It’s Friday, so we’re answering some of the Good Questions you’ve e-mailed us this summer. Chris from Hopkins wants to know: what makes cell phones vibrate? Employees from Sprint said there is a circuit board inside your phone with a ringer attached, and a vibration motor attached.
Avery from Zumbrota wants to know: How many baseballs do they go through during a game? Some of the baseballs end up in the hands of fans. Some are re-used the next day for batting practice. But during the course of a Twins game, about 10 dozen, or about 120 baseballs, are used.
Emily from St. Cloud wants to know what happens to all the sandbags after the flooding is over? If the sand isn’t contaminated with floodwater, it can be used as fill for things like playgrounds and sidewalks. But in most cases, the sand is contaminated.
Brad from Watertown wants to know: Why are there dots on our windshields? Our friends from Abra Auto Body and Glass helped us with this one. Basically those dots are there to stop UV rays from coming in from the sun. Without the dots, UV rays could burn the adhesive that holds the windshield in place.
Ken from Roseville asked: What do the cities do with all the sand they sweep up in the spring? That depends on the city.
Toni Lynn from North St. Paul asked: Why are robin eggs blue? According to DNR bird expert Carol Henderson, the pigments in the blood of the mom robin are embedded into the egg shell as the egg passes through the oviduct before it’s laid.
The word Easter isn’t in any scripture, but back in the Middle Ages people in the Northern Hemisphere associated this time of year with new life, or spring. Eostre is a goddess in Germanic paganism, and fertile rabbits (or hares) are synonymous with new life.
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.
We’ve all seen the beautiful leaves out there. But how exactly do they change colors? That’s just one of the Good Questions you e-mailed us this week. Now back to leaves…
Heather Brown answers all your questions, from where did goose bumps get its name to where do bird go during a thunderstorm.
Judy from Minneapolis wants to know: Why do MLB games start at 10 minutes after the hour instead of on the hour? According to Twins spokesman Kevin Smith, the start time are to accommodate radio and television networks that come on the air at the top of the hour. It gives them time to set up the game, welcome everyone and sometimes take a commercial break.