Ask Mr Brain...all will be explained

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am

Why is ice-cream cold? Why can't we eat it hot? Temperature and texture make a lot of difference in this case.

As ice-cream warms up, fats loosen up and swish around, turning it into lard. But when cold, that heavy cream gives our mouth a nice feeling.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we want ice-cream to melt in our mouth. It is no use if it is melted already.

Similarly, half the fun we get from eating potato crisps is the odd satisfaction of crunching something dry. Wet crisps are a non-starter.

Why do some people get motion sickness when they travel? The main cause travel sickness is the effect of unusual motion on the semi-circular canals of the inner ear, although other factors such as inadequate ventilation and fumes or horrible odours may contribute.

Drugs are available for travel sickness. However, many people grow out of it as they get older.

Why do we get allergies? The usual way is that some offending substance combines with a special type of anti-body, which is attached to certain cells. These then release histamine and other compounds to produce the reaction.

Allergies are an important cause of adverse reactions to drugs. Although allergic reactions are unpleasant and sometimes dangerous, they are considered part of the body's natural defence, particularly against parasitic worms.

Why do toddlers seem to talk a lot but cannot be understood? Small children invent words which have little meaning to adults. But they can also make sounds without actually conveying words. A child may want to talk but either has nothing to say or does not know how to say it. So he mimics human sounds, including conversational intonations. If you were listening across a room, you might think a baby is talking, but a closer listen would tell you he cannot form proper words or sentences.

Storm clouds keep dumping rain for days as they move across country? Why? Storm clouds and storm fronts keep replenishing themselves as they roll along. As moist air rises rapidly, it cools the atmosphere. Cooler air cannot hold as much water vapour, so the water condenses and falls as rain. But the rain usually falls behind the storm. So the storm acts like a wave, rolling across the land. Air rises at the front edge and rain falls at the back. This is why it 'looks stormy' for several minutes before it actually starts to rain.

Blind people cannot see but they still have dreams. Why? Blind people have dreams that essentially are no different from those of sighted people. Dreams do not have to contain visual imagery. Blind people's dreams have as much fear, joy and excitement as those of a sighted person.