Strange But True

Sinking feeling: Quicksand can swallow cities
Published on Feb 12th, 2004
0 comments  DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q. Earthquakes have been known to rubble a city in seconds. Has quicksand ever swallowed a metropolis whole? ­L. O. Arabia A. The two in fact can work...
Heavy, man: Nothing new under the sun
Published on Feb 5th, 2004
0 comments  DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q. From a reader in the United Arab Emirates: "Many thousands of years have passed since Earth and its first creatures and early humankind appeared. These...
Don't panic: The halo you see is yours
Published on Jan 29th, 2004
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q.  Where's the scariest place you might see a halo around someone's head? How about your own head?T. V. Mary A. The story is told of an 18th century...
All that $$! What to do with it?
Published on Jan 22nd, 2004
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q.  Imagining the old expression "If I had all the money in the world, I would..." were taken literally, how much would you have? What might you buy?...
New plant food: Good for indoor peas
Published on Jan 15th, 2004
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q. Pick from the following the best nutrient-cocktail for your houseplants: a) beer b) milk c) soda pop d) urine. ­V. Sackville-West A. d. Forget the drinks...
Hounds' history: Has bow-wow bondage ended?
Published on Jan 8th, 2004
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR McCLINTOCK Q. If dogs wrote their own history, when would they say the epoch of dog-bondage ended? ­R. Tin Tin A. Not until the invention of mechanical and electrical motors...
How on Earth?: Santa's travel secrets revealed
Published on Dec 25th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCk Q. From a strict logistical standpoint, how on Earth does Santa Claus manage to visit all the world's children in one short night each year? ­C. Moore  A....
Evolution: Fish face to your face
Published on Dec 18th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. Lover, where'd you get that wonderful face? ­C. Tuna  A. Some 600 million years ago, the human face-to-be was little more than the leading edge of a...
Fried ants?: Hiding out saves a few
Published on Dec 11th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. If ants march into the microwave, will their goose be cooked? ­D. Matthews  A. Another way to ask this, At a concert hall, can you hear equally well from...
Experimental: Kid + magnet = no TV
Published on Dec 4th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. Your daughter brings home a fat magnet from school to do some "experiments" around the house. The next day something's wrong with the TV picture. Got a suspect...
What a doll! Barbie rocks into her 40s
Published on Nov 27th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. She's 40-something though ageless, still a teenager after all these years, first conceived in the U.S. yet sprung to life in Japan after World War II, today...
Get it up: How levitation really works
Published on Nov 20th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. Levitation– floating in midair as if by turning off gravity– sure looks like fun in magic shows. Is it true a real frog has been levitated? And if a...
Daddy? Twins have different pops
Published on Nov 13th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q: Can fraternal twins have different fathers? ­D. Matthews  A. Some women after becoming pregnant will ovulate again weeks later, and this second egg may be...
For the birds: Prankster causes delay of game
Published on Nov 6th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. For Psych 101 extra credit: Apply basic conditioning principles to devise a show-stopping prank at a football game. ­A. Groh  A. Story circulating on the...
Tips of the slung: Spoonerisms provoke giggles
Published on Oct 30th, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. "You hissed my mystery lecture," the professor once rebuked a student, adding disgustedly, "You have tasted two worms." Both lines eventually became classics....
Itchy sex: On being allergic to your lover
Published on Oct 23rd, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. Of the many pitfalls to romance, is it possible to be allergic to your lover's body? How about your own? ­Ben Adryl  A. There are rare cases of women who...
Snake-icide: Reptiles' bites end misery
Published on Oct 16th, 2003
0 comments Q. If a venomous snake bites itself, will it die? -Adam  A. Depends on the venom, how much is injected (often none is), and the health of the snake, says University of Florida herpetologist Max...
Spinning: Dentist's drill tops a cycle
Published on Oct 9th, 2003
0 comments Q. As things get revved up, which spins faster, your computer's hard drive, your car's engine, or your dentist's drill? ­M. Goround  A. Today's hard drives go at 10,000 revolutions per minute...
Puffed up: Less pressure, bigger bosom
Published on Oct 2nd, 2003
0 comments DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK BY BILL SONES AND RICH SONES, PH.D. Q. Maybe you slept through chemistry, but you remember Boyle's law, right? "Reduce the pressure on a gas and it will expand."...
Open wide: Gulping gazelles for dinner
Published on Sep 25th, 2003
0 comments Q. How does a python, half the size of a gazelle, manage to swallow it whole? How long does the meal last? ­Henry VIII A. Warning: gross snake gastronomy ahead. Needle-like teeth in elastic-muscled...
Precipitation: Gold goes and comes
Published on Sep 18th, 2003
0 comments  DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR MCCLINTOCK Q. You're a Danish Nobel prize-winning nuclear physicist fleeing the Nazis. You must leave behind your own gold medal and that of a Nobel-winning German...
Fingerplay: Tickle a chimp with care
Published on Sep 11th, 2003
0 comments Q. Could you tickle one of your pets? ­J. Fariello    A. Probably yes, if you've got a dog or cat, though it's tough to identify the associated behavior because they lack "play...
Net loss: Cannonballs need good aim
Published on Sep 4th, 2003
0 comments Q. How does a "human cannonball" survive being shot out of a circus cannon without getting blown to bits? ­P.T. Barnum  A. That part is easy, since the "explosion" is all theatrics, mere pop...
Snap quick!: TV photos require fast work
Published on Aug 28th, 2003
0 comments Q. You love that fetching face on TV, so you fetch your camera to snap a picture. Will her loveliness be preserved for your photo album? ­S. Mann  A. Better check the camera's exposure time...
In other words: You say 'don,' I say 'underpants'
Published on Aug 21st, 2003
0 comments Q. What's a shoecabbage? A food? An item of wearing apparel? ­N. Webster  A. Try neither. A language-lover's term it is. A shoecabbage is a word in another language with the same or a similar...
Gassed: No gators under Big Apple
Published on Aug 14th, 2003
0 comments Q. Are there really alligators living in the sewers of New York, flushed down as overgrown pets, or is this just a fanciful urban legend? ­E. S. Aller  A. "I suppose they could live there for a...
Grape fizz: The skinny on microwaving
Published on Jul 31st, 2003
0 comments Q. Why do grapes spark in the microwave? –Bacchus  A. Don't try this, unless your life insurance is paid up and you have a spare microwave in the basement! This one comes from the Mad...
Tee hee: Get someone else to do it
Published on Jul 24th, 2003
0 comments Q. Can you tickle yourself into a fit of laughter? –Elmo  A. "I'm aware of no one who can do this," says University of Maryland Baltimore County psychologist Robert R. Provine. Tickling...
Tooth truth: DNA lives on in molars
Published on Jul 17th, 2003
0 comments Q. I frequently hear of familial research using DNA analysis of a line that comes to a dead end because the deceased in question was cremated. I plan to be cremated and would like to include a vial...
Too high: No O, down you go
Published on Jul 10th, 2003
0 comments Q. The meteorite-slamming-into-Earth theory to explain the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is well known. What's the too-high-flying balloonist theory? ­P. Fogg  A. In the Andes...