A Moment of Science

Archive for September 2003

September 27, 2003

 

The Leatherback Turtle, Part 2

The Leatherback turtle is special because of its ability, unlike other sea turtles, to survive in cold waters.

September 27, 2003

 

A Static Fly Trap

The hope is that as the fly walks across the surface, its little body charges up, allowing poisonous spores to stick to its body like metal shavings to a magnet. If this happens, then soon enough, the fly will walk no more.

September 27, 2003

 

Vertical Chips

You may not realize it now, but current computers are going to be obsolete in a few years. Find out how on this Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Setting the Pace (Heart pacemakers)

Pacemakers are electrical devices that monitor the heart rate and helps get it up to speed when it starts pumping too slowly. The small battery powered disk is inserted just beneath the skin above the heart. A couple of attached wires monitor the heart and carry signals and impulses to and from the heart.

September 27, 2003

 

Double Joints

Can you bend your thumb backwards until it touches your wrist? If you join your hands behind your back, can you lift them over your head without letting go? If you can, you might be what some people call “double-jointed.” But, A Moment of Science wonders, how could anyone have double joints?

September 27, 2003

 

Runny Nose

As anyone who’s had a toddler knows, they’re incredibly demanding creatures. Armed with an insatiable desire to eat and/or destroy just about everything in their path, these walking embodiments of unchecked ego can be a handful. Especially when they have colds. There’s nothing quite as trying as a toddler with a head cold, stuffed up […]

September 27, 2003

 

Baby Teeth

The reigning theory is that infant jaws are too small to accommodate adult-sized teeth. Therefore smaller teeth are necessary until the jaw grows to its mature size.

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

 

Evolutionary Psychics

After all, for the basic body plan to change, not only do you need a random genetic mutation that results in a sixth finger, but that mutation must also provide an evolutionary advantage when it comes to reproduction.

September 27, 2003

 

Checking Internet Medical Facts

Search engines aren’t smart and don’t check their data for accuracy. When you go to an Internet search engine and type in something like obesity, less than a quarter of the initial links will lead you to relevant content.

September 27, 2003

 

Don’t Try This at Home

What Ben actually did in his famous 1752 experiment was to cause some excess electrical charge near a storm cloud to ground out through his kite string–still an impressive demonstration, but a much less powerful prospect than an actual lightning strike.

September 27, 2003

 

Deciphering Seals

Killer whales communicate in a variety of dialects. There are discernible differences, however, between the chatter of killer whales that eat only fish and those that eat both fish and seals.

September 27, 2003

 

The Steam Alarm

What appears to be a dark cloud or haze to our eyes is actually made of millions of tiny particles–in this case, not of water, but of burnt matter. There are two kinds of smoke detectors: ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms.

September 27, 2003

 

Male Lactation?

Male lactation: Fact of fiction? That’s the question on today’s Moment of Science. In 1979, a scientist concluded that there is no insurmountable physiological reason that men can’t lactate, or produce breast milk. In fact, there are a couple of cases where elderly men who received estrogen to treat prostate cancer were actually induced to […]

September 27, 2003

 

Examining Standardized Tests

How effective is standardized test taking? Find out the upsides and downsides to stardized tests, on today's Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Smoking and Weight Gain

Anyone who has quit smoking knows that there is a strong possibility they’ll gain weight. One of the really interesting things about the nicotine in cigarettes is that it works in two ways. When you take a long drag, it acts as a tranquilizer, but when you inhale in short puffs, it acts as a stimulant.

September 27, 2003

 

icecream

Ice Cream, a Foam?

Ice cream and soda... an amazing combination but how do you get rid of the foam?

September 27, 2003

 

onion

Onions Are Toxic to Your Pets

Are onions bad for your cat or dog? What foods should pets avoid?

September 27, 2003

 

Are Tomboys Born or Made?

It’s commonly believed that children are socialized into their respective gender roles. Pink is for girls, blue for boys, right?

September 27, 2003

 

Cows and Waterbeds?

The first cows that come back from milking head right for the stalls with waterbeds, and some cows have been known to wait around for other cows to clear out so that they can grab their spot.

September 27, 2003

 

Earwax

By trapping all sorts of dirt and debris, the waxy stuff your ear produces helps keep the ear clean. Q-tips are commonly used to clean the wax from your ear when it gets to be too abundant.

September 27, 2003

 

Baboons and Abstract Thought

It may come as a surprise if I told you that scientists have recently made discoveries that suggest baboons are capable of abstract thought. You probably thought that only apes, the actual evolutionary predecessors of humans, could think abstractly.

September 27, 2003

 

Put Some Ice on It

And since the cold numbs your nerves at the injury site, you don’t feel much pain as long as you apply ice.

September 27, 2003

 

Revenge of the Exploding Bugs

A recent study of bugs and bug zappers has shown that while there’s enough electrical energy here to zap the fly, there’s not enough to harm any germs the fly might be carrying. What do you think happens to all those germs?

September 27, 2003

 

The Color of Dark

Who are these color-gifted critters? Hawkmoths. Almut Kelber from Sweden’s Lund University conducted an experiment that showed this surprising result. Imagine a room with a lot of artificial flowers in it, and the only ones with yummy sugar water in them are yellow or blue.

September 27, 2003

 

Mummies’ Curse

While the tombs of ancient Egyptian royalty do indeed bear curses calling down death and destruction on all who enter, tombs all over the world hold hidden perils for explorers, like Lord Carnarvon, who discovered King Tut’s tomb only to die suddenly shortly afterward.

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

 

Killing Mussel Pests with Radio Waves

We hear a lot about insect pests, but have you ever heard about the zebra mussel and what it can do to power plants? Find out on today's Moment of Science.

September 27, 2003

 

Mirror, Mirror

Their descendants were even more vain, so in 16th century Venice mirror makers discovered the technique of backing a piece of glass with a reflecting metal composed of tin and mercury, producing a much clearer reflection.

September 27, 2003

 

Is Your Dog Wimpier than Your Cat?

Have you ever noticed that while it’s pretty easy to tell your dog is sick, it’s much harder to know how your cat or bird are feeling? Well, before you start asking your dog why it can’t be more stoic like animals half its size, it’s probably worth considering each animal’s place in the food […]

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