Science Questions (Summer Edition)

It’s time for another round of science questions and answers with neOnbubble‘s very own (receipts to prove it) resident doctor of knowledge, Doctor Ofknowledge, and – since it’s an achingly hot Summer and the doctor is sweating under his labcoat – we’re going to have a real special summer theme to the questions. Some of the answers too! If you want to submit your own questions to Doctor Ofknowledge then please use the form at the bottom.

Enough introductory claptrap! Let’s learn!

Martin of Birmingham asks …
It’s freakishly hot and I’ve got a cold. What is snot made from?
Your body consists of the four classical elements – earth, fire, water, and air – plus antibodies too small for the ancient Greeks to find. Their job (the antibodies; not the ancient Greeks) is to travel the vast tracts of your skin and deep furrows of your organs looking for germs. When germs and antibodies meet it’s murder! Just like Hart to Hart. At the end of the murdering the germ is chopped up and thrown off the body. However, your nose is full of hairs and when germs die in there they become trapped. Under a microscope snot is revealed to be the rotting corpses of trillions of cold germs.

Saddam of Melbourne asks …
What is the accepted scientific rule governing the wearing of Speedos in public?
The rule is: it’s perfectly fine to wear Speedos so long as they are underneath three other layers of clothing and you are behind a wall. The wall must be painted with a lead-based paint and be constructed to withstand a tactical nuclear strike. A tactical nuclear strike must occur soon after you disappear behind the wall.

Hot ScienceJessica of Utrecht asks …
My leg is trapped in melting tarmac and I am awaiting rescue. Will melting roads cause more of a problem as the climate warms?
I’m sorry to hear of your predicament Jessica. While the problem of melting roads will increase as each decade passes and the mean temperature of the Earth rises, the issue of people, vehicles, and pets becoming trapped will even itself out as the population moves away from travelling using streets and towards air transportation via personal jetpacks. Jetpack travel is not so popular right now as their high failure rate means certain death after a long fall but, with the prospect of nice, soft tarmac to land in, this mode of travel will become more attractive for future generations.

Oscar of Sesame Street asks …
Why do sewers smell more in the Summer?
Alligator sweat.

Sebastian of Ulan Bator asks …
What did you mean when you said "another round of science questions" because I can’t find another round anywhere?
Doctor Ofknowledge will not answer questions that are not summer-themed.

Fernando of Stockholm asks …
The sky seems a deeper blue during the Summer. Is it? What determines the blueness of the sky?
When sunlight leaves the Sun it is yellow. Over the course of several minutes travelling through the vacuum of space this sunlight hits our oxygen-rich atmosphere. Just like a Bunsen Burner this has the effect of turning the sunflames from yellow to blue. At night, with the Earth shielding you from the Sun’s rays, the sky returns to its natural black colour. The Sun’s output of sunfire is fairly constant which leads to a fairly constant sky colour. The most likely reason for the apparent deeper blue you perceive during the Summer is pressure on your brain stem caused by not taking in enough fluids. You will probably suffer a stroke soon.

Mbeki of Toronto asks …
I hate the Summer but birds seem to like it. Why do they migrate with the seasons?
Alligator sweat.

William of Tokyo asks …
I do not water my garden in a bid to kill off all living things through dehydration yet it is still overgrown at this time of the year with weeds. What is the difference between weeds and flowers?
Weeds and flowers are essentially the same thing. Plants that can survive being paved over, stamped on, no food or water, a thorough gasolining and lighting, and do not wilt when subjected to hideous Gnarls Barclay music are of no use to the evil Fauna Cartel’s plans to milk money from gardeners and are labelled as "weeds". Plants which require careful and expensive pruning, expensive situating, expensive anti-snail guntowers, expensive re-planting, and are liable to die during periods of glancing away are called "flowers".

Helen of Troyes asks …
It’s getting hotter; damn you Sun! Damn you to hell! What sort of temperature is really dangerous?
Babies and the elderly are especially susceptible to increases in temperature. Infants do not have fully-developed sweat glands so heatwaves see their core body temperatures rising unchecked. This can cause their skin to dry out and render them as flaky husks. The elderly have vast amounts of sweat glands which should set them in good stead but their predilection to wearing nineteen layers of cardigans offsets this cooling ability and they too can dessicate quickly. Scientific tests put this critical point at 42 degrees celsius. Normal people can remain hydrated to a far higher level. However, at 51 degrees celsius all people burst into flames.

Chesney of Montevideo asks …
Some people say that if you are hot you should drink hot liquids to cool down rather than cool liquids. Which is best for cooling you down?
Alligator sweat.

Olga of Houston asks …
The hot weather makes me angry. Angry! What causes this anger? Grrr!
Some scientists believe that negative ions in the atmosphere help us to feel euphoric and it’s a well-known fact that negative ions seek shady areas and babbling brooks leading the opposite of blissful euphoria – white fury – to prevail. If that was the case, though, then hot, desert areas such as the Middle East would be a hotbed of seething rage so the jury is still out on the exact cause.

Jacques of Belfast asks …
My hair grows really fast during the Summer. Why don’t humans moult?
Actually, humans do moult. Not only hair, but skin and wee-wee is shed during sleep. Sadly, bed mites, which thrive on skin cells and urine have evolved to "reward" their human benefactors by pasting the unwanted hair back in place. Don’t ask what they use for paste. You won’t like the answer. Evolutionary biologists believe this symbiotic relationship arose during the last ice age so that mites could keep their cavemen alive. Nowadays, it’s probably spite.

Wayne of Tikrit asks …
I thought there was a form at the bottom for submitting questions. Wait! How did I ask this?
Doctor Ofknowledge will not answer questions that are not summer-themed.

Author: Mark

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  1. I don’t care WHAT you say, I shan’t be trying the ‘alligator sweat’ method of cooling off-ery.

    Also, a question of a summery fashion: Why do people seem to pee in the subways MORE during the summer, even though they know it will REEK??

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  2. Everyone knows that hot air rises above cool air. That’s how air balloons and politicians work. Normally, the hot airy smell of urine rises out of the subway vents and collects in rainbows but during hot Summers all the air is hot so a general mixing of odours takes place instead. Although you may be more nasally aware of the smell of pee at this time of year you’ll be pleased to know that levels of urination tend to remain unchanged at 2,600 gallons per train carriage per week.

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  3. Anti perspirant deodorant doesn’t work because I still sweat like a pig during hot weather. Scientifically-speaking, what is the best preventer of sweating?

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  4. Anti-perspirant deodorant works by blocking sweat pores with a fine mist of particles, making all the sweat go back inside the body where it collects in the ankles. Elderly people whose sweat pores have blocked completely through no washing usually exhibit the symptoms of cankles as a result. The problem with anti-perspirant, of course, is that the misty particles eventually evaporate and sweating can recommence. A longer-term, but still not dangerous, solution is to place cacti under your armpits. The spikes will hurt many pores causing them to close involuntarily and the threat of spiking causes many other pores to close voluntarily too. At night, under cover of darkness, the pores will reopen in defiance and the threat of canklisation is removed.

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  5. Why do I, I mean, girls like to wear short shorts in the summer?

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  6. You Girls like to wear short shorts because this reduces the distance that air has to travel up the short legs before cooling down the testicles region of fun. The shorter the distance air needs to travel, the cooler it is as it is less exhausted.

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