Asked by Jarred Krajcik in Dreams and Dream Interpretation, Sleep and Circadian Rhythm

Are lucid dreams real?

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Yes, lucid dreams—which, for the uninitiated, are dreams where you’re aware you’re sleeping and can often control aspects of your dream—are real. While people doubted their existence for years, a slew of research in the second half of the last century put those doubts to sleep. The way researchers proved it is pretty cool. They taught test subjects methods to induce lucid dreams (there are plenty out there, if you’re interested), then hooked them to polygraph machines as they slept. The subjects had agreed to perform specific actions in their dreams when they achieved lucidity—actions that’d show up on a polygraph test, like patterns of eye movements or fist clenches; lo and behold, the subjects fell asleep, then gave the signals. For most, lucid dreams are happy accidents, but some suggest pursuing the ability to reliably lucid dream can help avert nightmares, alleviate anxiety, and even aid in physical rehabilitation.
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Asked by Gertrude Carroll in Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Holidays and Traditions

When was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day established?

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So there are actually quite a few parts to this. Although efforts to establish a holiday honoring the life of the civil rights leader began just days after his assasination in 1968, the federal holiday (the third Monday in January) wasn’t signed into law until 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. However, the story at the state level is a lot more complicated. Some states started observing the holiday (then on his birthday, Jan. 15) as early as 1970, but it wasn’t observed by every state until 2000, a full 14 years after the first federal observance. And even though all states now commemorate some version of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, in a few holdouts it’s still combined with Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
Asked by Margaret Ruecker in Soaps and Detergents, Sanitization and Germs

Can a bar of soap get dirty?

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Technically yes, but it’s not something to lose sleep over. Germs do like to live on bars of soap, but they are typically washed away as you wash your hands. A few studies (which, keep in mind, were funded by soap companies) have been conducted on this matter, and no soap germs lingered on any of their participants’ hands. To decrease the amount of germs on your soap, make sure it dries out between uses—bacteria like damp, slimy soap best. Also, if you rinse your soap before use, you can send many of the remaining germs down the drain.
Asked by Xander Hahn in Sandwiches, History and Origins of Foods

How did the club sandwich get its name?

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There are a couple different theories on this. My personal favorite is that “club” stands for “Chicken and Lettuce Under Bacon,” which is fun but not all that plausible—a club doesn’t have to have chicken, after all, and the earliest recipes didn't follow that order or make any references to an acronym. A better theory is that the first club sandwich was cobbled together at the Union Club or the Saratoga Club House in the late 1800s. Both places claim that coveted “first club sandwich” title, and, of course, both have “club” in their name. Either way, the sandwich’s broad popularity at country clubs around the turn of the 20th century could also account for its name.
Asked by Answers Staff in Answers, Questions about Answers.com, Questions about WikiAnswers and Answers.com

How do I ask a question on Answers.com?

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It’s easy! You can use the search bar to ask your question. If somebody else has asked the same question or one that is similar, you’ll find it this way as well. If nobody has asked the exact question as you searched it, you’ll be taken to a new page where you can create the question yourself, as well as add context and topics! Happy Asking and Answering!
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Asked by Marge Stracke in Betty White, Actors & Actresses

What’s your favorite Betty White moment?

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The Golden Girls is packed with Betty’s genius. Every St. Olaf story is perfect in its own right, but my favorite is when Rose tells about her trip to the big city of St. Gustav, the city that never naps. It started to rain, and the people yelled at her, “Don’t you have enough sense to come in out of the rain?” She, in fact, did not, and she brought this life-changing knowledge back to the good people of St. Olaf. It makes me laugh so hard every single time. The way Betty conveyed Rose’s naivete and full-heartedness with such humanity is my favorite thing.
Asked in Care of Mice and Rats

Why do mice like cheese so much?

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They actually don’t. A small study by David Holmes at Manchester Metropolitan University showed that mice prefer grains and sweet things over cheese. As to how this myth got started, it’s not entirely clear, but it reaches at least as far back as Shakespeare. One theory is that in the medieval era, there wasn’t much food available for mice to steal from human houses, so little teeth marks in cheese were the most obvious signs of their presence. And although this misconception well predates modern cartoons, there’s another theory that it was just easier (not to mention cuter) to draw mice with a nice hunk of cheese rather than something like grain, so cartoonists perpetuated the stereotype. Whatever the reason for this wide-spread myth, the fact is that mice will eat cheese if it’s all that’s around, but they’d really prefer cereal.
Asked by Anabelle Hand in Figs, History and Origins of Foods

How did the Fig Newton get its name?

