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A Moment of Science

Archive for September 2003

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.

September 27, 2003

 

Holdover from the Icebox Days

Back when most folks relied on an icebox to cool food, a block of ice was a precious commodity.If you put hot food in the icebox the ice might melt, and by the time the ice truck came through the neighborhood again all your food may have spoiled.

September 27, 2003

 

Disgust in Phobias

In treating patients with phobias, therapists address the emotion of fear and try to alter that emotion so the patient is no longer afraid. However, patients with what doctors call blood-injection-injury phobia experience more difficulty with treatment. It includes people who fear needles, blood, and surgery.

September 27, 2003

 

Baking Basics

Things like coffee grounds and charcoal are called “physical deodorizers,” because they absorb tiny particles in the air that are causing the smell. The problem is, eventually they reach a state called “equilibrium,” in which the deodorizer has absorbed all it can.

September 27, 2003

 

A table covered with delicious baked goods and cakes

Hydrogenated Oil

Most of us know that there a good fats and bad fats. But how do we tell the difference?

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

 

Chewing Gum

If you chew gum with sugar in it, you need to chew for twenty minutes or more in order to produce enough saliva to wash away a significant amount of the sugar residue. Even then, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth afterward.

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

 

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

 

The Search for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker

In 1999 an unconfirmed but seemingly authentic sighting of the ivory bill led to an expedition involving six bird experts who set out to confirm the report.

September 27, 2003

 

To Sign or Not to Sign?

However, many scientists and psychologists are skeptical of the supposed benefits of putting infants through an intensive sign language program.

September 27, 2003

 

Keeping Sunflowers in the Dark

Surprisingly, even though there is no light to catch, the sunflower will continue to bend every day just as it did when it was outside. This is a classic example of what scientists call a circadian rhythm — it’s a daily cycle of behavior that is internal to the organism, rather than being solely triggered by the environment.

September 27, 2003

 

Rocky Weather Forecasting

If you find yourself away from a city, spend an hour looking up on any clear, moonless night. You’re bound to see a few brilliant “shooting stars.” These actually have nothing to do with stars: They’re meteors, and if your viewing conditions are good, you can see about seven per hour on any given night.

September 27, 2003

 

Jugband Physics

When the bottle vibrates, the water inside has to vibrate with it. Having to move all that water slows down the vibrations of the glass and that in turn slows down the frequency of the sound waves, producing a lower pitch. Adding more water slows down the bottle’s vibrations even more, creating an even lower pitch.

September 27, 2003

 

That New Carpet Smell

William Nazaroff and Glenn Morrison at the University of California at Berkeley started doing experiments on carpet samples to see what the culprit was. They found a bunch of chemicals called aldehydes that were responsible for the nasty smell.

September 27, 2003

 

The Spider: Predator or Prey?

A female wasp stings a spider in her own web, temporarily paralyzing her. Then the wasp lays an egg on the spider’s abdomen. The paralysis wears off, and the spider gets up and goes about her business as usual.

September 27, 2003

 

Swollen Hands and Walking

Swollen Hands and Walking, on today’s Moment of Science. Do your hands swell up when you walk? If they do, it probably has to do with your circulation. The circulatory system is a one way street. Blood flows away from the heart in the arteries, down the arms and legs then back up to the […]

September 27, 2003

 

Amoebic Rescue Squad

Amoebas have a lot more going on than any of us humans ever knew! Find out more on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Ear-friendly Train Tunnels

The most famous tunnel is the thirty mile “Chunnel” between England and France. Thirty miles of air is a lot to push around, so engineers have come up with a clever solution. The Chunnel is actually two separate tunnels, connected by cross passages.

September 27, 2003

 

A large group of maggots devouring a dead possum

Maggots: an Investigator’s “Star Witness”

Grisly as it sounds, by surveying the insects in and around a corpse, forensic scientists can help determine how long ago a victim was murdered.

September 27, 2003

 

Stray cat with turquoise eyes

Do Cats Eat Spiders?

What all goes into a cats diet? One thing is for sure, they like to eat. But how much can these felines handle?

September 27, 2003

 

Low Cholesterol Leads to Psychological Problems?

While low cholesterol is something we should all shoot for, having too low of a cholesterol level may cause other health related issues away from the heart.

September 27, 2003

 

Whole Grains

In this Moment of Science we discuss the importance of whole grains, as well as what they are in the first place.

September 27, 2003

 

Drugs in Our Waters

Household drugs like painkillers, antibiotics and hormones enter the water system in many ways. For example, some animal feeds contain antibiotics and might flood into rivers with run-off, while other antibiotics are flushed or dumped down sinks and toilets in homes.

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

 

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

It works kind of like a soccer net. When you kick the ball into the net, it absorbs the energy of the ball and eventually stops its forward motion.

September 27, 2003

 

Motion Sickness

During voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin was often overcome by seasickness and discovered that “nothing but lying in [his] hammock did any good.”This remedy–lying down with eyes shut–is one of the most effective for treating motion sickness.

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