Big Questions from Little People and Simple Answers from Great Minds by Gemma Elwin Harris

Are there any undiscovered animals? Yes, there are plenty. Unknown insects are more common than unknown animals. Most of the unknown animals are located in the depths of the sea.

Is it okay to eat a worm? They might have bad tummies. Do cook before eating. Only eat if you are truly hungry and when there is nothing else left.

What are atoms? They are the building blocks of life. It contains plenty of empty space. There are electrons orbiting around a nucleus and protons. We are all different combination of atoms.

Why are the grown-ups in charge? You have to trust older people as they are more experienced. They make decisions because they love us. If they are wrong, tell them in a nice way.

Why is blood red, not blue? It is because of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs around your body. Octopuses, squids etc have blue blood.

How are dreams made? They are more exciting and frightening than real life. They could be a way for the mind to rearrange and tidy itself up after a long day.

How long would it take to walk around the world? It takes 1789 days to run. The people that Rosie Swale-Pope met were simply amazing. Follow your dreams.

Why do we have music? Life would be boring without music. It is rumoured that humans learnt music before speaking. It is pure magic. One can distinguish happy songs from sad songs just by the tune.

Do Aliens Exist? It is possible because the Universe is simply too vast and we do not have full visibility of it. Lighted objects in the sky could be a satellite, a planet etc. One way is to pick up radio signals using satellites.

Where does wind come from? When the Earth gets heated up, warm air will rise and cool air will replace it. Hurricanes occur because air is rushing in too quickly.

Why do we speak English? People have different dialects and accents. Over time, they start speaking in a new way. After prolonged period of time, a new language is formed. About 300 years ago, people in Europe spoke Germanic. However, later, they congregated to England and the Anglo-Saxons spoke English.

Why do dinosaurs go extinct and not other animals? They needed huge amount of food to survive. When the great meteor hit 65 million years ago, it blocked out the light. This caused the plants to die and the dinosaurs to starve. Not every animal perished. Snails and some beetles survived. Dinosaurs are also ancestors of birds in modern times.

Why do cakes taste so nice? The ingredients work well with each other. Butter, sugar and eggs go well together. Flour keeps the mixture together. Anyone can learn how to make a cake!

How do plants and trees grow from a seed? Water, heat and light will cause them to germinate. Water helps to soften the hard seed coat. The seed also contains enough food for the seedling to grow in its initial stages.

Why do monkeys like bananas? They are sweet and tasty. They can also be eaten quickly because they are soft. Fructose gives the monkey enough energy to climb about.

Is the human brain the most powerful thing on Earth? The brain allows us to invent and to think. We can also think about ourselves. However, it may play tricks on us at times. The brain can also over-react sometimes.

What is global warming? It is happening faster than expected. Burning fossil fuels produces a lot of greenhouse gases. As an individual, we can do the following: 1) save energy; 2) recycle; 3) eat locally produced food; 4) Tell others

Why do I get hiccups? It is because of the twitching of your diaphragm. We get them because we drank or ate too quickly. However, the diaphragm will calm down after a while.

Why is space so sparkly? Stars are other ‘Suns’. Some planets appear like a bright spot in the sky. Is there life on these planets? It is for you to uncover!

Why can’t animals talk like us? Bees perform dances. Monkey use special cries. Humans are special because we can always say new things. Humans also do not understand much about animals.

How do story writers get ideas? They could be imaginary people which you wished to meet. These are all figments of your imagination.

How do cars work? The wheels spin. Fuel gets sucked in the engine. It burns the fuel in order to move a shaft. The shaft is then connected with the wheels. The car is an amazing invention.

Why can’t I tickle myself? The brain is always guessing what would happen next. The brain is predicting the next moments in your body. This is useful as it gets us out of difficult situations. ‘If you build a machine that allows you to move a feather, but the feather moves only after a delay of a second, then you can tickle yourself.’

Who had the first pet? It was probably a dog.

Why are planets round? Planets were made from cloud and gas. It is mainly made up of hydrogen and helium. They start pulling more matter due to the G-forces. They keep pulling in all directions. The earth is almost spherical, but not completely.

Can a bee sting a bee? Female bees can still others to defend its hive. A queen honey bee will sting another queen. Bumble bees also sting within their hive to reduce the number of males.

Why do we cook food? This was because fire was discovered. Heat made food enjoyable to eat. It also helps to kill bacteria. It can also change the way food tastes. It is amazing to watch how cooking can change food.

