Posted by: pendrops | October 12, 2006

solved mysteries


In the past several days, I’ve noticed that Jason and I have been asking a lot of questions, questions neither one of us knows the answer to.

Is frozen broccoli cooked or raw?

Why does the sky look bluer during autumn?

Is the help we’re providing in Africa relevant in light of extreme violence throughout various regions?

And we ask, we debate, we make our best guesses, and we move on. But we never take the time to find the answers.

So, today, I decided to put on my Nancy Drew hat and uncovered these mysteries.

For the record, frozen broccoli is raw. And I quote from my package of Bird’s Eye broccoli: “…our farmers pick and fresh freeze [our vegetables] to lock in optimum tenderness and sweetness.” No cooked frozen veggies here.

As for the sky turning bluer in the fall, the scientists at had my answer. “The phenomenon you are describing sounds like Rayleigh scattering…. The angle of the sun changes during the course of a year, [causing] change of seasons…. The sun is much closer to the horizon [toward] wintertime, so it is colder and the sky color change is more pronounced…. Humidity is [also] lower [toward] winter, so the sky is clearer.”

For those of you wonder why the sky is blue in the first place, Glenn Shaw, atmospheric scientist at the Geophysical Institute of Alaska, says it has to do with the way light hits Earth’s atmosphere “It turns out air molecules are just the right size to scatter one color of light better than others – blue. Thus, we see the fallout of countless collisions between light energy and air molecules as blue sky. If the earth wasn’t surrounded by atmosphere, the sky above would be as black as the sky above the moon.”

Interesting, huh?

And, finally, I found out what’s going on in Africa thanks to In places of relative peace, places where famine and drought threaten life more than civil unrest, places like Ethiopia, our money goes to digging safe, clean water wells and agricultural training specific to dry regions.

However, in places of indescribable violence and genocide, places where planted crops would be destroyed by militant, government-sanctioned groups, places like Darfur, our money goes to getting people through another day as comfortably and safely as possible with “emergency food…along with other interventions in water and sanitation…”

Check out if you have questions about Africa.

Whether it’s small questions about frozen broccoli or big questions about the human condition, some things will always be a mystery. And that’s okay. But there’s something satisfying about getting curious and spending a little time looking for the answers. Something exciting about the other questions and answers that surprise us along the way. Something fulfilling about a solved mystery.



  1. I’m not sure why, exactly… but I really like this post. It contains all the little elements that makes an essay seem worth the moments I spend reading.

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