Asked by Susan Gutkowski in Viruses (biological), Health

What is the coronavirus?

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The coronaviruses are a family of viruses whose symptoms can range from the common cold to something more serious and potentially lethal, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments available. In January 2020, an outbreak of the virus occurred in Wuhan, China. So far, seven other countries, including Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, have confirmed cases of the infection. A quarantine was issued in Wuhan, and train stations, ferries, and the airport were shut down.
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Asked by Evelyn Borer in Podiatrists, Shoes, Biology

Do humans really need to wear shoes?

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Turns out we don’t! Well, other than to protect from potentially harmful debris or hazardous weather conditions, that is. Our feet don’t need a soft cushion between us and the ground, and when our shoes provide that barrier, we tend to walk harder, negating a lot of that softening effect in a primal effort to feel the ground beneath us. Barefoot, your natural stride is a bit shorter, meaning instead of the edge of your heel hitting the pavement first, the impact moves closer to the middle of your foot, softening the blow. And within their rubber and fabric prisons, your feet can’t be as flexible, meaning you’re missing out on a powerful push off from your toes with each step. As proof of this, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand found that humans had healthier feet before the invention of shoes. As a personal anecdote, I actually went to college with a guy who walked around campus barefoot all the time. I remember seeing him around once after it had rained—the sidewalk was all wet and kind of gritty, and his bare feet were getting all of that up close and personal. Gross! But I guess he was on to something after all.
Asked by Jaylin Konopelski in Botany or Plant Biology, Science

Can plants experience stress?

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Yes, even though they never have to write term papers or worry about paying their bills on time, plants can be stressed. They’re widely known to change their color, smell, or shape in response to stress, and recent research (though not yet peer-reviewed) suggests that they even let out their own kind of “screams” in the face of it. Relatable. Conditions that can put a plant under pressure include drought, snipped stems, disease, excess levels of salt, and uncomfortable weather conditions. To capture their ultrasonic screeches, researchers out of Tel Aviv University put microphones up to stressed tomato and tobacco plants. The researchers suggest that the squeals are a result of air bubbles popping within the plants, and although they’re too high pitched for humans to hear, they think insects might be able to hear them.
Asked by Ben Pouros in Star Trek, Science Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy TV Shows, Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies

Who is the best captain in Star Trek?

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This definitely goes to Jean-Luc Picard, as portrayed by Patrick Stewart. I think what makes Picard such a great captain in particular is the personal responsibility he feels for the safety of everybody on board his ship, whether they’re a member of the crew or family. Throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard displayed a deep camaraderie for those who served under him, despite his outward demeanor usually being professional and stern. It’s this balance that I feel not only defined him as a captain, but showcased what made him the best captain.
Asked by Amie Smitham in Florida, Iguanas, Meteorology and Weather

Why is there a "falling iguana" alert in Florida?

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The temperatures in Florida have been unseasonably cold this week, dropping to the low 40s and even high 30s. Since iguanas are cold blooded, they become lethargic, stiff, and immobile when temperatures drop that low, and thus have begun falling from the trees. This does not, however, mean they are dead.
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Asked by Madyson Hartmann in Sociopathy (Psychopathy), The Difference Between

How do you tell the difference between a psychopath and sociopath?

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First, it should be understood that under the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychopathy and sociopathy fall under the umbrella of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), meaning no one gets diagnosed as a psychopath or sociopath, and those terms aren’t very useful in a clinical sense. They are not well defined and not completely agreed upon among psychologists. However, researchers who do find value in distinguishing between the two tend to believe that psychopaths are born while sociopaths are made—meaning psychopathy is a genetic predisposition and sociopathy is more closely linked with childhood trauma, including emotional or physical abuse. Psychopaths have actual physiological brain differences relating to emotional regulation and impulse control. They can struggle to form real attachments, and they tend to manipulate people to achieve their own goals. They rarely feel any guilt in doing so, primarily because they have no conscience. However, they also have a self-preservation instinct that helps minimize any risk to themselves while engaging in criminal behavior. They can seem outwardly normal, even charming, and they can usually hold down steady jobs and even have families. Sociopaths, who also struggle to bond emotionally with others, are much more erratic and impulsive with far less regard to their personal safety than psychopaths. They do have a conscience, but it is weak. They tend to have a more difficult time blending in with others due to their inability to hold down a real job or maintain a “normal” family life. Although it can be interesting to analyze these two terms and compare their characteristics to TV villains, keep in mind that most people with APD aren’t violent criminals.
Asked by Hugh Luettgen in Royal Family, England

Why did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit the royal family?