How do you keep going when you are losing in sport? Always strive to be better even if you are not winning. It is more important to set goals and attain them. Winning is hard work.

Why do wars happen? People do not communicate well with one another. Everyone actually wants peace. Governments are frightened. It is difficult to admit that you are in the wrong.

Why do we have to go to the toilet? Wee fills up inside your bladder. The sphincter muscle controls your bladder. The body gets rid of the extra nitrogen. Birds don’t pee, but they release poo. You have to poo to get rid of undigested fibre. It also helps to get rid of your unwanted blood cells. Worn out haemoglobin is brown in colour.

Why do lions roar? It is a way of getting attention. It is a way of showing his pride and dignity.

Why do we have money? In the past, there was barter trade. Humans invented money. It could be exchanged for things that we want. It is a brilliant invention.

Who wrote the first book ever? They were made from wooden sticks. It was a Chinese person and words were written from top to bottom. The first library was present in Egypt.

Why do elephants have trunks? It is very useful and it is also its upper lip. It is incredibly strong, yet delicate. It takes about a year for a baby elephant to learn to use its trunk properly.

Why are some people mean? It is because someone else has done something mean to make them angry. It might feel like a relief to dump it on someone else. It can be a vicious cycle and people can start to avoid them.

How do trees make the air that we breathe? Plants absorb Co2 and convert them to oxygen using photosynthesis. Plants have spores and holes, which allow them to breathe.

If the Universe started from nothing, how did it become something? The Big Bang created time. The Universe is still expanding because of this. Gravity might reverse the expansion of the Universe someday. Our universe could be the collapse of an earlier universe.

Why do people have different coloured skin? Our skin is made up of pigments. Different pigments contain different colours. Dark skin helps to prevent one from contracting cancer.

Will the North and South poles ever melt completely? The South Pole is larger and much thicker. There is an American base there. The ice is melting. This could make the sea levels rise.

Where does ‘Good’ come from? It helps to make the world a better place. Goodness also comes from attitudes. Ancient philosophers have studied this topic. Learn to talk to other people. It all comes from responsible and sensible thinking.

Why is the sun so hot? It is made up of hydrogen particles. Due to fusion, helium is formed.

What is the most endangered animal in the world? It used to be the Pinta Island giant tortoise. The panda is one of them. Conversation efforts can help endangered creatures come back and thrive.

Who do girls have babies and boys don’t? Women have breasts. The woman has a womb. Babies can feed in the womb. The female will lactate and make milk too.

In Victorian times, did kids do all the work? Children had to work hard. They had harsh conditions. The poor didn’t have a chance to be in school.

What is gravity? The bigger the object, the more gravity it exerts on another. Why do you feel weightless in orbit?

Why can’t we live forever? The whole earth would be full of people and there would be a depleted food supply.

How does water get into clouds? You can’t see water vapour. They get lifted up in the air during evaporation. Air gets cooler as it rises and this is how clouds form. This is how rain is formed too.

Why do animals that fly have feathers, not including bats? Dinosaurs used feathers for showing off. Birds have feathers because they are descendants from dinosaurs.

How does my brain control me? The brain is soft and supple. Synapses and brain cells develop and this allows humans to learn. Our brain changes based on the experiences we undergo. We do not have full control over our brain.

How do chefs get ideas for recipes? From markets or all sorts of places. Have fun when you are cooking and learn to experiment.

Are we all related? Yes we are. If you trace back all the way, you might be able to see that we are related somehow, somewhere

How do they know all snowflakes are different? He looked at a snowflake under a microscope. Is it true? Yes, there is some truth in the statement. There are nonillion snowflakes that have fallen.

Why does time go slowly when you want it to go fast? Time passes slowly when you are bored. You start paying attention to every minute that passes. When you are enjoying something, time passes faster. Time is weird.

‘When you have a really boring day doing nothing, when you’re ill, time goes slowly. But when you look back afterwards on that week when you were ill, it feels as though it went by fast. The reason is that you didn’t do anything new so the week won’t occupy much space in your memory, making it seem short when you remember it.’

Who first made metal things? They were probably made thousands of years ago.

How do the bubbles get into fizzy drinks? You have to apply pressure for that to happen. When you release it by opening, bubbles will form again.

Why is the sky blue? It is a trick of the eye. Sunlight gets reflected when it hits gas molecules. Air molecules absorb blue light and reflect it easily as compared to other colours in the UV spectrum.

