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Forum: Questions and Answers

A place for factual questions and Ask the Expert threads.

  1. Sterilizing glass for preserving: boiling vs. bleach?

    I've done a lot of canning in the past couple of years -- jams & jellies, pickles, hot sauce, that sort of thing. I've recently been trying my hand at brewing beer, too. When I've made preserves or pickles, I've always boiled the jars to...

    Started by Beadalin‎, 08 Mar 2009 12:47 PM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 14,172
    09 Mar 2009 10:17 AM Go to last post
  2. The Shape of the Universe

    It's easy to flip through pages and pages of speculation, but it's harder to get an insight into what most physicists actually believe on this question. So I gotta ask: What are the most popular theories among experts about the large-scale structure...

    Started by Hellestal‎, 08 Mar 2009 12:20 AM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 980
    09 Mar 2009 08:56 AM Go to last post
  3. Why don't plastic dishes dry?

    When you do dishes either in a dishwasher or by hand, the flexible plastic containers don't ever dry very well. I know they hold some water in their crevices (which sounds totally porn-y, doesn't it?) but the surfaces themselves also seem to hang...

    Started by renee‎, 08 Mar 2009 03:09 AM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 795
    08 Mar 2009 10:25 PM Go to last post
  4. fuel injector service at the garage

    I took the Grey Ghost (99 Buick Park Avenue 110,000 mi) in for an oil change and the mechanic said the injectors were "a little dirty". So, two questions- What is the diagnostic tool? And is this worth $65? In the past I have put a can of...

    Started by david86blue‎, 07 Mar 2009 12:31 AM
    • Replies: 6
    • Views: 767
    08 Mar 2009 09:46 AM Go to last post
  5. Browning Light 12 - how can I find the year?

    I just got one of my wife's Grandfather's shotguns given to me for my birthday. I'm not sure of the year - or the value for that matter. I can say that it is in great shape and shoots perfectly. It's a Browning Light 12. It says "made in...

    Started by Brewha‎, 07 Mar 2009 03:57 PM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 2,142
    07 Mar 2009 08:38 PM Go to last post
  6. Requesting medical or legal advice

    Please feel free to post threads requesting medical or legal advice in the Q&A forum. However, please do so with the understanding that any advice you receive must be taken at your own risk. Well-meaning folks are as likely to post inaccurate,...

    Started by Q.E.D.‎, 07 Mar 2009 07:57 PM
    • Replies: 0
    • Views: 1,055
    07 Mar 2009 07:57 PM Go to last post
  7. Why do certain flavors make my jaw spasm?

    Occasionally, if I am eating something particularly savory or acidic, the muscles in the back of my jaw will - well - sort of cringe. Kind of like a little spasm. Why does that happen?

    Started by NinetyWt‎, 03 Mar 2009 11:48 PM
    • Replies: 11
    • Views: 9,059
    07 Mar 2009 11:59 AM Go to last post
  8. Used tire stores in the barrio, but not the ghetto

    A slightly politically incorrect question. In predominantly Mexican-American neighborhoods in cities like Austin, Los Angeles and El Paso, I've found that there's literally tens of used tire stores. I mean, they're everywhere in those...

    Started by elmwood‎, 06 Mar 2009 12:03 PM
    • Replies: 8
    • Views: 5,817
    07 Mar 2009 10:59 AM Go to last post
  9. Why Don't Septic Tanks Just Explode?

    I always wonder about this -- during a Cleaning Spasm (which is a rare event) I tend to do the whole house. Ammonia in the toilets, bleach in the sinks. I know I'm not supposed to mix those. And I don't, within the house. But they go into...

    Started by fessie‎, 04 Mar 2009 09:11 AM
    • Replies: 20
    • Views: 9,031
    07 Mar 2009 08:33 AM Go to last post
  10. Copyright

    If I designed an original website with all original content, can I just say that it is copyrighted by me? Doesn't the fact that I put it online in the first place prove that I am its owner? If you don't copyright a website, what can happen? ...

    Started by bookbuster‎, 06 Mar 2009 06:34 AM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 1,190
    07 Mar 2009 01:46 AM Go to last post
  11. If you put an airplane on a treadmill, will the plane take off?


    Started by flyingcowofdoom‎, 06 Mar 2009 11:48 AM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 1,124
    06 Mar 2009 12:52 PM Go to last post
  12. Random fence corners

    Lately I've noticed a few places that have these. Most often they're split rail, but I've seen other types of wooden fence like this. It's just 3 fence posts in a rough triangle with rails connecting them, as if someone started building a fence at...

    Started by BB Rodriguez‎, 05 Mar 2009 11:36 AM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 1,115
    06 Mar 2009 12:10 PM Go to last post
  13. What happened to the porno spam?

