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Some of life’s imponderables, questions difficult to answer.


The aim of this site is to answer some of life’s
little questions but here are a few which are difficult to fathom!

the doctor always says to take two aspirins, why don’t we just double
their size?

Most over
the counter Aspirins have a perforations making them easy to cut in
half. Half of one pill is the same dosage as what is recommended for
children. If they made the pills twice as strong, there’d be no way to
cut the pill into fourths for a child. It would require buying more than
one aspirin for your family.


on TV, did “The Incredible Hulk’s” shirt always rip but his
pants never did?

In 1962,
the standards and practices committee wouldn’t allow nudity shown in
commercially available comic books. This was carried over to television
where the FCC also wouldn’t allow nudity on television. There are ways
of shooting around the nudity, but this would have complicated matters
for a long production on a weekly television series.


Superman could stop bullets with his chest, why did he always duck if
the bad guy threw the gun at him?

are two answers. Answer 1 is it’s a reflexive action. Answer 2 is safety
of the person playing Superman.


is taking the skin off an animal “dressing”, but taking our
clothes off “undressing”?
you have to “re-start” before refinishing a table?

No. The gloss on a table
is called a finish, since it’s the last thing you do, so once you apply
the gloss, you have finished. So, refinishing is the correct way to say
it, it has already been finished, you are doing it again.

Leigh Maupin

does all the white go when the snow melts?

All the above
have been sent in by Phil Williamson

Color is made of
light. Light is made of every color we can see, and and some we
can’t (infrared and ultraviolet are two). This is why when you
shine light through a prism, you see rainbows. It’s called The
Electromagnetic Spectrum. When you see the color red, such as a
red ball, the red ball absorbs all the color in the light except
red, reflecting it back. All colors work the same way. White and
black are actually NOT colors, white happens when ALL THE COLORS
get reflected back to you, human eyes percieve this as white. If
we use a prism to view light, the prism shape breaks up the
colors in the light, enabling us to see a rainbow. Black is the
absence of light, when something is black, it absorbs all the
light, not reflecting any back, so we see no color. Snow flakes
are translucent ice crystals (not clear, ice is not perfectly
clear) with air molecules in them. The pockets of air,
translucency making it difficult for the light to escape, along
with the complex shape of each crystal allows the light to
bounce around so much that the light is both reflected and
absorbed equally, creating a neutral, since our eyes see all the
colors , we perceive this as white. So, since there never was
any white to begin with, it’s an illusion, just like all color
is, when the crystals melt, the sunlight is no longer being
bounced around like that, just like if I took your red ball
away, you would no longer see the color red.


Leigh Maupin

is an occasional table the remainder of the
Also Ken
When does
a large puddle become a pond, and a pond become a lake?

Clare Harding

is heaven?


is it you can walk down a road, even if it goes up hill?
are the buttons on mens’ shirts on the opposite side to those on
ladies’ garments?

has very kindly sent in the answer to this one so really it
is no longer an “imponderable” but I will leave it on this
page in case it is of interest to others.

have been using button on vests, coats, jackets and shirts since the
13th century.  Women didn’t start using buttons
until the late 18th to early 19th century. 
At that time, buttons were very costly; only Royalty and the very
wealthy could afford such a fashion novelty.  

people are right handed.  Men have always dressed themselves, so
the buttons have always been on the right.  The Royalty and
Aristocracy had maids to help dress the Ladies, so the buttons were on
the left, so that the person doing up the buttons, facing the lady,
had them on the right.

advises that the reason that men’s
shirts button across from the left is to prevent cuffs catching when a
sword is drawn from the scabbard on the left with the right hand.

Leonard Khoo Chang Chiang
has sent in another possible answer to this one –

to Dennis Morris in his book Peoplewatching, the reason why women’s
clothing have the buttons on the opposite side is due the way women
tend to babies on their left. And since the baby is carried on the
left, the mother will tend to breastfeed the baby on the right breast.
And to protect the baby from the cold etc, the mother would use the
right side of the clothing or cloak to cover the baby. And thus, the
design of the buttons has been carried on till now.

I do
not know which is correct, but I thought it would be interesting to
add on another dimension to this Imponderable.

I am not sure about this one
as women breast feed babies from both sides – perhaps this has not
always been the case!


is baseball called the World Series if it is only played in the US?

Above three sent in
by Sian Darvill

First of
all, it should read “Why is Major League Baseball’s championship

Secondly, and more
importantly, it is not only
played in the U.S., so the whole thing is invalid. Sure, it is
mostly played in the U.S., but there were two, now only one team
from Canada, and Toronto played in and won the World Series in 1992
and 1993.

