Ask Molly Cool!
Molly has been tremendously busy answering all your fantastic science questions!
Molly is now taking a well deserved break and won't be able to answer your questions for the time being. In the meantime, you can search for answers to questions below.
Recently Answered Questions
Updated Jul 13, 2011!
Alternatively, you can check out Molly's answers to all your questions!
Question: How is paint made?
Humans have been using paint for thousands of years. We have learned about the lives of ancient people by examining their pictures of hunting expeditions found in caves. These pictures were made with paint that used available materials like ash, blood and berry juices to form the colourful liquid.
These days, there are lots of different types of paint that are used to do lots and lots of jobs like protecting our garden furniture from the rain and decorating our homes.
All of these paints generally have four basic ingredients. 1) A pigment. This is the colour of the paint. 2) A binder. This is the main part of the paint that helps it to stick to the surface that is being painted. 3) The liquid or carrier. This can be lots of liquids like water or oil, and it helps to keep the paint liquid so that it can be painted onto a surface before it dries. 4) Additives. These are ingredients that make up a small part of the paint and help it to do things like last a long time without flaking off the surface that has been painted, or losing its colour.
Question: My dog has E. coli in his body will he be ok?
E. coli, as we have mentioned in a recent Ask Molly question, is a type of bacteria that can be found within all kinds of animals, not just humans. Most of the time it helps us to digest our food, but occasionally it can make humans and animals quite sick indeed. However, dogs often have a much stronger digestive system than us humans, which is what allows them to eat off the floor and put all kinds of things in their mouths without getting sick. So your dog may not get sick as quickly as a human would when exposed to E. coli bacteria. If you think that your dog or any pet is unwell then the best thing to do is visit your local vet.
Question: What is an electric circuit?
Have you ever noticed the Plus and Minus signs on a battery as you place it into a torch or a toy car? Well, the signs mean that the battery has a positive and negative end, known as a terminal. The battery is used to store electrical energy which gets released in the form of negatively charged electrons. Once the electrons are released they always want to flow from the negative terminal to the positive. That flow can happen when there is a wire connecting the negative and positive terminals. That path, from the negative terminal through the wire to the positive one is known as an electrical circuit. If you place something along that circuit, such as a light bulb, the electricity will pass through the bulb generating light. While electrical circuits can get much more complex then that, they are all basically the same. You have a source of electricity, an object like a light bulb which will use the energy, and the wires to complete the circuit.
Question: What is e coli?
E. coli is a type of bacteria that can sometimes be found in our food. It can make you sick causing you to vomit and have a pain in your belly.
Bacteria are very small living things that are found everywhere - in the air, earth, water, animals and even within us humans. They are so small that there can be 5 million bacteria found in a teaspoon of fresh water! Some bacteria, like E. coli, make us sick with things like sore throats or ear infections, but lots of bacteria are good for us as they help us to digest our food and keep our bodies healthy. Outside the human body, bacteria help us to make cheese and yoghurt, to clean dirty water so we can drink it, and grow plants without the use of damaging fertilizers.
Question: How far can people run?
Humans have always run long distances. Thousands of years ago hunters managed to catch large animals because they were able to keep chasing them over long distances until the animals were too tired to go any further. "Runners" or messengers were often used in ancient times to carry messages over many miles. For example Inca roadrunners were able to carry messages up to 250 miles a day by passing a message from one runner to another, with each person running as fast as he or she could for a couple of hours.
How far a person can run depends on a lot of things like how fit they are, how big their lungs and heart are and the shape of their body. You might have heard of the marathon, which is race of 26 miles and 385 yards or 42.195 kilometres. This is the most common long-distance run that most people will ever do, and you need to do a lot of training just to be able to finish the race. Some people who do a lot of training take part in "ultra" races in which they run longer than marathon distances, sometimes up to hundreds of kilometres.
Question: How would you know if your goldfish is a boy or a girl?
It's not easy to tell if a goldfish is a girl or a boy just by taking a quick glance, but if you look closely you may be able to tell.
First, look at the shape of your fish from above. Female or girl goldfish should be wider as their bodies need to have space for carrying eggs. Male fish should be a thinner shape. When the fish are fully grown up the male ones may grow little white bumps on their head and fins that indicate they are ready to create baby fish with the females. Finally, when they are ready to have baby fish the males will spend a lot of their time chasing the female fish around the tank.
So, if one of your goldfish is swimming after the other a lot of the time that's a good clue that he may be a boy.
Question: What do you think the butterfly does if there is very bad weather?
The first thing we need to note is that there are lots of different types of butterflies. In Ireland we have 35 species, with about 20 of them occurring widely around the country. Worldwide there are about 20,000 different species!
Some types of butterflies migrate during the winter. This means that they fly somewhere warm to avoid the cold weather that comes in the winter time. In places where temperatures drop below freezing, some butterflies spend the winter as caterpillars or pupas. As you know caterpillars and pupas are stages in the life cycle of butterflies. The pupa stage takes place when the caterpillar transforms into an adult butterfly. In this way, these butterflies are able to make it through the cold winter months before emerging in the spring.
Question: Why people can talk?
From: Ho Hei
The ability to talk is one of the key differences between humans and all the other animals on the planet.
Why can we talk? Because we have special parts in our brains that other animals don't have. Recently, scientists have done research which suggests that there are only tiny differences between humans and animals like chimpanzees that allow us to speak while they cannot.
Also, our throat including our vocal chords and our larynx or voice box as well as our mouth, nose, lips and tongue have all evolved to allow us to speak. Scientists have done lots of research into why and how we talk. Many scientists think that when we are born we have a built in ability to speak, just like we have a natural ability to walk. So, just as a bird will learn to fly or sing, a baby will eventually learn to walk and talk.