    Back in the day, when spam was still getting into my inbox, it practically all seemed to be young women doing...er...interesting stuff. Now, when I occasionally check my gmail account to see if anything has been wrongly sent to "spam", everything...

    Started by Rube E. Tewesday‎, 28 Feb 2009 10:01 PM
    • Replies: 13
    • Views: 2,007
    06 Mar 2009 06:28 AM Go to last post
  14. Calculus (Curvature) Question

    When deriving the expression for curvature, I can follow the example given here.However, between steps 13 and 14, they replace the dummy variable (t), since we know y=f(x), we can greatly simplify the expression. What is this technique called,...

    Started by Santo Rugger‎, 05 Mar 2009 11:22 PM
    • Replies: 1
    • Views: 857
    06 Mar 2009 01:25 AM Go to last post
  15. Exaggerating a sale: Is this illegal?

    I've tried wading through descriptions of the laws on advertising sales, but I'm still not entirely sure I understand if this is illegal or not. A friend and I dropped into a convenience store not too long ago and she wanted to buy a pack of...

    Started by Zuul‎, 05 Mar 2009 10:56 AM
    • Replies: 5
    • Views: 1,001
    06 Mar 2009 01:24 AM Go to last post
  16. Three-zygote triplets

    This question is based on those crappy movies where three men argue about who knocked up some chick. In the end the woman turns out to give birth to three children, each of which resembles one of the men. I guess in times of fertility treatment,...

    Started by kk fusion‎, 05 Mar 2009 06:23 AM
    • Replies: 5
    • Views: 1,337
    06 Mar 2009 01:00 AM Go to last post
  17. Car remote starter help?

    I installed a remote starter on my car a few years ago, and it worked fine until this year. The problem is, it only cranks the engine for a second or so, and this will not start the car unless it's pretty warm outside, which defeats the purpose of...

    Started by BB Rodriguez‎, 05 Mar 2009 11:16 AM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 1,588
    05 Mar 2009 11:36 PM Go to last post
  18. Can I still eat these parsnips?

    I've had them in the fridge for ages. They're now almost three months past their use-by date. They still seem mostly fine - the main body doesn't seem squishy or smell bad or mouldy. But they've sprouted, there's four inch white worm-things coming...

    Started by Nancarrow‎, 05 Mar 2009 05:16 PM
    • Replies: 3
    • Views: 14,475
    05 Mar 2009 07:41 PM Go to last post
  19. Anyone here with phonetic transcription skills?

    I need the IPA transcription of 'Schouwenberg', a Dutch surname. I know, more or less, how it's pronouced, but my transcription skills aren't the hottest. Have any of the linguist types migrated over this way?

    Started by Surok‎, 05 Mar 2009 10:03 AM
    • Replies: 1
    • Views: 1,425
    05 Mar 2009 11:03 AM Go to last post
  20. This Image Has Been Removed for Security Reasons

    I get this message as a .png picture* when I open an HTML document in my webmail. Then I've got to click "Show Unsafe Images". Why aren't the images secure in the first place? What does that even mean? Why would it allow me to click to show...

    Started by Santo Rugger‎, 03 Mar 2009 11:16 PM
    • Replies: 7
    • Views: 3,190
    05 Mar 2009 11:01 AM Go to last post
  21. How to clean carpet in my car

    I had something go moldy in the back of my car, and the carpet got moldy, too. I can't remove it, so I can't hose it down at the car wash. What can I use to clean, deodorize and sanitize it? Thanks!

    Started by MsRobyn‎, 02 Mar 2009 09:11 AM
    • Replies: 11
    • Views: 5,305
    05 Mar 2009 09:00 AM Go to last post
  22. Asteroid Impact Damage?

    Lunch conversation today included a brief discussion of the asteroid that narrowly missed the Earth on Monday. One of my co-workers was saying that it would cause more damage if it hit solid ground rather than one of the oceans, but I seem to...

    Started by Morgyn‎, 04 Mar 2009 12:59 PM
    • Replies: 2
    • Views: 1,595
    04 Mar 2009 07:34 PM Go to last post
  23. Why do I set off store alarms?

    To preface this question, no I am not stealing anything :) I notice that about half the time I go to Walgreens, I either set off the alarms in the way in or out. What could I be carrying that would set off the alarms if I'm not stealing? Items...

    Started by myskepticsight‎, 03 Mar 2009 03:05 PM
    • Replies: 9
    • Views: 22,687
    04 Mar 2009 05:53 PM Go to last post
  24. Q about malware and internet browsers (Safari/Firefox)

    The details follow, but in brief my question is: there seems to be a malware-related problem accessing my employer's website via Safari. Internet Explorer and Firefox aren't affected. Should I push for solving this problem, or do so few people use...

