Asked by Jessie Zieme in Credit and Debit Cards, Identity Theft Issues
Does anybody actually sign the back of their credit cards?
Yes, and it's a pretty good idea. Signing your card means merchants have something to check the signature on the receipt against, which is supposed to be a key security step. The reasoning against signing a credit card is usually that if your card gets stolen, the thief has an example to follow if they want to forge your signature. Some people will write "See ID" in the signature slot instead, hoping that message will prompt store clerks to ask to see the scoundrel's ID before ringing up the sale, thus blocking any fraudulent purchases. This, however, is a flawed scheme at best. For one, lots of stores don’t check the back of the card, especially with the rise of self checkout machines. So that "See ID" message is probably not going to foil any scams. Additionally, thieves rarely take the time to practice their penmanship, so if you signed the back of your card and contest a fraudulent charge, their phony signature is pretty easy to spot. And besides, you're probably in violation of the card’s terms of service if it’s not signed. Visa, for example, advises merchants who actually check that "an unsigned card is considered invalid and should not be accepted." So yeah, lots of people sign their credit cards, and it’s generally a good practice.
Asked by Immanuel Cremin in Caffeine, Health, Drug Addiction
Is caffeine actually addictive?
While not all health organizations consider caffeine addiction a clinical disorder, here’s the answer you’re probably looking for: Yes, you can form a dependence on caffeine. Quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating. Addiction is a powerful word, though, and thus, some experts are hesitant to put a dependence on caffeine—which doesn’t tend to drastically affect users’ lives—in the same category as other drug addictions. The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t yet consider caffeine dependence a substance use disorder—in 2013, they listed caffeine use disorder as a “condition for further study” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The World Health Organization, meanwhile, officially lists caffeine dependence syndrome as a mental disorder in the tenth revision of their International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10). The ICD-10 is primarily used internationally; the DSM-5 is primarily used in the United States. You’re here, though—you’ve probably seen how hooked people get and how listless they are without it—so disagreements between health organizations aside, yes, you can grow dependent on caffeine, and quitting is quite unpleasant.
Asked by Derick Treutel in Drinking Water, Health
Do I really need to drink eight glasses of water per day?
Although conventional wisdom holds that humans need eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day, the truth is a little more complicated. According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is about 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and about 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. However, keep in mind that these fluid intake guidelines include all sources of water, not just glasses of the stuff. In fact, we get about 20 percent of our daily water from what we eat, especially fruits and vegetables. The truth is that when it comes to hydration, one size does not fit all. There are many factors that should influence an individual’s daily water intake, including where you live, your activity level, and your overall health. So while there is no scientific evidence that supports the “8x8 rule,” staying hydrated is still important. The best advice is to trust your own body, and when you’re thirsty, reach for water first.
Asked by Buddy Pacocha in Holidays and Traditions, Christianity, Saints
When is Saint Nicholas Day and why do we celebrate it?
Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on Dec. 6 (in the U.S.) and commemorates the real man who inspired our modern idea of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of children, was born around 280 A.D. in Asia Minor and was known for arriving on horseback wearing a bishop’s red robe and distributing gifts to help those in need. One story entails Saint Nicholas helping three poor sisters pay their wedding dowries by secretly delivering a bag of money inside their door. On the evening of Dec. 5, Christian children will traditionally leave a shoe or boot out in their hallway. The next morning, they discover treats like quarters, candy, or oranges hidden inside.
Asked by Shannon Greenfelder in Food Additives, Candy
What is blue raspberry? Is it just a flavoring, or is there a fruit?
The whitebark raspberry is naturally blue, but the blue raspberry flavor we know doesn't have anything to do with it. In fact, artificial raspberry flavor, blue or otherwise, was developed primarily from banana, cherry, and pineapple flavors. So, how did it get to be blue? The jury's still out on that one, but each of these factors probably played a role: There were plenty of red flavors already: Cherry, watermelon, apple, etc. Red No. 2, a once-popular food dye, was facing criticism for potentially causing cancer around when blue raspberry started to pop up. Red No. 2 was eventually banned in the United States, but Blue No. 1 didn’t have any controversy. ICEE, one of the earliest blue raspberry adopters, claims the bright color of its version was meant to match the color in its logo and to complement its already popular red cherry flavor.
