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Archive for September 2003

September 27, 2003

 

batspit

Bat Spit

Vampire bats may seem like a blood problem you may have to deal with. However, you should be worrying about having a stroke!

September 27, 2003

 

When the Sky Turns Green

If you look at the horizon at sunset–exactly as the last sliver of sun disappears–you might see a flash of brilliant green blaze across the sky.

September 27, 2003

 

Fluff up the Down

The large ones we see when a bird stretches its wings are “flight feathers,” but they also have fluffy ones called “down feathers.”

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.

September 27, 2003

 

Follow That Curve

Now, if we take a smooth, spherical object like a bowling ball, and press a sheet of tinfoil down on it so the foil touches the ball’s surface at all points, the curvature of the ball would be easily seen in the curved shape of the tinfoil when removed.

September 27, 2003

 

Contortion

Contortionists are not able to bend their bodies in extraordinary shapes because they are double jointed, instead they are flexible in several key joints.

September 27, 2003

 

Giant Asteroid Hits Earth?

Although the earth has been hit by asteroids in the past, and will surely be hit again someday, much of the gloom-and-doom you hear about in the media is based on very little data.

September 27, 2003

 

Changing Gears

In our high-tech world it’s easy to forget the simpler things. Take a bicycle, for instance. No engine, no computerized braking system, no fancy fuel injection: all you need is air in the tires and off you go. Simple, that is, until you take a closer look at bicycles with multiple speeds. How do all […]

September 27, 2003

 

Morning Sickness Is a Good Thing?

Is morning sickness actually a good thing for pregnant mothers? Learn more on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Play Ball! Aluminum vs. Wooden Baseball Bats

Ever wonder why Major League ball players only swing with wooden bats and not aluminum? Well, they can’t use aluminum. Mark McGuire hits the ball 500 feet, but with an aluminum bat he’d get 700 feet easily.

September 27, 2003

 

chemotherapy

Cancer Cells and Chemotherapy

Learn about how chemotherapy drugs work to fight cancer.

September 27, 2003

 

The Prefrontal Cortex with Age

The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain located just behind the forehead. This is where higher-level cognition occurs, such as recalling whether a word was heard aloud or read. Most people show evidence of more processing on the right side of the cortex. However, research has shown that many elderly people use both […]

September 27, 2003

 

Conserving Water

With a water shortage looming, we should all try and conserve as much of it as possible.

September 27, 2003

 

Floating Clouds

Clouds form when warm, moist air rises to a greater altitude, causing it to expand and cool. Eventually, water vapor in the cooled air condenses into the droplets that form clouds.

September 27, 2003

 

Stomache Growls

When our brain tells us its time to eat, a reflex kicks in that makes the stomach walls contract. The contractions cause the digested food in the intestine to move down towards the rectum.

September 27, 2003

 

Spinning Our Planet

How fast anything spins is partly determined by how its weight is distributed. The closer an object’s weight is to its axis of rotation, the faster it spins. To picture this, imagine an ice skater doing a pirouette. When her arms are extended, she spins slowly.

September 27, 2003

 

Mosquitoes in Winter

First, it reduces ice formation within the mosquito’s cells, so that water hardens like glass but doesn’t form ice crystals that can then damage the cells.

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

 

Smoke on the Wildflower

Wildfires destroy enormous areas of forest every year. However, after forest fires, some plants manage to grow back at accelerated speeds.

September 27, 2003

 

Startled Pigeons

Find out about pigeons and their noisy reactions when startled on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Are You Chemically Dependent?

We need water, or H2O, to maintain our bodies in a fluid state. Water even gets involved in chemical reactions that occur in our stomachs, which break down foods containing sugars, starches, and proteins.

September 27, 2003

 

Sea Otter Sickness

Unfortunately, like many of today’s wildlife creatures, sea otters off the coast of California are dying off, and the problem may be felines.

September 27, 2003

 

Ride the Sperm Train

The female wood mouse has multiple mates, so the sperm of this wood mouse may be competing with sperm from other males.

September 27, 2003

 

Do Bugs Sleep?

Almost all mammals, in fact, have REM sleep; birds do too, although only in the early parts of their lives. It seems that sleep and REM are required by a particularly complex kind of brain.

September 27, 2003

 

Computer Personalities

Studies have been conducted that show that people attribute personalities to computers based on how fast and how loud they talk. And those studies show that people prefer computer-generated voices that sound like their own voices.

September 27, 2003

 

Amazing Sea Monkeys

If kept dry, these cysts will remain viable for many years. Placed in salt water, the cysts rehydrate and the shrimp resume development.

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