Asked by Taya Moore in Cats (Felines), Animal Behavior
Why do cats headbutt you?
When cats headbutt you, they’re depositing facial pheromones. Vets call this behavior bunting. “Rather than territorial marking or ‘claiming’ someone, as is commonly thought, cats do this to mark something as safe—sort of like leaving a signal of comfort and safety. So you could think of it as a sign that they are trusting that person or environment,” Dr. Meghan E. Herron, clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University, told Vetstreet.
Asked by Jesse Barrows in Volcanoes, Earth Sciences
Can volcanic eruptions be predicted?
There are precipitating factors that can be used to predict a volcanic eruption, including the volcano’s history, how long since its last eruption, and the usual amount of time between eruptions. Other signs include an increased number of earthquakes and a certain level of gas emissions which can be measured via satellite. However, similar to meteorology, there is an inherent level of uncertainty, and the time and severity of an eruption is very difficult to predict. In the case of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, the preemptive warnings included earthquakes and steam explosions in the months leading up to the blast, prompting the U.S. Forest Service to evacuate people from near the volcano. Although 57 people died, roughly 20,000 were more than likely saved by the evacuations, according to volcanologist William Rose. Alternatively, when the 2019 White Island eruption happened in New Zealand, there were few warning signs. Although a rise in volcanic tremors caused the alert level to be raised from 1 to 2 in the weeks before the eruption, this isn’t an unusual occurrence and usually doesn’t mean a devastating eruption is imminent. "We don't normally see these eruptions coming, no matter how much we would like to," stated Earth scientist Shane Cronin of the blast.
Should cursive be taught in school?
Personally, I think it’s a good thing that cursive was phased out. Replacing it with a more practical skill like typing makes a lot of sense. However, this opens up the argument that many things taught in school are not exactly practical and could be eliminated with the ubiquity of modern technologies. Why learn basic math when we have calculators? For that matter, why learn anything when we can Google everything? It’s a slippery slope to eliminate every skill that doesn’t fall into the practical category, and I think there is something to be said for learning for the sake of learning. That being said, many people feel like much of a child’s current curriculum will not prepare them for “real life.” There are only so many hours in a school day, so is there more value in learning how to do your own taxes versus advanced calculus? Overall, I think it’s important to have a good balance of practicality and creativity in education.
Asked by Nathen Hegmann in Gift Giving, Idioms, Cliches, and Slang
In a white elephant gift exchange, what does the "white elephant" refer to?
By this point, obviously, it describes the silly presents you bring to pass around at the holiday party. But it draws its roots from a monumentally petty (and almost surely false) legend: kings bestowing actual white elephants on their adversaries as intentionally impractical gifts. Kings of Siam (today, Thailand) were the petty party, so the legend goes. White elephants, a revered animal in parts of East Asia, required constant care and didn’t bring in any money—essentially, the kings hoped to bankrupt the recipients under the veil of generosity. This legend, though, has no basis in Siamese history and seems to have originated in America; nonetheless, in the States, the term “white elephant” came to mean something impractical but indispensable. Gift swap parties—where guests brought absurd, inexpensive gifts and swapped them—came to popularity in the early 20th century, and the phrase “white elephant party” quickly became attached to it. Thankfully, it’s all in fun—generally, the fewer bankruptcies caused by the gifts, the better.
Who was Juice WRLD, and how did he die?
Juice WRLD, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was an American rapper best known for the singles “All Girls are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams.” He developed a following on the music sharing site SoundCloud as a high schooler, and he eventually signed with Grade A Productions and Interscope Records. In the early morning of Dec. 8, 2019, Higgins went into convulsions after he landed at Midway International Airport in Chicago. Federal agents were searching his luggage for contraband when the incident occurred, and they began administering treatment at the scene, reported the Chicago Tribune. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:14 a.m. He was 21 years old. The exact cause of Higgins’ death is unknown, but members of his team reportedly told law enforcement that he had taken “several unknown pills” prior to the medical emergency. Higgins had spoken openly about his struggles with addiction in the past.
Is it much easier for children to learn a second language than it is for adults?
It’s common to hear adults lament that they didn’t start learning a second language earlier since it’s much easier when you’re younger, but this is somewhat of a misconception. Children and adults learn languages differently, and yes, children have the edge when it comes to achieving native-like mastery. That’s partly because children use the “deep motor area” of their brains to learn new languages—this is the same part of the brain that controls actions that come second nature to us, like tying a shoe. As you age, the window for learning in the deep motor area narrows, so adults learn languages with other parts of the brain—and thus, they’re often less natural speakers of their second language. But it’s important to keep in mind the different situations in which adults and children learn languages. Most children who pick up a second language are exposed to it constantly and pick it up the same way they pick up their native language, even learning them simultaneously. Adults, however, may take on a second language in college or later, while having additional responsibilities, expectations, and stressors. Unlike adults, children are allowed to make mistakes and learn at a much slower pace without having to worry about failing in an academic, social, or professional sense. Furthermore, according to a paper published in the journal Cognition, “studies that compare children and adults exposed to comparable material in the lab or during the initial months of an immersion program show that adults perform better, not worse, than children ... perhaps because they deploy conscious strategies and transfer what they know about their first language.” So in a nutshell, adults aren’t drastically worse than children at learning a second language—they even outperform children when learning under the same conditions—but they do have some disadvantages. In most cases, though, they simply don’t receive the same exposure and opportunity.
Asked by Alek Batz in Cars & Vehicles, Fuel and Engines
How far can you drive your vehicle after the low fuel light comes on?
How far you can drive “on empty,” or when the low fuel light illuminates, is typically somewhere between 25 and 108 miles, according to a chart from car repair and maintenance company YourMechanic. The chart looks at the top 50 selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2015, and for each of them, it details how much fuel is left when the gas light goes on and roughly how many miles you can drive without running totally dry. How far your fumes will take you depends on several factors, including your driving habits, the road conditions, and what type of car you have. It’s important to note that although sometimes driving on empty is a necessity, it should not be made a habit, as it can do serious damage to your vehicle by sending debris that rest near the bottom of the tank up through the fuel pump.
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 has to be Sean Connery. He was the "original" James Bond. Even Ian Fleming,the creator of 007 was on record as saying that Connery was the best image he had envisaged for the character. Most memorable quote:- Bond "Do you expect me to talk?" Goldfinger " No Mr Bond,I expect you to DIE " Classic :)
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.