Answer: "Rifling" is a firearm's term that refers to the spiral grooves along the bore's interior to impart spin to the bullet, says Jearl Walker in "The Flying Circus of Physics."
The quarterback tries to do the same with the football, which acts like a gyroscope in maintaining its orientation and flying smoothly instead of tumbling. Now the ball will travel farther, and with strong enough spin, will gradually "nose down" as its passes through its arced trajectory, making it easier for the receiver to make the catch.
Failure to spin the ball properly could result in a wobbly pass or even an end-over-end "duck" shorter and trickier to grab hold of. When a punter (kicker) puts spin on the ball, usually the intent is to get it to travel farther and also to increase "hang time" so the punter's team can get down field before the ball comes down.
Answer: The science of high-altitude cooking is well known to residents of more mountainous regions like Colorado where atmospheric pressure affects water-boiling temperature, says Goran Grimvall in "Brainteaser Physics."
Try to boil eggs atop Mount Everest (29,000 ft.), where water boils at about 72 degrees C (162 F) instead of 100 C (212 F) at sea level, and you better keep a book handy. Egg proteins change their structure at about 63-66 C, first in the whites, then in the yolk. Even at 85 C (185 F), it takes half an hour to get a 3-minute egg.
Answer: You'll need to practice up on your "perfect shuffle," where you cut the pack exactly in half and then interleave the cards one after the other, says professor Persi Diaconis in "New Scientist" magazine. Magicians are able to do this, so why not you? Now if you can set the deck with all four aces on top and shuffle it perfectly, the aces will be every second card. Shuffle it again and they'll be every fourth card. "If I were a crooked gambler and dealt four hands, I'd get the aces. Gamblers have been writing about what they can and can't do with a perfect shuffle for 300 years."
Send STRANGE questions to brothers Bill and Rich at email@example.com, coauthors of "Can a Guy Get Pregnant? Scientific Answers to Everyday (and Not-So- Everyday) Questions," from Pi Press.