    Started by Hatshepsut‎, 04 Mar 2009 05:52 AM
    • Replies: 1
    • Views: 1,379
    04 Mar 2009 01:56 PM Go to last post
  25. snarkpit question

    Yeah, I read it... Is S2 real? Most of the time it seems like a giant joke played on the stupid (by the stupid), but every now and then...

    Started by SilverTygerGirl‎, 03 Mar 2009 11:11 AM
    • Replies: 19
    • Views: 3,032
    04 Mar 2009 11:34 AM Go to last post
  26. Why isn't Germany a good place to host a message board?

    Over in ADF, we see this: What is the law on voluntary associations like in the UK? In Germany that would be a possible legal form for such a venture (although Germany would be a bad place to run a message board for other reasons). They are...

    Started by Hostile Dialect‎, 04 Mar 2009 06:40 AM
    • Replies: 6
    • Views: 1,202
    04 Mar 2009 11:08 AM Go to last post
  27. Get that planet out of here

    Let's say we really need to move the Earth closer to, or further away from, the Sun. What's a good way to do that? (Either with technology that exists today, or a direct development of existing technology.)

    Started by Baldwin‎, 03 Mar 2009 07:37 AM
    • Replies: 9
    • Views: 1,468
    04 Mar 2009 08:38 AM Go to last post
  28. Deaf Folks and Feeling Music

    I posted a line from Back to the Future on my Facebook page, and my almost 100% deaf cousin responded, "Great movie!" Now, it's no surprise to me that deaf people can thoroughly enjoy movies (he's also a lip reader and he says if he watches a...

    Started by cmyk‎, 03 Mar 2009 11:38 AM
    • Replies: 7
    • Views: 1,213
    04 Mar 2009 01:35 AM Go to last post
  29. How did azure blue come to be associated with Italy?

    Both Italian rugby and football teams play in azure blue, and they're nicknamed the Azzuri. How did this colour get picked, seeing as the colours of their flag is red, white and green?

    Started by CRSP‎, 28 Feb 2009 11:49 AM
    • Replies: 10
    • Views: 4,699
    04 Mar 2009 12:14 AM Go to last post
  30. Is the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco responsible for the worldwide economic downturn?

    Is it? The US is a pretty heavy hitter in international economics. In fact, the US is probably THE heavy hitter. Is the mortgage troubles there responsible for the economic downturn in the rest of the world? I know that we in Canada are...

    Started by alice_in_wonderland‎, 03 Mar 2009 08:05 PM
    • Replies: 2
    • Views: 1,043
    03 Mar 2009 10:37 PM Go to last post
  31. Where did the standard frame for image macros originate?

    I'm sure everybody has seen it, the black frame around images with a sentence at the bottom. This now seems to be standard, but where did it come from? (Example here, for instance.)

    Started by CRSP‎, 03 Mar 2009 05:33 PM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 1,204
    03 Mar 2009 08:29 PM Go to last post
  32. more microwavia: what happened to my creamer?

    Twice now, a container of powdered "Cremora" style coffee creamer stored next to the microwave seems to have just...stopped working. It will not fully dissolve even in very hot water; it just clumps up and then leaves behind suspended particles of...

    Started by Ensign Edison‎, 27 Feb 2009 09:14 PM
    • Replies: 9
    • Views: 4,209
    03 Mar 2009 05:47 PM Go to last post
  33. Are Driver's (Learning) Permits Valid In Other States?

    Just occurred to me that my son will have his permit - but not his license - in time for our road trip to New York this summer. Which means we'll have a lot of highway miles on I-90 for him to practice on. Is his Illinois permit going to be okay in...

    Started by WhyNot‎, 03 Mar 2009 04:02 PM
    • Replies: 2
    • Views: 3,971
    03 Mar 2009 05:41 PM Go to last post
  34. Nonverbal aircraft communication

    Here's the story So, what does a fighter do to a bomber (apart from shooting at it) that convinces the bomber to turn around and go home RIGHT NOW?

    Started by Inigo Montoya‎, 27 Feb 2009 05:08 PM
    • Replies: 6
    • Views: 1,157
    03 Mar 2009 04:25 PM Go to last post
  35. What percentage of men use prostitutes

    In my thread in CS about Hawaiian pizza, I rather whimsically mentioned that eating it is like going to hookers -- everybody knows it's common, but practically no one admits to it. That got me thinking -- look in any "alternative" paper, and...

    Started by Rube E. Tewesday‎, 27 Feb 2009 12:42 PM
    • Replies: 22
    • Views: 9,344
    03 Mar 2009 04:12 PM Go to last post
  36. Will we be getting stimulus checks in 2009?

