Asked by friendus Staff in COVID-19

What should I know about coronavirus?

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We've compiled frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus at the center of the current pandemic. Each section includes links to trusted health organizations. First things first: The coronaviruses are a family of viruses whose symptoms can range from the common cold to something more serious and potentially lethal, and a new coronavirus is currently spreading across the planet, affecting the daily lives of many. In December 2019, an outbreak of a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) occurred in Wuhan, China. It causes a disease called COVID-19, which can lead to death, particularly for the elderly and people with serious chronic medical conditions. There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments available. More than 150 countries and territories, including the United States, have confirmed cases of the infection since the initial outbreak, and on March 11, the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. What are its symptoms? According to the CDC, fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of COVID-19. Additional symptoms may include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. Severity of the symptoms range from mild to life-threatening—about 1 in 5 people who are infected require hospital care. How do I get tested? If you’ve had contact with someone with COVID-19 or live in a community experiencing an outbreak and develop a fever and other symptoms of the disease, the CDC recommends you call your healthcare provider. Tell them about your symptoms and potential exposure to the virus, and they’ll make a call on whether you should be tested. They'll also help determine the safest way to receive your test. More specific guidelines vary from state to state. NBC News has a handy guide here. It’s especially crucial that you call your medical provider if you’re elderly or have a serious chronic medical condition. Also, if you or a loved one are very sick (e.g., experiencing symptoms like difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or bluish lips or face), seek medical attention immediately. How does it spread? The CDC and researchers worldwide still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it spreads. According to current knowledge, though, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. That means droplets from an infected person’s coughs and sneezes land on other people’s noses or mouths, or they breathe them in, and that infects them, too. It’s also possible that the virus can spread through people touching contaminated objects and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. How can we prevent it? According to the CDC, “the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” Some steps you can take to limit your exposure to the virus: Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Pay attention to hand hygiene, especially when you’ve been in a public place and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Practice social distancing by increasing the space between you and other people. That means staying home as much as you can, especially if you feel sick. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces (like keyboards, doorknobs, and light switches) every day. Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands. When you're out in public, wear a cloth facemask (not the kind meant for healthcare workers; see this guide for making your own). How is coronavirus different from the flu? While there are some similarities between the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu (most notably fever and dry cough) one of the biggest differences is that we know significantly less about COVID-19. But here is what we do know: COVID-19 is more infectious than the flu. The “basic reproduction number,” or R0, of an infection is the average number of people who catch it from a single infected person. The flu has an R0 value of 1.3, while the R0 value of COVID-19 is estimated to be much higher. Right now, COVID-19 seems more likely to kill than the flu. While the exact fatality rate of COVID-19 is not yet known, it appears to be much deadlier than the flu. Influenza has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent, and current estimates of COVID-19’s fatality rate range from 1.4 percent to 3.4 percent. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. Unlike seasonal flu, there is no widely available vaccine to protect against COVID-19 infection. Similarly, there are no antivirals to help to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease. For more information on this ever-developing COVID-19 pandemic, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s page dedicated to the virus, found here.
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Asked by Karley Harber in Earth Sciences, Science

If we can't tunnel through the Earth, how do we know what's at its center?

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First, scientists are pretty sure the Earth's core is about 80 percent iron. How they know that is a series of educated guesses. For starters, they can be reasonably sure of the planet's mass based on its gravitational pull. The material on the surface isn't dense enough to match up with that mass, so the rest of the Earth has to be much denser. Iron, meanwhile, is one of the most prevalent elements in the universe, but it isn't all that evident in the Earth's crust. Since scientists would expect more iron to be in our planet and it's a fairly dense element, that leads to the conclusion that the Earth's core is mostly iron. They theorize that it was pulled to the core over millions of years. By examining different seismic waves, they know that the inner part of the core is solid and the outer core is molten. It's a lot more scientific than I've made it sound, but hopefully that gets at the gist of it.
Asked by Fletcher Altenwerth in People

Who would you swap lives with for a day?

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My dog. Going for a nice walk, laying in the sun, snuggling on the couch—the dream.
Asked by Zane Blick in Internet Slang

Where did "F in the chat" come from?

