From the magazine “Naked Science” Lyle Crump’s questions column.
Q1) Do the holes in a shower head have names? Asks John Fields (8) from
Well, John, mine do. I spent a whole three hours one day naming them each individually. In answer to your general question though: no. the holes in the shower head do not have a ‘proper’ name. Though I’m sure if you started calling them urethras (or the more colloquial term “piss holes”) no one but your parents’ll mind.
Q2) What are the effects on the human body when you drink bleach and how long does it take to kill you? Asks Grace Holden (23) from
Well it’s actually not as bad as people make it out to be, though it does sound horrific when people say “it burns up your insides”. Basically what happens is it dissolves the lining of your digestive tract which isn’t too much bother until it bursts your stomach. If it didn’t break your stomach it would do nothing more than itch your insides for a few days and make pooing sting a lot. But when the bleach breaks down the walls of your stomach it’s like releasing water out of a damn, except the water is acid and instead of rushing all in one destructive direction it flows through your body breaking down your cells and burning your flesh from the insides (ironically transported by your blood flow, normally the only thing keeping you alive is the thing that’s killing you). The whole process takes about fifteen minutes. My editor tells me that I really don’t recommend that you try this but if you do, at least make sure you get a nice tasting bleach; choose one that at least sounds like food. None of that lavender and camomile shit.
Q3) Will you marry me? Asks Anita Clay (42) from
The short answer, Anita, is no. I’m sorry it’s just you live five-hundred miles away and I don’t really know you and these pictures you sent me were a tad forward. I just don’t think it’ll work. But as this is the sixteenth time you’ve sent me a letter (with pictures) I’d like to take this opportunity to digress, slightly, into the science of stalking.
As I’m sure you know stalking starts with an obsession. Catching a glimpse of someone, or reading their work, you suddenly have a desire to know more about them. More than just what days and hours they work in the coffee house. You begin to start forming an imaginary relation ship with them in your head. Every little smile she gives you as she hands over the coffee. The brief touching of skin when she puts the change in your hand – it’s like sex! It all adds up and allows you to further solidify the belief that you have a chance when you don’t. Then you follow her home and stand outside her house in the rain for ten hours wondering if she’ll believe that your car broke down, even when you don’t own one. Most of the time police will let you off with a caution but if the behaviour continues, so I am told, you could be facing a heavy fine or prison sentence.
Q4) I think I might be gay, how can I know if I am or not? Charlene Nicholson (15) from
Well, Charlene, (according to my editor) if you were just a year older I’d invite you round to mine and we could see if you were gay or not. If I didn’t work out for you we could invite my friend Fiona around and she could “talk things over with you” while I “supervised”. Oh and for future reference readers I wish you’d stop treating me like an agony aunt, this is a science magazine.
Q5) How is Caffeine removed from decaf coffee? Asks “Cornell Grain” (84) from ‘Back in the day’
Well, Cornell, I remember a time, 1932 I think it was, before The War anyway, when decaffeinated coffee was a rarity. Back then, before The War, the caffeine molecules were extracted by hand. As you can imagine adult hands were far too big to pluck out the nasty caffeine so they had to employ children to do the job, girls under five to be exact as their hands were more delicate and boys sweat too much (and you know the sweat melted the coffee granules and made it virtually unsaleable).
Nowadays, however, being a civilised society (though it never did me any harm), they no longer employ children to do the job. They just don’t do it. The coffee remains caffeinated and the company profits twice as much from the same thing labelled differently. Though with emerging technology they do hope to be able to actually remove the caffeine once more, this time using cyborg girl children.
Q6) supposing you were completely new to Planet Earth. Hypothetically you’d been joyriding around the galaxy in your parents new hyper-ship and you’d crash landed on a planet (that the common wealth have noted as being insufficiently developed to make contact with) how would you go about blending in and hiding from your parents? Asks Cxsixz Smith (4 (Clome years)) from Planet Clome (currently in a motel off the M4).
What a bizarre, hypothetical, question, Cxsixz (would you be able to tell me how to pronounce that sometime?). For a start though hiding in a motel for any length of time is probably a bad idea; people only ever go there to have an affair or hang themselves not doing either of those will look conspicuous. I’m presuming that, hypothetically, you do not look especially human, it may be and idea to call for room service and kill the teenager that comes to serve you, and then steal his skin and identity.
After you have assumed this messy camouflage it’s time to go back to his house and adopt his unwitting parents. Learn his lifestyle and habits, almost certainly things like sleeping and shitting – you do, hypothetically, shit right, Cxsixz?
Is the world really flat and the government just lied?
Why am I asking you this question?
Is my dad gay?
Do you watch Lost?Please feel free to leave additional questions in the comments section and I shall make sure Lyle get's a look. He may even answear your question.