When I was a child, my parents bought a set of World Book Encyclopedia and Childcraft, the 1964 edition. We had the information of the world at our fingertips.

Today, owning a set of reference books seems archaic. We have Google.

I Googled a few questions this week and will share my newfound knowledge for your benefit.

QUESTION: Why are actors and actresses filmed “drinking” from cups that are obviously empty?


Why do they do that? I wondered. If they can cut off Lieutenant Dan’s legs (Gary Sinese in Forrest Gump) and show him swinging legless on the ropes of a shrimp boat, surely, they can put coffee and tea in cups on a film set.

ANSWER: Spilled liquids can stain costumes or create messes that must be cleaned up, slowing filming. Plus, many scenes require several takes. If an actress begins drinking a glass of iced tea that is three-fourths full on the first take, someone must make certain the same amount of tea is in the glass on the second, third, fourth and seventeenth takes.

This empty cup question is asked often. TV critic, Myles McNutt, made a study of “fake drinking” scenes and created his now long-running  #EmptyCupAwards.

But I still say, if they can cut off Lieutenant Dan’s legs, putting liquids in cups and glasses surely isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.


QUESTION: Do humans have age-indicators like the growth rings on trees?

With age, our skin begins to sag, wrinkles and laugh lines form and our hair turns gray. But it’s hard to determine whether some people are in their late forties or early sixties. I wanted to know if an absolute method exists for determining age.

ANSWER: Just as the number of growth rings in a tree increase with time, revealing its age, degenerative changes in human bone also accumulate as an individual grows older. Trained doctors can measure these changes by observing hand radiographs. Using a scoring system referred to as an Osseographic Scoring System (OSS), they can determine an individual’s biological age. (www.marcusinstituteforaging.org)


QUESTION. How can a spider move through the air and create a web from one tree branch to another?

I understand Spiderman’s web slinging techniques, but I wanted to know how spiders do it.

ANSWER: A spider transforms liquid silk in its glands into solid thread. It then pulls the thread through spinnerets and lifts its spinnerets into the breeze. Even the slightest wind can catch the lightweight thread and carry it onto another branch or even another tree. The spider can then “tightrope” walk across the web, usually hanging to the underside of the thread, to its new location.


QUESTION: What is the difference between epithet and epitaph?

This question is important to a word nerd like me.


An epithet is a nickname, often a negative one.

An epitaph is an inscription on a tombstone.


SAMPLE SENTENCE: One’s epithet may be included in his epitaph.

 CAUTION: Do not confuse either of these words with epaulet.


 QUESTION: What are the most commonly asked questions on Google?

ANSWER: The most commonly asked question on Google is What is my ip? Runners-up include: What time is it? How can I register to vote? and How do I tie a tie?


14 thoughts on “AAH, NOW I GET IT!”

  1. But be careful, if you are using Google as Dr. Google. Not a good place to go for health diagnostics. Also, think about how many trees we are saving by using Google! Now about those cups……

  2. Yes, we had Encyclopedia Brittanica, a set that put a strain on our family’s budget. The internet is amazing, isn’t it? Especially for us writers:)

  3. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the internet. It is very convenient, but you do have to filter the information. My mom also purchased a set of those lovely encyclopedias. I enjoyed thumbing through them as a child, but I’m not sure how much I actually learned 😉 God Bless!

  4. Those books came in handy when I was assigned papers to write in school. I totally agree with you about the Internet. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. I think my childhood encyclopedias are long gone (Funk and Wagnalls, they were light gray in color, I just now “googled” the spelling to be sure–ha). I have great memories of those books and looking things up. Today we still have our daughters’ World Book encyclopedias, much larger, burgundy in color. For some reason, I’m just having a hard time getting rid of them! But ya gotta love google.

  6. OK, so after reading your very interesting article, I had to google, “What is an ip?”  I’d never heard that one before.  I got two answers:  Intellectual Property and Internet Protocol, especially IP address.  Who knew?  Love, Julie

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