How does the anchor hold the ship?

An anchor is a heavy weight that is used to hold a boat in place in the water. In olden days, sailors used large stones or other heavy objects which held the boat in place merely by their weight.

But as ships became larger, iron anchors were made with flukes, or “hook,’ that dug into the ocean bottom and prevented the heavy ship from dragging the anchor along the bottom.

A stock, or cross arm, near the top of the anchor prevented it from laying flat and made sure that one of the flukes would dig into the mud.

Today, stockless anchors have replaced most of the old-fashioned stock anchors.  The arm of the stockless anchor pivots, or turns, so that both flukes dig into the ocean bottom.

The weight of the heavy chain also helps hold the ship in place.  Most large ships carry two or more anchors. To “weigh” anchor means to pull the anchor up.-Dick Rogers

Where do freckles come from?

Freckles are the small, crown spots that dot the skin of some people.

There are certain cells in your skin which produce a dark pigment, or coloring matter.  This pigment, called “melanin,” gives the brown color to the skin.  How much of this dark pigment you have usually depends on how much of it your parents have.

When your skin is exposed to the sun, the sunlight not only darkens the melanin-producing cells to make an extra amount of pigment.  And that is why you get a suntan.

Sometimes small spots in your skin have more of the pigment melanin in them than in the rest of your skin.

And so, instead of an even cost of tan, the spots pop out as freckles when they darken in the sunlight. Some people are mush more likely than others to freckle. People with red hair and fair skins are the ones who most often get freckles.-Dick Rogers

What do the numbers in the zip code mean?

The post office can deliver mail more quickly because of the zip code.  There is a five-number zip code for every address.

Here’s how it works.  The United States and its possessions are divided up into 10 large parts.  Each part has a number between 0 and 9.

Suppose the zip code on the letter you mail is 60635.  The first number, “6”, tells the postal clerk that the letter goes to the Midwest part of the United States.  The next two numbers, “06” narrows it down to Chicago, III.  The last two numbers, “15.” pinpoint the  local post office.

Zip-coded letters eliminate many handlings. Before ZIP the letter would have gone through many sorting as it was passed from one large city to another across the country.

By reading the zip code numbers, post office workers can only can route the letters more directly to their destination, but sort them more quickly at home. Always use your zip number on your mail.-Dick Rogers

Did vampires ever exist?

Vampires never really existed.  The belief in them in a superstition. According to old legends, a vampire was the restless soul of a dead person that renewed its life each night by sucking the blood from a living victim.

Vampires were said to dread light and to flee to hiding places at the rise of the sun. The legend maintained that a common method for destroying a vampire was to drive a stake through its heart.

The belief in such superstitions began in the shadowy darkness of man’s early history.  To early man the world was a mysterious place, indeed.  He believed that storms sicknesses and other unexplained acts of nature that brought human miseries were the work of unseen demons and evil spirits.

Today we now understand the real causes of much that we see in nature. Scientific thinking helps to destroy old superstitions.-Dick Rogers

What were centaurs?

Ancient Greek legends or tales tell of centaurs (pronounced SET tors), which were beastlike creatures half-man and half-horse. They were said to live in the mountains of Thessaly and Arcadia in Greece.

Centaurs were often wild, lawless creatures.  They liked to fight and destroy things using rough branches of trees as weapons.

The most famous centaur was Chiron.  Unlike the other centaurs he was kind and wise. He taught many Greek heroes including Achilles. Of course, there were never any real centaur.  But people once really belied in them.

No one is sure where the idea of centaurs came from.  Perhaps the centaur stories may have been started in ancient times by people who had never seen a horse.

They were, perhaps, filled with terror and awe at the sight of a mounted rider, and imagined that the horse and the man were one single creature!-Dick Rogers

What is a watermark?

If you hold a piece of writing paper up to the light you may see a design of some kind.  The design may include the words “rag content” and a picture of an eagle, crown or some other symbol  such marking are called “watermarks.”

Watermarks are trademarks which paper makers put in their better quality paper to identify the grade of paper and the paper mill  where it is made.

Here’s how the paper maker puts the watermark in the paper:

When the paper is being made it passes under a special roller on which is fastened the watermark design.

The design presses into the soggy paper, leaving it a tiny hit thinner where it comes to contact with the design.  When the paper dries, the thinner place show as a watermark, which can be seen clearly only when the paper is held up to the light.

Watermarks are sometimes put in stamps and in paper money to prevent counterfeiting.-Dick Rogers

What makes Goosebumps?

When a person gets cold, or angry or frightened, he may get little bumps on the skin called “gooseflesh,” or “Goosebumps,” caused by tiny muscles in the skin.  Every hair has a muscle attached to its root.  When a person gets cold (or frightened) these tiny muscles tighten up.

They produce little bumps on the skin and make the hair stand on end.  Then the hair forms a thicker coat and keeps more air near the body for better protection against the cold.

Since man has lost most of his body hair, the added protection does not amount very much for him. In furred animals or birds, which show the same response, the insulting effect is considerable.

When an animal, such as cat, is startled, the same muscles make its fur stand on end just as they do when the animal is cold.  It looks larger and more dangerous than it really is, and may frighten away its enemy.-Dick Rogers

How are paint brush made?

A paintbrush is a tool with stiff hairs or bristles for brushing paint onto a surface. Nearly all paintbrushes used for painting houses or for varnishing furniture are made of hog bristles or man made bristles, such as nylon.

Bristles are best-suited for paintbrushes because they split at the ends into a bushy “flag” which holds paint. To make a hog-bristle paint brush, the brush maker first straightens the bristles by boiling and heat-drying.

Next, he sorts the bristles, bunches up enough to make a paintbrush, trims them to the right length, then glues the bunch into one end of a metal ferrule (holder).  Finally, a machine nails a wooden handle to the other end.

Artists’ brushes are made in much the same way.  Fine artists’ brushes are usually made from the hairs of such animals as the red sable and so-called camel’s hair.  Which is not from the camel at all.  It is really squirrel hair.-Dick Rogers

How did the boxing ring get its name?

Boxing contests take place in a “ring” which is actually a square platform enclosed by ropes supported by posts at each corner.  The modern boxing “ring” probably got its name from the circular arena that Roman boxers once fought in.

These early boxers wrapped each fist in a leather thong called a “cestus,” which was studded with bits of metal.  These boxers often fought to the death.  Boxing was so bloody that the Romans banned it about 2,000 years ago.

Boxing reappeared in England in the 1700s.  The contestants wore no gloves, and beat at one another with their bare fists.

During the next century, rules were drawn up that provided, among other things, for a “ring” 24 feel square and bounded by ropes.  Boxers today wear padded gloves to soften the blows to help prevent inquires.

Professional boxers are often called “prize fighters,” because they are paid cash prizes for winning a bout.-Dick Rogers

Who was Mozart?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the greatest musicians of all times.  Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1756.

Mozart learned to write music before he could write words.  He learned to play the harpsichord (an early kind of piano) at the age of 4.

When he was only five years old, he not only played several instruments well, but wrote music of his own.  He was giving public concerts at the age of 6.  Before he was 12, Mozart had given concerts at most of the leading cities in Europe and played for kings and queens.

People were so amazed at his musical genius that he was often called the “Wonder Boy.” Mozart did not live long.  He died before his 36th birthday, but he still left over 600 works, including several operas and many symphonies.

Today his music is famous throughout the world.  You will hear Mozart’s music many times in your life.Dick Rogers