By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every Friday, Heather Brown takes a moment to answer some of your various Good Questions. This week, she looks at a timely colloquialism, the flavor of nothing, and a word that stands for, well, you’ll find out.

Ryan from White Bear Lake asks: “Why doesn’t water taste like anything?”

According to Patricia Di Lorenzo, a professor of psychology at Binghamton University, what we taste depends on what our tongues are adapted to. Given our tongues are covered in saliva (which is made mostly of water), we don’t taste much when it comes to drinking water. Water, though, can be sensed by the nervous system as part of our survival instincts. Di Lorenzo says the taste of water can also differ after eating different tastes. People might also be tasting some impurities or minerals in the water.

Michael from Holdingford wants to know: “What does Wi-Fi stand for?”

In 1999, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), which is now the Wi-Fi Alliance, and branding company Interbrand came up with several name suggestions. They needed something to replace IEEE 802.11. Some of the suggested names were Elevate, Dragonfly, Trapeze and Wi-Fi.

“When we saw it with the yin-yang logo, we thought, ‘Yeah, this is good,'” said Phil Belanger, one of the co-founders of WECA, said in an interview with Wi-Fi Planet.

Belanger said that Wi-Fi has never stood for “wireless fidelity.”

Ashley from Winona and Tami from Isanti: “Why so we say o’clock?”

Before clocks were invented, people told time by the sun. Once clocks became popular, people needed a way to differentiate the time of the sun and the time of the clock. “Of the clock” was simply shortened to “o’clock.”

Heather Brown

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