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From now on I'm going to jot down questions as they occur to me, look 'em up on Google, and post my findings on the 15th of each month. And I shall call it: Research Day!
What's the origin of the phrase "Soup to Nuts"? According to this Straight Dope column, traditional British meals began with soup and were followed with port and nuts. Thus, "soup to nuts" came to mean "everything, and then some." (Bob concurs: "They're the courses in a (Victorian?) formal banquet. Soup is the first course, and the nuts are served with the brandy and cigars as the gentlemen retire to the billiards room.")
Why is is easier to maintain your balance on a moving bicycle than on a stationary one?: This is actually something I've been wondering for, oh, a couple decades now. And here, at long last, is the answer. In a nutshell: it's not easier in the short term. Upon a stationary bicycle, if you tilt in one direction and will just fall over; on a moving bicycle, however, you tilt one way and the whole bicycle moves in that direction (pulled by your weight) and gets under you again, thereby restoring your balance. The faster you are moving, the quicker the bicycle gets under you again, the more you feel un-topple-able.
Will a woman who has not just given birth begin to lactate if she allows an infant to nurse over the course of a few days/ weeks?: This question arose after I told The Queen that I thought infants adopted by lesbian couples must be totally psyched (because twice the feeding stations meant no waiting), and she announced that it didn't work that way. The answer, according to this article, lies somewhere in the middle: yes, a woman will start to "produce drops of milk after two to four weeks," but probably never enough to completely sate a newborn.
How long would would I have to search Google to find photos or an account of a couple that exchanged wedding rings engraved with the Elvish inscription on Sauron's ring?: Ready ... go! Sixty seconds -- Found this: "The tengwar Quenya inscriptions on the rings ... are very closely based on the style of Tolkien's own Ring inscription (indeed the Tengwar text was not handwritten, but a cut-and-paste job made from photocopies of Tolkien's inscription)." Close, but I want the inscription on the actual One Ring. 140 seconds -- closer: "My wedding ring is a replica of the One Ring, complete with Elvish script inside (although what it says is much more benign than the Black Speech inscription and is in Quenya)." 150 seconds, closer still: "The rings read: One ring to show our love, one ring to bind us / One ring to seal our love, and forever to entwine us." (Damn, that page has photos and everything, and is probably about as good as I'm going to get. Well, I'll keep looking a for another minute or so ...). 200 seconds: E-weddingbands.com sells One Rings, so I ought to be able to find some couple that exchanged them. 230 seconds: Got bored, declared the "One ring to seal our love" guys the winner.
Should I eat chili for lunch and then go to the gym in the afternoon? I did a little inadvertent research on this subject yesterday, and discovered the answer to be a resounding no.Posted on January 15, 2003 to Research Day