Zippy Facts

Animals

  • Why Do Dingoes Eat Babies?

    Why Do Dingoes Eat Babies?

    The question “Why Dingoes Eat Babies?” has been asked many times. Few Americans are aware that it’s an absurdity and is actually based on an actual incident. The joke was popularized by television shows such as Seinfeld, The Simpsons, etc. Many Americans may have heard it before. It’s better to find out the truth than … Read more

  • What is the Rarest Whale in the World?

    What is the Rarest Whale in the World?

    The world’s rarest whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale, has been retroactively discovered by researchers in New Zealand and the USA. The pair of skeletons were correctly identified in a lab recently after conservation workers found the bodies of a 5.2-metre (17-foot) whale and her calf washed up on a beach in New Zealand two years … Read more

  • What Do Snakes Eat and Do Snakes Have Any Predators?

    What Do Snakes Eat and Do Snakes Have Any Predators?

    Although the smallest snakes are no larger than worms, they are all predators. Small snakes eat insects. Larger snakes eat rats or squirrels or rabbits. The huge pythons and anacondas can swallow a deer. Some snakes use poison called venom to catch animals. They deliver their poison with a bite. Others are constrictors, which means … Read more

  • Where do goats come from and how long do goats live for?

    Where do goats come from and how long do goats live for?

    The domestic goat is a subspecies from the wild goat that came from Eastern Europe and Asia. One of the oldest domesticated species of animals, goats have been bred by humans for their milk, meat, skin, and fur. There are over three hundred different breeds of goat, and they are closely related to sheep. The … Read more

  • What is the structure of an insect’s central nervous system?

    What is the structure of an insect’s central nervous system?

    Typically, it is a chain of ganglia (aggregations of nerve cells) that extends from the head to the end of the abdomen, one ganglion per segment. The ganglia are joined by paired, longitudinal connectives that consist mainly of nerve fibers. The three most complex ganglia constitute the brain, located in the head above the esophagus. … Read more

  • Can parasites of insects prevent their hosts from encapsulating them?

    Can parasites of insects prevent their hosts from encapsulating them?

    Parasites of insects have evolved several ways, mainly biochemical mechanisms, to prevent their hosts from encapsulating them. It was also recently discovered that certain parasitic wasps that live in the body cavity of an insect as larvae have enlisted an outside agent, a virus, to do this job for them. This virus, specifically known as … Read more

Culture

Food

  • What Are the Different Compartments In My Fridge Used For and What Does the Crisper Do?

    What Are the Different Compartments In My Fridge Used For and What Does the Crisper Do?

    Every time I open the refrigerator door, Alex, my Siamese cat, eyes the contents like Willie Sutton peeking into Fort Knox. He knows that that big, white impregnable strongbox contains all the pleasures life has to offer. (He’s neutered.) We humans aren’t much different. Our refrigerators are our treasure houses. Their contents reflect our individual … Read more

  • What Is Food Irradiation and Is Food Irradiation Safe?

    What Is Food Irradiation and Is Food Irradiation Safe?

    Food irradiation is the practice of producers’ subjecting their food products to intense fields of gamma rays, X rays, or high-energy electrons before shipping them to market. Why would they want to do this? Irradiation kills harmful bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Listeria, among others, thereby reducing the danger of food-borne illness. Irradiation … Read more

  • Why Do Crackers and Matzos Have All Those Little Holes In Them?

    Why Do Crackers and Matzos Have All Those Little Holes In Them?

    Saltines, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Ritz Crackers, grahams, you name it, there’s hardly a cracker anywhere that doesn’t have a pattern of little holes in it. The makers of matzos, the unleavened flatbread of the Jewish Passover, seem to have gone hog wild (you should excuse the expression) on perforations. Matzos are much hole-ier than secular … Read more

  • How Does a Light Oven Work?

    How Does a Light Oven Work?

    Is this a new way of making heat for cooking, after fire, microwaves, and induction ranges? No. The so-called light oven makes heat in pretty much the same way your electric range does: through the electrical resistance-heating of metal. Light ovens have been in specialized commercial use since about 1993 but are now being produced … Read more

  • How Does an Induction Cooktop Work?

    How Does an Induction Cooktop Work?

    Microwave ovens were the first new way of making heat for cooking in more than a million years. Well, now there’s a second one: magnetic induction heating. Magnetic induction has been used for the past decade or so in some European and Japanese food service kitchens, and more recently in commercial American kitchens. They are … Read more

  • What Is the Advantage of a Pressure Cooker and How Do They Work?

    What Is the Advantage of a Pressure Cooker and How Do They Work?

