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Archive for September 2003

September 27, 2003

 

What’s That in the Sky?

In his book Cosmos, the late scientist Carl Sagan talks about the way in which the earth is regularly struck by material from outer space. These collisions with space debris can be minor–as in a shooting star on a summer night–or amazingly destructive, as in the collision that probably killed off the dinosaurs. Thankfully, the […]

September 27, 2003

 

The Hottest of the Hot

Today’s Big and Bad File entry is the world’s hottest chili pepper. The hottest of all peppers is the Scotch Bonnet.

September 27, 2003

 

Narcissism and Violence

Two studies suggest that those individuals most prone to violent behavior are narcissists. In Greek mythology, we know Narcissus as the man who fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring, and whose excessive self-love killed him.

September 27, 2003

 

Why Build an Igloo?

Surprisingly, snow makes good insulation. In physics, an insulator is a material that does not conduct heat very well, like an oven mitt.

September 27, 2003

 

Flower Power

The natural fragrance of flowers counts among the simpler pleasures in life.The delicate aroma of a rose in bloom is something that does not require explanation; we enjoy it simply and intuitively.

September 27, 2003

 

Zits Versus Hairy Faces

Ironically, the general covering of our bodies in hair — what we call “fur” on other animals — is at the root of our problem with acne.

September 27, 2003

 

A Desk Trick

All you need for this trick is a twenty-five-cent piece and a small postage stamp. Put the stamp on the desk and hold the quarter horizontally about half an inch above the stamp. Now blow hard down onto the quarter.Now blow hard down onto the quarter.

September 27, 2003

 

Drinking Wine May Lower Risk Of Dementia

You may have heard that drinking a glass of wine a day can help prevent heart disease. Not only that, but there’s also been recent research suggesting that wine may also prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

September 27, 2003

 

There’s Moss on the North Side

If you live in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere, the moss will grow thicker on the north side. It may sound like an urban legend, but it’s quite real. And the reason is simple: there’s more sun on one side.

September 27, 2003

 

Gas

This time on A Moment of Science, we discuss a rather delicate subject–gas (and we don’t mean the kind you put in your car). It’s normal and healthy to let out a little belch here and there after a meal. It’s just one of the ways the body gets rid of gas. You probably know […]

September 27, 2003

 

Emotional Smokers

What can emotions have to do with smoking? Find out on today's Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Is Your Kid Forgetful?

Is your kid forgetful? Or are they simply disobedient?

September 27, 2003

 

Maggots festing one of two possums in a creek

Maggot Therapy

Before modern antibiotics, doctors sometimes relied on an unusual, but effective therapy for keeping wounds from getting infected. Yep, you guessed it: maggots.

September 27, 2003

 

The Earth’s Mantle

For some time now, scientists have understood that the earth’s crust is divided into plates that move about at the rate of a few inches a year. Over time, this movement will form mountain ranges and volcanoes. They have also known that the earth’s mantle, the layer between the earth’s crust and core, was the […]

September 27, 2003

 

Genetically Modified Plants and Weeds

On this Moment of Science we talk about the complications of genetically modified plants and weeds.

September 27, 2003

 

Metal in the Microwave

Besides preventing the microwaves from reaching and heating up the food it conceals, aluminum foil tends to give off sparks that might start a fire.

September 27, 2003

 

Lose Weight Fast

Any motion takes energy to perform. And little motions like rearranging things on your desk or stretching your back, if you do them all the time, start to add up.

September 27, 2003

 

Are Humans and Fungi Distant Cousins?

The third kingdom contains all organisms whose cells have a nucleus, including plants, animals, algae, and even fungi. So evolutionarily speaking, humans and fungi are cousins.

September 27, 2003

 

The Deadliest Waves

Ordinary ocean waves are caused by the action of wind, like ripples on a wind-blown pond. Even the impressive surf of the Pacific got its start as wind blowing across the open water. The height of such waves depends on how fast the wind is blowing, and how much open water the wind travels across.

September 27, 2003

 

Little Navigators

It turns out that one of nature’s most foolproof navigators is none other than the Caribbean spiny lobster. Various attempts to disorient lobsters–which involve goofy things such as taking them away from their homes while they’re wearing eye coverings–never succeed.

September 27, 2003

 

Rocky Mountain Dry

The North Pacific High is part of a relatively stable high pressure system in the Pacific Ocean that influences the weather from northern Mexico, to the far-west and Southwest United States. In a high pressure system, air from up above tends to move downward to ground level.

September 27, 2003

 

Phytoplankton

When it comes to ocean life, you might assume that the real action occurs down in the depths. After all, that’s where sharks, whales, octopi and other stars of sea do their thing, not to mention the truly weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit the ocean floor.

September 27, 2003

 

How Naked Mole Rats Are Like Insects

Find out how naked mole rats are like insects on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Soy and Your Kidneys

Soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, tofu–you’ve no doubt heard plenty about how good soy is for your body. It’s high in protein, fiber and healthy oils; and among other benefits, it reduces one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. But have you heard that soy can cause kidney stones?

September 27, 2003

 

Osmosis and Applesauce

This process is called osmosis; it dilutes the sugar-water inside the cells. But all the water coming in raises the pressure inside the cells so that eventually, the cell walls burst.

September 27, 2003

 

Caterpillar vs. Plant

In the real world, some caterpillars and plants engage in a deadly struggle for survival. We’re talking full-scale battle, involving chemical weapons no less.

September 27, 2003

 

MRI

Although dissection remains a staple of medical training, over the years we have developed less invasive ways of peering inside the body. One of the most revolutionary and successful is MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging.

September 27, 2003

 

A Caterpillar Addiction

The root of the addiction lies not just in this chemical, but in the chemical receptors located in the whiskers just outside of the caterpillar’s mouth.

September 27, 2003

 

Cheating Cheetahs

This is known as a genetic bottleneck, and it meant that the remaining cheetahs were forced to breed with their relatives.

September 27, 2003

 

The Straight-up Tower of Pisa?

After doing some modeling, scientists tried using a special drill to extract soil from underneath the north side of the tower.

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