Asked by Kaleb Becker in James Bond, Movies, Action & Adventure Movies
Which actor was the best James Bond?
For me, it's Roger Moore. This is partly due to nostalgia—as a kid, I watched Moore's Bond films most often because 1) many were PG, which both calmed my mom down and eliminated Pierce Brosnan's efforts, and 2) they looked more modern than Sean Connery's. I think my love for his films endures, though, because he's Bond at his most relatable: He jokes around and isn't soulcrushingly handsome, so I can step into his shoes more easily than with the ever-old Connery or the stone-jawed Brosnan. This makes the movies more fun to watch.
How did Lil BUB die?
Lil BUB, the celebrity cat, died on December 1, 2019, from a bone infection. She was 8 years old. Her owner, Mike Bridavsky, shared the following note with fans on her Instagram account: “On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet. BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep. I have always been fully transparent about BUB's health, and it was no secret that she was battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection. Even knowing this, we weren't expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning. I truly believe that she willingly made the decision to leave her failing body so that our family would not have to make that difficult decision ourselves.” Lil BUB was known for her unique physical appearance attributed to, among other genetic abnormalities, an extreme case of feline dwarfism. Most notably, her overbite caused her tongue to hang out of her mouth. She rose to internet fame in 2011 after her Tumblr photos garnered massive attention on Reddit, and over the course of her life, she accumulated over 2.3 million Instagram followers and almost 3 million Facebook subscribers.
What's your favorite bizarre food combination?
When I was around sixteen, I discovered the amazing interaction between eating microwaved popcorn and drinking chocolate milk. Normally, I'd find the combination of butter and chocolate unappealing, but there's something about that sweet and salty mix that hits the tastebuds just right. It's still my go-to movie snack at home.
How and when did Cyber Monday start?
The when: 2005. The how: How do you think? Marketing. Ellen Davis, now the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Retail Federation (NRF), coined the term in a November 2005 press release. Retailers had noticed a bump in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in the years prior, the release said, and they’d capitalize on that by offering great deals in 2005. “We thought about calling it ‘Black Monday,’” she told the Los Angeles Times, “but that’s also the term for the big stock market crash, so we didn’t want to go there. We considered ‘Blue Monday’—because of the color of hyperlinks—but that had the connotation of being sad or depressed.” The NRF settled on the “cyber” prefix and later launched cybermonday.com to serve as a clearinghouse for deals offered by its associates on Cyber Monday. The term—and concept—has blown up in the years since, fueling what’s looking to be a historically successful Cyber Monday in 2019.
Asked by Selina Corwin in Zebras, Horses, Animal Life
Is a zebra a type of horse?
No, zebras are not technically a type of horse, though they are both equines. Both belong to the genus Equus, which also includes donkeys, but they are separate species within that genus. Sometimes, these three different species are referred to as the "horse family," but that's not a scientific distinction. Horses and zebras have different amounts of chromosomes; therefore, they very rarely have offspring that can also reproduce, which is one of the requirements for considering different animals part of the same species. To top it all off, zebras actually resemble donkeys more closely than they do horses. Incidentally, when zebras and donkeys reproduce, the offspring is called a zonkey, which is unrelated but quite delightful.
Asked by Erin Bode in Montgomery Bus Boycott
What was the Montgomery Bus Boycott?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which took place from Dec. 5, 1955, to Dec. 20, 1956, was a civil rights protest during which many African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, to challenge the segregated seating laws. The boycott came four days after Rosa Parks was famously arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. The boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proved to be very effective, and on June 5, 1956, a U.S. District Court ruled in Browder v. Gayle that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this decision on appeal.
Asked in Conditions and Diseases, Beauty
What are the white specks on your nails?