    Pressure cookers speed up cooking by making water boil at a higher-than-normal temperature. In the process, they may hiss, rattle, and sizzle like an infernal machine, threatening to redecorate your kitchen in shades of goulash. But your mother’s pressure cooker has been re-engineered to be more mannerly and nearly foolproof. As with all cooking appliances, … Read more

Health

  • Healthiest Cooking Methods for a Nutritional Diet

    Healthiest Cooking Methods for a Nutritional Diet

    There are several methods to prepare juicy and delectable cuisine without adding many unneeded ingredients. While most individuals are aware that they should avoid using the fryer while preparing healthy meals, many do not consider how their cooking method impacts the nutritional composition of their entrée. The nutritional content of the meals you serve is … Read more

  • How do antibacterial cutting boards and toys help prevent the spread of bacterial infections?

    How do antibacterial cutting boards and toys help prevent the spread of bacterial infections?

    An antibacterial impregnated in a toy or in some other consumer product must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Companies that manufacture such things have correctly perceived that germs on cutting boards and in children’s toys are among those people worry most about, and they’ve come to the rescue with antibacterial products they claim … Read more

  • How do antibacterial cleaners and soaps do more harm than good?

    How do antibacterial cleaners and soaps do more harm than good?

    The company that makes Lysol announced in a television commercial that they are now selling a kind of paper towel soaked in liquid disinfectant, “kills 99.9 percent of germs”, the same percentage that Tide with Bleach claims to wipe out. There are all sorts of products, hundreds of them, that are advertised as antibacterial, including … Read more

  • What Infectious Diseases can you catch at a Tattoo Parlor?

    What Infectious Diseases can you catch at a Tattoo Parlor?

    A tattoo parlor doesn’t seem like a particularly salubrious place, and having someone stick a needle through your skin seems obviously to carry some risk, but the risk of getting any blood-borne disease by getting a tattoo are extremely low, at least in the United States. Although it is of course theoretically possible to transmit … Read more

  • How do Infectious Diseases spread on Airplanes and How are they prevented?

    How do Infectious Diseases spread on Airplanes and How are they prevented?

    What happens when you spend six or eight hours in an airplane with 300 other people, breathing recirculated air? People sometimes believe they’ve been made sick by flying in an airplane, but in fact it’s difficult to prove that anyone is any more likely to contract an infectious disease spending three hours in an airplane … Read more

  • What types of Germs, Bacteria, and Microbial Organisms can be found in municipal water systems?

    What types of Germs, Bacteria, and Microbial Organisms can be found in municipal water systems?

    The Contaminant Candidate List sounds like it might be a registry of anti-environmental office seekers published by the Sierra Club. But it’s actually a list of the contaminants in public drinking water that may require regulation, and the Environmental Protection Agency is required to issue such a list every five years. The last one came … Read more

History

  • Which Explorers First Explored the Continents of the World?

    Which Explorers First Explored the Continents of the World?

    Who was La Salle? Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, was born in 1643 and studied in Jesuit schools to become a priest. But lured by the opportunity of adventure and fortune in North America, the 22-year-old Frenchman traveled to Montreal, a city on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. He cleared a patch … Read more

  • What was the European Age of Exploration?

    What was the European Age of Exploration?

    We know of many explorers and travelers from the Middle East, Africa, and China before the 1400s. But during the fifteenth century, advances in exploration occurred in a relative backwater of the world—western Europe. At the dawn of the 1400s, most Europeans tilled the soil and had little knowledge of the world beyond their villages. … Read more

  • Who Were the First Explorers of Ancient Civilization?

    Who Were the First Explorers of Ancient Civilization?

    Thousands of years ago, vast empires rose and fell in Egypt, Greece, Italy, the Middle East, northern Africa, China, and India. Bold explorers from these civilizations, such as Pytheas and Hanno, ventured into unknown lands and seas. Most of them searched for new trade routes or places to settle. Today, scholars have limited knowledge of … Read more

  • What caused the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster in New York City in 1911?

    What caused the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster in New York City in 1911?

    In March 1911 a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. The owner had locked all the doors to keep the workers at their sewing machines; the fire escapes were so rusty they fell apart; and the fire trucks’ ladders could not reach the top floors. Some women were killed … Read more

  • How much were mill workers paid for their work in the 1800s?

    How much were mill workers paid for their work in the 1800s?

    The young mill workers were paid only a dollar or two, perhaps three, for a week’s work, and at least half of that went to pay for food and lodging in the mill company’s boardinghouses. In the mid-1830s, when the mill owners tried to cut the workers’ wages, the women protested. In Lowell, Massachusetts, they … Read more

  • Who were the most popular female singers in America in the mid-1800s?

    Who were the most popular female singers in America in the mid-1800s?

