Q&A: Social Security recipients to get $250 checks

Check coming for some seniors

I'm hearing conflicting reports on this: Does the bill signed by President Obama include $250 checks for seniors receiving Social Security checks?

The $789 billion economic stimulus package passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17 does include a one-time extra payment of $250 to Social Security beneficiaries, railroad retirees, veterans and state government retirees.

It's expected to be distributed by the first week of June, in the same manner by which you receive your Social Security check or SSI benefit. And you don't have to do anything to claim it — it will be sent to you automatically.

About 55 million people will get checks.

Obama's bracelet honors soldier

What is the bracelet President Obama wears on his right wrist?

President Obama is wearing a wristband in memory of a soldier killed in Iraq, given to him by the young soldier's mother.

Tracy Jopek of Merrill, Wis., gave Obama the bracelet at a rally in Green Bay, Wis., last year. The bracelet has her son's name, Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, and the date the 20-year-old was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb: Aug. 2, 2006.

"All gave some — He gave all," it says. An Obama aide described it as a black metal band with silver lettering.

Like his father, Ryan Jopek was a member of the Wisconsin National Guard. He deployed to Iraq in 2005.

Hot water boils faster

Which boils faster, cold water or warm/hot water?

This answer is courtesy of the Food Network Kitchens: Trick question, right? In spite of whatever rumors may be floating around, you can put your trust in common sense: Hot water reaches a boil faster.

To understand why, think of temperature not in terms of hot/cold, but in terms of fast/slow. Temperature is an index of the average speed of molecules within a substance. The faster molecules circulate, the hotter the substance and thus the higher the temperature; the slower, vice versa. Attempting to boil cold water vs. hot is like the difference between going from zero to 60 mph vs. going from 45 mph to 60 — it's no contest.

So why don't we always cook with hot tap water? The answer can be summed up in a word: lead. Hot water dissolves lead in home plumbing more quickly than cold water, and most of the lead that comes out of our taps comes from our own home plumbing.

In recognition of this, the EPA advises consumers to always use cold water for cooking. If you've got any worries about lead in your tap water, have your water tested by a state-certified lab, and check first with your public water supplier.

Q&A: Social Security recipients to get $250 checks 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 6:22am]

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