More often than not, the white specks on your fingernails (known as leukonychia) are caused by some kind of trauma or damage to the nail bed. Closing your finger inside a drawer, for instance, could result in this condition. White spots resulting from this kind of injury will heal over time and are nothing to be concerned about. Other possible causes of leukonychia include a fungal infection called white superficial onychomycosis, an allergic reaction to nail polish, or a calcium or zinc deficiency. If the white spots on your nails are more persistent and do not seem to be linked to trauma, it might be a good idea to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Asked by Karianne Feil in Black Friday, Shopping
Did you shop for yourself or others on Black Friday?
Why do people hate straws more than other forms of plastic waste?
Straws are an easy target for environmentalists because they are so prevalent and because they're simple to replace or forgo. Because they're so small and are often made of multiple types of plastic, single-use plastic straws usually can't be recycled. Because of this, it's estimated that Americans alone use upwards of 100 million straws per day (the often-cited figure of 500 million per day has been disputed, but not by much). Activists have found it relatively easy to convince people to decrease their straw use—some restaurants have started asking if customers want a straw with their drink instead of giving them out automatically. Those restaurants have seen a 50 to 80 percent reduction in single-use plastic straws—that's a big result from a pretty simple fix. Not only is it fairly easy to get people to cut down on straw use, but there are also a multitude of more eco-friendly options on the market, like reusable stainless steel straws or biodegradable paper straws. All in all, it's not really about hating the concept of straws or thinking that straws are a worse form of waste than any other single-use plastic item. It's more about the relative ease of convincing people to limit their straw use or switch to alternative types of straws.
Asked in Thanksgiving
What are you thankful for on Thanksgiving?
Asked by Frederik Thompson in Turkeys, Turkey Meat, Thanksgiving
Is it true that eating turkey meat can make you tired?
The theory that turkey makes you sleepy stems from the fact that turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. Our bodies use tryptophan to produce the vitamin B3 or niacin, which is essential to creating serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Serotonin is also the precursor to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The truth is that turkey doesn’t contain any more tryptophan than many other meats, and it even contains slightly less than most cheeses. That means it’s unfair to blame your post-dinner coma on turkey alone. So, why do we specifically associate Thanksgiving dinner with feeling sleepy? Probably because we’re eating many foods high in tryptophan during the course of the evening, and that tryptophan is amplified by the carbs from rolls, potatoes, and other savory starches. Not to mention the fact that overeating gives the body more digestive work to do, thus using more energy.
Where do garden gnomes come from?
The exact origin of our modern concept of the garden gnome is somewhat contested, but it has strong German roots. Garden statues (including lifelike animal sculptures and a well-known figure called gobbi—Italian for dwarf or hunchback) became popular throughout Europe during the Renaissance. German sculptors combined this trend with local fairytales to create Gartenzwerge (garden dwarfs) with the hallmark pointed hats, white beards, and big bellies that we expect in the gnomes that guard our gardens today. Several different German garden gnome manufacturers claim to be the first, so it's not clear who gets that honor. What is clear is that by the second half of the 19th century, garden gnomes were catching on across Europe. Slightly off topic, but some historians think the quick adoption of garden gnomes in Britain was partly due to the popularity of "garden hermits" at wealthy estates in the 1700s. Landowners would hire "hermits" to live in shacks on their properties, not bathe, and keep to themselves just for the aesthetic. I would, and I cannot stress this enough, highly recommend looking into them if you’re interested—pretty wild.
What is the absolute best Thanksgiving dish? What's the absolute worst?
Does sugar really make kids hyperactive?
Not for most children. Contrary to popular belief, many studies have proven there's no link between most kids' sugar consumption and their level of activity. Some kids can be affected more than most, like those with ADHD or those who are more sensitive to blood sugar spikes—but these cases are the exception to the rule. Some researchers suggest the perceived link between sugar and hyperactivity comes from the conditions surrounding sugar intake. High-energy events, like birthday parties, often have sugar-rich treats as a centerpiece of the festivities—it’s not the sugar that’s hyping them up, pediatric dietitian Kristi L. King suggests, but the adrenaline. Further, one study illustrated that parents who think their children have consumed sugar rate their kids’ activity levels higher, even if they never actually had any sugar. So, although there are some notable exceptions, the link between sugar and hyper kids seems to be mostly imagined.