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Obviously the fig part comes from the fruit paste filling, but Newton doesn’t refer to Sir Isaac Newton, as many believe. Instead, it references the city of Newton, Massachusetts. The company that invented them, Kennedy Biscuit Works, named many of their cookies after nearby towns.
Asked by Khalid Waters in Leaning Tower of Pisa, Architecture, Italy

Why doesn't the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall over?

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The tower hasn’t hit the ground yet because its tapered and slightly curved shape keeps its center of gravity fairly low. That means it can tip quite a bit before toppling. In a more poetic sense, though, the tower was falling over for a long time—albeit very slowly. Its tilt, which was first noticed shortly after construction began in 1173, kept increasing until 1990. That’s when engineers declared that, at a tilt of more than five degrees, it was in danger of collapsing. A team then figured out how to correct the lean, bringing it back to a safe angle. Since then, it’s been getting straighter, believe it or not. The residual effects from the construction meant the angle had decreased another four centimeters by 2018.
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Asked by Denis Block in Entertainment & Arts, Painting and Watercolors, Celebrities

What happened to all of Bob Ross’ paintings?

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Most of those happy little trees have a happy little home in Virginia at the Bob Ross Inc. headquarters. According to the company’s president, Joan Kowalski, Ross gave many paintings away over the course of his life, but the company still owns over 1,000 of his iconic paintings and plans to hold on to them. However, the Smithsonian did acquire a few pieces in 2019 including: paintings an easel used in the first season of The Joy of Painting and fan letters. The museum currently has no concrete plans to display them, but eventually, they’ll go up in the National Museum of American History.
Asked by Ayden Lebsack in College Football, Football - American

Was Joe Burrow's 2019-2020 season the best ever by a college QB?

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It’s hard to argue otherwise. In his national championship win last night, he passed Colt Brennan on the all-time list for passing touchdowns in a single season, with 60; he also posted the second-best completion percentage (76.3), the third most passing yards (5,671), and the highest-ever passing efficiency rating (202) in a single season. If you’re a skeptic, you can check those stats here. Perhaps most telling, none of the quarterbacks in the top five of the above statistical categories won the national championship that season...besides Joe Burrow. In the national title game, he set the record for most total touchdowns and combined yards in the BCS/CFP era.
Asked by Forrest Brakus in Speleology, Travel & Places

What is the biggest cave in the world?

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The biggest cave in the world is Sơn Đoòng cave in Vietnam. It has a volume of nearly 40 million cubic kilometers. Inside, there’s a river, two jungles, and a localized climate. It was discovered in the early 1990s, and nobody returned until 2009. A man named Ho Khanh first found it while hunting—he’d heard wind and the flow of the river inside. However, on return trips, he couldn’t find the cave again. He searched for it for years before he finally led researchers to it more than a decade later. Now, a limited number of people can explore it each year.
Asked by Maiya Legros in Oscars, Film Directors

Has a woman ever won the Academy Award for Best Director?

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The first and only woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009. There have been four other women nominated in this category: Lina Wertmüller in 1976 (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion in 1993 (The Piano), Sofia Coppola in 2003 (Lost in Translation), and Greta Gerwig in 2017 (Lady Bird).
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Asked by Alexandre Ferry in Ketchup, Condiments, Food & Cooking

Is there a difference between ketchup and catsup?

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For a while the word “catsup” was more commonly used in North America, and then “ketchup” took over due to large-scale manufacturers like Heinz and Hunt's calling their product “ketchup.” Short answer: ketchup and catsup are the same thing; a tomato-based condiment with vinegar and spices.
Asked by Bria Cummerata in Internet, Technology

How does the internet cross the ocean?

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Nearly 100 percent of international data crosses the ocean via undersea cables. They’re only about three inches in diameter, but they span entire oceans. Plows dig grooves in the sandy ocean floor, lay the cables in, and the current buries them; some are buried as deep as Mount Everest is high. This seems insane—it is insane—but we’ve actually been using ocean-spanning cables since 1866, when the first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph line was laid. In 1956, we started making international phone calls via deep sea cables. Today, there’s a system of nearly 300 undersea cables that transport our data. Oh, and to answer your potential followup question: Even if you’re using wifi or phone data, it eventually reaches a physical cable and, if need be, sprints across the ocean.
Asked by Sabryna Dooley in Public Transportation, Technology

Why are there brushes on the sides of escalators?