    Some of the most popular singers came from Europe, such as the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, who was welcomed by a crowd of 40,000 when she arrived in New York in 1850. On the other hand, Adelina Patti, one of the top opera singers of the day, performed mostly in Europe, even though she grew … Read more

Inventions

  • 5 Greatest Inventions in the Last 500 Years

    5 Greatest Inventions in the Last 500 Years

    Dancing How glad you are about the invention of dancing will depend largely on whether or not you’re any good at it. Dancing Queen. Of course, no one knows who was the first person to start tapping their feet in time to some music or the site of the world’s first dance floor. But we … Read more

  • 10 Inventions That We Can’t Live Without

    10 Inventions That We Can’t Live Without

    The Language Decoder A language decoder would be an incredible tool to have at your disposal —you’d be able to converse with everyone, no matter where they came from and what language they spoke! It may sound like science fiction, but the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a version of … Read more

  • 15 Inventions You Wish You Invented

    15 Inventions You Wish You Invented

    The Ejector Seat Although it looks funny in action, the ejector seat has saved thousands of lives since its invention in the middle of the 20th century. Supersonic Seats. An ejector seat is designed to catapult the pilot and crew out of a plane in an emergency, inflate a parachute once the seat is clear … Read more

  • The Best 20 Inventions Ever Invented

    The Best 20 Inventions Ever Invented

    Fizzy Drinks Too many fizzy drinks can be bad for you, but the first manufactured fizzy drinks were just bubbles in water, which isn’t so bad for you, just flavorless. A Glass of Bubbly. The fizz in fizzy drinks is dissolved carbon dioxide (the same gas you breathe out). No one really invented fizzy drinks … Read more

  • Top 25 Inventions That Changed Our Lives Forever

    Top 25 Inventions That Changed Our Lives Forever

    Sliced Bread You often hear things referred to as the best thing since sliced bread’. But when was sliced bread invented, and why is it such a good thing? Bread: Who Kneads It? You wouldn’t have thought that inventing a machine to slice bread would be that difficult. Yet one man spent 16 years of … Read more

  • Top 25 Inventions That Changed the World

    Top 25 Inventions That Changed the World

    Photography Most people keep photos as a reminder of special people and moments. Unfortunately, photos can also remind us of all our bad hair days and fashion blunders. Say Cheese. People have known how to project images using a pinhole camera for thousands of years, they were using them in China 2,500 years ago. But … Read more

Language

Mythology

People

Religion

  • What is Ecumenism and What Does Ecumenism Mean in the Catholic Church?

    What is Ecumenism and What Does Ecumenism Mean in the Catholic Church?

    Ecumenism is the effort of the Church to build bridges of dialogue between other religions and itself. It is not a plan to establish a single, lowest-common-denominator religion where doctrines and disciplines are diluted and compromised so that anyone and everyone can fit in. Ecumenism acknowledges the historical realities of mistakes and abuses made by … Read more

  • Is the Catholic Church a monarchy or a democracy?

    Is the Catholic Church a monarchy or a democracy?

    It is neither. The Catholic Church is not a democracy nor a republic since it was not founded by human beings like secular nations are. It was founded by Jesus Christ, who personally entrusted the fullness of His authority to Saint Peter and his successors. Christ also commissioned the apostles to help govern the local … Read more

  • What are the catacombs and Where are the Catacombs located?

    What are the catacombs and Where are the Catacombs located?

    The term “catacombs” refers to subterranean burial grounds. They can be found almost anywhere; however, the most famous catacombs are located in Rome. They date back to the early Church. Most of the catacombs of Rome are technically located outside the walls of the city on Via Appia Antica, a major road that leads from … Read more

  • What are stipends and stole fees and What is simony?

    What are stipends and stole fees and What is simony?

    Masses and the Seven Sacraments cannot be sold, nor can the minister charge for celebrating them. That would be the sin of simony. Simony is the sin where someone demands payment for a religious service or tries to sell spiritual benefits, graces, blessings, or sacraments. Stipends are donations given by the faithful to the priest … Read more

  • What was the Reformation and When did the Reformation take place?

    What was the Reformation and When did the Reformation take place?

    The Protestant Reformation took place in 1517 AD. Until then, there had been only one Christian church and religion in Western Europe and that was Roman Catholicism. Eastern Orthodoxy had split from Rome in 1054 AD but remained in the Eastern part of the Empire, called Byzantium. England, Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland were all Catholic … Read more

  • Why did Thomas Aquinas write “Summa Theologica”?

    Why did Thomas Aquinas write “Summa Theologica”?

    Saint Thomas Aquinas was a priest and doctor of theology who belonged to the Order of Preachers, known as Dominicans. As a youth he studied in Paris under the great theologian Albertus Magnus and, because of his size and shyness, was mislabeled by his peers as the “Dumb Ox.” Albertus Magnus saw much more depth … Read more

Science

  • How Is Baking Soda Different From Baking Powder?

    How Is Baking Soda Different From Baking Powder?

