Let’s have a quiz on state nicknames! See how many you get. Some states have more than one nickname, but I’ll try to use the most common. (I’ll start off easy for my readers.)

Back to the bedbugs. Last week, we learned about their characteristics, but why have they become so prevalent? No one knows for sure, but it is suspected that it has to do with the ban on the insecticide DDT, which all but eradicated bedbugs in the United States. DDT was banned in 1972 after…

Question: Why do we say “lead” pencil when it is not really lead? (Asked by Cruz Freimeyer, of Grantsville, W.Va.)

We have been dealing with some pretty heavy subjects in the Curiosity Corner lately, so it’s time to lighten up! Someone sent me some puns the other day, so I’ll pass them along to you. Some of them are two-thirds of a pun: PU (pee-yew!)

Question: Meats sold in supermarkets today are marked “water added.” What is the reason for adding water? Is the meat weighed and priced after the water is added, and are we paying for water? (Asked by a curious consumer.)

Some foods and drinks are labeled “naturally flavored” and others “artificially flavored.” What’s the difference? (Asked by a curious culinary reader.) Reply: First, a little flavorful background. Flavor is a sensory impression of a food or other substance that is determined by the chemical …