Strange But True

'Pap' can do his part
Published on Nov 28th, 2002
0 comments Q. Can a woman who adopts a newborn breast-feed the baby? Could a man possibly do the same? ­F. Lamaze  A. Women who have not recently been pregnant or breast-feeding can sometimes induce milk...
Flatus impossible: Whoever denied it supplied it
Published on Nov 21st, 2002
0 comments Q. Are there people who don't "pass wind"? One woman swears she never has, and her husband confirms this very strange admission. ­J. Carrey  A. "I don't believe this is possible," says...
Blue hue: The azure stream of conciousness
Published on Nov 14th, 2002
0 comments Q. At a posh art show, color was the theme: All the canvasses were white, the gallery walls were white, white wine was served. So why was the exhibition titled "Blue"? ­J. Johns  A. That's what...
Switching sides
Published on Nov 7th, 2002
0 comments Q. If I'm right-handed, is there any way I could learn to use my left hand for writing so I can write with any hand I want? ­E. Scissorhands  A. Sure, with practice you can learn to do this,...
Eyes for art: Bad vision makes for masterpieces
Published on Oct 31st, 2002
0 comments Q: If you were a famous painter and developed eye trouble, would that doom your art? –E. L. Greco  A: Not necessarily, says physicist Sidney Perkowitz in Empire of Light: A History of...
Reptiles in repose: Not hard to soothe a savage beast
Published on Oct 24th, 2002
0 comments Q: Could a very daring and knowledgeable person hypnotize an alligator? Don't try this! ­C. Dundee  A: More than 200 years ago, the Seminole Indians in the swamps of Florida discovered a...
Better than Kevlar: Silk could stop jets
Published on Oct 17th, 2002
0 comments Q: What's the strongest material made by an animal a) turtle shell b) rhino horn c) oyster pearl d) spider silk? –Charlotte Webster  A: d. The story here begins in old Tombstone days of...
Calling all bugs
Published on Oct 10th, 2002
0 comments Q: Their official taxonomic names are "Heerz tooya," "Heerzlukenatcha," "Verae peculya," "Mantis religiosa," "Dicrotendipides thanatogratus" (thanatos = dead, gratus = grateful), "Gretchena dulciana...
Striking facts
Published on Oct 3rd, 2002
0 comments Q: Funny thing about lightning is a) it never strikes the same place twice; b) if it strikes a place once, it may strike there dozens of times. ­B. Franklin  A: Both can be true, depending on...
Buoyed up
Published on Sep 26th, 2002
0 comments Q. Swimming instructors will tell you the world divides into two types: "sinkers" and "floaters." If you're a sinker, is there anything you can do about it? ­E. Williams  A. Try heading for the...
Babble on
Published on Sep 19th, 2002
0 comments Q: Linguistically speaking, who are the true "citizens of the world"? ­J. Piaget A: They are newborns, whose ears take in the sounds of life, including the phonemic building blocks of English,...
Good as it gets
Published on Sep 12th, 2002
0 comments Q: Beyond multi-orgasmic is milli-orgasmic thousands of orgasms. Is this potentiality in humankind's future? ­H. Hefner  A: When researcher James Olds surgically implanted electrodes into rats...
Here, kitty!
Published on Sep 5th, 2002
0 comments Q: Do big cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards purr like housecats? ­G. G. Williams A: There's no doubt that big cats can purr... just ask anyone who's ever worked with them in a zoo or circus...
Outrunning T. Rex
Published on Aug 29th, 2002
0 comments Q: Imagine a time-warp Kentucky Derby where somehow a 12,000-pound bi-pedal Tyrannosaurus rex chases a 1,000-pound modern racehorse. Could the thoroughbred run away? ­E. Arcaro  A: Horses are...
More salt
Published on Aug 22nd, 2002
0 comments Q. Could a person's hair in fact turn white overnight from fright, as Marie Antoinette's and Thomas More's were said to have done just hours before their execution? ­V. Sassoon  A. Overnight...
