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A Moment of Science

Archive for September 2003

September 27, 2003

 

Snail Love Darts

No matter the species, mating rituals are pretty weird. Take the praying mantis. After an intimate tryst, the female mantis bites its partner’s head off. But when it comes to sexual hijinks, nothing beats the garden snail. During sex, garden snails often pierce each other with miniature darts. Any way you slice it, garden snail […]

September 27, 2003

 

Bloodshot Eyes

“Bloodshot” is precisely the right term to describe what happens when something irritates the eyes.

September 27, 2003

 

A Healthy Famine?

Suppose you could live a longer, healthier life if you were willing to eat about half what you normally do and spend every day feeling cold and hungry?

September 27, 2003

 

Beetles that Collectively Seduce Male Bees

As you land on top of her you realize too late the mistake you have made. You do whatever it is that bees do when they are terrified. This is no female bee, no possible mate.

September 27, 2003

 

Botox

Botox is the marketing name given to a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin A. This toxin comes from the bacterium that produces the poisons responsible for causing botulism.

September 27, 2003

 

Laser Gun

But the farther away the gun is, the wider the beam gets spread so that only a small fraction of the total light power can go into anyone’s eye.

September 27, 2003

 

Why You Can’t Just Shed That Snake Tattoo

The top layer of skin, called the epidermis, is very thin–only 1/10 of a millimeter at most. This is where cells constantly divide from the base layer and move up to the surface to be sloughed off.

September 27, 2003

 

No Crying Over Split Onions

It’s commonly known than chopping onions will cause a person to cry. Well, you’re in luck if you frequently find yourself weeping over this smelly vegetable. Food scientists in Japan have figured out how to genetically engineer an onion that doesn’t make you cry when you chop it. Other scientists have tried to create tear […]

September 27, 2003

 

Are you Overweight? Look to BMI

The most common criticism of the BMI is that it cannot tell the difference between fat and muscle. Because muscle is denser than fat an athlete’s BMI might indicate that he is overweight, but that extra weight might be composed more of muscle than fat.

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

 

Sex, Violence, and Garden Snails

If you think dating is tough, just be glad you aren’t a garden snail. When you live life at a snail’s pace, you’d better be able to mate with the next snail you meet without worrying if it’s male or female. That’s why garden snails are hermaphrodites and can take on both the male and female roles in reproduction.

September 27, 2003

 

Lava Lamp Physics

t was standard decor for any truly hip abode in the later nineteen sixties, and they’re coming back again. It’s the lava lamp, that eerie, undulating source of light and enlightenment for young adult baby boomers.

September 27, 2003

 

Mind Reading

Sometimes we get letters here at Moment of Science asking whether psychics are for real.

September 27, 2003

 

Chili Takes Out Other Flavors

Have you ever noticed that when you eat hot chili it dulls the flavors of other things? In this Moment of Science we explain why that is.

September 27, 2003

 

The Force of an Alligator’s Bite

One of the difficulties in this research was getting the creatures to bite like they really meant it, despite the fact that the pole was clearly not edible.

September 27, 2003

 

Tricking Your Ears

By temporarily altering the shape of the pinnas with plastic molds, researchers in the Netherlands found that indeed, people with new pinnas had a hard time locating sound sources.

September 27, 2003

 

The Truth About Bugs

However, mosquitoes, contrary to poplar belief, are not bugs. Another factor that comes into play is the fact that baby true bugs look like small wingless versions of adult true bugs.

September 27, 2003

 

Bonnie Over the Ocean?

The song says that Bonnie lies over the ocean, but it also says that she lies over the sea. Based on these lyrics, where is Bonnie? In the song, the words “ocean” and “sea” are used interchangeably to mean any large body of salty water.

September 27, 2003

 

The Sexiest Frog in Borneo

To us, it’s a relaxing sound. To female frogs, it’s downright sexy. The louder the chirp, the more interesting the male. So what’s a Romeo frog to do if his voice isn’t quite up to volume?

September 27, 2003

 

Salty Seas

Kimberly Sessions, of Atlanta, Georgia wrote to A Moment of Science with the following question: “I know why the ocean is still salty: evaporated water leaves the salt behind. But how did it get salty in the first place?”

September 27, 2003

 

Dust Mites

If you're allergic to dust, chances are what's making you sick is dust mite fecal matter. Find out about dust mites on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Driving Around with Dogs

Compared to the measly five million aroma receptors embedded in human nasal tissue, which is about the size of postage stamp, some dogs have over 200 million receptors that are embedded in a sheet of tissue that, unfolded, would be big enough to cover one-third of the dog’s surface area.

September 27, 2003

 

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All Walks of Life

Is it true that larger birds walk and smaller bird hop?

September 27, 2003

 

handwash

Dirty Hands

Does regularly washing your hands get rid of germs?

September 27, 2003

 

Smoking and Cancer in Cats

But did you know that it causes cancer in cats? If you smoke and have a cat, then your cat smokes second-hand.

September 27, 2003

 

Wisconsin Jellyfish

Researchers who study jellyfish were delighted when a whole bunch of them turned up in Wisconsin. They were found in a sandstone quarry.

September 27, 2003

 

The Magnificent Pompeii Worm

While in the tube, the worm’s tail end might be immersed in temperatures as hot as 178 degrees Fahrenheit, while its head rests in cooler water, as moderate as 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

September 27, 2003

 

The Twin Towers memorial at night.

9/11 Twin Towers

In this Moment of Science, we explain how and why the collapse of the Twin Towers occurred.

September 27, 2003

 

Math Memory

Complex arithmetic places special demands on what is known as your working memory, the place where you store the information you need in the short-term.

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