    I've been hunting around the internet, but can't find a definitive answer. Anyone got the scoop on this?

    Started by Winston Smith‎, 03 Mar 2009 02:10 PM
    • Replies: 1
    • Views: 953
    03 Mar 2009 02:47 PM Go to last post
  37. Do they still speak French in the Louisianan swamps?

    There was a film on British TV over Christmas, where a unit from the Louisianan national guard is hounded by cajuns in the swamps (I cannot remember the name of the film, but it was from the 1970's or 1980's, by the looks of it). Is there still a...

    Started by CRSP‎, 27 Feb 2009 12:34 PM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 3,127
    03 Mar 2009 01:18 PM Go to last post
  38. Why are bananas curved?

    It's one of those things you take for granted, the shape of a banana. But the question is, why do they curve like that?

    Started by CatInASuit‎, 03 Mar 2009 09:01 AM
    • Replies: 6
    • Views: 3,014
    03 Mar 2009 01:10 PM Go to last post
  39. Term lengths : Senate vs House of Reps.

    Why is it that Senators are elected to 6 year terms (With 1/3 elected every 2 years), but House of Reps members (Representatives?) are elected every second year? Also, my understanding is that each state has the same amount of Senators so that...

    Started by The J Word‎, 03 Mar 2009 08:32 AM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 22,512
    03 Mar 2009 10:17 AM Go to last post
  40. Why do the Japanese read and write from right to left?

    I was watching this guy read a Japanese newspaper on a train and it made me curious. You see, I am left handed, and when I was a little kid I used to construct little books. I'd make them read from right to left because that seemed the most...

    Started by Why I Am a Destiny‎, 01 Mar 2009 09:15 PM
    • Replies: 8
    • Views: 17,053
    03 Mar 2009 08:36 AM Go to last post
  41. Why isn't there a 50-50 split between left and right-handedness?

    I can't help with an answer, but I am interested in why there isn't a 50 - 50 split between left and right-handedness. Any theories anybody? Or have I even got that wrong?

    Started by ivan astikov‎, 02 Mar 2009 06:46 PM
    • Replies: 2
    • Views: 1,190
    03 Mar 2009 06:47 AM Go to last post
  42. Where can I get a military issue (quality) blanket?

    I'm looking for something for early spring camping (car camping, so weight is unimportant). I loathe sleeping bags, I can't sleep with my feet and legs constricted. So usually I bring lots and lots of blankets and sleep with a hat and several layers...

    Started by WhyNot‎, 28 Feb 2009 07:52 PM
    • Replies: 13
    • Views: 2,730
    02 Mar 2009 11:47 PM Go to last post
  43. Effect of being hit by A-10 minigun shell?

    I've been watching some videos of A-10 strafing runs in Afghanistan. The ground seems to explode as the shells hit, and then the gun's sound can be heard a few seconds later. What would happen if a human was hit by one of these shells? Would they...

    Started by CRSP‎, 02 Mar 2009 07:26 AM
    • Replies: 5
    • Views: 5,315
    02 Mar 2009 07:18 PM Go to last post
  44. Why isn't there male birth control medication?

    I know about the recent work on the so-called "male pill," which, IIRC, is currently more like a periodic injection. Is there something about female systems that lends itself to hormone-based contraception? Was it male chauvinism back in the day?...

    Started by garygnu‎, 27 Feb 2009 03:17 PM
    • Replies: 17
    • Views: 2,130
    02 Mar 2009 02:25 PM Go to last post
  45. Shin splints: how to get rid of them

    I seem to be suffering from shin splints recently. In any case, I have a sharp ache in my shins whenever I exercise. I'm told that they're a nightmare to get rid of, though. Can doctors prescribe anything for them (I find it hard to run, and it's...

    Started by CRSP‎, 26 Feb 2009 03:12 PM
    • Replies: 11
    • Views: 2,896
    01 Mar 2009 10:46 PM Go to last post
  46. Why does my microwave spark when I make popcorn?

    I bought a box (10 mini packs) of Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn. Every time I make one (keeping in mind that I remove the packaging as directed) a small bit on the front lip of my microwave starts sparking like crazy. It doesn't do...

    Started by alice_in_wonderland‎, 27 Feb 2009 03:43 PM
    • Replies: 4
    • Views: 15,339
    01 Mar 2009 12:25 PM Go to last post
  47. Was the creepy Argentinian gnome ever cleared up?

    See story here, for instance (forgive the source, but there's also a Youtube video that backs up the story, and the guys in the video look petrified). Was the person who was posing as the weird gnome ever identified, and was it found out why he was...

    Started by CRSP‎, 27 Feb 2009 12:06 PM
    • Replies: 5
    • Views: 1,618
    27 Feb 2009 06:06 PM Go to last post

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