Q: Jennifer Walden - In a mascot brawl - Who would win, the UMASS Minuteman, or the UMaine Bear?
A: I think that there are two ways of looking at this question: What the mascots represent, and the actual mascots themselves. First, let's look at what the mascots represent, and how they would match up in a fight.
The U-Maine bear is an American Black Bear. It is a formidable opponent in a fight, with sharp claws and teeth, and weighing in between 400 and 500 pounds. Personally, I wouldn't want to fight on. On the other hand you have the Minuteman, which is either a colonial militiaman armed with a musket, or a thermonuclear-tipped inter-continental ballistic missile. Now, in the case of the missile, I think the missile would win (though it's debatable that the missile could in fact win without surviving). In the case of the militiaman, if he's well trained in the use of his musket he could probably hunt the black bear and kill it. In hand-to-hand combat, however, the black bear would almost certainly win.
The second way to look at this question is the actual mascots themselves. If I remember correctly, the Minuteman had a rather comically over-sized head but was otherwise fairly normally proportioned. He was armed with a (presumably fake) musket. The Black Bear also had a removable head, but on the whole it was much more normally proportioned. The suit looked quite furry, which was probably both warm and also well-protecting. Based on these things, I think that the Black Bear would certainly win the fight. All that he would have to do is knock the Minuteman down (probably easy given the comically over-sized head), and the fight would be over.
On a side note, this would be a hilarious event to watch. I think that it should be part of the intermission entertainment at college hockey games. Who do you have to call to set this kind of thing up?
Q: Bill Jeffers - How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
A: I've been waiting for someone to ask me this question. It's an age-old question, and one that can be tackled in a variety of ways. What I decided to do was to get myself a Tootsie Pop, measure it, and then start licking away. Here are the results of that experiment:
The Tootsie Pop in question was 1 1/8" in diameter on the skinny edge, and 1 1/4" in diameter at the bulge. It was a grape flavored one, though I'm pretty sure that doesn't factor into this equation. I started out by just licking it and counting every 10, but that was quite tedious, so I started counting in 20's. By 180 I could clearly see (and taste) the tootsie center, but it looked like a little vein rather than the full center. I decided that this wasn't enough, so I kept going. By lick 1000 the diameters had shrunk to 3/4" and 1" respectively. Unfortunately I had to give up the experiment at lick 1200 (hard as this might be to believe, but I had better things to do), but based on that rate I would have reached the "center" by approximately the 2400th lick. So that's going to be my answer. If someone resubmits this question I'll tackle it again.