Strange But True

Doctor doggie: An HMO who fetches slippers
Published on Jul 3rd, 2003
0 comments Q. What does "Dr. Dog" know about your health? ­-R. T. Tin  A. Don't sell Rover short, for along with cases of canines wresting their owners out of bed just before an earthquake or tornado...
Smelly clues: Closed nose kills appetite
Published on Jun 26th, 2003
0 comments Q. A friend who's studying psychology invites you to dinner but says you must eat blindfolded. For dessert, you need to clip on a nose plug too. Still hungry? ­J. Child  A. Expect to lose your...
Head start: Half as tall at two!
Published on Jun 19th, 2003
0 comments Q. Most of us reach half our adult height by around what age? a) 10 years b) 8 c) 6 d) 4 e) 2 –R. Sampson  A. Age 8 or 6 are common guesses, but you'll need to drop all the way to 2...
Stand back! More powerful than speeding bullet
Published on Jun 12th, 2003
0 comments Q. It's got energy sufficient, if all were harnessed, to hurl a car into orbit or melt 100 tons of ice. To take its temperature, you'd need a thermometer that registers 50,000 degrees, five times...
20-20: Ping-pong perks up peepers
Published on Jun 5th, 2003
0 comments Q. What's a fast, cost-free, pain-free way to improve your visual acuity? ­B. Bunny  A. Running a race may do it, say V. Gregory Payne and Larry D. Isaacs in Human Motor Development: A Lifespan...
Heavy duty: Grab barbell, then jump
Published on May 29th, 2003
0 comments Q. Your long-jumping buddies get tired of losing to you, so they decide on a handicap: You must jump while holding a three-kilogram weight in each hand. "That oughtta do it," they say. Do what? How...
Wheeeeelie: Drive a car up a wall
Published on May 22nd, 2003
0 comments Q. How steep a hill could a car climb? Ten degrees? Twenty? Don't try this in the neighborhood, but could a car go straight up a vertical wall? Yes, 90 degrees?! ­J. Gordon  A. Ten degrees...
Heads up! Falling balls hazardous
Published on May 15th, 2003
0 comments Q. Would a baseball tossed off the top of a tall building be going faster than a pitched fastball by the time it hit the ground? Could somebody catch it? ­B. Robinson  A. This stunt has been...
Puffery: One bite and you're half dead
Published on May 8th, 2003
0 comments Q. At a restaurant in Japan, what's the most death-defying item on the menu? Would-not-be zombies– beware! ­-Michiko Kogo  A. You'd have to bet on the Puffer Fish, that same one brought...
Laid-back llamas: Hypnotizing animals not too hard
Published on May 1st, 2003
0 comments Q. Can animals be hypnotized? ­G. G. Williams  A. "Tonic immobility" is the term for this, where you rub the abdomen of a rabbit or hold a chicken on its back and cover its eyes for a minute,...
Be like Mike: Headless fowl goes on and on
Published on Apr 24th, 2003
0 comments Q. People can obviously live with missing arms, legs, kidney, lung, gall bladder, eyes, ears, nose, and much more. But wouldn't a headless human be impossible? ­I. Crane  A. If you think so,...
Hair raising: Stop smiling and run!
Published on Apr 17th, 2003
0 comments Q. Oh, neat! You're outdoors on a lookout platform at Sequoia National Park when your long hair starts frizzing out like a halo, standing straight up on top. Your brother aims his camera: "Smile..."...
Sickening? Nose-pickers needn't worry
Published on Apr 10th, 2003
0 comments Q. Nose-pickers who eat their own exudate– couldn't they get sick from this? What's in the stuff to feed this bizarre habit? ­B. & P. Ferrelly  A. Mucus secretions are loaded with...
Mr. Mom: George craves pickles
Published on Apr 3rd, 2003
0 comments Q. What might lead a guy to think he's pregnant? ­M. Jackson  A. Oh, the usual things: abdominal swelling and discomfort, morning nausea, unusual food cravings, breast enlargement– all...
Drop dead? Mice survive great falls
Published on Mar 27th, 2003
0 comments Q. Some animals carry around their own parachute in case of falls. Who is among this foresightful set? ­S. Little  A. Rats and mice, along with their smaller animal brethren. "Terminal...
