Questions without answers #8

Why does sour cream have an expiration date?

Sour cream is a dairy product which is obtained by fermenting cream with some kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria cause the cream to become sour and thicker. Sour cream can be used as a topping for baked potatoes or as the base for salad dressings, to name only a few examples.
Anyway, even sour cream has an expiration date. One could argue that whenever cream is fermented (on purpose or not) the result is sour cream and can still be used. That might be correct but once there is mold visible on top the sour cream can be contaminated. The mold may cause the development of mycotoxins and aflatoxin. Mycotoxins belong to the family of fungi and their ingestion can lead to damage of the macrophage system. Macrophages are leucocytes and they belong to the immune system.
Aflatoxin is another fungus belonging to the group of mycotoxins which can even delay a child’s development although it is not too dangerous for grown-ups. Therefore, even sour cream needs and expiration date.

What do butterflies have in their stomachs when they are in love?

The highly romantic answer is: nothing. A male butterfly courts the female with a special kind of flight and then circumambulates her on the ground. During their flight the butterflies “touch” each other and sent out different scents to increase their partner’s willingness for mating. Interestingly enough, some female butterflies don’t even need a male to fertilize their eggs.
Having butterflies in one’s stomach is an idiomatic expression describing the chemical process of someone being in love. The process includes different hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin and vasopressin initiate a learning process in the lovers’ striatum – a part of the forebrain – during which they learn to associate positive feelings with each other.
Dopamine, a messenger substance, floods the lovers’ reward systems at the slightest sign from their beloved. So it seems to be the interaction of these hormones that causes people to feel butterflies in their stomach.
What is quite interesting is that the serotonin level of people in love and people suffering from compulsion neurosis lies 40 % below the standard value. This means that in a biochemical sense people in love are mentally ill. This phenomenon is called “micro-paranoia”.

Are there coffee breaks in tea factories?

A so called coffee break is nothing but a short period of time one might use to drink coffee. So, generally, one has the opportunity to drink anything because coffee break does not mean you have to drink coffee – otherwise you’d have to cancel coffee breaks for people who don’t like coffee. As each factory has certain periods of time that offer the possibility of having a drink, tea factories also offer these breaks. Consequently, tea factories have coffee breaks.

Do blind Eskimos have seeing-eye sledge dogs?

Firstly, I don’t think that Eskimos who weren’t born blind ride a sleigh. Of course I may be wrong but I imagine it nearly impossible to keep your balance standing on a moving sleigh while you don’t see anything. It might be different if you were born blind or have been blind from an early age on, but still.
Anyway, back to the question at hand. Let us assume there is a blind Eskimo who wants to travel from point A to point B. Would he be able to do so? Yes, he would and he does not need specially trained seeing-eye dogs. Apart from having to be mentally fit, sledge dogs have to be able to understand commands and implement them. Additionally, they must be able to find the right trail. So, when they hear the command “To point B” they will know how to get there, even if their driver is blind. Maybe they won’t get to new locations but they’ll find known ones.

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