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

Since 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.


Why, 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.


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

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


Why is taking the skin off an animal "dressing", but taking our clothes off "undressing"?
Don't 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

Where 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

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

Clare Harding

Where is heaven?


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

Steve Gould 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.

Men 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.  

Most 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.

Juliet Brook 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 -

According 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!


Why 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 called...".

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


Why 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.


Once triggered the alarm was "off"


If a dwelling catches fire does it burn up or does it burn down?
If everyone lost 5 pounds would it throw the earth of its gravitational pull?
Where 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 white?

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?

Richard 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 pigeons?

Sent 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 contribution.

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?
Why 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, thankyou.

I 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 attire

Thanks 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?

Alan 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 follows:-

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.






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