Teeing off on golf term origins

QUESTION: A previous article a month or so ago was about the numbers on golf clubs. This evidently got some golfers curious, and I was asked about golf terms such as par, bogey, birdie and so on. This ...

Alcohol vs. mercury in thermometers

QUESTION:Why is alcohol used in regular thermometers and mercury in clinical thermometers? (Asked by a feverish column reader.)REPLY: Well, for one reason, alcohol is much cheaper than mercury. Variou ...

Golf club numbers determined by angles

QUESTION: Golf clubs are numbered. Does this number depend on weight or what? (For you golfers getting ready for spring, or those who play all winter.)REPLY: No, not weight, but in general according t ...

Quiz time!

OK, let's have a How Much Do You Know About Your State quiz. This applies to the column's South Carolina and West Virginia readers. Answers are given, and you might learn something about the other sta ...

Paper makes a painful cut

QUESTION: Why is a paper cut so painful? (Asked by a curious cutter.)REPLY:Good question. I got a paper cut the other day, and it really hurt. A paper cut occurs when the edge of a paper slices your s ...

Keep those lights on

In a recent article on incandescent and fluorescent lights, I ended with: "Then there's the new compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED), which are very efficient in energy sav ...

What's in a name?

QUESTION:Someone recently asked me about names. I had written something on this a while back and dug it up. "What's in a name?"REPLY:Names give us individuality and distinction. We wouldn't want to be ...

A little trivia to start your day

We haven't had any trivia for a while, so let's correct the situation:-- The Amazon River in South America carries more water than any other river in the world and is responsible for about 20 percent ...

Thundersnow?

Question:During the recent snowstorm in the Northeast, there were reports of thundersnow. That implies lightning and thunder during a snowstorm. Is that possible?Reply:Yes, I wrote about it in th ...

A good question for the new year

Question: How did the term "brand new" come about? Why brand? (Asked by Bill Vieth, maker of fine oak chests, Greenwood, S.C.)Reply: When we hear the term "brand," we usually recognize this as a marke ...

Don't forget to turn on the lights!

Question: I was told by someone that they haven't seen any questions sent by me lately, so here are a couple for you: (1) why don't people turn on their headlights when it is getting dark or when rain ...

Gluten-free diet helps those who need it

Question: We see a lot of "gluten-free" products on the store shelves these days. What is gluten and is there a problem with eating it? (Asked by a curious food-conscious column-reader.)Reply:Gluten ( ...

Skim milk has new makeup, new color

Question: I have noticed that skim milk has a bluish color. Why is this? (Asked by a fat-free conscientious column-reader.)Reply:Whole milk appears white. When you skim milk, do you skim off some of t ...

Careful, don't burn your mouth!

Question: Why does blowing on a spoonful of hot soup cool it? (Asked by Kinlea Church, Grantsville, W.Va.) Reply: Don't burn your mouth, blow on it. That's the axiom we all learn for eating soup. Cool ...

Water won't go bad, but bottle might

Question: Does bottled water go bad? (Asked by a curious hydrogen dioxide drinker.)Reply: Bottled water has become a big thing. It is estimated Americans used about 50 billion bottles last year. The s ...

Learn a little bit about yourself

Here are some curious items I gleaned from WebMd that you might find interesting:-- The word "muscle" comes from the Latin "musculus," which means little mouse. "Mus" means "mouse" in Latin and it was ...

Speed of sound changes with conditions

Question: Dr. Wilson, does sound travel faster and farther in summer evenings than in the winter times? Just wondering. Thanks. (Asked by Curiosity Corner regular Myrtle Boyd, Ninety Six, S.C.)Reply: ...