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No shortage of Florida coastline

Question: How many miles is it around the coastline of Florida?

Answer: World Book Encyclopedia lists 1,350 miles: 580 along the Atlantic Ocean, 770 along the Gulf of Mexico.

Dutch skates

Question: An article about U.S. speedskater Casey FitzRandolph mentioned that in 1998, his medal hopes were dashed by the introduction of the clapskate. What is that?

Answer: It's a type of skate invented by the Dutch _ no surprise, considering that skates were developed centuries ago in what's now the Netherlands as a way to cross frozen canals, and the sport of ice skating continues today to be revered by the Dutch.

What makes the clapskate different from ordinary skates is that the blades are connected at the toe, allowing the heel to lift off the skate momentarily.

This does two things: It keeps the blade on the ice longer, allowing for a quicker ride, and also adds calf muscles to the skater's stride, which usually relies on the quadriceps.

Clapskates have trimmed up to 1 second on longer races, which is impressive, considering that less than 8 seconds separate the 500-meter gold medal times from 1924 to 1994.

Oh, and about the name: When the spring snaps the blade back to its original position while the skater's foot is in the air, it makes a clapping noise.

189 died at Pentagon

Question: I've seen announcements fairly often about the number of people killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and also the number who died in the crash in Pennsylvania. However, I never see or hear about the number of people lost at the Pentagon. Is that being kept secret for some reason?

Answer: No secret. As early as Sept. 13, the media reported that the Defense Department was estimating a toll of 190 after terrorists seized American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon.

The final figure, reported several times since then, is 189: 125 in the Pentagon, 64 passengers and crew on the airplane.

San Diego will be super

Question: Where will the Super Bowl be held next year?

Answer: Super Bowl XXXVII will be played in San Diego on Jan. 26.

Locations after that: 2004, Houston; 2005, Jacksonville; 2006, Detroit.

Have a question about the news? Colin Bessonette will try to get an answer. Call (404) 222-2002 or write to him at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, P.O. Box 4689, Atlanta, GA 30302, or e-mail him at q&