Dog with remote: Terr loves Lassie
Published on Mar 20th, 2003
0 comments Q. If dogs got their paws on the channel selector, what programs would they watch? ­W. Wegman  A. When well-known magician and skeptic James "Amazing" Randi got wind of a claim that a poodle...
Far out! Dream is clue to dreams
Published on Mar 13th, 2003
0 comments Q. What great experiment by a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist was dreamed up in a dream– twice? ­D. & P. Everly  A. In 1920, German-born Otto Loewi was working on an experiment to see...
Slurp city: Rats don't suck it up
Published on Mar 6th, 2003
0 comments Q. If humans drank like rats, how would things be different at a bar? ­Mrs. Frisby  A. They'd have to turn up the music to drown out the slurping as patrons would be seen lifting their glasses...
Zoo bullies: Throwing their weight around
Published on Feb 27th, 2003
0 comments Q. What four-legged zoo favorite outsizes an 800-pound gorilla by plenty, has a reputation for squashing humans, and sports built-in jogging shoes? ­R. O'Donnell  A. In Diatoms to Dinosaurs,...
Down and dirty: Those nasty, nasty humans
Published on Feb 20th, 2003
0 comments Q. Can you guess the filthiest, most bacteria-laden object in a typical household? The toilet bowl? A wet dishrag? Vacuum cleaner lint? ­Mr. Clean  A. It's not an object at all but we humans,...
Eeeww: Farted fish tunes
Published on Feb 13th, 2003
0 comments Q. From a Hamilton, Ontario reader: "Is it only mammals that fart (oops, flatulate)? A rather exhaustive survey of people at work who keep snakes or fish as pets failed to find anyone who noticed a...
Underwater pull: Trolling for magnets
Published on Feb 6th, 2003
0 comments Q. A World War II British mine expert was investigating an unusual object washed ashore along the Thames River. An eight-foot cylinder, it lacked torpedo propellers or the mooring chains of contact...
Pals with Hal: Getting it on with Mac
Published on Jan 30th, 2003
0 comments Q. What if you hooked up with a powerful online computer as an e-mail pal. Sex aside, could you have a "meaningful" relationship with a machine? ­B. Gates  A. Going by the classic 1950 Turing...
Finest hour: Chaplains embodied courage
Published on Jan 23rd, 2003
0 comments Q. "It was the finest thing I have ever seen or hope to see this side of heaven," said John Ladd, one of 230 survivors. What was the tragedy, what the heroic act? ­ A. Trebeck  A. When the...
True blue: Jeans' color doesn't go deep
Published on Jan 16th, 2003
0 comments Q. Vast riches would come to anyone paid a royalty of a penny for every pair of blue jeans sold in the world. But the riches would disappear if these pants were truly sold as "blue" jeans instead of...
Probing poop: What an offal story
Published on Jan 9th, 2003
0 comments Q. Getting really down and dirty, what do anthropologists learn about ancient peoples from coprolites?–Divine  A. These are artifacts of fossilized human dung sifted from the soils of...
Pop a top: Then watch
Published on Dec 26th, 2002
0 comments Q. Ever "popped" a friend's beer in a tavern? Better be a good friend. –Flounder  A. You sound like you hang with a classy crowd, Flounder. Here's how it works: Some poor sucker sets down...
True love? No age limit on egomania
Published on Dec 18th, 2002
0 comments Q. How early in life can a person fall in "real love"? Certainly by age 18 many of us have been truly smitten. What about age 13? Thirteen-year-old Juliet fell head-over-heels for Romeo. How about a...
On the other hand...
Published on Dec 12th, 2002
0 comments Q. The power of suggestion can be pretty amazing. Is it possible for someone simply to will warts away? ­M.H. Erickson  A. In The Medusa and the Snail, noted biologist Lewis Thomas tells of...
Catting around: Give kitty a key
Published on Dec 5th, 2002
0 comments Q. Family installed a cat door to allow the pet to leave and enter the house at any time. Great idea, but soon neighborhood cats were dropping in at all hours for snacks and sociability. Could the...