Give Now

A Moment of Science

Archive for September 2003

September 27, 2003

 

The Most Successful Species on Earth

For many scientists, a species’ success is measured by sheer numbers. In that case, the most successful species known to man is a type of bacterium known as S-A-R-11, or SAR-11 for short. Scientists estimate that there are two-hundred and forty times a billion billion billion SAR11 cells floating around in the oceans. Now that […]

September 27, 2003

 

Is It Brain Death or a Coma?

On this Moment of Science, we discuss the difference between brain death and a coma.

September 27, 2003

 

Stalk-eyed flies

In the case of the African stalk-eyed fly, where the males are like hammer head sharks with their eyes extended on long stalks, sometimes measuring one and half times the length of their bodies, long stalks are an indicator of better genes.

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

 

Cyanide Bombs

There is a war going on between a certain tropical butterfly, Heliconius sara, and its only food source, the passion vine. This war involves chemical warfare. More precisely, the plant arms itself with cyanide bombs that are rather useful in getting rid of most insect pests.

September 27, 2003

 

How Now, Mad Cow

This strange disease was first noticed in the UK when British cows were infected by feed containing tainted sheep material. How could you spot a mad cow?

September 27, 2003

 

Hairs in the Bathtub

If you find hairs in the bathtub after a shower or you find hairs stuck in your comb, don’t worry; you’re not necessarily going bald. And yet if you kept track of all the hairs you found over a period of a few years, it would seem that what’s left on top must be getting thinner.

September 27, 2003

 

Curry and Radiation Therapy

A substance in curry, already known to carry several health benefits, seems to protect skin during radiation therapy. The substance I’m speaking of is curcumin. It’s in turmeric, a curry ingredient. In fact, it’s what gives turmeric its yellow color.

September 27, 2003

 

Rejuvenating Your Skin

So what is actually happening when a moisturizer is rejuvenating your skin? First, moisturizers help your skin stay hydrated by either forming a barrier that prevents the water in your skin from evaporating, or by pulling water from the skin’s inner layers out to the skin’s surface.

September 27, 2003

 

Exotic fish swim around a coral reef

Do Fish Have Memories?

Do fish actually have a working memory? Recent experiments show that fish can in fact remember things for several days.

September 27, 2003

 

Were Butterflies Created by Bats?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure how butterflies evolved this way, but evidence suggest that these ears might be evidence that bats created butterflies by driving moths into the daylight. The idea is that with the evolution of bat echolocation, moths had to find some way of avoiding the predator’s jaws.

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

 

Here, Boy!

Point at a ball and a dog will look at the ball, whereas a cat will probably look at your hand. Dogs seem to have a ready understanding of how human beings direct attention by pointing, and can follow our gestures almost as if they thought the same way we do. Of course, dogs probably […]

September 27, 2003

 

Something I Ate

While flu symptoms can include headaches, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, more often than not, flu symptoms tend to be muscle aches and sinus problems.

September 27, 2003

 

Depo-provera

Depo-provera is the brand name of a method of birth control that consists mostly of a hormone much like progesterone, a hormone that works with estrogen to regulate the menstrual cycle.

September 27, 2003

 

The Moving Thumb

This shows that our brains aren’t just open windows through which the world pours. They are always interpreting the information they receive. In this case, your brain knew your eyes were moving, and it interpreted the change in visual images as coming from inside your head.

September 27, 2003

 

Baseball, Tar, and the Scientific Method

Let’s look at an example. Suppose you notice that sometimes the tar in the pavement outside your house is soft and pliable, while other times it’s hard and brittle.

September 27, 2003

 

Prehistoric Toothpicks

Early stone tools, like knives and scrapers, are easy for anthropologists to learn about because these items are still around. Even after two million years, a chipped stone tool is still going to be there when you dig it up.

September 27, 2003

 

Movie Magic

From light saber battles to the sinking of the Titanic, some special effects seem almost magical. Most film makers still use a relatively simple process called matte layering, which involves using a blue or green screen to create images that can be layered to create a composite image.

September 27, 2003

 

Pass the Apples, Adam

Legend has it that when Adam bit into that fateful apple, a piece of it stuck in his throat and became the familiar “Adam’s apple.” But, what does an Adam’s apple really do for you?The Adam’s apple is a prominent bump on a man’s throat. It is caused by the underlying cartilage and ligaments of the larynx or voice box.

September 27, 2003

 

The Other Side of the Universe

Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of the universe? Well, there are two ways to think about that question. Either the universe ends, which means it’s finite, or else it’s infinite. According to Einstein, the universe is finite.

September 27, 2003

 

The Hand Speaks

Does hand movement while talking help one's memory? Find out on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

A dark, yellow sky.

It’s Raining Frogs And Fish, Literally!

It may not have occurred in your neck of the woods, but all across the globe people are reporting that small animals are falling from the sky!

September 27, 2003

 

True Love and Garlic

Garlic-lovers, and the unfortunate people who love them, are well aware of the reeking breath that’s caused by the tiniest bit of garlic. So why don’t products like toothpaste and mouthwash help lessen the stench? What makes garlic so persistently stinky?

September 27, 2003

 

It Pays to Be an Optimist

Research shows that whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist is related to their quality of life, including their physical health.

September 27, 2003

 

A Romantic Way to Say Shut Up

It’s not a blinding speed, but it’s enough to save you from a soaking. Afterward, the little fellows open up again and go back to catching sunbeams.

September 27, 2003

 

North Star

The North Star is the brightest star in the constellation known as the Little Dipper. It is called the North Star because of the special position it occupies relative to the earth’s axis. If you were to stay up all night gazing at the stars, you’d slowly see them revolve around a point in the sky known as the North Celestial Pole.

September 27, 2003

 

Gas Masks

Since the charcoal filter can’t absorb all chemicals, the last filter uses chemical reactions to clean the air. Say I’m breathing in chlorine-saturated air, like soldiers during World War I.

September 27, 2003

 

American Pi

Over 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians were the first to approximate pi, and ever since, mathematicians have come up with ways of figuring it more accurately.

September 27, 2003

 

When a Boy’s Voice Changes

As a boy goes through adolescence, his secondary sex characteristics develop. One of these characteristics is the rapid growth of the larynx and vocal cords. A boy’s voice deepens as his larynx develops because the bigger the vocal cords, the deeper the voice.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science