Dan Hankins


do we say the alarm went off when, in fact, it went on?

All the above
contributed by  Marc Kay

Perhaps we say
this because originally alarms were mechanisms that alerted people to an
intruder. They probably involved something on a tension that would be
broken if someone or something were to step on it. Therefore the alarm
would go off.


triggered the alarm was “off”


a dwelling catches fire does it burn up or does it burn down?
everyone lost 5 pounds would it throw the earth of its gravitational
does weight go when people lose it?

Thanks to
Christina Wozniak for the above three  teaser.

It is
converted to energy that allows the processes of the body to function.
Fat stores are generally converted into heat energy.


How do
you draw a blank?
If planets are in the sky,
are we in the sky too?
Can’t anybody who has a job go in the “employees
only” doors at restaurants?  Shouldn’t they be more specific and say
“employees of this place only!?
If shampoo comes in so many colours, why is the lather on your head always

Thanks to Lisa Silver for these contributions

If you choke a
Smurf what colour does it turn?

Anonymous contributor.

If Snickers satisfy, why do they
make King Size?

Wilson sent us this one

When pigeons
walk their heads bob up and down really fast, doesn’t that give them a bad headache?
Why don’t you ever see baby

in by Jonathan Harden (www.eviljonnys.com)

How can there
be a competition for solo synchronised swimming?

Contributed by Stan Saunders

Why do people say “It’s
always in the last place you look”?  Of course it is always in the last place
you look, what kind of moron would keep on looking after he’d found it?

Nick Slawicz sent this

Why is a
building called a building when it is already built?
Why is there
only one Monopolies and Mergers Commission?

Sent in by Fay
&  John Hopkins

If one of the
synchronize swimmers drowns, do they all have to?
is a doctors surgery called a practice?                                                          
John Hopkins

If the No. 2 pencil is so
popular, why is it still No. 2?

Thanks to and
anonymous contributor.

The number 2 refers to lead hardness and darkness. There are harder
pencils and there are softer pencils. The number 2 became the most
popular because the testing machines that scanned tests couldn’t
read marks made by hard lead pencils (the No. 1 pencils) and the
marks from by No. 3 and 4 pencils were read incorrectly.


If you butter
a piece of toast and drop it, it lands butter side down.
If you drop a cat it always lands on it’s feet.
What would happen if you buttered the back of a cat and dropped that?

Thanks to Richard Whiting
for this one!

Buttering a piece of toast changes the weight of the toast. It makes the
bread’s weight uneven, and in an attempt at equilibrium, the heavy side
faces down. However, buttering a cat changes its weight very little. The
cat would still land on its feet.


The answer given just has to be
wrong on several counts.

Two experiments have proven
that mass (weight) has no effect on the rate of fall.

1589. Galileo dropped two
spheres of equal size but differing mass from the leaning tower of Piza.

1971. Astronaut David Scott
repeated the experiment on the Moon with a hammer and a feather.

In both cases the objects hit
the ground/moon together.

The probable reason for the
toast mostly falling butter side down is that it will usually begin by
sliding off a plate. The leading edge of the toast will begin falling
first and so impart a turning motion to the whole slice. This turning
motion will continue for the whole fall until either the toast hits the
floor or air resistance makes the slice fall on an edge.

As most toast will be held at
about one meter high there will only be sufficient time for one half
turn, resulting in the butter side down scenario.

My father once dropped a slice
of toast and it landed butter side up! He claimed this was a miracle but
my mother told him he had just buttered the wrong side.

Ken Gambrill


People Who Ask
‘Can I Ask You A Question?”
Contributed by Natalie – thanks

When A Cop Pulls You Over And Asks You How Fast You Were
Going. You Should Know Pal You Pulled Me Over.

When Something
Is New And Improved. If It’s New It Can’t Have Been There Before But If It’s Improved It
Must Have Been There Before.
How Some
People Will Get Off Their Lazy Asses And Search The Whole House For The Remote Control And
Yet Won’t Go And Change The Channel On The Set Manually.
If people say
it’s the best thing since sliced bread, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

Anonymous contributor.

If a fly had
no wings is it a “walk”?
Why do
Kamakasi bombers wear helmets?
Why is the
lethal injection needle sterilised?
Why is there
an eject button on the remote when you have to get up to get the video?

Above all sent in by Catrin
– thank you

Why do you
drive in a parkway but park in a driveway?
Why do they
sell cigarettes at gas stations?

