Things I Don't Get

There are a few things I just don't get. Some I can look up on the web, but some just don't seem to have answers, not any that are easier to comprehend than string theory or Finnegan's Wake, anyway. Here are some that come to mind...

  1. Why is it that every time I put a cup of coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate in any microwave, regardless of where I place it on the revolving glass plate, and I open the door to remove it, the cup is always in the back of the oven? Micah explained it to me once, but I still don't get it.
  2. If the universe is expanding, where is it expanding to? Conversely, if it eventually contracts, what will fill the space it once inhabited? Also, if the universe began with the "Big Bang", where was the explosion? I know that it was a ball of dense gases smaller than an atom, but what was that inhabiting? And where did that come from? Where the hell are we anyway? Come to think of it, there couldn't have been a "Big Bang", could there, because there were no ears to receive and translate the sound waves?
  3. Why do some drivers think that they have to come nearly to a complete stop when turning right (or into a driveway or parking lot)? Just turn the frickin' wheel and go!
  4. And while we're talking about drivers, why do some swing out in the opposite direction they're turning before they actually make the turn?
  5. Why do mosquitoes only bite my feet?
  6. Botox. Why on earth do people inject a deadly substance into their faces?
  7. Why does cold coffee taste like crap, but if you add a couple of ice cubes, it's delicious?
  8. Why do people start smoking? (N.B. This not an invitation to a debate about smoking. I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious about why someone starts. I tried when I was younger, but I just couldn't get into the dedication that it took to get addicted. Besides, it tasted like crap, and made me choke.)
  9. Why does toilet paper come only on rolls? What if it came in decorative boxes, like Kleenex?
  10. Why do clocks go clockwise? Why weren't they designed to go counter-clockwise? And, logically speaking, should they go CCW in the southern hemisphere?
  11. When you burn a votive candle and the wax evaporates into the air, does it coat the inside of our lungs and/or nasal cavities?
  12. Why do prescription drugs come in amber-colored bottles? OTC drugs don't.
  13. How the hell do cameras work? Why, when the shutter is opened, does the image burn itself on the film? How does it do that?


  1. #13:

    Maybe that'll help!

  2. Ad # 13):
    To demonstrate how an image burns itself on a film, I showed my then still very young son how to make his own pinhole camera. We used a Quaker Oatmeal box (those oldfashioned canisters, you can of course use some other sturdy cylindrical container with a tight fitting lid). We used (silver gelatin) photo paper instead of film (easier to load and handle).

    I found this webpage, which gives detailed instructions:
    Photography with a Pinhole Camera

    I hope you have access to a photo lab. :-)

    In my opinion, experimenting (really playing *g*) with a pinhole camera, the differnt exposure times and pinhole sizes, helps even neophytes at photography to understand how cameras work and in consequence, makes a better photographer´, gaining an understanding of how one can play with and around the limits of a simple snap and shoot camera.

    And now I sit back and wait that somebody explain to me in fewer words how it really works. ;-)

  3. Ad #2:
    The Universe? That goes beyond my imagination. I just hope that there will be no uncouth moves while I'm still enjoying the ride. ;-)

  4. Thanks to both of you. However, I still don't understand HOW it does it. I mean, I understand the "little" How, but not the "larger" how.

  5. #5) Why do mosquitos bite my feet?

    a. Your feet are exposed.

    b. The skin on your feet is thinner, therefore the blood vessels are closer to the surface and easier to get to.

    c. Your little piddys are so cute that they just can't resist taking a nibble! :D

  6. #1 -- Not a clue. When Micah explains it again, please post it.

    #2 -- I'm not sure that the universe is expanding. It's the space between planets and stars that's expanding. My dad used an analogy of a balloon that was being blown up. If you have two spots close together on a balloon, as air is added to the balloon, the spots get further and further away from each other. If it eventually contracts, nothing will fill the space it once inhabited. I suppose you could find out where the Big Bang happened by measuring the movement of the items in space. At some point, the objects would all be moving in different directions. That's where the explosion would have happened. (I guess. :-) Where did that come from? There's no way to know. It could be that the universe has been expanding and contracting forever. Good point about no one being able to hear the "Bang," but "Big Bang" is a better term than "Large Explosion."