    It’s all in the chemicals. Baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) is a single chemical: pure sodium bicarbonate, whereas baking powder is baking soda combined with one or more acid salts, such as monocalcium phosphate monohydrate, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, sodium aluminum sulfate, or sodium aluminum phosphate. Now that I’ve warmed the hearts of chemistry fans … Read more

  • What Is the Difference Between Unsweetened Chocolate, Semisweet Chocolate, and Sweet Chocolate?

    What Is the Difference Between Unsweetened Chocolate, Semisweet Chocolate, and Sweet Chocolate?

    Let’s look at how chocolate is made. Cacao beans, which are really seeds, are found inside melon-shaped seedpods attached directly to the trunk or thick branches of the tropical cacao tree. The beans are first separated from the pulpy mass inside the pod and allowed to ferment, usually by piling them up in heaps and … Read more

  • Where Does Corn Syrup Come From and How Is Corn Syrup Made?

    Where Does Corn Syrup Come From and How Is Corn Syrup Made?

    I know what you’re thinking. The corn that you bought at the farmers’ market the other day wasn’t really “as sweet as sugar,” as the vendor promised, was it? “Sweet corn” does indeed contain more sugar than “cow corn,” but even in the new sugar enhanced and super sweet varieties it’s precious little compared with … Read more

  • What Is the Difference Between Caramelization and Browning In Cooking?

    What Is the Difference Between Caramelization and Browning In Cooking?

    The word caramelize is used for the browning of a variety of foods, but strictly speaking, caramelizing means the heat-induced browning of a food that contains sugars, but no proteins. When pure table sugar (sucrose) is heated to about 365ºF it melts into a colorless liquid. On further heating it turns yellow, then light brown … Read more

  • How Does Two Cups of Sugar Dissolve In One Cup of Water?

    How Does Two Cups of Sugar Dissolve In One Cup of Water?

    Why don’t you try it? Add two cups of sugar to one cup of water in a saucepan and stir while heating slightly. You’ll see that all the sugar will dissolve. One of the reasons is very simple: Sugar molecules can squeeze into empty spaces between the water molecules, so they are not really taking … Read more

  • What Is the Difference Between Cane Syrup, Treacle, and Sorghum?

    What Is the Difference Between Cane Syrup, Treacle, and Sorghum?

    Cane syrup is simply clarified sugar-cane juice, boiled down to a syrup in much the same way maple syrup is made by boiling down the thin, sucrose-rich sap of the North American sugar maple and black maple trees. Black birch trees also have a sweet sap that can be boiled down into a syrup. Treacle … Read more

Space

World

  • Where Is the Windiest Place In The World?

    Where Is the Windiest Place In The World?

    The highest wind speed ever recorded on earth was 231 miles per hour. It was recorded at Mount Washington, New Hampshire. But that was a very unusual reading, and winds even half that high are rare everywhere in the United Stated, but not in one place in Antarctica. In Commonwealth Bay, along the coast of … Read more

  • Where Is the Loneliest Place on Earth?

    Where Is the Loneliest Place on Earth?

    The continent of Antarctica contains about 10 percent of all the land on earth. Yet Antarctica is the most remote, hard-to-get-to place on our planet. Its possible to visit every continent except Antarctica without ever crossing more than about 100 miles of sea. But Antarctica is everywhere at least 600 miles from the nearest continent! … Read more

  • Where Is the Largest Glacier on Earth?

    Where Is the Largest Glacier on Earth?

    A glacier is a large mass of ice and snow that forms where snow falls at a greater rate than it melts. Glaciers usually move slowly down the slopes of mountains or through valleys. They break up into icebergs when they reach the sea. It shouldn’t be surprising that the largest glacier on earth is … Read more

  • Which Insect Lives in Antarctica?

    Which Insect Lives in Antarctica?

    Whales weighing as much as 100 tons live in the waters near Antarctica, and some seals spend part of the year on that continent. Penguins and some other birds also spend part of the year in Antarctica or the waters nearby. But the only creature that lives on the continent of Antarctica year-round is an … Read more

  • Which Bird Flies the Longest For Its Migration?

    Which Bird Flies the Longest For Its Migration?

    The Arctic tern might just as well be called the “Antarctic” tern. As this sea bird, related to the gull, spends about three months of each year in the Antarctic region and about three months in the Arctic. It spends the rest of the year traveling from one end of the globe to the other. … Read more

  • How Is The Penguin The Fastest Swimming Bird On Earth?

    How Is The Penguin The Fastest Swimming Bird On Earth?

    Most birds are built for life in the air, but penguins are far better equipped for life in the water. These flightless birds use their wings as paddles when they’re swimming, enabling them to “fly” through the water. And they can “fly” indeed, some penguins travel more than 22 miles an hour when swimming underwater, … Read more