Pointless With Aaron Mucciolo

Reports of my demise were greatly exaggerated. I just needed some…me time. Not really — let’s get to the questions…

Can moles bore through concrete?

To start with, moles can’t bore — they dig. A subtle difference I know, but an important one. Boring implies cutting or chewing through something (alternatively, boring implies your English prof… but seriously…). Moles dig their nests and tunnels by shoveling dirt out of their way with their powerful legs and specially adapted long front claws. These claws are not like the sharp incisors of, say, rats. In fact, moles are very limited dentally — they are not rodents as some people presume and their diet consists mostly of insects.
Unlike rats, which have been known to use their teeth to gnaw through very tough materials — even metal — moles rely on pure muscle power to dig their tunnels and nests. Moles are especially limited in their tunneling by their size (the largest species of mole is only nine inches long). Heavy clay or rocky soil is usually enough to prevent a mole from trying to dig.

Was the draft used in WWII?
–Caitlin Roush, college junior

Yes. Despite the famous pictures of celebrities and sports heroes volunteering for service, the U.S. instituted a draft lottery in 1942 and continued drafting through the end of the war. Over 480,000 men enlisted (volunteered) in the various branches of the armed forces during the war, but that number is dwarfed by the total number of men inducted overall — over seven million for the Army alone.
Between 1948 and 1973, the draft was used in both war and peacetime “to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means” according to the Selective Service System, the government body charged with registering men aged 18-25 and conducting a draft should one be necessary. With public sentiment shifting against the draft during the Vietnam War, the peacetime draft was officially ended in 1973 and the United States converted to an all-volunteer military. Registration (those little cards most males on campus received around their 18th birthday), which is intended to make a draft as fair as possible by keeping the pool of potential draftees as wide as possible, was ended in 1975 and reinstated in 1980 in response to the U.S.S.R.’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Does Vitamin C really help you get over a cold?

There is no scientific evidence that Vitamin C helps a cold according to Professor of Biology Robin Treichel, who teaches a course on immunology. Lori Flood in the Wellness Center did confirm that zinc has been shown to reduce both the severity and duration of a cold. And both Treichel and Flood noted that there is some evidence that the herb Echinacea may help with recovery.
Taking care of yourself is the best way to prevent a cold or any kind of illness, and that includes eating right, sleeping enough and taking all your vitamins. Of course, we’re college students. So if you find yourself coming down with something, you’ll probably want to head to the Wellness Center on the third floor of Wilder for a free cold care kit. If you’re running a fever, Student Health is the place to be. And, of course, grandma’s advice is still the best — get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat something nutritious.

In the grand scheme of things, every question is a pointless question…so ask away. E-mail aaron.mucciolo@oberlin.edu with your question and as much information as you have. Your name will be included only with your permission.

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