Summer knights
Published on Aug 8th, 2002
0 comments   Q: Imagine knights of old gathering for a roundtable discussion with modern baseball players. What "materials strength" tips could they share? ­C. Ripkin  A: White ash was celebrated in...
Don't count on rubber
Published on Aug 1st, 2002
0 comments Q: If you're relatively safe from a lightning strike in a car because of the insulating tires, does this mean cars with bigger tires protect you even better? ­H. Ford  A: Not at all, says...
Stealth bugs
Published on Jul 25th, 2002
0 comments Q: How do insects successfully evade attacking bats? Do bats do as well avoiding stealth fighter planes? ­-V.T. Impaler  A: From the fossil record, bats have been using sonar stalking for at...
Worms, bugs, and kisses
Published on Jul 18th, 2002
0 comments   Q: Any truth to the old tapeworm remedy of fasting for three days and then holding a bowl of food (soured milk?) up to your mouth so when the hungry worm smells it and crawls out of your mouth...
Deep throat
Published on Jul 11th, 2002
0 comments Q: Are sword-swallowers for real, or do they use some sort of illusion or trickery? L. Lovelace  A: Proof positive is Guinness eight-swords-at-once record-holder Brad Byers ("Warning: Do not...
That tasty tingle
Published on Jul 4th, 2002
0 comments STRANGE BUT TRUE- That tasty tingle Published 07/04/02 in issue #22 of The Hook   STRANGETRUE@COMPUSERVE.COM –DRAWING BY DEBORAH DERR Q: What is it about beer that makes it such a...
Hairy and scary
Published on Jun 27th, 2002
0 comments Q: In search of the roots of vampirism and werewolfism, modern science has looked recently past gas-bloated corpses shifting in shallow graves (the "undead") and rabies victims (males bite, are...
Polydactyl pussies
Published on Jun 20th, 2002
0 comments Q: If one cat has 20 toes, do five cats have 100? But first, are they all polydactyl cats? –M.E. OwA: "Polydactyl" means "many digits," and in a housecat means more than the normal 18 toes (5 + 5 in...
Playing a gag
Published on Jun 13th, 2002
0 comments Q: I’ve heard that for some of his stunts, Harry Houdini first had to master control of his "gag reflex." What was the point of that? –L. LovelaceA: To free himself from chains, padlock, and...
Hot-footin'
Published on Jun 6th, 2002
0 comments Q: There are people who can perform the amazing feat of walking barefoot over red-hot coals without injury. Is this a case of mind over matter? –Dr. T. SchollA: Actually, physics protects the feet,...
Don't get a big head
Published on May 30th, 2002
0 comments Q: What's wrong with the old sci-fi notion that in1,000,000 years we humans will have big heads (brains), spindly limbs (disuse), bald pates (in progress), and no wisdom teeth or little toes (...
Lit up
Published on May 23rd, 2002
0 comments Q: Is that really a light on a lightning bug, or isthat just glow juice? Why don't we humans have one on us? Maybe we don't eat the right stuff. —Bug CatcherA: Real light it is, with visible photons...
Buttoned up
Published on May 16th, 2002
0 comments Q: Why does women's clothing have buttons on the left side, whereas men's buttons are on the right?—G. VersaceA: The most widely accepted explanation points to the fact that women have traditionally...
Instant connection
Published on May 9th, 2002
0 comments Q. Is love at first sight possible, or is this just grist for romantic novels and movies? –S. O’HaraA: Enough couples have described the experience, but it is rare, says David B. Givens, Ph.D., in...
Ride pride
Published on May 2nd, 2002
0 comments Q: Your timid date has never ridden a roller-coaster. "C'mon, you're gonna love it!" you lie. Which seat offers best hope of turning her into a trembling helpless puddle?–Rough riderA: Take her...