Silly Questions: Trousers made for two

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The Independent Culture
WHY, we asked some time ago, did men wear baggy trousers during the war when cloth was rationed? Ann Cooper blames men's loathing of shopping which, she claims, makes them buy two of everything in order to postpone the need to shop again. Their wartime baggy trousers were all left over from the Thirties.

Pete Davison disagrees, claiming that baggy trousers create less waste compared with the unusable off-cuts from non-baggy pairs. He mentions the additional gain that baggy trousers can be worn by two consenting adults at the same time. Malcolm and Sue Brenton point out that 'trousers wear out most quickly at the knees and bum'. The baggy bits can be snipped off and used for repairs, thus doubling the trouser life. The most convincing answer (offered by several readers) is that wartime trousers were not, in fact, baggy at all. Food rationing just made them seem that way.

Why do cassette tapes run out in the middle of a song? Anthony Charles Jones explains: 'This apparent design fault was conceived in the laboratories of Japan, the land of the rising Sony, where one of the main leisure activities is 10 pints of sake and a night in the karaoke bar. To promote this activity, manufacturers produced the short tape. As people sing along to their favourite tunes, the music suddenly ends, leaving them singing away to themselves, overcoming the embarrassment of doing the same in public.'

Geoffrey Lane has the perfect answer to Andy King's problem of how to persuade his boss to send him on an assertiveness course: 'He could get his wife to ask.'

Which leaves the question of why the sun can never been seen during the night though the moon is sometimes visible in the day. Ralph Simmonds points out that the moon has the power to change shape or become invisible, as well as bringing lunatics out when full. Philip Freeman explains that the sun goes out at night and is relit every morning. But the most convincing explanation comes from B Perkins who says we've got it all wrong. The sun does come out at night, but because the sun's out we think it's daytime.

This week's questions:

Why do finger nails seem to grow more quickly than toe nails?

Why is the speed of light 186,000 miles per second? (Roy Eggleston)

When does the run-up to Christmas start? (John Crompton)

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