Monthly Archives: February, 2009

How did the lima bean get its name?

Although pronounced differently the lima bean gets its name from Lima Peru, where the bean has long been used as a food.  Lima bean are one of America’s favorite beans. This large, flat bean takes its name from the city of Lima.  Peru, where the bean has long been cultivated as a food.  (Although the …

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What is a safflower?

A safflower is a thistlelike plant widely cultivated for the edible oitl and dyestuff that it yields.  It is a large flowers that may be white to brilliant red. The plants grows about 3 feet high and has broad, spiny leaves.  The safflower has been grown in China, India and in other dry parts of the …

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What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are the magnificent display of colored lights that occurs near the earth’s north Magnetic pole. If you live far enough north, you may have seen the magnificent display of glowing, flickering colored lights high in the clear night sky. The northern lights are one of nature’s most dazzling shows.  …

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How are ship models put in bottles?

The ship model is first constructed outside the bottle.  The builder then folds the masts down slips the ship down the bottle’s neck and pulls up the masts.  Did you ever see a ship model in a bottle?  If so, then you may have wondered how the ship got inside the bottle. To pass the …

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What is an aqueduct?

A big city needs a lot of water.  Some cities are near big lakes or rivers.  They find it easy to get enough water. But very often the lakes or reservoirs upon which a city depends for water are many miles from the city.  Then aqueduct must be built. The word “aqueduct” comes from two Latin …

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What is a Quasar?

The mysterious quasars (KWAY sahrs) are intensely bright, star like objects on the edge of the universe.  One of the big mysteries about the quasars is what they are.  Not stars and not galaxies (groups of stars), quasars have baffled scientists since they were discovered in the early 1960s. A quasar is many times brighter …

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When was the parachute invented?

A parachute is a big, umbrella-like device with which a erson may float safely down from an airplane high in the air.  The idea of parachutes is an old one.  Leonardo da Vinci sketched one in his notebook in 1514. The first practical parachute was not invented until the 1780s, when a Frenchman named Sebastien …

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What makes poison ivy itch?

The leaves and stem of poison ivy contain a poisonous oil that is very irritating to the skin. Poison Ivy is one of the most common and  most-feared poisonous plants in North America.   Few people can touch the leaves or berries without being poisoned. The poison is an oil that is extremely irritating to the skin, …

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Where does mold come from?

Mold is really a patch of tiny plants.  Tiny molds “seeds” called spores are carried away by currents of air.  When they land on a material they can use as food, the spores grow into new mold plants. If you leave a piece of damp bread in the kitchen, in a few days it will …

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