Posted inNews & Politics

Do teams who’ve earned home-field advantage win more?

Everyone’s always talking about how great home-field advantage is in sports, but how important is it really? The mindless stats everyone repeats about how NFL teams with home-field advantage do better in the playoffs drive me crazy—the teams earned home-field advantage because they’re better already! Also, are home-field advantages different in different sports? —Doc, via […]

Posted inNews & Politics

A detailed guide to deadly poisons

With Russians dropping dead from polonium poisoning, I’ve begun to wonder about poisoning generally. What’s the fastest-acting, most lethal poison? What’s the most insidious, least detectable? —JP, Syracuse, New York Toxicologists have a blunt way of rating a poison’s lethality. Discussed here before, it’s called the LD-50, or 50 percent lethal dose—the amount that on […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

It’s widely believed that when one spouse dies the other tends to die sooner than he/she would otherwise. While this is plausible, I have a hunch it’s one of those beliefs–like the disproportionate number of babies supposedly born nine months after a blackout, or toilet flushing during Super Bowl halftime emptying a city’s water supply–that’s […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Having seen more than my share of photographs of snowflakes, I recently noticed that most seem to be perfect mirror images. How can the spines on ONE side of the flake possibly know what random shapes those on the OTHER are assuming in an essentially random freezing environment? Why would not all snowflakes be nonsymmetrical […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

It seems like everyone is worried about global warming, but you (or at least I) never hear anything about the lesser-known but possibly more important phenomenon of global dimming. Could you give us the straight dope on this, since no one else seems to know anything about it? –G.S., Chicago Too hot! Too cold! Surely […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Is there any proof that breast-feeding is better for a baby than formula or vice versa? Benefits of breast-feeding are said to include bonding between mother and child, and the fact that the mother is passing immunities to her child through her milk. The main arguments I have heard for formula are that the vitamin […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

Last year the Nobel Prize committee in Stockholm once again overlooked you in the categories of medicine, physics, and literature. Clearly their judgment is faulty, and it makes me wonder about other mistakes they may have made. Aside from the subjective peace and literature (and economics?) prizes, has anyone been awarded a Nobel for work […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

My girlfriend and I have been battling recently over a medical question: Is there benefit to urinating while you’re in the shower? I have long held as “common sense” that peeing in the shower can actually tame (if not cure) common problems like athlete’s foot and other skin fungi. My girlfriend thinks I’m just into […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I’ve always heard that living under or near power lines was harmful to your health. The other day after driving by a community located next to a massive power station with so many cables running out of it that you could actually hear the hum of electricity over the traffic, I got to wondering: is […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

“And Avimelekh fought against the city, all that day, and he took the city, and slew the people that were in it, and pulled down the city, and sowed it with salt.” This Avimelekh was clearly not a bloke to be trifled with, but my question is about the sowing part. Did anyone really get […]