How do sportspeople concentrate when the crowd is noisy? Focus. Let to block it off and even improve your game.

Do monkeys and chickens have anything in common? They have the same organs and bodily processes. They all descended from the same lizard.

How did we first learn to write? It started in Mesopotamia.

Why can’t I see germs? You need a microscope to see them. There are both useful and bad bacteria. Antibiotics won’t work for viruses.

Do people eat polar bears or lions? It is hard to catch them. They are also ferocious and has sharp claws. Thus, people avoid them

Why does the moon change shape? Everything is moving and rotating and orbiting. It isn’t a spherical disc

Do Numbers Go on Forever? Yes, you can keep adding

What do you have to do to get into the Olympic games? Train hard and never let bad days get you down

Who was the first artist? There are plenty of prehistoric paintings. Some of the early paintings originated from Spain too.

What am I made of? Everything is made up of atoms. Oxygen and carbon are the more important elements. You are really a child of the stars.

Why do penguins live at the south but not the north pole? They are nice and fat and can keep warm. They need to work hard to keep cool in the summer as well. There are also polar bears in the North which can attack them. There are no predators in the Antarctic region. It is beautiful to see them swimming about.

How does an aeroplane fly? The wings are curved and when the wind blows, thrust is created. Jet engines burn kerosene. It’s rather amazing how it flies.

What’s the strongest animal? Bugs are the strongest. A dung beetle is extremely strong.

What would I look like if I didn’t have a skeleton? You would look like a jellyfish or a squid.

Are cows polluting the air? Yes, their stomach contains useful bacteria which helps breakdown the grass into methane gas. Methane is a greenhouse gas.

How do writers think of their ideas? They come mysteriously. However, you must be prepared to write them down. Carry a notebook around with you, this will help. There is nothing wrong being inspired by another writer. Plenty of people have good ideas, but they all stay in your head.

Why do men grow beards and not women? Men undergo puberty. Testosterone helps men grow muscles and grow taller.

Is sugar bad for you? We are programmed to like sweet stuff. Some natural sugars are fine. However, those in manufactured food aren’t good. Do not buy things where sugar is one of the top 3 ingredients contained. It is bad for teeth. A spike in your blood sugar level will leave you more energized, but you might crash after that.

Why is the sky dark at night? It is important to ask questions. It is because the Earth is turning around its axis.

If you’re on a boat with no food or water, what do you do? You could catch fish. Be well prepared on your trip.

How does my cat find its way home? She can remember landmarks or use scent markers. The Earth’s magnetic field may help as well.

What’s inside the world? Rock.

Who is God? He is the creator of the Universe. People disagree over who he really is. He could be a type of force as well. Some people think he doesn’t exist. Maybe God is just a feeling and it depends on the individual. He never gives up on us.

How far away is space? It is 20 miles from your doorstep

Why are some people taller than others? This is because of your DNA.

Why is wee yellow? It contains toxins like nitrogen and ammonia. Ammonia can also clean things and act as fertilizer.

Why do I get bored? ‘Being bored is your body telling you to do something different, so you don’t get sad or grumpy. You need to get out your friends and family, and find new and exciting things to do.’

Why do we sleep at night? Humans can’t see well at night. The brain also tells us when to sleep. We can be affected by jet lag when we travel. The body clock also helps to regulate sleep patterns. Sleep helps to make us happy.

Can we go back in time? You need 2 black holes to build a time machine. You need to build a time tunnel and then jump through it. It is practically impossible to build something like that.

Why do we have lots of countries and not just 1 big country? People were born in different places and did not have the chance to communicate with one another in the past. The kings and queens were power hungry and did not want to share power with others. However, the world is becoming more global than ever before.

What makes me me? Your body contains genetic codes. Every genetic code contains a slightly different sequence. You inherited some cells in your brain from your parents. Grow to make yourselves.

What is the Internet for? It lets people connect. People invent new things through it. It is an incredible leap of technology.

How did Michelangelo get so famous? He was also famous in his lifetime. Because of the Sistine Chapel and his carvings of biblical references. His paintings are really emotive.

How do you fall in love? It’s like falling through space. You have to be brave. Love is not controllable. The trick is to love and be loved in return. You should not worry too much about it. Don’t panic and stay calm. You don’t think too much about it. Love sets off weird emotions in us. Love is blind. Love releases certain chemicals in our brain.

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