How did Badminton get its name?

Badminton is a game somewhat like tennis, because in both games an object is hit over a net with rackets.  But the badminton racket is lighter than a tennis racket and a feathered shuttlecock, or “bird,” is hit instead of a tennis ball.

Badminton is a present-day version of an earlier and simpler game called “battledore and shuttlecock,” which was first played several hundred years ago in India and other Eastern countries.

A group of Englishmen brought it to England. It was played so much at a place in England called Badminton that it was named after this place.

The object of the game is to bat the shuttlecock from one player to the other without allowing it to fall to the ground or bounce as a tennis ball does.

A badminton shuttlecock is often called a “bird” because it has real feathers tied to a piece of cork.

The feathers guide the shuttlecock when you hit it over the net.

The “bird” often used in badminton today has a plastic crown, instead of the old feather crown. Dick Rogers

How Are Seedless Grapes Grown?

Grapes are seldom grown from seeds today.

A common way of growing new vines is from cuttings, or pieces of grown-up grapevines.  In the winter, the grape farmer cuts pieces about 12 inches long from the old vines.

Each piece has five or six buds (a small swelling on the vine that will develop into a new leaf or branch).  These cuttings are stored over the winter.

Early in the spring, they are planted in nursery beds where they grow roots.  In the following spring, the vines are planted as new grapevines.

Thompson seedless grapes were brought to the United States many years ago from Australia by a man named Thompson.

The seeds had been nearly bred out of the grapes by selecting only the grapes that had the fewest seeds to grow new vines, and planting their seeds in turn, until a practically seedless grapes resulted.

Grapes are one of the first fruits men learned to raise.  Some are eaten fresh, some made into grape juice, jelly, or raisins, and many tons of them are made into wine.  Dick Rogers

Who invented the umbrella?

When it rains, we may put up an umbrella to help keep the water off.  But actually the umbrella was not invented as protection against rain.

The first umbrellas were used as shades against the hot sun.  in fact, the umbrella gets its name from an old Latin word meaning “little shadow.”

No one knows who invented it, but the umbrella had  its origin in the East in very remote times, where it was used as a symbol of rank and authority.  Umbrella were allowed to be used only by royalty or by those in high office.

Even today, an umbrella is believed to be a mark of rank by people in some countries, (it wasn’t until much later that umbrellas were used as protection against the rain).

The name “parasol” is sometimes used for a small, often brightly colored umbrella carried by women as a sunshade.  There are many different kinds of umbrellas today.-Dick Rogers

Why do we feel pain when we are hurt?

Heat of the candle flame sends pain messages to the brain through long threads of nerve cells.

Consider yourself  lucky that you can feel pain.  Pain is your protector.  It warns of possible danger to the body.  If you did not feel pain from touching something hot, you might not jerk your hand away in time and could be injured seriously.

If we examine the skin, we find many tiny living threads spread throughout the skin, much like the roots of plant.  These threads are our pain nerves.

When we touch something hot, or when something bumps or scrapes them, our pain nerves send messages to the brain.

What happens is this:  When the pain nerve is injured, certain chemical changes take place within the nerve that start a message along a long nerve thread toward the brain.

These chemical changes happen all along the line, much like the spreading of small waves after a stone is thrown into a pond.  The changes happen very fast.

Since it has only a short way to travel, the message quickly reaches its destination—so quickly that jerk your hand away from a hot stove before you even have time to say “ouch!”-Dick Rogers

How are bricks made?

The ordinary bricks that a bricklayer uses to build a brick house are usually made from clay that is baked in an over.

To make bricks, he brick makers grind the clay and mix it with water.  Some sand is added, too.

A brick making machine pushes the soft clay through a hole to form a thick ribbon of clay.

Another machine, called a “brick cutter,” cuts the clay ribbon into brick shapes, in much the same way you’d cut a bar of cheese.

When the cut bricks have dried, the brick makers stack them in a big oven called a “kiln.”

In the kiln the bricks are “fired,” or baked.  This makes them hard and strong, and better able to withstand dampness.

In construction, the bricklayer arranges the bricks so that they tap over each other, to make the wall strong.

