Monday 10 February 1997
Q Could you tell by looking at a brain whether it was male or female?
A You couldn't be sure whether one brain was male or female, because there is so much variation between individuals. But there are average differences in external appearance between brains of the two sexes. The main difference is size - female brains are, on average, 10 per cent smaller than male brains. However, women's bodies are on average more than 10 per cent lighter than men's, so their brain weight is a higher percentage of the whole body.
Q What affects the rate of decay of fruit and vegetables?
A Decay occurs naturally as an extension of the ripening and maturing process. Fruit (especially bananas) produce a gas called ethene (C2H4) that aids ripening. This eventually ripens the fruit so much that it rots. Besides the ethene, bacteria, fungi and even fruit flies can speed up this process.
Q What did clothes moths eat before there were clothes?
A Clothes-moth larvae don't attack only woollen clothing. They also live in bird and mammal nests, and on bird and mammal corpses. They feed on a mixture of detritus and the fur or wool of the animal, plus fungal material. Clothes moths belong to a small group of closely-related species that have developed the ability to digest keratin - the protein that makes up fur, wool, hair, feathers, toenails and dead skin. Clothes moths were thriving long before we began storing their food in wardrobes.
Q Who first suggested that light had a finite velocity?
A Empedocles, in around 500BC, is the first documented person who assumed that light had a finite velocity. But he couldn't prove this, or measure it. The first person to measure the speed of light was a Dane, Ole Romer, in 1675.
Q What happens to plants grown in weightless conditions?
A Without gravity to determine in which direction the roots grow, plants have to rely on other factors. In general, the shoots keep growing in the direction the seed was planted, while the main root heads off in the other direction. But the root is also sensitive to moisture, and will grow towards it.
You can also visit the technoquest World Wide Web site at http://www.campus.bt. com/CampusWorld/pub/ScienceNet
Questions can be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Guide dog mauled while helping owner deliver Christmas cards
Chemical and radiation experts investigate after death of man found inside tent in field
Nelson Mandela’s complex bond with Britain
The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
10 stone five-year-old taken into care
- 1 Turning up the voice of America
- 2 The poorest pay the price for austerity: Workers face biggest fall in living standards since Victorian era
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 An obsessive’s documenting of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon can show us how the West lost respect for international law
- 5 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- < Previous
- Next >
£Attractive Package: Citifocus: Excellent, opportunities exist for high calibr...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus: Key purpose of the role will be to act as Fixe...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Capita Education is wo...
£700 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Data Warehouse Programme Manager (SQL, ...