While it might be socially acceptable for food lovers to discuss the care of the finest wines, or the best way to brew gourmet coffee, what if your favorite beverage happens to be soda pop? Chances are, a gourmet wouldn’t have a lot to say about this topic. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
It’s such a common sight, you probably don’t think twice. You swat at the fly buzzing around your head, and it seeks refuge on the ceiling. You stomp at an ant crawling along the baseboard, and it escapes by climbing the wall. Insects seem to respect the law of gravity about as much as someone with diplomatic immunity respects a local jaywalking ordinance. How do they get away with it? Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Can insects see colors? As it turns out, it depends on what kind of eyes it has.
As disturbing as they can sometimes be, sensational news stories have a way of educating us in piecemeal fashion. In the aftermath of the Terry Schiavo case, for example, we are now all more aware of the importance of living wills. We are also more aware of something called a feeding tube. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Hundreds of millions of years ago the continents were joined together in a super-continent that scientists call Pangaea. It means “all lands” in Greek. It stretched all the way from the North to the South Pole, but that’s not the way the earth looks now, obviously. What happened? Learn more on this Moment of Science.
These days kids have Styrofoam to keep soup hot, but back in my day, we all had thermoses. One of their drawbacks was that since their insides were made of glass they were pretty easily broken when dropped. The popping sound they made when they broke was cool to kids, but then we weren’t the ones who had to buy a new one. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Nobody could attract women like James Bond. They just couldn’t resist his manly qualities, like his penchant for dodging bullets, or leaping from airplanes. There’s something interesting going on here. The suggestion seems to be that males who take risks are more attractive to females. Studies done on another species, guppies, suggest just such a mechanism for the attractiveness of risk-taking. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Brown-headed cowbirds are robin-sized black birds whose range covers most of North America. From a people’s point of view cowbirds are what we might call deadbeat parents. Cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, and the cowbird nestlings are raised by the foster parents. Since the cowbirds spend their formative months with birds of an entirely different species which has separate habits, songs, etc., how does a cowbird know it’s a cowbird? Learn more on this Moment of Science.
You might remember seeing single-cell organisms under a microscope in biology class, and perhaps you remember them as rather boring blobs. Life got much more interesting and complex when the cells joined together to become animals or plants. Most people, biologists as well as you and I, think of cells primarily as building blocks of more complicated organisms. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Have you heard the term otoacoustic emissions? They are the noises that your ears generate and emit. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Should my tonsils be removed? Why would this be done?
Not only are 8% of men colorblind, but even compared to men who can distinguish between reds and greens, many women may live a more colorful existence. That’s because about 40% of women possess two types of so-called red cones, a key gene involved in enabling one to see the color red. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
As you may have noticed, your dog probably treats each walk as an adventure-packed expedition through the Amazonian wilds. What’s up with the constant sniffing of every patch of sidewalk, tuft of grass, and length of stop sign? Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Your five-year-old knows when it comes to building sand castles at the beach, wet sand is much better than dry. If you fill your bucket with dry sand and turn it over, you’re likely to end up with a tumbled ruin, not a proud tower or turret. Any junior civil engineer will tell you to use damp sand from the water’s edge to construct proper parapets. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Unlike Saturn, which has actual, physical rings, the ring you can sometimes see around the moon is merely an optical illusion.
Have you ever seen a hairy plant? Plants may appear to have hair, but the technical term for plant hair is trichomes. These trichomes may resemble hair, but they’re not the same as what we mammals have. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Have you ever sprayed someone with a garden hose? If you wanted to get them good, you placed your finger over part of the tip of the hose. The water then sprayed out faster and farther. Why does putting your finger over the tip of the hose make the water shoot out faster and farther? Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Some people seem to need significantly less sleep than others. The amount of sleep one needs seems to be genetically inherited. Learn more on this Moment of Science.
Did you know Flowers are, in fact, edible? Tulips, lilacs, pansies and roses are all edible, just to name a few. Learn more on this Moment of Science.