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Typing an F in the chat of a video game stream is a way to (often jokingly) pay tribute to a dead character or some other unfortunate thing that's befallen the player. It originated in 2014's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where, in a scene at a friend's funeral, players on the PC are prompted to hit the F key to pay their respects. Lots of people thought the forced action during a memorial service was a bit cringy, so "press F to pay respects" started getting used sarcastically, and it spread from there.
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Asked by Laverna Zieme in US Open Tennis Tournament, Tennis

Why are tennis balls green?

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Well, actually, they aren't. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) categorizes the color as "optic yellow.” Incidentally, tennis balls actually used to be black or white. When tennis started to be televised in color in the late 1960s, it was hard for viewers to track the ball on their screens, so the ITF came up with the bright greenish-yellow to make it easier on their eyes. They're rare today, but according to ITF rules, white tennis balls are technically still allowed—a relic of pre-TV times.
Asked by Lorenza Kassulke in WWE World Wrestling Entertainment, Wrestling

Which WrestleMania had the highest attendance?

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That depends who you ask. Ask WWE, and they’ll say 2016’s WrestleMania 32, with 101,763 people in AT&T Stadium that day. In second place is WrestleMania III, an almost mythic event in 1987 boasting 93,173 strong in the Pontiac Silverdome. Ask the sleuths of the internet, and the true winner is less clear. About a year after WrestleMania 32, contacted the police department in Arlington, Texas, where the supposed record-breaking event took place, and they said that 80,709 fans went through the turnstiles that day. WWE, by their own admission, drummed up the attendance figure by including event staff (and there’s even question as to whether that would have gotten it to 101,763). WWE has a habit of exaggerating numbers—WrestleMania III’s figure is similarly questionable, with the most widespread rumor putting attendance at a mere 78,000, but more optimistic (and thoroughly reasoned) estimates putting it in the high 80,000s. So, if we’re going by WWE’s numbers, WrestleMania 32 had the highest attendance. Going by subsequent reporting, it’s less clear. And that, my friend, is professional wrestling.
Asked by Veronica Wilkinson in Libraries and Library History, Books and Literature

Why don't libraries smell like bookstores?

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I assume you’re referring to the difference between the glorious mustiness of a library and the glorious plasticy newness of a bookstore. That’s probably due to the fact that as paper ages, the cellulose within it decays, letting off that sweet, sweet book smell. Bookstore books haven’t had as much time to decay (unless it’s a used bookstore), leading to that different smell.
Asked by Archibald Bernier in Dinosaurs, Paleontology

Do we know what dinosaurs sounded like?

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In a word, no, but scientists can make educated guesses. The closest living relatives of the dinosaurs are crocodilians and birds, and we can look to the ways they vocalize to give us a hint. Alligators and crocodiles use their larynxes to communicate—they’ll hiss, groan, and yes, roar (here’s a compilation of their sounds). Dinosaurs might have had larynxes, but since those don’t fossilize, it’s impossible to know for sure. Birds, meanwhile, use an organ called a syrinx, which seems to have evolved after dinosaurs. That might indicate that dinos couldn’t vocalize at all, which would be a bummer. However, there’s also a possibility that they evolved a unique way to vocalize. For example, based on studying their skulls and inner ears, some have theorized that hadrosaurs used their crests to bellow at each other. So, they probably didn’t roar, but bellowing can be pretty cool too, right?
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Asked by Leland Grant in Education

What's something you've always wanted to learn?

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How to play the piano, for sure.
Asked by Freddy Wunsch in Music, Documentary Films

Did Joe Exotic sing his own songs?

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It turns out that there are two musicians behind the Joe Exotic songs, and neither of them are the man himself. According to Vanity Fair, Vince Johnson and vocalist Danny Clinton, members of the Clinton Johnson Band, are the ones who wrote and recorded all the big cat hits, including “I Saw A Tiger” and “Here Kitty Kitty.” The two men do appear in the credits of Tiger King, but Joe Exotic insisted to his staff and crew that it was him performing the songs. And he also didn’t bother telling the real musicians that he was taking the credit. “I had no idea he was going to Milli Vanilli the songs,” Johnson told Vanity Fair. “It was a couple of months and two or three songs [into the collaboration] when I was on YouTube one night and just happened to look up Joe Exotic. And there he was, lip-syncing and acting like the ghost of Elvis [in these music videos]. I called him up, I was hot…And he bamboozled me about his reality show—that it was coming soon and he would make everything right as rain. I just wanted the proper credit.”
Asked by Damaris Hackett in Holidays and Traditions, Easter

How is Easter’s date determined?

