Jewish World Review Sept. 7, 2004 / 21 Elul, 5764
Identifying body from dental records; Where does all the corn go and what are its' uses?; hose Susan B's; more
Q: How do authorities identifying a body know from which dentist to obtain dental records? Do dentists send their records to some central repository? - Russ Withrow, West St. Paul, Minn.
A: No they don't, Russ. And that might be the wrong way to think about the use of records in identifying bodies. Dental records are often used at the end of an investigation.
Typically police and medical examiners gather clues from the body and then look to see who in the community is missing. Once officials have found a possible victim, they use records to try to confirm that the body is that person.
"There is no database of identifying records of any kind, except for fingerprints," says John Butts, North Carolina's chief medical examiner. "And those tend to be limited to people who have been arrested."
Butts says police will often ask the family of a missing person who their dentist was. Then examiners will call the dentist and simply compare notes over the phone.
Q: I've seen endless cornfields in the Midwest. Where does all the corn go and what are its' uses? - Brad Frazier, Cornelius, N.C.
A: Brad, when we think of corn uses, we might think of tortilla chips and cereal. But just a tiny fraction of the 10.1 billion bushels of corn harvested annually in the United States go toward that.
Here's a quick breakdown from the National Corn Growers Association:
57 percent - Livestock feed
19 percent - Export
11 percent - Ethanol
8 percent - Other (includes chips, cereal, corn oil)
5 percent - High fructose corn syrup
Q: I recently came across a couple of one dollar coins, one with Susan B. Anthony on it, the other a golden coin. Why two different designs in such a short amount of time? Are they worth more than a dollar? - Russ Sizemore, Charlotte
A: According to the U.S. Mint, the golden dollar coin replaced the Susan B. Anthony dollar because the government's supply of Susan B's ran out. (For those of you keeping score, 888,842,452 Susan B's were made, primarily in 1979 and 1980.)
Where are the Susan B's now? Many are in U.S. Postal Service vending machines. They're very handy for providing change in stamp machines because you can get so much bang for your buck in comparison to other coins.
The mint went with a new design because many people believed the Susan B. Anthony dollar was too similar to the quarter in size and appearance. A 1997 law required that a new dollar coin be easily distinguishable from other coins. That's why the golden dollar - while the same diameter as the earlier coin - has a different color, a smooth edge (in contrast to the grooved edge of the Susan B), and a wider border than other U.S. coins.
The native American woman on the golden dollar is Sacagawea, the young Shoshone interpreter who from 1804 to 1806 assisted the Lewis and Clark expedition. Some folks make the mistake of thinking the woman on the coin is Pocahontas, who lived two centuries before Sacagawea, and helped to rescue the Jamestown colony from extinction.
While there might be some Susan B. Anthony's valued by collectors, "these coins are mostly worth a dollar," mint officials told me.
The golden dollar contains no gold. It's a "clad" coin and the alloy layers on each side of the copper core are manganese brass.
Source: U.S. Mint
On great dancers:
1. What Russian was widely considered the greatest dancer in the world in 1907 - even though he was just 17?
2. What modern dance pioneer died when her scarf became entangled in the wheel of the car in which she was riding?
3. What couple's dance to Cole Porter's "Night and Day" made movie magic in 1934?
4. The "King of Tapology," this Virginia native might have been the greatest tap dancer of all time.
5. What move did Michael Jackson first show off on TV's "Motown 25th Anniversary Special" in 1983?
1. Vaslav Nijinsky
2. Isadora Duncan
3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "The Gay Divorcee."
4. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
5. The "moon walk"
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Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here. If you send him a great question, he'll send you a Glad You Asked T-shirt.
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