way that defied scientific understanding.

Which muscles are the largest, and which ones are the smallest?

The largest muscle is the buttock muscle (gluteus maximus), which moves the thighbone away from the body and straightens out the hip joint. It is also one of the stronger muscles in the body. The smallest muscle is the stapedius, in the middle ear.

It is thinner than a thread and 0.05 inches (0.127 centimeters) in length. It activates the stirrup that sends vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The longest muscle is the sartorius, which runs from the waist to the knee. Its purpose is to flex the hip and knee.

How did the United States begin?

The United States of America (USA), or United States for short, is a country that takes its name from the fact that it is made up of states that are joined together, or united, by the U.S. Constitution to form one nation. The country began as 13 colonies of England, which were spread out along the central Atlantic Coast of North America. The original 13 colonies were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The first colony, Virginia, was founded in 1607, and the thirteenth colony, Georgia, was founded in 1733. More than 40 years passed before the colonies joined together, rebelled against England, and declared themselves free, independent states on July 4, 1776, in the famous Declaration of Independence. To gain freedom, the colonies fought the Revolutionary War against the British. The set of peace treaties that ended the war, called the Peace of Paris, was signed in 1783. With this treaty, England gave up its claim to the 13 colonies, along with all land east of the Mississippi River from Canada to Florida.

The original 13 colonies became the first U.S. states, with additional states added into the Union over time. Today there are 50 states, and one district, the District of Columbia. The U.S. Constitution provided that new states can be admitted into the Union by the U.S. Congress. Before they gained statehood, most of the other 37 states passed through a period of time when they were known as territories, organized by Congress. When the people of a territory felt they were ready to form a state government, they elected delegates, prepared a state constitution, and then voted to A 1795 map made in England of the United States shows the original 13 colonies. decide whether they would accept the constitution and ask Congress to approve their admission into the Union. The dates that these territories were admitted into the Union as states are their official birthdays.

Do people still mine for gold in America?

Yes. Yet unlike a few centuries ago, gold panning today is primarily a recreational activity. Gold nuggets are found in areas where lode deposits and erosion have occurred—for example, in streams, rivers, ravines, and lake areas. All you need is a gold pan, a shovel, and a lot of patience. Both gold mines and gold prospecting sites exist in national parks from near Montgomery, Alabama to Washington, D.C. In addition, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Alabama have many gold mines and prospecting sites.

These states were America’s main source of gold for 45 years before the California Gold Rush of 1838, when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Its news spread like wildfire, resulting in some 300,000 people coming to California to pan for gold. In California, the five counties of Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, and El Dorado—nicknamed the “Mother Lode”—still have gold for discovery. In 1837, the U.S. government established gold coin mints in Georgia and North Carolina to avoid transporting the raw gold to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, where coins are made.

How powerful are astronomers’ telescopes?

Before Lippershey and Galileo, magnification instruments had not been used to investigate objects beyond Earth. Since their time, far more powerful visiblelight telescopes have been developed along with other types of telescopes capable of “seeing” invisible forms of radiation, such as infrared, ultraviolet, radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray. Today’s optical telescopes (made from glass, lenses, or mirrors) are 100 million times more sensitive than Galileo’s telescope. For example, Hawaii’s twin Keck Tele scopes are the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes. Each stands eight stories tall and weighs 300 tons.

The Hubble Space Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble and launched into space in 1990, orbits Earth at a speed of 5 miles (8 kilometers) per second, and beams images back to Earth. Because its position is above the atmosphere (which distorts and blocks the light that reaches Earth) it is able to view the universe more thoroughly and clearly than ground-based telescopes.

How can I get a baby brother instead of a baby sister?

There is no way specific way to place an order for a baby brother or a baby sister. The gender (boy or girl) of a baby is determined by whether the father’s fertilizing sperm has an X or a Y chromosome. An X chromosome will lead to a girl, and a Y to a boy. (Mothers always contribute an X chromosome.) Although scientific methods are available to help parents organize their chromosomes and take advantage of the fact that the “boy” sperm has less DNA than “girl” sperm, they can be expensive and unreliable. One method, called the Shettles method, recommends that if parents want a girl, they should plan to make a baby right around the time of ovulation.

At this time, the egg is as far away as possible from the incoming sperm so the long-distance runners of the sperm world, the X sperm, have a better chance of making it to the egg. For a boy, the method suggests that parents plan to make a baby about two to four days after ovulation. That way, the short-distance sprinting Y sperm can make it to the egg first. Many doctors say that although this method is based in science, it is no guarantee that a couple will have a baby boy or a baby girl.