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Prince Harry and Meghan quit their roles as senior royals primarily because they wanted to be financially independent and because of their frustration with their treatment in British tabloids. From Harry’s statements, it seems they were envisioning a rather loose arrangement in which their lives weren’t publicly funded, but they could still partake in charity activities as emissaries of the queen. Instead, the break from Buckingham Palace seems to be a rather harsh one. Their exact roles and titles are still in flux, but what is for sure is that they’re no longer allowed to use the highly-exclusive “His Royal Highness” or “Her Royal Highness” titles, and Harry will also give up his military titles.
Asked by Madyson Hartmann in Cereal, Food & Cooking

Does each Froot Loop color have a different flavor?

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Nope! Although consumers were originally led to believe that each Froot Loop color represented a different flavor, Kellogg’s has acknowledged that all the loops share the same fruit-blend taste. There is no distinction by color.
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Asked by Jarred Krajcik in Dreams and Dream Interpretation, Sleep and Circadian Rhythm

Are lucid dreams real?

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Yes, lucid dreams—which, for the uninitiated, are dreams where you’re aware you’re sleeping and can often control aspects of your dream—are real. While people doubted their existence for years, a slew of research in the second half of the last century put those doubts to sleep. The way researchers proved it is pretty cool. They taught test subjects methods to induce lucid dreams (there are plenty out there, if you’re interested), then hooked them to polygraph machines as they slept. The subjects had agreed to perform specific actions in their dreams when they achieved lucidity—actions that’d show up on a polygraph test, like patterns of eye movements or fist clenches; lo and behold, the subjects fell asleep, then gave the signals. For most, lucid dreams are happy accidents, but some suggest pursuing the ability to reliably lucid dream can help avert nightmares, alleviate anxiety, and even aid in physical rehabilitation.
Asked by Gertrude Carroll in Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Holidays and Traditions

When was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day established?

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So there are actually quite a few parts to this. Although efforts to establish a holiday honoring the life of the civil rights leader began just days after his assasination in 1968, the federal holiday (the third Monday in January) wasn’t signed into law until 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. However, the story at the state level is a lot more complicated. Some states started observing the holiday (then on his birthday, Jan. 15) as early as 1970, but it wasn’t observed by every state until 2000, a full 14 years after the first federal observance. And even though all states now commemorate some version of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, in a few holdouts it’s still combined with Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
Asked by Margaret Ruecker in Soaps and Detergents, Sanitization and Germs

Can a bar of soap get dirty?

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Technically yes, but it’s not something to lose sleep over. Germs do like to live on bars of soap, but they are typically washed away as you wash your hands. A few studies (which, keep in mind, were funded by soap companies) have been conducted on this matter, and no soap germs lingered on any of their participants’ hands. To decrease the amount of germs on your soap, make sure it dries out between uses—bacteria like damp, slimy soap best. Also, if you rinse your soap before use, you can send many of the remaining germs down the drain.
Asked by Xander Hahn in Sandwiches, History and Origins of Foods

How did the club sandwich get its name?

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There are a couple different theories on this. My personal favorite is that “club” stands for “Chicken and Lettuce Under Bacon,” which is fun but not all that plausible—a club doesn’t have to have chicken, after all, and the earliest recipes didn't follow that order or make any references to an acronym. A better theory is that the first club sandwich was cobbled together at the Union Club or the Saratoga Club House in the late 1800s. Both places claim that coveted “first club sandwich” title, and, of course, both have “club” in their name. Either way, the sandwich’s broad popularity at country clubs around the turn of the 20th century could also account for its name.
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Asked by friendus Staff in friendus, Questions about friendus.com, Questions about Wikifriendus and friendus.com

How do I ask a question on friendus.com?

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It’s easy! You can use the search bar to ask your question. If somebody else has asked the same question or one that is similar, you’ll find it this way as well. If nobody has asked the exact question as you searched it, you’ll be taken to a new page where you can create the question yourself, as well as add context and topics! Happy Asking and Answering!
Asked by Marge Stracke in Betty White, Actors & Actresses

What’s your favorite Betty White moment?