He uses a special kind of cement called “mortar” to hold the bricks together.  The mortar also makes the wall watertight. –Dick Rogers

Why do we perspire?

The sweat glands help keep you cool in the summer.  When we get very warm, little beads of water called sweat form on our skin.  Perspiration is a quick method of cooling off the body.

You can test this by wetting your hands and waving them rapidly.  The water evaporates quickly and makes your hands feel cooler lowering the skin temperature.

A fan cools you because it creates a little breeze that makes the sweat evaporate quickly.

Our body heat remains at a certain temperature all the time.  Perspiration is one of the ways our body is kept at a  normal temperature.

When our body becomes to warm, the heat-control center of the brain sends signals to tiny tubes in the skin called sweat glands.  They push sweat through tiny holes in the skin called pores.

As each little bead of sweat evaporates, it carries away a little heat.  And you feel cooler.  Sweat is mostly water mixed with salt.

We perspire in cool weather, too.  But the small amount of sweat evaporates almost as soon as it is formed.-Dick Rogers

How are natural diamonds formed?

Diamonds are formed in dying volcanoes.  As the hot lava cools, great pressure and heat act on the carbon found in the lava and change the carbon into diamonds. You may know that a diamond is simply a crystal of common carbon, of which coal is largely formed.

Diamonds were formed millions of years ago in the throats of dying volcanoes. As the molten lava cooled, great pressure and heat acted on the carbon into diamonds.

The first diamonds were found loose in sand and gravel of stream beds.  Today, diamonds are mostly mined from deep within the earth in or near old volcanoes.

The diamonds are found in a rock called “blue ground.”  The rock I dug out and crushed to free the diamonds.  Many tons of blue ground must be crushed and sorted to find one diamond, which must then be carefully sorted to find one diamond, which must then be carefully cut and polished to bring out its sparking brilliance.

Diamonds are fund on all continents, but chances are the ones you see came from diamond mines if Africa.-Dick Rogers

How are glass bottles made?

Glass bottles, such as pop bottles and mil bottles, are made by machines which blow and mold the glass at the same time into the right shapes.

In the bottle-making factory, a gob of red-hot molten glass with just enough material to make the finished bottle is dropped into a metal mold.

A blast of air or a plunger forces the hot, syrupy glass against the sides of the mold, forming the neck and roughly shaping the bottle.

The partially shaped glass bottle then goes into a final blowing mold, where another blat of air blows the rough shape into a smooth glass bottle.

After the bottle has hardened, it is reheated in a special oven, then slowly cooled to make he bottle tough and hard to break.

The bottle-making machine can blow and shape hundreds of bottles each hour. Bottles made of plastic are made in much the same way glass bottles are made.Dick Rogers

What does ‘dew point’ mean?

The dew point is the temperature at which moisture in the air begins to condense.

Perhaps the air doesn’t seem damp at all.  It does, however, have many tiny, invisible bits of water moving about in it.  We call these tiny specks of moisture “water vapor.”

Cold air cannot hold as much moisture at warm air.  When the air reaches the dew point, or below the temperature at which it can no longer hold all the moisture present, the moisture leaves the air and begins to condense on things.

The dampness of the cold air may cling to tiny specks of dust in the air and form fog or clouds. At night, the chilled leaves of plants may cool the air that touches them.

When the air is chilled below its dew point, it leaves one of its wetness on the plants as dewdrops.-Dick Rogers

Why is the season of autumn called fall?

Autumn is the season of the year that comes between summer and winter.  For those of us who live where there is a marked changed of season, we know it’s autumn when the leaves change color and the crisp air pinches our cheeks.

Americans often call this season “fall” because it is the time of failing leaves.  The name, autumn, is a form of the old Latin word for “maturing.”

It is the period of ripeness when farmers harvest their crops. In the northern half of the world, autumn begins about Sept. 23.  This day is called the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length.

Autumn ends when winter starts, on December 22. The tilt and the travelling of the earth around the sun causes the change in the seasons.

In the southern half of the world, he seasons are just the opposite.  There, autumn begins and ends at the time spring begins and ends in the northern hemisphere. –Dick Rogers