Why do wintergreen Life Savers spark when crunched?
Dear Cecil: During a lull at one of our recent staff meetings, I questioned my boss, brother, and dentist (one and the same, although not necessarily in that order of importance) about the mysterious properties of Life Savers candy. I’d heard that the wintergreen and peppermint varieties, if crunched smartly between the teeth, will emit a cloud of blue sparks. My brother verified this phenomenon, based on his own childhood experiences, but was at a loss to explain just how and why it occurs. Any ideas? — Dona Sundler, Mesa, Arizona Dear Dona: It is all very well for a layman to take her brother’s word on things like this, Dona, but professionals such as myself insist on checking out the situation firsthand. Accordingly, I have conducted a rigorous program of experiments, aided by the Straight Dope Kamikaze Research (“we laugh at death”) & Display Advertising Battalion, which will do anything if it will get them out of actually having to work for an hour. Having completed our labors, we