Letters to The Pea Green Answer Man

Dear Pea Green Answer Man

Where did Cain get his wife?

Sara from Crawford


Dear Sara:

According the Genesis, after Cain slew his brother, Abel he became a fugitive and vagabond on the earth with a mark set upon him lest anyone finding him should kill him. Cain went into the land of Nod, where his wife bore him a son, and where he built a city, which he named Enoch after his son. The location of the land of Nod is not known, the Bible merely stating that is was east of Eden.   

Where did Cain get his wife? This presents a classic problem that Bible scholars have attempted to solve with more ingenuity than success. Some students suppose that Cain’s marriage occurred at a much later period than the murder of Abel, and that he married one of his sisters, or perhaps even a more distant relative. Others regard the story of Cain as a composite of several traditions relating to different men named Cain who lived at different periods.

Still others hold that, according to the Bible, Adam and Eve were not the first two persons on the earth, but the first two named persons. They maintain that the first chapter of Genesis gives the account of the general creation of human beings, while the second chapter of the same book gives the process of creation of Adam and Eve. It was then that man first became a living soul. If this theory is correct, there may have been millions of human beings on the earth when Adams and Eve were created.

– Pea Green Answer Man


Dear Pea Green Man:

Who coined the phrase “entangled alliances?”

George W.

Austin, TX


Dear George W:

This phrase is popularly attributed to George Washington. But Jefferson, not Washington, was the author. In his first inaugural address, March 4, 1801, President Jefferson said: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”

However, Washington is regarded as the author of the idea. In his Farewell Address, which was published Sept. 17, 1796, Washington said: “Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, interest, humor, or caprice?”

Pea Green Answer Man


Dear Pea Green Answer Man:

Why doesn’t Louisiana have counties?




Dear Diva:

Soon after the United States purchased Louisiana from France the legislative council of Governor Claiborne divided that part of the territory now comprising the state of Louisiana into twelve settlements called counties. These districts, which were arbitrary and not clearly defined, proved unsatisfactory for the purposes of civil government. Therefore, in 1807, the legislature of the Territory of Orleans divided the Territory into nineteen districts, which were called Parishes instead of counties because the old French and Spanish ecclesiastical districts or parishes were used as a basis for the new divisions. The name was applied to additional civil districts created after the territory was admitted as a state.

Pea Green Answer Man


Dear PGAM:

What causes pounding in hot-water pipes?




Dear Greg:

The pounding and banging in hot water and steam pipes is called water hammer or hydraulic shock. This snapping noise is produced by moving water thrown against the sides of the pipes when hot steam comes in contact with cooler water and suddenly condenses. Water hammer may be caused by various conditions. Early in the morning when steam is suddenly turned into cold pipes water hammer is almost unavoidable. Usually, however, it is caused by some defect in the heating system, such as a radiator tipped the wrong way, by a partly closed valve, or by high pressure.

Pea Green Answer Man


Dear Pea Green Answer Man:

Is the art of hardening copper lost?




Dear Lisa:

A popular belief exists that the Egyptians and other ancient peoples, including the Mexicans and Peruvians, knew a process of hardening copper, which is unknown to modern metallurgists. There is also a widespread notion that the United States Government has a standing offer of a large reward for the rediscovery of this so-called lost art of tempering copper. Neither belief has any foundation. The reputed hardened product is always an alloy. No specimen of pure copper has been found which had a greater degree of hardness than can be produced by hammering. Any expert metallurgist of today knows how to produce an edged tool of hardened copper as good as any made in prehistoric times, but the knowledge does him no good because of the vast superiority of the steel tools now available. Hardening is produced either by hammering and cold rolling, or by the addition of alloying elements, in which case the material cannot truly be called copper. Amateur inventors seeking the lost art of hardening copper and the government prize for its rediscovery are wasting their time, for neither ever existed.

Pea Green Answer Man


Dear Pea Green Man

Do porcupines shoot their quills?




Dear Amazone:

When disturbed, a porcupine thrashes about actively with its tail and if the tail comes into contact with brush or other objects the tail quills are likely to be knocked out or detached. Frequently they are scattered around to a considerable extent. Under such circumstances the flying quills might readily give the impression that they are voluntarily thrown or shot at the enemy. They are not, however, actually thrown or shot out in the sense of being discharged by a propulsive effort of the animal other than the thrashing and flicking of its tail. Quills are frequently embedded in the flesh of animals that attack porcupines. Dogs that attack these animals usually get their noses full of quills for their pains.

John Burroughs, the naturalist, says on this subject: “Touch his tail, and like a trap it springs up and strikes your hand full of quills. The tail is the active weapon of defense; with this the animal strikes. It is the outpost that delivers its fire before the citadel is reached. It is doubtless this fact that has given rise to the popular notion that the porcupine can shoot its quills, which, of course, it cannot do.”


Filed Under: Hard News


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