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A Moment of Science

Archive for October 2016

October 1, 2016


Shovel and hole on beach

Leftover Dirt and Empty Space

If you've ever had to dig a hole and then fill it back in, you may have noticed a mysterious thing: there was always a little dirt left over. Why?

October 3, 2016


Brightly colored stickers that are meant to praise the recipient. Phrases include:

More Than Grit

A West Point study's claim that cadets with more grit were 99% more likely to complete training turns out to have been based on an error in the data.

October 4, 2016


An orange sky. A large planet in the top corner that is iridescent.

Asleep At The Saucer

What some people perceive as alien abductions might actually be sleep paralysis.

October 5, 2016


A dense forest in the background.  A stream with large rocks in the foreground.

Even Trees Know How To Share

The secret to trees' longevity isn't competition, but cooperation.

October 6, 2016


Older women who are twins. They are dressed in similar leopard print coats and hats.

Twin Powers Activate!

Twins can't read each other's minds. They can't feel each other's pain. But they might have greater longevity.

October 7, 2016


Paper rolls with number patterns. Numbers featured are 2, 3, 4, 5, 0

Zero Is Something, Zero Is Nothing

Aristotle once argued that zero— yes, he meant the number—should be outlawed.

October 10, 2016


The International Space  Station over Earth.

Bacteria Astronauts

Bacteria from locker rooms, cell phones, and shoes was sent into space.

October 11, 2016


A pair of red-and-blue 3D glasses.  The photographer has manipulated the image to look as if the 3D glasses are being seen through another pair of 3D glasses.

3D Glasses For Praying Mantises

How did scientists confirm stereoscopic vision in praying mantises? By making them watch 3D movies.

October 12, 2016


Large storm clouds hover over a small house

Boiling Water Under Boiling Clouds

Why does water boil faster on stormy days rather than sunny days?

October 13, 2016


The polar lights over a small town in New Zealand

The Polar Lights We Can’t See

Every planet with a magnetic field can produce polar lights. So why can't we see Jupiter's?

October 14, 2016


Three neon lights in the shapes of hand. The left is orange-red. The middle is bright green. The right is red.

The Future in the Palm of Your Hand

What does the crystal ball reveal for human evolutionary future? Is it six-fingered hands for everyone?

October 17, 2016


A large polyphemus moth (orange in color) sits on bright green leaves.

Bright Lights, Brighter Moths

Moths are much less attracted to artificial light than they used to be.

October 18, 2016


A bird-of-paradise. Mostly black, but near its neck it is iridescent: red, yellow, green, blue.

Why Birds of a Feather Are What They Eat

Why do some species of birds-of-paradise have such eye-catching plumage?

October 19, 2016


On the left side of the screen, a large spider plant. The camera angle is as if someone is looking directly down at the long, green leaves. Next to it is a jar with a much smaller version of the plant growing.

Plants in Motion

Is your houseplant moving or is that just an optical illusion?

October 20, 2016


A blue background. A woman in the center of the photograph. Most of her is obscured because of a yellow-orange glow caused by a light leakage.


If you look at a bright lamp and then close your eyes, why can you still see the light?

October 21, 2016


a tuxedo kitten and a tabby kitten with an all-white belly and paws gaze out an open window. The tabby kitten is in a position where it looks like it is looking at the world below.

Humpty Dumpty Wasn’t A Cat

You may have seen a cat fall from a tree or high rooftop. Ever wonder how felines can survive such great falls?

October 24, 2016


The side of The Washington School For The Deaf. The top of the building is red brick. The photo's main feature are illustrations of people using American Sign Language.

From Pantomime to Stable Sign

It only takes five generations of learners for a pantomime to become a stable sign.

October 25, 2016


A close-up of a tablespoon of butter melting in a pan.

What’s In Saturated Fats?

We use the phrase "saturated fat" a lot, but what does it really mean?

October 26, 2016


The red soil of Mars. Some gray equipment in the right foreground.

Missing Martian Ocean Deposits

Tsunamis may have washed away the geological evidence of ancient Martian oceans.

October 27, 2016


a collection of bananas, some with brown spots

When Good Bananas Go Bad

Have you ever wonder why bananas seem to go bad so quickly?

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