“Answer Man” provides the answers

Great sport that he is, the “Answer Man” has once again agreed to field your questions about all and sundry topics. So, let’s get started.
Is there anything “good” about mosquitoes?
Well, according to the website HowStuffWorks, mosquitoes have been pestering the animal kingdom for over 30 million years. During that time, you’d think the pesky creatures would have figured out how to do at least one good thing. Surprisingly, it turns out they do play a role in the circle of life.
Mosquitoes feast on the blood of mammals. In turn, they are feasted upon by other animals. The University of Arizona Insect Science Education Outreach created a short summary of the positive effects mosquitoes have on the ecosystem. It turns out the larvae and pupae of mosquitoes are attractive food for fish and other aquatic insects, while the adults provide a tasty meal for birds, bats, spiders and dragonflies.
Besides providing snack food for larger predators, the pesky bugs also feed on bacteria and algae, removing them from rocks, plants, and water.
So, do these benefits outweigh the fact that they transmit disease to more than 700-million people every year?  Ask anyone outside in Manitoba in the summertime and the answer will come quickly — they race for the screened-in porch.
Actually, a “good” thing about mosquitoes is that they succumb to frost in the fall, which brings us to our next subject.
Can you forecast the weather by the direction of the wind at the exact time of the Autumnal equinox?
Well, a lot of people believe in this one. In September, see if the following hold true:
• If the wind is from the north, expect cool weather.
• If the wind is from the south, expect warm weather.
• If the wind is from the west, expect clear weather.
• If the wind is from the east, expect many storms.
• If there’s no wind, expect little change.
How important is water to our bodies?
As you probably already know, the answer is that water is very important. Here’s the proof:
• Seventy-five per cent of North Americans are chronically dehydrated. This likely also applies to half the world’s population. 
• In 37 per cent of North Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger. 
• Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism by as much as three per cent.
• One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100 per cent of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study. 
• Lack of water is the No. 1 trigger of daytime fatigue. 
 • Preliminary research indicates that eight to 10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80 per cent of sufferers.
• A mere two-per-cent drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. 
What’s that story about the many surprising “facts about” and “uses for”  Coca Cola?”
• In many U.S. states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident. 
• You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days; that is, if you’re wealthy enough to be able to waste a T-bone. 
• To clean a toilet, pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let it sit for one hour and then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china. 
• To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers, rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola. 
• To clean corrosion from car battery terminals, pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion. 
• To loosen a rusted bolt, apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes. 
• To bake a moist ham, empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a wonderful brown gravy. 
All this coke trivia makes you realize how amazingly strong your stomach is, eh?