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Some stuff just can't be known

Question: If you used all the power in your brain, would you know everything?

Answer: No way. There are 6-billion human brains on this planet, and even together they don't know everything. Not even if you count every book and computer. What's the cure for AIDS? Do any other planets have life? Do animals feel love? When will the next earthquake occur? If King Tut were alive today, would he prefer hamburgers or cheeseburgers? When people say, "heavens to Betsy," who's this Betsy they're talking about? Some things no one knows. Some things no one ever will.

A real fast grower

Question: What is the fastest growing plant?

Answer: Imagine a plant that can grow three feet a day. That's what some kinds of bamboo can do, says the Guinness Book of Records. That's 1{ inches an hour. Makes you wonder if you could see it grow. Botanists say bamboos are grasses, even though some get more than 100 feet tall. Bamboo grows around the world in warm places.

Test your knowledge

Here's a multiple-choice quiz. The correct answers are at the end.

1. Is it true swallowed gum takes seven years to digest?

What, you don't believe you could swallow some Juicy Fruit and it would last longer than some marriages or cars? A clue: Ever hear of operations to remove a gigundo gum wad? After all, if somebody kept gulping gum, wouldn't it pile up and cause a clog?

Actually, sweeteners, like sugar, and other flavors usually come out of gum during chewing. So those ingredients are no problem. Still, there is the rubbery part, called the gum base. If it's swallowed:

(a) the tonsils simply grind it up into new stuff for earlobes.

(b) the kidneys roll it into a ball and play catch for seven years.

(c) stomach acid churns it into gumdrops.

(d) the body can't digest it, but in a few days it passes through harmlessly.

2. What is liposuction?

The beginning of the word usually sounds like "lie," but some people say "lip." Liposuction is becoming more common. It's:

(a) what occurs when a surgeon uses a device with a small tube to suck unwanted fat from part of someone's body.

(b) a vacuum cleaner with suction cups.

(c) the way eels stick to sharks.

(d) the name of those operations for removing gigundo gum wads.

3. How does a giraffe drink water?

Giraffes need to drink water, although not every day. But they can't just bend down and sip. Usually they have to:

(a) use very long straws.

(b) ask an elephant to use his trunk to make a water fountain.

(c) spread their front legs far apart to help their bodies get low, or kneel.

(d) lick the clouds.

4. Who shot the most threes in a career?

In the National Basketball Association, one player took the most three-point shots (3,950) and made the most (1,596). This long-shot hotshot is:

(a) Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Eagles.

(b) Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers.

(c) Patrick Ewing of the Anaheim Almighty Bucks.

(d) David Stern of the TV show "Let's Not Make a Deal."


Answers: 1 (d), 2 (a), 3 (c), 4 (b).

1998, the Philadelphia Inquirer