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The Golden Girls is packed with Betty’s genius. Every St. Olaf story is perfect in its own right, but my favorite is when Rose tells about her trip to the big city of St. Gustav, the city that never naps. It started to rain, and the people yelled at her, “Don’t you have enough sense to come in out of the rain?” She, in fact, did not, and she brought this life-changing knowledge back to the good people of St. Olaf. It makes me laugh so hard every single time. The way Betty conveyed Rose’s naivete and full-heartedness with such humanity is my favorite thing.
Asked in Care of Mice and Rats

Why do mice like cheese so much?

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They actually don’t. A small study by David Holmes at Manchester Metropolitan University showed that mice prefer grains and sweet things over cheese. As to how this myth got started, it’s not entirely clear, but it reaches at least as far back as Shakespeare. One theory is that in the medieval era, there wasn’t much food available for mice to steal from human houses, so little teeth marks in cheese were the most obvious signs of their presence. And although this misconception well predates modern cartoons, there’s another theory that it was just easier (not to mention cuter) to draw mice with a nice hunk of cheese rather than something like grain, so cartoonists perpetuated the stereotype. Whatever the reason for this wide-spread myth, the fact is that mice will eat cheese if it’s all that’s around, but they’d really prefer cereal.
Asked by Anabelle Hand in Figs, History and Origins of Foods

How did the Fig Newton get its name?

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Obviously the fig part comes from the fruit paste filling, but Newton doesn’t refer to Sir Isaac Newton, as many believe. Instead, it references the city of Newton, Massachusetts. The company that invented them, Kennedy Biscuit Works, named many of their cookies after nearby towns.
Asked by Khalid Waters in Leaning Tower of Pisa, Architecture, Italy

Why doesn't the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall over?

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The tower hasn’t hit the ground yet because its tapered and slightly curved shape keeps its center of gravity fairly low. That means it can tip quite a bit before toppling. In a more poetic sense, though, the tower was falling over for a long time—albeit very slowly. Its tilt, which was first noticed shortly after construction began in 1173, kept increasing until 1990. That’s when engineers declared that, at a tilt of more than five degrees, it was in danger of collapsing. A team then figured out how to correct the lean, bringing it back to a safe angle. Since then, it’s been getting straighter, believe it or not. The residual effects from the construction meant the angle had decreased another four centimeters by 2018.
Asked by Denis Block in Entertainment & Arts, Painting and Watercolors, Celebrities

What happened to all of Bob Ross’ paintings?

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Most of those happy little trees have a happy little home in Virginia at the Bob Ross Inc. headquarters. According to the company’s president, Joan Kowalski, Ross gave many paintings away over the course of his life, but the company still owns over 1,000 of his iconic paintings and plans to hold on to them. However, the Smithsonian did acquire a few pieces in 2019 including: paintings an easel used in the first season of The Joy of Painting and fan letters. The museum currently has no concrete plans to display them, but eventually, they’ll go up in the National Museum of American History.
Asked by Ayden Lebsack in College Football, Football - American

Was Joe Burrow's 2019-2020 season the best ever by a college QB?

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It’s hard to argue otherwise. In his national championship win last night, he passed Colt Brennan on the all-time list for passing touchdowns in a single season, with 60; he also posted the second-best completion percentage (76.3), the third most passing yards (5,671), and the highest-ever passing efficiency rating (202) in a single season. If you’re a skeptic, you can check those stats here. Perhaps most telling, none of the quarterbacks in the top five of the above statistical categories won the national championship that season...besides Joe Burrow. In the national title game, he set the record for most total touchdowns and combined yards in the BCS/CFP era.
Asked by Forrest Brakus in Speleology, Travel & Places

What is the biggest cave in the world?

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The biggest cave in the world is Sơn Đoòng cave in Vietnam. It has a volume of nearly 40 million cubic kilometers. Inside, there’s a river, two jungles, and a localized climate. It was discovered in the early 1990s, and nobody returned until 2009. A man named Ho Khanh first found it while hunting—he’d heard wind and the flow of the river inside. However, on return trips, he couldn’t find the cave again. He searched for it for years before he finally led researchers to it more than a decade later. Now, a limited number of people can explore it each year.
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