How was printing done before computers and motor-driven presses?

Long before computers and motor-driven presses, printing was done by hand with wooden blocks of letters and figures dipped in ink and pressed onto paper. Historians believe that this method of printing was invented in China around the year 700. A hand-operated printing press—with moveable type or letters—was first used in Europe in the mid-fifteenth century. Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book, a Bible, in what is now Germany, in 1455. Until that time all books and other manuscripts were written out by hand.

Why is it important to always wear my helmet?

Each year, about 150,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for head injuries that occurred while riding their bikes. Many bike-related injuries could be avoided if riders wore their helmets properly. Wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent and reduces the risk of injury to the face by 65 percent. That is why many state laws say that bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when they ride their bicycles. If your friends don’t wear helmets when you bicycle together, teach them by your wise example. In the United States, bicycle helmets save one life every day and prevent one head injury from happening every four minutes.

What do I do if my pet dies?

Like all living things, your pet will die someday. A pet can die from old age, an accident, or an illness. Even when a veterinarian (an animal doctor) helps, there are some illnesses that can’t be cured. If your pet is in a lot of pain and will never get better, your parents and the vet may decide that the animal should be allowed to die, or “put to sleep.” To make the process pain-free and peaceful, the vet can give the pet a special kind of injection (shot) to help it die. If your pet dies naturally, you may want to bury it in your back yard. But check with your town or city first to make sure burial on your property is legal. Some laws permit homeowners to bury their pets on their property, while others do not. Other options include burying your pet at a pet cemetery or cremating the animal, then scattering the ashes throughout your garden or under a favorite tree. No matter what you decide to do when your pet dies, many emotions are likely to surface, such as sadness, loneliness, or even anger. Talk to your parents about how you are feeling. You and your family may want to find special ways to remember your pet. You might have a ceremony, tell stories, write a poem, or make a scrapbook. And there are animal organizations, such as the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that can help you with the grieving process. A new animal can’t replace your old pet, but someday the time might be right for you and your family to adopt a new animal for everyone to love.

What is the origin of the phrase, “I’ll be hanged if I do and hanged if I don’t”?

When America was fighting for its independence, the British poet Thelwall was arrested after enraging King George with his liberal, seditious support for the colonies. In prison he wrote to his lawyer, “I shall be hanged of I don’t plead my own case,” to which his lawyer replied, “You’ll be hanged if you do!” His lawyer got him off, and the phrase became a slogan that contributed to the demise of the royal cause in America.

Why are so many flowers brightly colored?

Flowers are brightly colored to attract insects and other animals to them, Which help the plant’s fertilization by carrying pollen from one plant to another. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors like reds, oranges, pinks, yellows, blues, and purples. A flower’s fragrance is another method of attracting pollinating visitors, especially at night when moths are out. The way in which a flower is shaped also attracts pollinators. For instance, butterflies prefer flowers with flat petals that act like a landing strip for them to sit on. Long, tubular flowers, such as honeysuckle, daylilies, and salvia are just a few of the flowers that attract hummingbirds because their long beaks can easily fit into the flower when gathering nectar.

How does the combine harvester help farmers?

The combine harvester saves the farmers time and labor. Before modern machinery, harvesting crops was a painstaking process. Gathering and removing mature plants from the field had to be done by hand. Farm workers used sharp-bladed, long-handled scythes and curved sickles to cut down cereal crops like wheat. Even the fastest reaper could only clear about a third of an acre a day. Because rain could ruin harvested wheat, workers called sheaf-makers quickly tied it into bundles, so that it could be safely stored if the weather turned stormy. During the long winter months farm workers used jointed wooden tools called flails to thresh or beat the dried wheat in order to separate its edible grain seeds from its stalks.

But in 1786 a machine that threshed wheat by rubbing it between rollers was invented, replacing human threshers. And around 1840 a reaping machine—whose revolving wheel pressed grain stalks against a sharp blade that cut them down— replaced human harvesters. Today, farm machines called combine harvesters do this work in much the same way. These machines are very efficient and combine all three jobs of cutting, collecting, and threshing a crop. A single combine harvester can process five acres of wheat in less than an hour!

What’s an Achilles heel?

Muscles are attached to bones by tendons, the longest and strongest of which is called the Achilles tendon in your heel. This thick band of tissue attaches the muscles of the calf to the heel bone and is the key to the foot’s ability to flex.

The Achilles tendon allows you to push off of your foot when walking or running. In ancient Greek myth, the hero Achilles died from a wound to his heel, so the popular expression “Achilles heel” often refers to a physical weakness or limitation.