QandA

Q&A Tabs

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Lobsters and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

You don’t absorb vitamin D from the Sun, your skin synthesises it in response to sunlight. It’s the UVB portion of the ultra-violet spectrum that’s needed. This wavelength range...

 Certain types of fig are male and female and so require a special breed of wasp to pollinate the females. The...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

Recent Q&A...

Putting conkers around the house to deter spiders is an old wives’ tale and there’s no evidence to suggest it really works. Spiders don’t eat conkers or lay eggs in them, so...

For a pastime dating back at least to the ancient Greeks, it’s odd that the science behind skimming stones has only recently attracted scientific interest. After all, there’s plenty to...

A recent study by Prof Aubrey Sheiham and colleagues at University College London found an “unacceptably inconsistent array of advice” from dental associations, dentists and toothbrush...

Wind is simply the flow of air from areas of high pressure to those of lower pressure, and obeys the same laws of physics as fluids. Wind is no more likely to flow steadily and smoothly over the...

Most moths are nocturnal, so during the day they keep still to avoid detection from predators. Moths don’t fly towards the Moon, either: the idea that moths are trying to navigate by the...

Let us know what you think this is in the comments below. It features in our February issue's Q&A section. The answer will be revealed in the March issue.

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According to Arnold Pompos of Purdue University, Santa would have to travel a total of 160,000,000km – further than the distance from the Earth to the Sun – to visit 200 million...

Surprisingly, it could be your genes that determine your feelings about these controversial little vegetables. A 2011 study by Cornwall College found that sprouts contain a chemical, similar to...

Meteors are able to create sound waves. As they tear their way through the atmosphere they can create a sonic boom in the same way a fast-moving aeroplane does. However, since meteors are...

This is because it isn’t the pudding or the liquor that is on fire: it is in fact the vapour associated with the alcohol that burns. The flame never actually reaches the pudding itself....

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