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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...