Someone did a blog and asked a ton of sciency questions and I, being a nerd, could not help but answer them. I did not use google or wikipedia or books once in my response (just stating my nerd credentials).
“What is an earthquake?”
A crack or “fault” in the earth’s crust on which one side is moving one direction and the other side is moving in the other direction (due to continental drift), building up tension due to the tremendous pressure holding them against each other until it finally “snaps” and releases all of that energy building over decades or centuries in a violent shockwave, like pulling a rubber band gradually until it breaks.
“What is a tsunami?”
The shockwave(s) of an earthquake under the ocean which gradually forced upward by the shore and manifests in a series of large waves on land.
“What is an eclipse?”
A planet or moon falling into the shadow of another planet or moon.
“What is the largest fish?”
“How do boats float?”
Gravity pulls things toward the earth depending on their density and weight, water is more dense and heavy than air or wood and so as it is pulled toward the earth it pushes up the lighter materials floating in the water – as a boat takes on water it loses it’s buoyancy due to the air in it being replaced with heavier water and it sinks.
“How do airplanes fly?”
The wing of an airplane is smoother on the bottom and fatter on the top, making the bottom have less wind resistance – as a result air travels faster on the bottom than the top producing lift.
“Where are the stars in the day?”
The stars are there always, but a “morning star” is typically a planet or moon.
“Why is the sky blue?”
The same reason anything else is blue, the part of the light spectrum that we perceive as blue is not absorbed by it, but rather than being reflected off of it, in the case of the atmosphere it simply passes through it.
“What is rain?”
Water which has evaporated, crystallized at high altitude and gathered until it fell back to earth, melting as it fell and got closer to the surface of the earth warmed daily by the sun.
“What is lightning?”
The same as a spark when you touch something metal on a dry day. Positively and negatively charged electrons exist all around us, but repeated friction like rubbing your feet on the carpet (especially with insulation like the rubber soles of your shoes and especially on dry days) can cause more positive or negative electrons to build up in us, creating static electricity. Electricity always seeks an equilibrium, so when you touch something that conducts electricity (like metal) and has fewer of the electrons in your body the amounts more or less equalize, resulting in a brief discharge or “zap”. Lightning is the same thing, only much more massive – a much larger buildup of electrons is caused by the friction of the atmosphere against the earth’s surface, which is eventually discharged when an excellent conductor of electricity (water) passes between them. A shock when you touch something metal is literally very small lightning.
“What is a rainbow?”
Light being refracted (bent) by water vapor as it is by a prism.
“What is evolution?”
A series of mechanisms which produce novel genes and increase or decrease the rate at which they exist in a population – a sort of trial and error process of modifying life which results in more infectious diseases, cancer cells adapting to chemotherapy and radiation, pesticide resistant insects and so on. I can go into more detail if you like.
“How big is the sun?”
A few million times the size of the earth (which is about 26 thousand miles around), give or take.
“How come people get sick?”
Illnesses are caused by viruses, bacteria, genetic conditions, environmental toxins, and a number of other things.
“What is the Milky Way?”
The galaxy we inhabit – a galaxy is a collection of billions of stars (in our galaxy as many as half a trillion) revolving around a super-massive black hole – black holes are formed when a very, very large star (much bigger than ours) explodes, then collapses in on itself and becomes so dense and it’s gravity becomes so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. Modern physics hypothesizes that some forms of radiation (light) may be able to escape.
“Where is earth in the universe?”
There is no way to answer that question as there is no objective point of reference. We are near the edge of our galaxy, any point we call the center of the universe is arbitrary, like calling a street main street.
“How fast is the earth moving?”
It is spinning at a little over a thousand miles per hour and moving through space around the sun around 60 times as fast, our solar system is moving much faster than that, and our galaxy is moving much faster than that. You can google it though.
“How are mountains made?”
Lava from the core of the planet pushes layers of rock and dirt miles deep up gradually over millions of years – if the lava punches through and drips out of the surface it is a volcano, if it does not it is a mountain.
“What is a snowflake?”
“Where is the ozone layer?”
In the upper atmosphere.
“What is the fastest animal?”
The cheetah is the fastest land animal, there may be faster birds or something.
“Can animals talk?”
Yes, parrots can be trained to meaningfully speak, chimps can learn sign language and many species have crude languages and gestures. Dolphins also identify each other individually as by name and exhibit high level language abilities.
“What is a dream?”
No one knows for sure, people have speculated that it is everything from your mind trying to interpret random discharges from your brain stem while you sleep to our mind’s way of processing memories and thoughts, to a sort of VR (virtual reality) simulation that allows us to better learn from our experiences and prepare mentally and emotionally for dangerous situations.