Asked by Lavonne Mraz in
Was Julia Roberts really considered for the role of Harriet Tubman?
Screenwriter and producer Gregory Allen Howard revealed in a Q&A that when presented with the original script for the Harriet Tubman biopic in the 1990s, one studio executive suggested that Julia Roberts take on the iconic role. When it was pointed out that Harriet Tubman was African American, the executive responded, “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.” The film in question, titled Harriet, was just released in theaters on Nov. 1, 2019 and stars Cynthia Erivo in the lead role.
Asked by Francesca Feil in Nutrition, Desserts, Snacks, and Treats, Chips
Can green potato chips make you sick?
Technically, yes, but you’d have to eat such a large amount of them that it’s not worth worrying about. First, let’s understand why parts of potatoes turn green. Potatoes, for the most part, are grown underground, but occasionally, a small part might be exposed to sunlight. Those exposed parts turn green as chlorophyll begins to form. Although most of these colorful outliers don’t make it onto the grocery store shelves, the occasional green potato might go overlooked, and this is why you might see a slice in one of your snack bags. In terms of safety, chlorophyll is both tasteless and nontoxic. However, as a potato turns green, conditions are right for it to synthesize a glycoalkaloid poison called solanine, which potatoes produce to defend against insects and predators. Ingesting large amounts of solanine can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and a slew of other unpleasant symptoms—including death. The good news is that those toxic levels would equate to eating several pounds of green potatoes. Long story short, the moderate solanine formation in one or two errant potato chips is not enough to do any harm.
Asked by Melvin Bayer in GRAMMY Awards, Entertainment & Arts, Music
Who got nominated for a Grammy in 2020?
The list of Grammy nominees was just released, actually. Here are the nominees for the "big four" categories: Record of the Year: "Hey, Ma" by Bon Iver "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish "7 Rings" by Ariana Grande "Hard Place" by H.E.R. "Talk" by Khalid "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo "Sunflower" by Post Malone and Swae Lee Album of the Year: i,i by Bon Iver Norman ______ Rockwell! by Lana Del Rey When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish thank u, next by Ariana Grande I Used To Know Her by H.E.R. 7 by Lil Nas X Cuz I Love You (Deluxe) by Lizzo Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend Song of the Year: "Always Remember Us This Way" (Lady Gaga) written by Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna "Bad Guy" (Billie Eilish) written by Billie Eilish O'Connell and Finneas O'Connell "Bring My Flowers Now" (Tanya Tucker) written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth, and Tanya Tucker "Hard Place" (H.E.R.) written by Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris. H.E.R. and Rodney Jerkins "Lover" (Taylor Swift) written by Taylor Swift "Norman ______ Rockwell" (Lana Del Rey) written by Jack Antonoff and Lana Del Rey "Someone You Loved" (Lewis Capaldi) written by Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pere Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn, and Sam Roman "Truth Hurts" (Lizzo) written by Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson, and Jesse Saint John Best New Artist: Black Pumas Billie Eilish Lil Nas X Lizzo Maggie Rogers Rosalía Tank and the Bangas Yola Beyond that, the pop categories are particularly stacked this year. I'm pretty excited about those. The nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance are Beyoncé's "Spirit," Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy," Ariana Grande's "7 Rings," Lizzo's "Truth Hurts," and Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down." The nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album are The Lion King: The Gift by Beyoncé, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish, thank u, next by Ariana Grande, No. 6 Collaborations Project by Ed Sheeran, and Lover by Taylor Swift. Other people are free to list the nominees in their favorite categories! The full list of nominees can be found here.
Asked by Henry Feeney in Physics, International Space Station, Space
What happens when you boil water in space?
In microgravity environments, boiling works very differently than it does on Earth. Under our gravity conditions, hotter parts of the liquid rise, while cooler parts sink. When vapor bubbles begin to form, they get shot upward, creating that classic "rolling boil." In space, though, heated liquid doesn't rise, so it just sits next to the heater and gets hotter. Likewise, as bubbles of vapor form, they don't rise to the surface. Instead, they form one big bubble that moves through the liquid. Sometimes, that big bubble sticks to the heat source, preventing the rest of the liquid from boiling. Other times, the liquid doesn't boil at all. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have gotten liquids up to 160 degrees Kelvin above their normal boiling temperatures, and since "superheating" a liquid like that can be dangerous, they couldn't heat it any more than that for safety reasons. All that's to say that microgravity makes hot liquids behave weirdly, and scientists don't have it all figured out.
