Ask mr Brain....all will be explained

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 July, 1999, 12:00am

How do you build igloos? Provided the temperature is well below freezing, building snow shelters is relatively easy. Sheltering from wind is the first priority because wind can drastically decrease the temperature of the air. It is necessary to construct shelters that retain heat well.

An igloo will take a few hours to build but is simpler than you think.

The Inuit who live in the Arctic first cut blocks from dry, hard snow with a large knife or a snow saw. Each block should be about one metre long, 40 centimetres wide and 20 cm deep.

Then the blocks are formed into a circle around the hole created when the blocks were cut.

Building the circle in a spiral shape makes it easier to construct a dome. To build the walls, the blocks are overlapped and shaped so they lean inward. Then a hole is cut under the wall for the cold sink and entrance. Several blocks are put along one wall to be used as a 'bed'.

The last block must initially be larger than the hole in the roof. The block is placed on top of the igloo and then from the inside shaped and wiggled so it slots exactly into the hole.

When hot air from a human body or a stove rises, it is trapped inside the dome. Cold air falls into the sink and flows away outside. This design is very effective in retaining heat. Small holes are cut in the ceiling to ventilate the dome otherwise harmful carbon dioxide that is breathed out would build up and suffocate the people inside.

Why do we burp? Does it mean there is something wrong? Burping, or belching, is caused by excessive gas in the stomach. All of us burp after eating or drinking fizzy, or carbonated, drinks. When we are too full or have swallowed air while eating, it is natural for us to burp.

However, burping can also be associated with diseases such as indigestion, gallstones, ulcers and parasitic infections.

If burping is associated with pain in the abdomen or other symptoms, you should consult a physician.

Do we need eight hours of sleep every night? Yes and no! Yes, if you usually need to sleep for eight hours or more to function during the day, and no, if you usually function well during the day with less than eight hours' sleep. We should sleep as much as we need to in order to function well the next day.

If you often feel sleepy, you have to find out how many hours of sleep you need to function well.

Some people (Napoleon was one) can function very well on only a couple of hours' sleep.

Others can be very productive but need a lot of sleep (Albert Einstein, for example).

If you find that you need to take naps or sleep during weekends, it may be an indication that you are sleep-deprived.

We all need a sufficient amount of sleep, but the number of hours depends wholly on the individual.

Many people do not sleep enough at night and suffer from daytime sleepiness.