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NB: I’m done with the whole set now. A whole bunch of “blocks” seem to have gotten tangled up in the spam filter. With this subreddit’s largely inactive moderation, I have no idea how to fix this. If you want to read all of my answers, go through the last few pages of my profile’s submitted comments.
Second note: Since this has blown up on /r/bestof, I think I should clarify that the star/no-star thing isn’t me trying to show off how how little I need to look up stuff because I’m all-knowing and infallible – it’s to indicate that I HAVEN’T LOOKED UP THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION – I MIGHT BE WRONG. Common ones I’ve been corrected on are the // thing, the svchost thing, the trees-in-fields issue and the moustaches on cars. Bullets are blunt for aerodynamic reasons, Poseidon actually favoured the Greeks and it was all down to the son-killing. With that caveat in place, here we go:
Answers – first “box” (starred ones are ones I had to look up):
Why do whales jump*? No-one knows exactly, though it’s theorised that socialising is part of it, as its a far more common behaviour in pods than with lone whales.
Why are witches green? There are theories floating around that it’s to link them with death/putrefaction or plants/herbs. Personally, I think it’s mostly because of the popularity of the film version of The Wizard of Oz, where the green skin was chosen partly to indicate she’s a bad guy in a kid’s fantasy world, and partly because it helped demonstrate their new Technicolour technology.
Why are there mirrors above beds? Ask your parents when you’re older. Or don’t, since you’ll probably work it out by yourself by then. If you mean on the wall behind beds, I’ve never really seen this as common, but mirrors help to give the impression that the room is larger than it actually is.
Why do I say uh? This is a phenomenon called “speech dysfluency”. Again, no definitive answer but often explained as placeholders while you struggle to find the word you use next. If you mean “why uh as opposed to, say, quorpl”, different languages have different dysfluencies. You say uh/um because you speak English or another language that uses the same sound for this purpose.
Why is sea salt better? It’s not really, it just has a cachet to it these days as panning is a more labour-intensive process and the added expense means more exclusivity. Prior to industrialised salt-making, people wanted finer-grained salt. There’s a REALLY interesting book on the subject by Mark Kurlansky, if you want to know more about the history of the stuff.
Why are there trees in the middle of fields? They provide shade for field-workers during breaks. Less relevant now with increasing mechanisation, so most are there these days because they’ve “always” been there, and getting rid of trees is a bitch of a job.
Why is there not a Pokemon MMO*? The creator wanted (and still wants) to encourage people to play games with one another face to face. MMOs don’t work like that.
Why is there laughing in TV shows? Because comedy shows with laugh tracks have historically outperformed those without them. People might bitch about them, the same way people bitch about trailers that give away too much of the story, but market research shows that you get more butts in seats regardless of the bitching, so that’s the way they do it. I believe that the data on laugh tracks is coming back differently these days, which is why they’re largely fading out.
Why are there doors on the freeway? Maintenance access. That or portals to alternate realities, depending on whether you’ve read 1Q84.
Why are there so many svchost.exe running? Failsafing. The svchost processes handle background services for the operating system. You have a lot of them because it means that if there’s an error with one service (and hence one svchost process) it doesn’t bring down the whole thing. There are other ways of handling this, but this is the way that Windows chose to go.
Why aren’t there any countries in Antarctica? The Antarctic Treaty of (let me look it up) 1961 disallowed signatories from taking permanent territorial sovereignty of the continent. This hasn’t stopped countries claiming chunks of land (including overlapping claims like the Argentine-British annoyance) but in practice access is shared for scientific research. Tat said, I expect that if it ever became economically worthwhile to actually start exploiting the resources in Antarctica, the Treaty would go up in a puff of smoke.
Why are there scary sounds in Minecraft? Because they add to a sense of danger, which gives a bit more of a thrill to players. It also gives another incentive to avoid Creepers, as the explosion scares the bejeezus out of me every time, even without the environmental damage.
Why is there kicking in my stomach? – you know those sticks you can buy that you pee on and get one line or two? You might want to go and get one of those. And then schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Why are there two slashes after http? Syntax – it separates the protocol being used (ftp being an alternative) from the address you’re looking for.