Does "sleeping on it" improve decision making?
Although the science isn't completely conclusive, recent research suggests that sleep can, in fact, improve problem solving. A 2018 study from the University of Bristol looked at a group's performance on mental tasks before and after taking a 90 minute nap. When compared with a group that stayed awake for the same amount of time, the nappers did markedly better on their repeated task, which indicated to the researchers that the brain did process some of that information as they slept. Keep in mind, though, that with only 16 participants, more studies are needed to be able to confidently generalize these specific results. More broadly, sleep has been widely proven to help with memory, learning, and judgement, which will all come in handy the next time you have to make a difficult decision.
Asked by Allan Heller in Manners and Etiquette, Winter
Is it rude to order delivery food when the weather is bad?
I don't think ordering delivery is rude when the weather is bad. The thing to keep in mind is that most delivery drivers use their own car and the chance of getting into an accident when the roads are icy are a lot higher. You should tip double what you would normally tip (in my case I go from $5 to $10). Expect for the delivery to take a lot longer too. I was delivering pizzas during a huge snow storm one year and I was the only driver with an all wheel drive vehicle. I made so much money that season. Domino's doubles the mileage fee they give their drivers so between that and the increase in tips I made I walked with around $300 on a 10 hour shift which is way above an average shift. That being said I did nearly wreck my car a couple of times sliding on ice and I slipped and fell on another occasion. If any of those incidents would have been worse the $300 dollars would not have been worth it.
Asked by Gianni Wilderman in Thunderstorms and Lightning, Giraffes
Are giraffes more likely to be struck by lightning?
According to a paper published in 2011 by one of the foremost experts on lightning safety, Chandima Gomes, "animals with a large separation between their front and back feet... are vulnerable to receive lightning injuries due to the dangerous potential differences that may built up between these feet, in the event of nearby lightning." The paper went on to say that taller animals like giraffes and elephants could be more susceptible to "side flashes," where lightning rebounds after striking a nearby tree. Giraffes being long and tall, those two points seem to indicate that they’re more likely to be struck, but because the occurrence of lightning striking an animal is so rare, there is not enough numerical evidence to support the theory. According to Julian Fennessy, a Namibia-based conservationist and chair of the International Giraffe Working Group, "if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time you're susceptible—it's not that giraffes stand out like lightning rods."
Asked by Rachael Donnelly in Hawaii, Food & Cooking
Why is SPAM so popular in Hawaii?
Spam is an kind of "junk" or unhealthy meat that originated in asian countries and it very popular espescially in japan (spam mushubi). Hawaii is the U.S. state closest to Japan and that among other factors leads to TONS of Japanese (and other asian) tourists visting Hawaii all the time. So, they probaby brought their love of spam with them and stores and businesses, to keep with demand, adopted spam too!
Asked by Sonny Bernhard in Food & Cooking, Food Safety, Mushrooms
Do you need to wash mushrooms before eating them?
Is the Close Door function on an elevator useless?
It turns out that the vast majority of functioning close-door buttons on elevators became obsolete as a result of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, which required that elevator doors remain open for a minimum of three seconds, or long enough for anyone with a wheelchair, cane, etc. to safely get on board. The only exception to the rule is if a firefighter manually overrides the door function with a key. Karen W. Penafiel, the executive director of the National Elevator Industry, Inc., confirmed in an interview with The New York Times that by pushing the button, "the riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster." However, this hasn’t prevented manufacturers from continuing to install them in order to give the public a false sense of control. Another example of this type of "mechanical placebo," as it's called, includes pedestrian crosswalk buttons that were deactivated with the rise of computer-controlled traffic signals.
Asked by Kailyn Larson in Disney+, Disney, Entertainment & Arts
What does Disney+ include?
The Disney+ streaming service, which launched Nov. 12, will include over 500 films and 7,500 television episodes from Disney's main entertainment studios, including Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, 20th Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, and Hollywood Pictures. In addition to the entire Disney film catalogue, original scripted and non-scripted series are also in production to stream on the service, including content based on Marvel properties and the Star Wars franchise. Some of this will be available from launch, such as The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. A number of original films will be available from launch, including the live action Lady and the Tramp and the Christmas comedy Noelle, starring Anna Kendrick. The service will also hold exclusive streaming rights to The Simpsons, with all 30 seasons available from launch, in addition to the first two Star Wars trilogies as well as The Force Awakens and Rogue One. To sign up for Disney+, click here.
