Prehistoric Transportation (Jan. 1, 2002) The Truth About Laser Beams(Jan. 2, 2002) Page Numbering (Jan. 3, 2002) Face to Face Resistance (Jan. 6, 2002) Chinese Breakfast (Jan. 7, 2002) Those in N-Dimension (Jan. 8, 2002) Martian Life (Jan. 9, 2002) Sleep In Eyes (Jan. 10, 2002) George Jones Ice Cubes Cats' Behinds Map Colors Regeneration


Dear Doctor Science,
The Flintstones cars ran on foot power. Why didn't they just walk instead of pulling the heavy car everywhere?
-- Justin Wallin from Hacienda Heights, CA

Cavemen were gluttons for punishment, frequently confusing pain with pleasure and chronic frustration for life itself. In this way, they resembled modern day graduate students, who often labor long hours for little financial and no discernable long-term gain. Especially those foolish enough to confuse achieving a graduate degree in the arts or humanities with artistic or human achievement itself, all the while ignoring the reality of a job market already glutted with increasingly disillusioned bearers of such worthless diplomas. So, in that way cavemen were really quite sophisticated, if being sophisticated can be defined as a form of masochism.
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Why don't we ever hear about seahorses any more?
-- Jim Kingsdale from Crested Butte, CO
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Today is the anniversary of the birth of Isaac Asimov Happy birthday to Diane Lane and Dennis Hastert!



Dear Doctor Science, What is a laser beam made of?
-- Lauren Grace from Toledo, OH

Normal light is comprised of zillions of photons. Laser light is made of futons, which are fat, stuffed photons with a zipper down the side. Some have a foam core and these are often mistakenly referred to as mumesons, which is just a fancy oriental term for futon. As in retail advertising, Science often gives the prosaic a new name to make it seem like things are really happening when, in fact, everyone is just playing Tetris on their office computers and waiting for lunch.
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Why do I cough when I use the Q-tips to clean my ears?
-- Thi Nguyen
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Today is the beginning of National Lose Weight/Fee Great Week in New York, NY
Happy birthday to Mel Gibson and Stephen Stills!



Dear Doctor Science, Why do books always have pages numbered from the start, not the finish?
-- Vivienne Symes from Brisbane, Queensland

Most people want to know how far they've come, not how much further they have to go. But then, most people read for pleasure, while you're probably one of those who reads only when the audio cassette version is unavailable and the movie version is still just a treatment lying unread on some producer's desk. Editions of books numbered from the end do exist, but are only available for those classic pieces of literature that are required reading in schools. Moby Dick, Beowulf, and anything by Henry James. Remember, if you're reading and thinking "Is it over yet?" you might want to find something else to read such as Grit, or back issues of Popular Mechanics.
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Where the hell is Buck Owens?
-- David Hurst from Corbin, KY
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Today is Trivia Day in Falls Church, VA
Happy birthday to Dyan Cannon and Floyd Patterson!



Dear Doctor Science, You have two samples, one of silicon dioxide, the other of polimide. The size of the samples is 1 mm squared, by 1 mm long. What is the resistance from face to face?
-- Dave Engle from Marshalltown, IA

It depends on the maximum voltage that could be impressed across the material. If the sample were gold plated, then the capacitance could be considerable. And, if we're talking alternating current here and I assume we are, then we'd have to worry about inductance. I don't know about you, but I hate inductance. It ruins everything. How many times have I described a perfectly workable circuit, only to find when it's off the schematic diagram and onto a breadboard that inductance crept in and changed all the parameters? Just say no to alternating current. Edison was right. Direct is best. Tesla was insane. I know that now.
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I wanted to know if you are a genious or insane (sorry about the spelling)
-- giberish from zimbabwa, ?
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Today is the anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley
Happy birthday to Kenny Loggins and Nicolas Cage!



Dear Doctor Science,
Why do Chinese restaurants never serve breakfast?
-- Jim Sinsky from Milwaukee, WI

Chinese people like to eat breakfast alone, and don't want to deal with customers at that hour. Many a Chinese family that owns a restaurant has a secret "breakfast room" in the back, where stacks of flapjacks and enormous bowls of Lucky Charms stand next to jugs of orange juice and urns of hot coffee. Sometimes these breakfast rooms also serve as Buddhist Shrines, remembering and preserving the breakfast habits of their ancestors. If Uncle Chang liked frosted flakes with sliced bananas, they would set a bowl of the same in front of his image. So it's not that the Chinese abhor breakfast, they just don't want to eat breakfast with you.
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If I forward my phone to a friend and that friend unwittingly dials my number on the phone I forwarded to, will this set up an infinite loop and bring down the entire global telephone network?
-- Richard Bright from Shawnee, OK
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Today is Joygerm Day in Syracuse, NY
Happy birthday to David Bowie and Soupy Sales!



Dear Doctor Science,
Please explain the Northern Lights. Also, I've heard an explanation of what we would look like to someone from N-dimensional space, but I haven't heard what a person in N-dimensional space would look like to us?
-- Ken Beeson from Seattle, WA

Most people in N dimensional space look like the late actor Cary Grant. When they look at us, we appear to be a smeared pizza, one of those thin crust jobs that has been dropped on its side by an incompetent delivery person. Most people in N dimensional space wish they were here, but they can't get visas or work permits. To answer the first part of your question, the Northern Lights was a TV series that got cancelled a while back. I've heard that it was so popular among some atmospheric scientists that they named an electrical phenomenon after it.
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Can You answer on the questions in Polish?
-- Wojtek i Krysia from Mielec, SD
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Today is the start of National Nurse Anesthetists Week in Park Ridge, IL
Happy birthday to Bob Denver and Joan Baez!



Dear Doctor Science,
How could the tiny bacteria they found on the rock Mars have built all those giant canals on the red planet?
-- Tom Blanpied from Durham, NC

Microscopic bulldozers, operated by teeny tiny bacterial operators. They have a great work ethic, which allows them to toil 24/7, stopping only to refuel and to slurp Ethylene Glycol, which we know as "anti-freeze." In fact, these bacteria need to be occupied with a big project, or they mutate into antibiotic resistant strains that are fatal even to themselves. Once the canals were built, the hard-working germs channeled their energies to hollowing out the inside of the red planet, constructing a world that looks exactly like the set of a fifties sitcom. My sources in Houston and Hollywood tell me that NASA and Nick at Night are planning a joint venture to develop this resource.
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Dude, ya hungry?
-- Oscar Meyer from Ledyard, IA
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Today is National Clean-Off-Your-Desk Day in Clio, MI
Happy birthday to Rod Stewart and George Foreman!



Dear Doctor Science,
What causes the "sleep" I sometimes find in my eyes upon awakening?
-- John C Lienhart from Portland, OR

If you wear contact lenses, it's simply the dissolved plastic being drawn by osmotic pressure towards your cheeks. If not, then it's usually discarded brain cells, especially the heavier brain cells from the medulla. Dead or dying cortical cells, with their frothy nature, float upward and find release as dandruff. If, for some reason, you don't get your usual amount of sleep for a few days, when you do catch up you'll find the amount of sleep in your eyes to be much greater. This is an example of the second law of Thermodynamics in action. Your brain cells are keenly aware of these laws, even if they're dead.
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Why do baseball players' crotches itch so much?
-- Gary Steiger from Ross, CA
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Today is the anniversary of the adoption of the designated hitter rule in 1973
Happy birthday to Naomi Judd and Clarence Clemons!