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Beyond Belief
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Have you ever just wondered WHY?  Here are some great answers to the questions

we have been burning to know...


Why do you cry when you cut an onion?

 When you cut into an onion, a powerful acid sprays up into the air. If your eyes are in the way of the spray (which is likely if you are cutting onions), the acid, while not damaging to your skin, will cause your eyes to sting. Immediately, your lacrimal glands or tear glands, go into overdrive. Your eyes start to tear, and tears continue in excess until they've successfully gotten rid of the irritation.


Why is it that when you drink orange juice after you brush your teeth it tastes disgusting?

 I'm told that one of the secret ingredients in toothpaste is a small amount of one particular chemical that helps clean your teeth. Know what it does? For a short period of time after brushing your teeth, it keeps the taste buds in your mouth from sensing any sweet taste. For some reason, the chemical doesn't turn off bitter or sour tastes just sweet. So your taste buds sense only a portion of the variety of tastes that make orange juice so delicious. The good news is that it doesn't take long for the chemical's effect to disappear -- and then orange juice tastes deliciously sweet and satisfying all over again!


Why does your mouth feel cool when you eat a mint?

 That feeling of coolness isn't just in your mind; in fact, you're going mental over menthol--a powerful essential oil in mint. Menthol acts as an anesthetic, which puts it in the same category as laughing gas. Anesthetics can muffle your nerve endings' ability to detect pain without making you lose consciousness. Other essential oils have a similar effect on people. But you won't see dentists giving Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers to patients in need of root canal! That's because the menthol in your candy is just a very mild aesthetic that acts on nerve endings in your mouth.

Some of these nerve endings act as hot receptors, while others detect things that are cold. Since mint oils have the ability to put your mouth's hot receptors to sleep by making them less sensitive to heat, the signals normally sent to the brain by your cold receptors start to stand out a lot more in comparison. The brain then interprets these signals as a cold sensation. (Talk about being in mint condition!) So the next time you hear people in commercials singing about the "cool and refreshing" taste of their mint candies, you'll know they're not kidding!


Why does your hair go grey when youíre old?

 It's hard to imagine that those lovely locks of blond or brunette hair on your head may someday change colour so dramatically. But your hair doesn't turn white from a lifetime of watching really scary horror movies. Instead, it's actually revealing its natural beauty. Hair loses much of its colour because it's losing its melanin or carotene, which are your body's natural colouring substances (also known as pigments). As you grow older, the pigment production in hair follicles slows down and may eventually stop, cutting off your hair's supply of colouring and making it appear grey or white. But your entire head of hair won't turn grey overnight; after all, this is a process that takes about 10-20 years.

So when exactly will your hair start turning grey then?

It'll probably depend on your own biological time clock, as set by the genes you've inherited from your parents, your parents' parents, and beyond. And that explains why some people get grey hair while they're still in their teens and twenties--the melanin-producing cells of those people were set to stop working much sooner than others. But if this happens to you, don't fret over your follicles. There's nothing wrong with showing maturity at an earlier age!


Why are my feet so ticklish? 

Nerve endings are what makes us feel ticklish. Our feet have the most nerve endings-

so they're the most ticklish of all!


Why is it so bad to open an umbrella inside?

 African royalty first used umbrellas to shield themselves from the hot rays of the sun (The God). To open one in shade was considered as an insult of Sun God. To open it indoors must have been worse, probably punishable by the God. Today, it is considered UNLUCKY.


Why does it itch so much when a mosquito bites you?

Because that female mosquito who bit you was very smart! She wanted to take a drink of your blood. But she's only got a narrow tube for sucking blood. You crafty humans, on the other hand, make that very hard because your blood clots quickly, making it very hard to drink. So, she injected into you a small drop of "poison." But it's not really a poison -- just a mosquito chemical to keep your blood from clotting long enough for her to take a drink.

When insects like mosquitoes, fleas, or horse flies or even wasps or bees bite you, the same thing happens. Your body sends a chemical called histamines to the area where you were injected. It's the histamines reacting with the "poison" that causes the itching, swelling, redness.

How the rainbow is formed?

If the sun shines on a shower of rain, you may see a rainbow if you are looking towards the rain and the Sun is behind you. The raindrops in the shower reflect the Sun's light back to you. As the sunlight passes through the raindrop, it slips into circular band of colors. You see the top part of this circle as a rainbow.

Why is the sky blue?  

When the rays of sunlight travel through atmosphere they make the sky appear blue. The atmosphere scatters mainly blue light; this is why the sky looks blue. The other colours of light are less scattered so you canít see them in the sky.

Why birds do not get shock when they sit on bare electric wire?

Current always flow from higher potential to lower potential. An electric wire is at high potential and earth or is at a lower potential. Therefore, if somebody touches the live wire standing on earth or on any other item which in any way touches the earth the potential difference is generated resulting in flow of current and hence the shock.

The bird has both its feet on same wire, which means there is no potential difference and no current flows from its body. If the bird happens to come in touch with another object which is at lower potential, it would suffer a deadly shock.

What Makes the Egg Shell so Strong?

The secret lies in the shape of the egg. If the egg is squeezed at the ends between the palms of hands, it won't break. But if squeezed in the middle it breaks up. When the pressure is applied on the ends the pressure is distributed over the surface which is conical in shape.



Why do your fingers go wrinkly when

youíve been in the pool?

You've been playing in the pool for almost an hour now, practicing your best underwater somersaults. Now it's time to get out, and as you look at your hands, it's . . . it's . . . it's the attack of the wrinkly fingered monster! Don't get frightened or run for cover under your towel yet. After spending lots of time in the water, it's totally normal for fingers (and sometimes toes) to wrinkle.

Even though you can't see it, your skin is covered with its own special oil called sebum. Sebum is found on the outermost layer of skin. Sebum lubricates and protects your skin. It also makes your skin a bit waterproof. That's why getting caught in the rain, hopping in the shower after a game, or washing your hands before dinner won't leave your skin soggy. Sebum is there to keep the water out.

But what happens when you spend a long time in the water? Well, there's only a particular amount of sebum on your skin at a time. Once the sebum is washed away, the water can make its way into the outer layer of skin. The water does this by osmosis. This is when water actually moves from one thing into another, from a place where there is more water to a place where there is less water. There is more water in the pool than there is in your body, so it naturally moves to the place where there is less water - you!

Although your fingers may look shriveled like raisins, they aren't really shriveled - they're actually waterlogged! The extra water in your fingers causes the skin to swell in some places but not others, and that's what causes the wrinkles.

It isn't just pool water that washes away the sebum. Sitting in the bathtub for a long soak can also wash away the sebum and leave a kid with soggy skin. Washing dishes for a long time, scrubbing and rinsing your puppy, cleaning the gravel in your aquarium - anything that keeps your hands in water long enough will give you wrinkly fingers.

What should you do if you come out of the pool looking like a raisin? Not a thing! Having wrinkly skin after a swim or bath doesn't mean there is anything wrong, and it goes away by itself quickly. You'll have more sebum on your skin in no time. If you really can't stand the raisin look and will be doing something around the house that keeps your hands in water, you can wear rubber gloves to keep the sebum from being washed away




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This site was last updated 10/24/05