FUN: Not Dopey

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 795
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.795c

Why do pigeons bob their heads? Why do clouds of gnats always hover around a fixed point in midair? For smart, hip answers to these and hundreds of science (and other) questions, check out Cecil Adams's “The Straight Dope.” The Web site for a syndicated newspaper column started in 1973, the site archives over 2200 questions ranging from the practical to the bizarre. More examples: “When someone is executed by lethal injection, do they swab off the arm first?” (Yes, in case the execution is halted.) “Why doesn't Coke [which is acidic] dissolve the can?” (The inside is coated with plastic.) Despite scanty documentation for some of the gonzo-style replies, Ed Zotti, the enigmatic Cecil's editor, assures readers that all are “extensively researched.”

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