Who is Deval Patrick?
Deval Patrick is an American politician, civil rights lawyer, and businessman who served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2015. On Nov. 14, 2019, he announced his intention to run for president in 2020. Patrick, a Democrat, grew up in Chicago and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1982. He worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1983 to 1986, and later served as the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. In business, Patrick has served as general counsel for Texaco and The Coca-Cola Company. In the mid 2000s, he was on the board of directors for ACC Capital Holdings, and he most recently served as managing director at Bain Capital. The New York Times characterized Patrick’s policy positions as "closer to the ideological center than the left."
Asked by Jasen Runte in Health, Exercise
Is it okay to exercise while you have a cold?
According to the Mayo Clinic, as long as there is no fever present, mild to moderate exercise is usually acceptable, and it can even help open the nasal passages and relieve congestion. As long as your symptoms are “above the neck” (runny nose, sore throat, etc.), you’re good to go. However, even if you don’t have a fever, exercise should be avoided if you are experiencing “below the neck” symptoms, such as nausea or chest congestion. In general, though, listen to your body. If exercise makes your symptoms worse, take a few days off, or at the very least, shorten the duration of the workout and keep the intensity level low. Also keep in mind that you may be contagious, and it’s probably better to avoid public gyms where you could transmit germs to other people.
Asked by Alena Kulas in
What is the most heartwarming act of kindness you've ever witnessed?
Asked in Cats (Felines), Cat Health, Cat Behavior
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cats are built to be predators, and stalking prey takes a lot of energy. They’re programmed to recharge from all that taxing hunting with generous nap schedules—they can sleep up to 20 hours per day, depending on factors like age, disposition, and even the weather. That can seem like a lot to us, especially because much of that sleep happens during the day. Although house cats are not strictly nocturnal, they are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active during dawn and dusk. Those twilight waking hours can seep into the wee hours of the morning, which explains why cats have been known to be most annoying at 4 a.m. Long story short, cats sleep a lot during the day because they expend a lot of energy during dawn and dusk.
What's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?
In many American grocery stores, the vegetables labeled “yams” and “sweet potatoes” are just different varieties of sweet potatoes—when a softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potatoes hit the U.S. markets in the mid-20th century, they were labeled as yams to differentiate them from varieties Americans were already familiar with, and the name stuck. True yams are somewhat rare in the United States. They’re starchier than sweet potatoes, they have a slightly different shape (sweet potatoes taper toward the ends; yams stay more cylindrical and can be up to five feet long), and their skin is rough and bumpy. They’re more comparable to a white russet potato than a sweet potato, and they’re commonly used in Caribbean and West African cooking.
Asked by Haylee Stokes in Disney+, Disney, Entertainment & Arts
What is Disney+?
Disney+ is a subscription streaming service housing content from Disney, including Marvel, National Geographic, and Pixar titles. In addition to a large back catalogue of films and shows, it features original films (including the Christmas comedy Noelle, starring Anna Kendrick) and series (including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series). It launched Nov. 12, 2019. To sign up for Disney+, click here.
Asked by Myra Hodkiewicz in Miscellaneous, Clothing
What was the little pocket in jeans originally for?
Asked by Pamela Ferry in Motivation, Office Space
What's the best way to get over a case of the Mondays?
I get a minor case of the Mondays every morning, whether it's Monday or not. To be up and doing something right after you were just down and snoozing for hours is the Great Drag of our time. To shake it off, you just have to open up—open up your eyes and let that light in, open up your lungs to let that oxygen in, and open up your mouth to let that water in. Sun, air, water—that's life fuel, baby. Take it all in, and your case of the Mondays will soon be a case of the Mon-yays.
Asked by Gretchen Medhurst in Surgery and Hospitalization, Surgeons, Health
Do surgeons get bathroom breaks during extremely long operations?
Yes, if they really need them. Lots of surgeons will try to avoid having to use the restroom by limiting fluid intake, but nobody’s going to deny them a bathroom break if they need to go. They simply "break scrub," do their business, and scrub back in. To make them more manageable, some intense surgeries have different teams to handle different aspects. With this strategy, a day-long surgery can translate into only a few hours for any individual surgeon.