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Good Question: Reply All: Speedometers, Red Barns & Onion Tears

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mary from Eagan wants to know: Why do speedometers go so high?

Her Honda CRV says 140 mph, but she, like many of us, would never go that fast.

According to Larry Dominique, a longtime automotive engineer and current president of ALG, there are two reasons:

1) Consumer research shows that when people are driving on the highway, they like their speedometers to be between 11 and 1, like on a clock. That makes the needle easier to see at highway speeds.

2) Consumers believe that a car that says it can go 140 mph is better than a car that says it can go 120 mph.

In reality, however, Dominique says most small-to-midsize cars won’t go above 105-115 mph because their tires can’t handle it.
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Bruce from Bemidji and Kristi from Fairfax asked: Why are farm barns red?

Before paint, farmers needed something to protect the barns from the weather, so they came up with a mixture that included linseed oil and ferrous oxide, or rusted iron, which gave it a nice red color.

By the end of the 1800s, paint was mass produced and red was the least expensive color. It’s also likely farmers wanted to continue the red tradition.
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Eleven-year-old Alexandra from Brooklyn Park wanted to know: Why do cutting onions make us cry?

When you damage an onion, it releases a sulfuric compound that irritates our eyes and stimulates the tear glands.

But, if you want to turn off the water works, the folks at the National Onion Association says chill the onion for half an hour, then cut off the top and peel the outer layers.

Don’t touch the root end – that’s where you have most of the sulfuric compounds.

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