5 (more) questions you've always wanted answered

By Nicole Pollard, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Apr 9th, 2013 @ 10:44am

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SALT LAKE CITY — There are some questions in life that will forever go unanswered. Like, why does the person driving next to you always speed up when you try to change lanes? Why does Bruce Willis keep making "Die Hard" movies? Why are so many men wearing skinny jeans these days? Nobody knows.

But here are five questions you've always wondered about, with answers.

Can a hearse travelling with a deceased person use the carpool lane?

The answer is no, if the hearse is driving in Utah.

The Utah Department of Transportation believes that while it's not written in formal policy, in order to qualify as an occupant in a vehicle the person must be alive. The intent of the carpool lane is to reduce traffic congestion by increasing the amount of passengers in each vehicle. Since the hearse driver would be the only one able to operate the vehicle, it defeats the purpose of encouraging citizens to carpool.

So the next time you're driving a hearse with a body in the back, ask someone else to ride along with you so you can arrive at the funeral on time. You wouldn't want to be — late.

If the theory of evolution explains that man evolved from monkeys, then how does itexplain why there are still monkeys around today?

Neil Vickers, professor and Chairman of Biology at the University of Utah, explained why this question is a bit off target.

"The general idea is that primates diverged from other mammals many tens of millions of years ago. This lineage eventually gave rise to monkeys, great apes and humans (amongst others). So while it is correct to say that we are related to monkeys and apes (and there is plenty of anatomical and genetic data to suggest that this is so), we did not evolve from either monkeys or apes. Monkeys, apes and humans are all modern derivatives of the shared common ancestor."

Why can't female basketball players dunk as easily and frequently as male players?

Women can and have dunked in the NCAA and WNBA, but it doesn't happen very often. The obvious assumption is that height is a factor, since the ball needs to be six inches above the rim to dunk. But the shortest NBA player of all time, Tryone Bogues, only measured in at 5-foot-3 and could still slam dunk. That's quite a few inches shorter than most WNBA players.

But women are at a disadvantage when it comes to androgen, testosterone specifically, that increases bone and muscle mass needed for vertical lift. "Fast twitch" and "slow twitch" muscle fibers built up by testosterone aid in power, speed, and endurance needed to get above the rim. A woman's ovaries release testosterone into the blood stream, but in very small amounts. So while women can dunk, they have to work harder for it than the opposite sex. Women can't be better than men at everything.

Why is it illegal to hunt whales in Utah?

The whales of Utah gave a collective sigh when they heard this rumor.

And that's all it is: a rumor stemming from an urban legend. Of course there are laws against hunting protected species, but a landlocked state like Utah obviously wouldn't include whales on the list of animals in need of protection.

The rumor may have started in the 1800s when it was said that businessman James Wickham had plans to relocate whales into the Great Salt Lake. Supposedly he wanted to harvest them for lighting oil and his plans were made public in a Utah County newspaper. There would be no need for a law against hunting these imaginary whales, as the salt content in the lake would have killed them off quickly.

Why does a woman's mouth hang open when she puts on eye makeup?

Trying to keep your mouth closed while applying eye makeup is as difficult as trying to keep your eyes open when you sneeze. Some women can do it, but most women have their mouth hanging open like a guppy without even knowing it.

Dropping your jaw is almost like a reflex that relaxes the orbicularis oris, or the muscles that control the mouth. When you're intentionally putting something close to your eye, it only makes since to relax your face as much as possible so you don't poke your own eye out. It also allows the skin to pull down tighter around the eye, making the area wider and easier to apply makeup to. Also, when women concentrate on applying eye makeup, they unintentionally hold their breath and eventually drop their jaw to breathe through their mouth.

What other questions have you always wanted answered? Ask them in the comments or send an email and we might get your question in our next article.

Nicole Pollard currently resides in Canyon Country, Calif.

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