## Ask Mr brain...all will be explained

How come birds in cold countries do not get frozen feet when they walk in the snow? Many birds do not get frozen feet because their feet do not have as much blood as their bodies.

Ducks and geese have a built-in way of keeping their feet from freezing even while they stand on ice. Their feet get very cold, but there is not much muscle or blood in them. The blood in the legs is warmed before it reaches the body.

The chickadee squats down and covers its feet with feathers.

Members of the grouse family grow fringe-like scales along the side of each toe in the winter. These fringes act like snowshoes, helping the grouse to walk on top of the snow.

Who invented binary code which is used by computers? Binary code uses a combination of just two numbers - 1 and 0 - to indicate any piece of information. Its most widespread use is in computers, where the 1 and 0 are represented by two different voltage levels.

The earliest example of binary code was a code invented by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) in 1605. Bacon used just the letters a and b in five-letter combinations to represent all the other letters.

Although Bacon lived long before the age of computers, his code showed that any information could be transmitted using only two signs, albeit in a longer than original form. Substitute Bacon's a and b for 1 and 0, and you have a binary code.

The American Standard Code for Information Interchange used by most computers works on this basis. ASCII uses seven-figure strings of binary numbers to represent the alphabet, thus A becomes 1000001, B becomes 1000010, C becomes 1000011, and so on.

Although the value of his code was only recognised in more modern times, Bacon was already famous as a philosopher and statesman (and some even claim he wrote Shakespeare's plays). He is credited with saying: 'Knowledge is power' and died pursuing scientific knowledge. One cold March day, Bacon bought a chicken and decided to stuff it full of snow to see how long the cold could preserve food. He caught a cold which developed into bronchitis and killed him.

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