    #3 -- Maybe they're being certain that there's no one coming at them from the left.

    #4 -- Maybe they're used to driving big rigs that would likely tip over if they didn't swing out first. Those habits are hard to break.

    #5 -- Not a clue! :-D

    #6 -- I considered getting Botox injections, not for vanity's sake, but because it has been helpful in stopping migraines. For others, the way they look trumps all other consideration.

    #7 -- I don't drink coffee. Or even tea any more. I found out that it was caffeine that caused the migraines. ::sigh::

    #8 -- You know why I started smoking. ;-)

    #9 -- Rolls give more flexibility in the size of paper that is used. You can choose to get a shorter or longer piece as needed. (Just a guess.)

    #10 -- (I copied this answer) The reason that clocks turn clockwise has to do with sundials, which were the first clocks. In the northern hemisphere, the earth rotates counter-clockwise, which means that from our point of view the sun appears to move across the sky in a clockwise directon. Therefore, if you build a sundial to tell time, the shadows will move across it in a clockwise direction.

    With mechanical clocks, you could of course make them go around either way, but the earliest ones were presumably designed to turn the same way the shadows on a sundial do, simply because that's what people were used to.

    What this means, by the way, is that if mechanical clocks had originated in the southern hemisphere, the ones we use today would probably go around in the other direction!

    #11 -- No idea about candle wax.

    #12 -- Many pharmeceuticals are light-sensitive and expire more quickly when exposed to light. They probably figure you can buy more OTC drugs when you need them, but prescriptions have to be obtained from doctors. (just a guess)

    #13 -- With black-and-white cameras, there's light-senstive silver oxide on the film. When it's exposed to light, the silver darkens, depending on the amount of light that hits it. Color cameras use different minerals that change color when exposed to light.

  7. Deni: As per #10, then shouldn't clocks in the southern hemisphere travel counter-clockwise? ;)

    Great answers everyone!

  8. #11 When you burn a votive candle and the wax evaporates into the air, does it coat the inside of our lungs and/or nasal cavities?:
    To my lungs and throat it feels as if it does coat them, andn this in turn makes me gasp for air. So no candles in my house, unless they are made of unscented beeswax, of which I can take one or two in a room.

  9. As for #10, it's likely that people were already used to clocks going clockwise when they (clocks) were introduced to the Southern Hemisphere. Old habits die hard. :-)

  10. The Microwave...

    I call this the "10 Second Rule". Every microwave I've ever used (that had a rotating tray, obviously) has operated with the same RPM rate... 1 revolution per every 10 seconds. Therefore, If you put your coffe cup in so that the handle faces you and then set the timer for a multiple of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc, etc), the handle will be facing you when the microwave stops. If you prefer odd times, such as 45 seconds, 1:15, etc, then place it so the handle is towards the back of the oven. Then it will be facing you when done cooking.

    Of course, now that I mention this in public, I will not be surprised to learn that everyone's nukers operate differently than all I have used to date, LOL.

  11. #2. Oh, damn. I had hoped the Freemasons had figured this one out and just weren't telling anyone!

  12. On #11 - much of the wax does not actually "evaporate" so much as it "burns" - a lot of CO2 is produced (and some water vapor). Soot and other junk is also produced because candles burn incompletely (and there are impurities in the wax.

    I've read that paraffin wax (which is made from petroleum) has more bad stuff in it than either soy wax or beeswax. But I think unless you're living in one of those super-tight "high efficiency" houses (which save energy but make everyone sick because the air exchange is so poor), you're probably not coating your lungs TOO badly.

    As for the clock one, I always figured if you made a clock that ran counterclockwise, time would go backwards. And I'd honestly rather see one where time went more slowly (but my productivity didn't so I could get more done in the same amount of time)

  13. your brain is as twisted as mine. :) I assume the questions were rhetorical.

    AND I read this the other day on facebook re: The Big Bang Theory and it made me laugh:

    "The Big Bang theory? That's like throwing a bunch of metal pieces together and hoping a car emerges."


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