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Unfortunately, they’re not there to clean your shoes—they’re there to keep your feet away from where the step meets the side of the escalator. That’s where many of the worst escalator injuries occur, so it’s best you forego your customary between-floor shoe cleaning (I write to myself, begrudgingly). Schindler, an international escalator manufacturer, explains their trusty elevator skirt brush here: “A continuous length of bristles projects out from the skirt, gently deflecting and guiding riders away from the step-to-skirt gap. The brushes are made with durable monofilaments, and provide a soft surface to warn passengers and encourage them to keep away from the extreme sides of the step.” So...can you keep brushing your shoes with them, even a little? No, stop that.
Asked by Trisha Bode in Energy Conservation, Household Hints

What’s the easiest way to cut energy costs?

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There are dozens of ways to cut energy costs on a daily basis, but here are five of the most basic: Cook with something smaller than your oven. Whenever possible, use a microwave, air fryer, or other small appliance to cook. It’s usually quicker, and the heat is focused more on what’s being cooked, thus saving energy. Replace your HVAC filters regularly, and use your vents wisely. These filters often become clogged with dirt, dust, and debris. How often you need to change your filters will depend on how much you run your heater and air conditioner, the amount of debris circulating through the rooms, and the type of filter you use, but in all cases, you should check on them every four to six weeks. Additionally, making sure your vents are closed in rooms you do not use and open and clean in rooms you do use will distribute temperature much more economically. Turn off lights and, since many electronic devices draw power even when they’re turned off, unplug appliances. These probably go without saying, but they can make a big impact on your energy bill. Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives reduces their electricity output by 25-80 percent. Weatherize and insulate your home to save on heating and cooling expenses.
Asked by Helen O'Kon in Apples, Fruits and Vegetables

Is it true that apples don't really have cores?

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The no core theory was popularized by a 2013 video by Foodbeast in which an apple was eaten whole—seeds and all—from the bottom up, eliminating the “core” entirely. Some oppose this apple eating method based on safety concerns, as apple seeds contain amygdalin, which releases cyanide when digested. However, you’d have to eat roughly 18 apples (including seeds) to even get close to a lethal dose. So, you can safely eat through an entire apple. With that established, the confusion then lies in what constitutes the actual core. By one definition, the core is just the thin, fibrous band that runs through the center of an apple, containing the seeds and attaching to the stem. However, The Atlantic argues that the “core” is actually what we choose to leave behind after consumption, which varies from person to person, and eating the apple in its entirety prevents the core from ever existing. They also state that most of us waste up to 30 percent of perfectly good fruit as a result of avoiding the core. One study suggests that the core and seeds actually contain the highest concentration of healthy bacteria, and researchers encouraged people to consume the entire apple to get the most nutritional benefit.
Asked by Walter Carter in Jokes and Riddles, Word Games

Would you rather be able to detect any lie you hear or get away with any lie you told?

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I think it would be more fun and personally rewarding (albeit probably immoral) to get away with any lie you told. Identifying any lie you hear will most likely only teach you things you wish you didn't know.
Asked by Katelyn Kuhn in Workplace Health and Safety, Cold and Flu

How sick is too sick to go to work or school?

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This is often a really tricky call to make. You don’t want to miss important information or let work pile up in your absence, but you also don’t want to get others sick. However, when a fever is involved, the choice is simple: Stay home. You should wait at least 24 hours after the fever’s gone before returning to the outside world. This can be especially helpful in preventing the spread of seasonal flu. Other symptoms tend to have more wiggle room, and the choice often ends up being a complicated dance of trying to balance how important it is to be there, how contagious you are, how flexible your work or school is, and how much your symptoms would impact your quality of work.
Asked by Kitty Schaden in Australia Natural Disasters, Wildfires, Australia

How did the Australia fires start?

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According to Diana Bernstein, climate scientist and Assistant Research Professor in the Division of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi: “Apart from human activities, Australia’s hot and dry summers are to blame for the start and the spread of the wildfires." Although the region knows to expect a fire season, these most recent fires have been worse than most. This is because Australia is currently experiencing its worst drought in decades as well as a heatwave that broke the record for the highest nationwide average temperature in December. These elements combined have caused the fires to spread more rapidly than usual. Many experts also reference climate change as a contributing factor, as the increasingly extreme weather conditions are taking their toll on an already at-risk area. There is also the human element—there have already been 24 people charged with deliberately starting bushfires this season.