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U.S. flag should always fly in forward position

Question: Photos of our soldiers in Kuwait show the flag on their right sleeve. The blue corner with the stars is in the upper right corner, backward from the customary way of displaying it with the blue corner in the upper left corner. What is the proper way to display the flag on clothing?

Answer: The National Flag Foundation explains that a flag patch should have the union of the flag to the viewer's left.

This works well when looking at the left side of the vehicle or person. But when looking at the right side, if the union is to the viewer's left, it appears as though the flag is flying backward when the vehicle or person is in motion. It also would place the flag in a position of being in retreat as the vehicle or person moves forward.

To alleviate this problem, the International Civil Aviation organization decreed that flags painted on aircraft must face the direction of the flight to be aerodynamically and aesthetically correct. The foundation also recommends that flags or flag decals on vehicles _ and flag patches on uniforms _ should be so oriented.

It therefore recommends that the flag patch on the left sleeve of a uniform should have the union to the viewer's left, while a patch on the right sleeve should have the union to the viewer's right, so that in both cases the flag faces forward and is streaming to the back.

Information on the Web: www.americanflags.org.

Coldblooded yes, but not pain free

Question: Is it true that coldblooded animals feel no pain?

Answer: They do feel pain, said Sue Barnard, Zoo Atlanta's assistant curator of invertebrates.

Being vertebrates, fish and reptiles (and also amphibians, birds and all mammals) have nervous systems that are similar to those in humans.

One reason people may think fish and reptiles don't feel pain is that they don't react to it like humans do. One reason: Showing pain is equivalent to showing weakness. If an injured reptile were in pain and let it show, it would make an easier victim.

Have a question? Write to Colin Bessonette at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, P.O. Box 4689, Atlanta, GA 30302, or e-mail him at q&aajc.com.

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