NASA’s space shuttle, also called the Space Transportation System (STS), takes off from Earth like a rocket but lands like an aircraft. It cannot fly to the Moon, but is used to orbit Earth, where the crew can do scientific work, place satellites in orbit, and visit orbiting space stations. Usually five to seven crew members ride the space shuttles, which have all been launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Six shuttles have been built: the first orbiter, Enterprise, was built in 1974 for testing purposes. Five others have gone into space: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour.
The space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch in 1986, and Endeavour was built as a replacement. Columbia broke apart during re-entry in 2003. NASA announced that the space shuttle would no longer be used after 2010, and from 2014 on would be replaced by the Orion, a new space vehicle that is designed to take humans to the Moon and beyond.
The custom of a “honeymoon” began over four thousand years ago in Babylon, when for a full lunar month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the honey-beer he could drink. It was called the “honey month.”
The word honeymoon didn’t enter our language until 1546, and because few people could afford a vacation, a honeymoon didn’t mean a trip away from home until the middle of the nineteenth century.
In the nineteenth century, Samuel A. Maverick was a stubborn Texas rancher who, because he said it was cruel, refused to brand his cattle even though it was the only way to identify who owned free-range livestock.
Instead he would round up all the unbranded cattle he could find, even those not from his own herd. At first any stray unbranded cow was called a “maverick,” but the word has grown to mean anyone Who doesn’t play by the rules.
In Virginia in the 1880s, Wade Morrison, a pharmacist’s assistant, wanted to marry his boss’s daughter. But her father considered Morrison too old for her and asked him to move on.
After Morrison had settled down and opened his own drugstore in Waco, Texas, one of his employees came up with a new soft drink idea, which Morrison developed and named after the man who gave him his start in the drug business: his old girlfriend’s father, Dr. Kenneth Pepper.
Most adult insects, including bees and dragonflies, have two large compound eyes, made up of separate, sometimes thousands, of lenses. They all point in different directions to give the insect a very wide field of vision.
The lenses also help the insect see movement, enabling it to react quickly to seize its prey or escape danger. You can witness this yourself as you try to swat a fly in your home it’s almost impossible to catch a flying insect!
“Dog days” are the hot, humid days of summer that usually take place in the Northern Hemisphere in July and August typically between July 3 and August 11. The days get their name from the dog star Sirius of the constellation Canis Major.
At this time of year, Sirius, the brightest visible star, rises in the east at the same time as the Sun in the northern hemisphere. Ancient Egyptians believed that the heat of this brilliant star added to the Sun’s heat to create this hot weather and they blamed the star for everything from withering droughts to sickness.
Coins were first made in the seventh century B.C.E. in Lydia, Asia Minor (presentday Turkey). They were issued by the early Lydian kings—probably Alyattes or Sadyattes— about 600 B.C.E., several decades before the reign of the famous Lydian king Croesus. Lydian coins were made out of electrum, a mixture of gold and silver, and each was weighed and stamped with a lion’s head, the king’s symbol. About 0.03 pounds (14 grams) of electrum was one stater (meaning “standard”). A stater was about one month’s pay for a soldier. Today’s coins are not made from precious metals like gold and silver, but from inexpensive alloys such as cupro-nickel, which is a combination of copper and nickel. Unlike early coins, the metal in today’s coins is worth far less than its value in the marketplace.
Constipation occurs when your body has a hard time having a bowel movement, or going poop. When you digest your food, it collects in the last part of the colon, or the end of the large intestine. If the feces doesn’t have lot of fiber or bulk to it, it stays in the colon longer than it normally would.
Water continues to draw out of the feces, making it hard and compact instead of squishy and moveable. The rectum has to push extra hard to get your poop out. Constipation usually resolves itself, but your body can avoid constipation by eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and bran, and drinking plenty of water each day.
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.
Scientists don’t really know why we cry when we’re unhappy or hurt (or sometimes, even joyful). But tears help express deeply felt emotions and often release stress and tension from the body. From our earliest days, when we were babies and could not yet communicate through language, crying let the people around us know that we needed something.
Frequently, even after we become older, crying still serves as a wordless signal that something help or comfort is needed. In places all over the world, no matter what language is spoken, crying expresses emotions that are easily understood by all.