Pea Green Answer Man

Dear Pea Green the Answer Man

How many national legal holidays do we have?

Mercury Man, Gunnison

Dear M. Man

   Strictly speaking, there are no national legal holidays in the United States, not even the Fourth of July. The Federal Government has no Constitutional power to prescribe legal holidays in the various States. It can make holidays legal only in the District of Columbia and in the Territories. Even the Presidential proclamation designating a day of Thanksgiving each year does not make that day a national legal holiday. For commercial purposes the Federal Government in various acts of Congress has recognized Labor Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July as public holidays. That is as far as the Federal Government can go. There is no general statute on the subject. Sometimes the term national legal holiday is loosely applied to holidays, such as some of those mentioned above, which have been made legal holidays in every State and in the District of Columbia and all the Territories, and which are therefore, in one sense, both national and legal.

 

Dear Mr. Green

Which is sweeter, cane or beet sugar

Delta Dawn

 

Dear Dawn:

   Contrary to a widespread popular belief, there is no difference in sweetness between pure cane sugar and pure beet sugar. Completely refined sugar made from sugar beets and completely refined sugar made from sugar cane are identical in chemical composition. Only in the unrefined product is there any difference. According to the United States Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, the ordinary granulated sugar of commerce, regardless of whether it is made from beets or cane, consists essentially of sucrose, the better grades running as high as 99.8%, and contains such extremely small amounts of other substances that is is practically impossible to distinguish beet sugar from cane sugar either chemically or by physical appearance. the Bureau has been unable to find any evidence indicating that one of these sugars is sweeter than the other.

 

Dear Pea Green

What was the species of the forbidden fruit?

Roberto Melon, Kansas

Bob,

   The Bible does not give the name of the species of the forbidden fruit which Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. It refers merely to the fruit of “The tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Tradition says the forbidden fruit was an apple. In the East, however, there is a belief that the tree of knowledge mentioned in the Bible was a banana plant and that the serpent which tempted Eve hid in a bunch of the fruit. This legend obviously influenced the early classifiers of bananas who designated two species—Musa paradisiaca (Fruit of Paradise) and Musa sapientum (Fruit of Knowledge). Some writers are of the opinion that  Musa Sapientum was originally intended to allude to a statement made by the Greek Philosopher Theophrastus respecting a fruit, supposedly the banana, which served as food for the ancient wise men of India.

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