Good Question: ‘Reply All’: Sleeping Fish, Pounds & Popcorn

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We begin with Jacob, from Rockville, who asked a simple but interesting question: Do fish sleep?

The answer is complicated, because fish don’t sleep like humans do. They do, however, slow down. First of all, fish don’t have eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes. And many fish, including sharks, still swim while they’re in a period of rest.

Fish do have a time every day of slowed, reduced activity, and if you’ve ever checked on your goldfish in the middle of the night, you’ll see the little guy hovering about the bowl– that’s essentially fish sleep.

Nine-year-old Grace Johnson and her 11-year-old cousin Molly Engels asked this question: Why do we abbreviate the word pounds with lbs.

First off, the answer doesn’t make a lot of sense. “Lb” stands for “libra,” which was the basic unit of weight in ancient Rome. One libra was about 12 ounces. The British used the word pound, which came from the Latin word “pondo,” meaning “by weight.”

But why take pound from one Latin word and the abbreviation from a different Latin word? That, my friends, is a good question for which there is no good answer.

Francille, of St. Louis Park, wanted to know: Why do we eat popcorn (and not some other snack) at the movies?

The portable popcorn machine was invented in 1885. Vendors followed the crowds and used to set them up outside theaters. This annoyed movie house operators; they got the mess, but not the money.

But during the Great Depression, the theater people got desperate and put their own popcorn machines inside the theaters.

Today, popcorn is a huge driver of concession sales. And concessions account for about 40 percent of movie theaters’ net revenue.

More from Jason DeRusha
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