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Easter is always on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which, yes, does sound like some pagan witchcraft, but I assure you that’s official church policy. So, what’s a Paschal Full Moon, you might ask? It’s the first full moon after the vernal equinox. However, there’s an important caveat: The church observes the vernal equinox on March 21 each year, whether it actually falls on that date or not. And this is only true of those following the Gregorian calendar; Eastern Orthodox Easter is figured on the Julian calendar instead, and their Easter is later. In 2020, the Paschal Full Moon falls on April 7, making Easter April 12.
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Asked by Jude Beatty in Tax Refunds, United States of America

When will I receive my stimulus check?

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On March 30, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the payments will start going out in the next three weeks. If the IRS has your direct deposit information on file (as it does for roughly half the stimulus recipients), that time frame is likely accurate. Paper checks, however, will take longer. The IRS has a lot more information about how to make sure you get your payment in a timely manner here. Some precedents for reference: Under a new tax cut in 2001, the IRS took six weeks to start sending out rebate checks, and after a 2008 stimulus package was signed into law, checks weren’t sent out for three months.
Asked by Gwendolyn Nicolas in Investing and Financial Markets, Stock Market

What is a bear market?

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According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a bear market occurs when a broad market index falls by 20 percent or more over a period of at least a two months and the outlook is generally pessimistic. The average length of a bear market is 367 days, and they are usually accompanied by recessions—periods when the economy shrinks and unemployment rates soar.
Asked in Fortune Cookies

Who writes the fortunes in fortune cookies?

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The largest manufacturer of fortune cookies (and messages) is Wonton Food, Inc. and their CFO, Donald Lau was the unofficial fortune writer for more than 30 years until the company brought on freelancers to supplement. According to his profile in The New Yorker, Lau was chosen because his English was the best in the company. He claims to find inspiration everywhere, including the subway, as well as more traditional Chinese adages.
Asked by Karelle Grady in Personal Growth

What's something you used to like but don't anymore?

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I went through a phase where everything I owned had to be the most putrid shade of lime green imaginable. I gravitate toward darker colors now.
Asked by Alek Batz in Pasta, Spaghetti

What do you call a single spaghetti noodle?

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A single spaghetti noodle is quite delightfully called a spaghetto. In Italian, “i” on the end of a word means it’s plural, the “o” here means it’s singular. So this goes for all your favorite pasta: fettucino, gnocco, my personal favorite raviolo, etc. Further, you technically don’t want a panini, you want a panino. I hope this brings you as much joy as it has brought me.
Asked by Kamron Roberts in Chocolate, Desserts, Snacks, and Treats, Dermatologists

Does chocolate cause acne?

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Nope! The list of things we know actually causes acne is not very long, but we do know this: Chocolate, and greasy foods, for that matter, are not on it. Medical professionals believe genetics, changing hormones, greasy makeup, and taking certain medications are the factors at play, not what you eat. However, if you already have acne, certain things can make it worse, like pollution, humidity, and stress.
Asked by Tom Schmidt in Time Travel

If you could witness one event past, present, or future, what would it be?

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Future so I know what will happen and I will be prepared and do what I have to
Asked by Dereck Kozey in Music, Library of Congress

What got inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2020?

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The National Recording Registry (part of the Library of Congress) is billing this year’s list of inductees as the “ultimate stay at home playlist,” so if you need some tunes to get you through quarantine, look no further. You can see all 25 inductees here, but here are some of the highlights to show how wonderfully wide-ranging the list is: – “Mister Rogers Sings 21 Favorite Songs From ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ ” (album), Fred Rogers (1973) –“Y.M.C.A.” (single), Village People (1978) – “Fiddler on the Roof” (album), original Broadway cast (1964) – WGBH broadcast of the Boston Symphony on the day of the John F. Kennedy assassination, Boston Symphony Orchestra (1963) – “The Chronic” (album), Dr. Dre (1992) – “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (single), Allan Sherman (1963) The Library of Congress selected these titles from over 800 nominations to ensure that they’re preserved for future generations.

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