Questions for my Linux distro [Ubuntu Noob]

Why does my laptop sleep half the time when I close the lid? The other half of the time, closing the lid leads to a few blinking indicator lights and a fully-awake-but-closed laptop, which becomes very warm and very battery dead very quickly.

Why can't I change my trackpad settings? My trackpad has always worked well. In fact, with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, I can now scroll with my trackpad. I can't, however, turn off tap-to-click, change the tracking speed, or turn off scrolling.

Why doesn't flash work for some sites (like www.homestarrunner.com)? Sometimes, flash content shows up, but when I click on links, nothing happens. My mouse clearly recognizes clickable links, my clicks just don't seem to register.
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