Silly Questions: Stories that will floor you

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The Independent Culture
A CURIOUS thing about last week's question from Peter Pool, asking why articles in the Independent are more interesting when covering the floor of a room being painted, is that nobody wrote to disagree with the premiss. Uninterested readers are advised to stop here and resume with a paint pot.

David Stirling believes the phenomenon is due to the bad backs from which most DIY-ers suffer. 'The sight of a naked back copy of the Independent lying unprotected on the floor is an excuse to go down on all fours and rest the central vertebra.' Peter Chivers takes a more relativistic line: 'Perhaps, like me, Peter Pool reads the Independent at breakfast. Eating breakfast is enjoyable and gets more attention than reading a newspaper. Painting a room is boring.' Neither of these explanations, however, even considers the possibility raised by Mr Pool, that it may be due to an additive in the paint. Our ink design consultants are looking into it.

S Al-Benna has a logical explanation of why clothes come out of the washing machine inside-out. It's because they were put in inside- out, the way they were left after undressing. Betty Roe takes the view that because they went in the machine from the outside, they must exit from the inside out. Jean Shuttleworth believes in smart washing machines which detect that the insides of clothes get dirtier than the outsides, so turn them inside out to make a better job. 'Except for overalls, which are usually still the right way round.' And she believes that we mentally stack up choice articles in the Independent to savour later, but forget until painting the room.

Which leaves room only for this week's questions: Why do calculators, tills and computer have their number pads arranged upside down, compared with telephones? (Simon Beck). Why is lather always white whatever the colour of the soap? (C McKane). Why does dust lie evenly on polished surfaces and never in little piles? (Erica Burgon). And if a man has pounds 440,000, and steals pounds 440,000, then gives you pounds 440,000, how can you tell if the money he gave you was the money he stole? (N Fowler).