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Ask Maxim: Burnt Hair, Silent Letters, Gas Tanks

Answering all the questions you never knew you had (and some you did).



Why does hair smell so disgusting when it burns?
—Steve Parnassi

The culprit that makes burnt hair smell like gnarly farts is an amino acid called cysteine. “The keratin in our hair has high concentrations of cysteine, which contains sulfur,” explains L.A.-based physician Tanvir Hussain, M.D. “As with other sulfur-containing entities, like rotten eggs or intestinal gas, exposing those chemicals is what makes burning hair smell so bad.” So next time you let one slip, light your eyebrows on fire and blame them. 

Why are silent letters used in words? 
—Mike Avra

The way we talk has evolved faster than how we write, and those lazy bastards at the diction­ary haven’t updated the spellings. “The k in knife didn’t used to be silent,” explains UCLA linguistics assis­tant professor Robert Daland. “The ques­tion is, Why haven’t we changed it?” Hoo noes?

What determines what side of a car the gas tank is on?
—Michael Wolff
Steve Kosowski, a manager at Kia Motors America, says this can be based on front- or rear-wheel drive, plat­form layout, or a car company’s philosophy that one side is better or safer. In a nutshell: Hope for a tiny arrow by the gas gauge.

700 Million Projected pounds of peanut butter Americans will eat in 2013. (That’s the weight of 1,555 creamy smooth Statues of Liberty.)

50% = Likelihood couples in the U.S. will become obese after marriage. With this ring, I thee let myself go. 

1 in 10 = Ratio of people who believed the world was going to end last year, which is almost as terrifying as the world actually ending.

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Get more of questions answered with Ask Maxim: Weiner Shrinkage and Ask Maxim: Blood, Cockroaches, and Poison