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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

 

Pickles and Ice Cream

Real life doesn’t come with a laugh track, but pregnancy does often involve food cravings. These cravings are not limited to foods like pickles and ice cream, of course; pregnant women have been known to crave all kinds of foods, from blueberries to hamburger to cookie dough.

September 27, 2003

 

Dyslexia

Over the past twenty years, however, researchers have made significant strides. Many agree that the disorder can be best explained by understanding the mechanics of reading.

September 27, 2003

 

Cold Feet and Hot Wings

Most birds you see standing on only one leg are doing an impressive balancing act while tucking the second leg into their feathers. This is much easier to recognize in large birds, such as flamingos, but the behavior itself is common to most birds.

September 27, 2003

 

Hold on a Parsec

One parsec is three point two six light years. And contrary to popular belief, a light year isn’t a unit of time at all! It’s also a unit of distance.

September 27, 2003

 

Jammin’ Programmers

James Alty of England’s Loughborough University and Paul Vickers of Northumbria University have started converting computer languages into musical sequences. The idea is that software programmers who are scanning the new programs for mistakes can, instead of examining the program language itself, sit back and listen to some computer generated melodies play and wait for mistakes.

September 27, 2003

 

Female Hair Loss

The most common form of hair loss in women is Androgenetic Alopecia or what is known as female pattern baldness. It accounts for over ninety-five percent of incidents of hair loss in women.

September 27, 2003

 

man with two pens in his mouth impersonating a walrus

Laughter is a Social Signal?

Laughter research has found that less than 20% of laughter is a sincere response to someone's humor. In fact, it's primarily a social signal.

September 27, 2003

 

Birds v. Squirrels

What do birds, squirrels, and chili peppers have to do with one another? Find out on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Something’s Rotten at AMOS

Many of us have heard that if you soak a tooth in soda for a few days it will begin to soften. Well, it isn’t true, but it doesn’t mean you can drink all the soda you want without it causing tooth problems. While soda contains citric and phosphoric acids, so do plenty of other foods and beverages.

September 27, 2003

 

Grass in the daylight

Why Mowing the Lawn Doesn’t Kill the Grass

Ever wonder how grass survives the sharp blades of a lawn mower? Learn about replenishing grasses on this Moment of Science.

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 Venus Fly Trap

Carnivorous plants still rely on photosynthesis as their main source of energy. However, because they grow in areas where the soil lacks essential nutrients, they use the insects they capture as a source of nitrogen and other minerals.

September 27, 2003

 

Why Nuclear Waste Is Like a Birthday Party

Both kids and radioactive material need supervision. Like a child, an energetic radioactive molecule will become less energetic as it ages. Certain materials, like those used in radioactive medicines, have only low-level radioactivity and will decay in only a few days or months.

September 27, 2003

 

Fighting Off Bug Diseases

Here’s how innate immunity works. In your bug body there is a fluid called hemolymph, which is equivalent to human blood. If you’re injured, components in the hemolymph interact with specialized cells in your immune system to clot and form a scab that seals off your wound and prevents infection.

September 27, 2003

 

Autism

Dustin Hoffman’s award winning performance in the movie “Rain Man” brought a brain disorder called autism to national attention.But in typical Hollywood fashion “Rain Man” portrayed autism in sensational form.

September 27, 2003

 

Why Do Cats Shed in Winter?

Changes in sunlight cause the cat’s brain to signal its hair follicles to respond appropriately. When there’s less sunlight, cats start growing short, fluffy secondary hairs whose job is to provide insulation. And when there’s more sunlight, cats start shedding.

September 27, 2003

 

Termites

If you were able to shrink and infiltrate a termite colony you’d notice four distinct groups: workers, soldiers, immature individuals, and reproductives. The workers are the Cinderellas of the termite world; blind, sterile, and wingless, they tend the eggs, feed the soldiers and young termites, and maintain the nest.

September 27, 2003

 

The Great Worm Odyssey

Ever wonder why worms stay burrowed in the ground until a rain finally comes? Find out on this Moment of Science.

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

 

The Post-baby Blues

Mood and anxiety disorders have a variety of causes. But current research focuses on hormones. During and after pregnancy, hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid start to change their levels.

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

 

Scarlet Fever

Toxins produced by the nasty streptococci bacteria are released at the site of infection and are absorbed into the infected person’s blood stream.

September 27, 2003

 

Left-handedness and Memory

Episodic memory, as opposed to factual and other kinds of memory, relies more on both hemispheres of the brain.

September 27, 2003

 

Hot Flash

During a hot flash, the skin flushes bright red and breaks out in a heavy sweat. Other symptoms can include a pounding heart, a churning stomach, and a spinning head.

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