Children ‘s science questions Why is the value of money falling all the time?

Children’s science questions also consider looking at paintings, itching, and the dangers of a carnivorous plant. And what if the snake began to swallow itself from its tail?

Eino Helve, 11

Money the slow decline in value, known as inflation, is the goal of many central banks.

The common goal of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Finland and the central banks of other countries using the euro is annual inflation, which is “close but less than two per cent”.

Some things become more expensive than others and some get cheaper, so the target is for the average change in prices.

Central banks seek to do this, for example, by regulating interest rates, ie the compensation paid to lenders.

Rapid inflation is very detrimental to the economy. It has probably never been directly sought anywhere, even though it has sometimes been drifted or tolerated in wartime in some countries. Deflation, ie a large-scale fall in the price level, is also harmful.

Slow inflation is best for long-term economic stability, such as reducing unemployment. That is why such a situation is being pursued.

Karlo Kauko


Bank of Finland

The tropical pitcher plant feeds on small insects.­

If I push my hand into a carnivorous plant, will the plant begin to digest it?

Leo Sundell, 6

Carnivorous plants capture insects and other small animals in many different ways. All those plants have some kind of trap where the animals fall and where they die.

For example, once in a jug plant, the prey can drown in the liquid in the plant. Kihokki, on the other hand, produces sticky droplets that the animals stick to. Eventually, those drops prevent them from breathing.

In general, carnivorous plants are only able to digest their prey when the animals are dead. Plants secrete similar food disintegrants as humans in their digestive system.

However, the diet of carnivorous plants melts very slowly. It takes up to two weeks to thaw a small insect.

The forces of a carnivorous plant are not enough to melt a human hand, so it can be safely touched. However, it is a good idea to wash your hands after touching so that the plant fluid does not accidentally get into your eyes. It can cause stinging.

Marko Hyvärinen


University of Helsinki Botanical Museum and Botanical Gardens

The famous Scream of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) is at the Munch Museum in Oslo.­

Why are we looking at paintings?

Martta Similä, 3

Paintings looking can experience, understand and learn new things. For example, paintings can make you feel how bright the sunshine is in the Australian desert or how love can illuminate the feeling. New feelings in the visual arts can change our relationship to the world and life.

On the other hand, the paintings tell of the past in their own special ways. No other art tells us what kind of paints and brushes have been used and what kind of stories or whims of the mind they have managed to tell. The paintings are like fairy tales made through lines, colors and shapes.

We also look at the boards because they offer a huge variety of perspectives. Everyone interprets the works from their own point of view, so people of different ages or living in different places can see and experience different things in them.

Many feel calmed as they delve into the works. If it is difficult to focus or something is angry, paying attention to the details of the paintings or even certain colors may make it easier.

Usually, we specifically look at the boards and, for example, do not touch them, which is important because the boards are susceptible to breakage.

Today, however, there are also paintings made to be touched or, for example, sniffed.

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi

temporary professor of art history

University of Turku

Tickling is a way to play with a loved one.­

Why is it usually desired to stop tickling even when it makes you laugh?

Stella Brenner, 7

Laughing itching is not directly related to joy. Indeed, many find it, on the contrary, ultimately unpleasant and hope that it will end.

Bigger siblings in particular know this and know how to tease smaller ones with carefully considered tickling attacks.

Tickling is a way for people and many other animals to play. It can be used to strengthen ties between individuals. Laughing reinforces the awareness of both that it is a game and not a real struggle.

Laughter when itching is an automatic reflex. Some people start barking even before they start tickling because the brain anticipates tickling. People also laugh even when they are tickled by some means.

The reflex arises when the sensory cells of the skin transmit information about itching to the areas of contact information in the main and temporal lobe of the brain. Itching does not tune deep parts of the brain that produce joy and pleasure.

Lauri Nummenmaa

Professor of Medical Imaging and Modeling

University of Turku

The beach snake is non-toxic and harmless to humans.­

What happens if a snake begins to swallow itself from its tail but does not chew?

Emil Alenius, 8

If the snake begins to swallow its own tail, it is usually heavily stressed.

This can be due to, for example, too small or hot living space. A healthy, well-to-do snake living in a suitable environment would not do that.

Individuals who swallow their own tails most often live in a terrarium. They belong to snake species that feed on other snakes. Such are, for example, king snakes. It often happens that a stressed snake thinks its own tail is another snake and therefore attacks it.

Snakes never chew but swallow their prey whole. The snake that eats another individual is able to compress it as if into an accordion and fit it completely into the digestive tract. Snakes are able to eat even animals longer than themselves.

However, a self-eating individual will not be able to do compression into an accordion shape.

The snakes ’trachea opens between the lower jaws, allowing them to breathe even large prey while eating, but they are unable to do so indefinitely when swallowing themselves. If they continue to eat themselves, the most likely fate is suffocation. The final step is for the trachea to collapse.

The snake that swallows itself from its tail is an ancient metaphor called Ouroboros. It refers to the idea of ​​an eternal cycle and a new beginning.

Timo Paasikunnas

leader of the cyber conservation project


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