Breanna from Anoka asked: Why are potholes called potholes? Taylor from Rosemount wanted to know: What do the red, white and blue ribbons on the floors of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament stand for?
David from Eagan asked: Who picks the 68 teams in the tournament?
I love answering questions from kids because they can really stump us with the simplest things. Nine-year-old Dominick from Mounds View wants to know: If the U.S. president was a woman, what would they call her husband? The short answer to this one is that no one knows yet for sure because it has yet to happen.
Mike from New Auburn asked: What’s the difference between meteorological spring and “real” spring?
It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for Heather Brown to dig into the Good Question mailbag to answer some of your best queries. And it looks like, despite it being so late in the season, people still have many questions about winter.
Amerti asked: Why do we associate red with romance? For centuries, red has meant danger, strength, courage and love. It’s always been considered a powerful color that stands out to represent things that are powerful to people. Carol Bruess, professor of family studies at the University of St. Thomas, says it all probably comes down to what’s in our veins. “The heart is the organ that pumps ‘red’ blood through our life system, the body,” Bruess said.
Riley, the Heine family’s English setter, can sleep anywhere, anytime. So, that had Karen from Edina wanting to know: Why do dogs sleep so much? According to Dr. Travis with Uptown Veterinarians, dogs have natural circadian rhythms, like humans. He says some dogs sleep far more than others, and are influenced by their owners’ schedules.
Kathy from Roseville asked: How long is a person with the flu contagious? The Minnesota Department of Health follows the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control when it comes to influenza.
This one came to us without a name, but it’s from someone who wanted to know: How do they read our gas meters?
James from Apple Valley and Anna from Sartell wanted to know: When did Black Friday start? According to BlackFriday.com, the term “Black Friday” was coined back in the 1960s, but it was really 1924 – the first year of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – that the day after Thanksgiving became the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Early on, when the term was coined in 1961, it had a negative connotation because Philadelphia Police used it to describe the traffic jams and clogged sidewalks of that day. But, by the 1980s, the idea of the Friday after Thanksgiving putting the retailers back in the black (or profitable) started to take hold.
Caroline Kennedy was sworn in as the ambassador to Japan on Tuesday. So, that had Wendy from Eagan wondering: What does being an ambassador entail? According to the U.S. State Department, a U.S. ambassador is the president’s highest-ranking representative to another country. That person’s main role is to coordinate the Foreign Service office and the staff that serves under him or her. An ambassador is nominated by the president, but must be approved by the Senate. Some ambassadors are long-time diplomats, and others have been political friends or allies. In this case, Caroline Kennedy is a well-known person from prominent political family who will fill a high-profile ambassadorship.
Danyelle from Shorview asked: How long has Minnesota and the U.S. been issuing driver’s licenses?
Scott from Plymouth wanted to know: Why do we like to stretch after a good night’s sleep? According to Dr. Paul Mellick, a physiologist at the University of St. Thomas, we stretch because it feels good, but scientists aren’t exactly sure why.
Over the past month, people trying to apply for health insurance through the federal exchange encountered major problems on the healthcare.gov website. On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the situation, saying, “No one is more frustrated about that than I am.”
Fall in Minnesota is always beautiful, but this year the colors are especially vivid due to a wet early-mid summer and a sunny fall. This week, Heather Brown is digging into the mailbag to answer your Good Questions about autumn leaves.