Jewish World Review Nov. 5, 2003 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Decoding the laws of buoyancy; What actually happens when you crack your knuckles?; origin of the expression "three sheets to the wind
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Q: Why is it that when you throw a rock in the lake, it sinks, but when you go out on your boat, you float? - Lauren Blanks
A: Lauren, 2,200 years ago, a guy named Archimedes was getting into the bathtub when he suddenly exclaimed, "Ouch! Hot-hot-hot-hot-hot-hot!"
When he finally lowered himself into the tub, Archimedes noticed that the water rose and splashed over the sides.
He ran out into the street, naked, yelling, "Eureka!" Which is Greek for, "I've found it!"
To which the other Greeks responded, "Great, Archimedes. But do you have to show it to us?"
What Archimedes actually found was his law of buoyancy. This basically says that when something is immersed in water, the water pushes back. The more water the object displaces, or moves aside, the harder the water pushes back.
A rock sinks because it's very dense. Its shape doesn't help it do a very good job of displacing water. But a boat's shape spreads its weight out, making the boat less dense and displacing water more effectively. The water pushes up on the wide surface of the boat's bottom, and the boat floats.
Archimedes is also known for his work in geometry, with the lever, and as the father of the "all-over" tan.
Q: What actually happens when you crack your knuckles? - Robert Rubino
A: Robert, when you bend your fingers back, the bones that make up the joint pull apart, creating a gap. This space causes the liquid that surrounds the joint to lose pressure. As a result, gases dissolved in the fluid form bubbles. When the joint is stretched far enough, the pressure in the gap drops so low that the bubbles burst, making the CRACK! sound.
It takes about a half-hour for the gas to redissolve into the joint fluid. During this time, you can't crack your knuckles.
The most in-depth study on knuckle-cracking showed no connection to arthritis. But knuckle poppers did show slightly swollen knuckles and a decrease in grip strength over time.
Q: What is the origin of the expression "three sheets to the wind?" - Pete Fetzer
A: Pete, word experts say the phrase dates to 1821. The sheet is a reference to a rope on a sailboat. To have a sheet loose in the wind is bad seamanship. To have three loose means you're not capable of controlling the boat. If your buddy's like this tonight, don't let him drive.
A few other synonyms: Drunker'n a boiled owl, sozzled, squiffy, pixilated, spiflicated, capernoited, Andy Capped, bibulous, at peace with the floor, can't see a hole in a ladder, Count Drunkula and smurfed up. source: wordorigins.org
TIME FOR A FEW QUICK QUOTES "I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall." - Eleanor Roosevelt
"As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind: Every part of this capsule was supplied by the lowest bidder." - John Glenn
On memorable TV commercials:
1. What should you ask any mermaid you happen to see?
1. What's the best tuna? (Chicken of the Sea!)
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