Anonymous contributor.

Do bees get
wax in their ears?
Has anyone
ever admitted to having an ugly baby?
If the Beatles
were so good why did Oasis have to rewrite all their songs?
Why are there
no TV adverts for pencils?

Another Anonymous contributor.

Why do parking
meters only take 20p coins – you never ever have any to put in?
Why do radio
DJ’s play a great song then don’t tell you who sings?
Why is there
always someone behind you when driving in quiet country lanes?
Why do priests
sing in church when its obvious that they can’t sing for England?
Why, on radio
shows, do they always talk about the most interesting item at the end of the show?*
Why do people
always keep old raffle tickets in their wallets or purses when the draw was months ago and
they obviously haven’t won?*
Why do old
aged pensioners always tell you their ages?

Thanks to Paul Edgar for these.

Why don’t
sheep shrink when it rains?
Why are they
called apartments when they are all stuck together?
How does the
man who drives the snow plough get to work?
Why is the
Welsh language spelled wrongly?
How do you
play Chinese scrabble?

These were all contributed by Keith Templeman – thanks.

What colour
hair do bald men put down on their driver’s licence?
What happens
when curly haired people watch something that curls their hair?

Thanks to Patricia
Powell for these gems.

Why do psychics advertise?
  Don’t they know who their customers are and shouldn’t they seek them out?

This contribution received
from Mitch Plott – thanks.

What would
happen if night fell and the earth wasn’t there to catch it?

Thanks to Sarah Balfour for
this contribution.

The black box
flight recorder is painted orange, so why don’t they call it an orange box?

Bev sent us this one,

am led to believe that, after burning, the box turns black – hence the
name but I am not sure if this is true or not.

They don’t turn black as listed….
They were developed by the Aeronautical Research Laboratory and due to their shape and colour, were originally named the ‘Red Egg’. However, their inventor, Dr Warren was told by a journalist, “this is a wonderful black box” (This opinion may have stemmed from the fact that the information was invariably used to get details of tragedies…black events!

Jerry Hill

When a fly lands
on the ceiling, at what point does it turn upside down?

Thanks to Paul Mattson for this one

Definition of pain – letting
off wind in a space suit.
Definition of sadness – dying
of starvation in a food store.

Thanks to Jason Lewis for these!

Definition of a “ghetto
blaster”.  A terrorist in a slum neighbourhood.
Definition of “drag
racing”.  Racing from Point A to point B while wearing clothing of the opposite

to Barry Munro for these two.

Is it because light travels
faster than sound that some people appear bright until you hear them speak?
If it is zero degrees outside today and it is
supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow how cold will it be?
Why do you press harder on a
remote control when you know the battery is dead?
Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?

Paul Hill has pointed out

“This is because
of the Dutch or more specifically because of William of Orange.  To
celebrate his victories Dutch horticulturalists developed a very rare
strain or carrots to be orange (this was a rare North African variety
and at the time most carrots were naturally purple).

So when people decided to call an orange – orange, 99% of the worlds
population had never seen an orange carrot.

These orange carrots became very popular and were soon the majority of
carrots available.

(This information came from Martin Lindstrom in his book Brand Sense)

How much deeper would the
ocean be if sponges didn’t grow in it?
If man evolved from monkey and apes, why do we
still have monkeys and apes?

Man did
NOT evolve from monkeys and apes.  Monkeys, apes, humans, and all
other modern primates evolved from a common primate ancestor. Mystery
solved!  (by G)

Before they invented drawing
boards what did they go back to?
How is it possible to have a civil war?
If you try to fail and
succeed, which have you done?
Why is it called the tourist season if you can’t
shoot them?
If the black box flight
recorder is never damaged during a plane crash why isn’t the whole plane made out of the
same stuff?

Jameson kindly sent in all the above.

If a plane were made of the same material as a little black box the plane would be too heavy to fly! 
This is coming from a 6 year old.

Maria Barraza

Why is it that
when you blow in a dogs face he doesn’t like it, but when you take him
on a car ride he sticks his head out of the window?


Deviin comments as

So, a dogs nose
is sensitive to different smells, extremely more so than humans. When’s
dog sticks its head out the window his nose is being stimulated with all
the smells of the outdoors all at once.

If a dog’s sense of smell is 100 times greater
than a human’s, why do they have to stick their noses up your butt?

James Wilhite 



Do you know any others?  Send them in to june@hintsandthings.co.uk and we will add them
to this page.