A condition doctors call vasomotor rhinitis produces a runny, stuffy, sneezy nose even when no true allergy or infection is present. Many people are sensitive to things like perfume or dust, but a very common factor is cold, dry air. Although the exact cause of vasomotor rhinitis is not known, doctors suspect it is chiefly […]
Swede Anders Celsius invented the metric model or Celsius scale for temperature in 1742. But his version paradoxically had water boiling at 0 °C and freezing at 100 °C. Another Swede by the name of Carolus Linnaeus (who incidentally was also the guy who came up with the genus/species method of naming plants and animals) […]
Natural pearls and cultured pearls feel slightly rough or gritty when brushed lightly on the front teeth. Imitation pearls are glassy-smooth, or plastic-smooth, to the bite. The tooth test does not work as well if the teeth are capped, however, as their sensation is somewhat deadened. Natural pearls and cultured pearls are both made by […]
There’s nothing unique about the use of sugar to preserve foods. In principle, you could make your strawberry jam with salt instead of sugar and it would keep just as long. Much longer, in fact, because nobody would go near it after the first taste. Salt has been used for thousands of years, however, to […]
Well, let us answer your question as you asked it and then answer what we think you’re really asking. Spontaneous combustion happens when heat-generating chemical reactions occur in an enclosed place. Usually heat from oily rags or mouldering vegetation escapes into the surrounding atmosphere, but if it’s stored in a place with poor ventilation, the […]
Don’t count on either safety or succulence when it comes to white mushrooms in the woods. It is probably a harmless but not so tasty mushroom, but the squirrel is probably no better judge of its safety than a layman. The squirrel’s physiology is close enough to ours that if a mushroom is deadly to […]
How often you have to bathe or shower to stay clean is a judgment call that depends on what you mean by clean. Advertisements of soap and deodorant companies imply that you should bathe daily or even more frequently. In some parts of the world, it’s common practice to bathe only once a week or […]
Why Do Bananas Turn Brown Faster In the Fridge and What Is the Best Way To Store Bananas To Keep Them Fresh?
We wouldn’t recommend putting bananas in the fridge to keep them fresh. Like all living organisms bananas adjust the composition of their cell membranes to give the right degree of membrane fluidity for the temperature at which they normally live. They do this by varying the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the membrane lipids: […]
Let us assume that you get the biggest plain, enriched bagel analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 4 inches in diameter, weighing 110 grams, about 3.8 ounces. The ingredients flour, water, salt, yeast, and malt, but no sugar, if it is a classic bagel —are boiled and then baked. They add up to 302.5 […]
Although Mattel, the toy company that now owns and distributes the toy, calls this patented contraption the “20-sided answer cube,” there is a more mathematically accurate name for the piece. All twenty-sided polyhedrons are called icosahedrons.
Hypatia’s murder was an omen of what was coming. In A.D. 476, Rome fell to barbarian tribes and the Dark Ages began. The Dark Ages were the period in Europe from the 400s to the 900s, when very little scientific discovery took place. There were several reasons why this happened. There was no longer a […]
In principle, and in many countries of the world, yogurt is very simple. It is made by adding certain strains of beneficial living bacteria to the milk from a cow, goat, or sheep. The bacteria feed on the lactose (milk sugar) in the milk, metabolizing it into lactic acid and other interestingly flavored chemicals, some […]
First, a little explanation for those more refined readers among us: a “high-colonic irrigation” is a high-powered enema in which up to twenty gallons of liquid are pumped into your intestines a few pints at a time, with a really smelly liquid pouring out afterward. A few “alternative health” gurus claim that cleaning out your […]
What Are Humans Made of and What Is the Chemical Formula of an An Adult Human Being Including Pollutants?
The chemical formula of a person depends on a number of factors, most specifically whether we’re talking about a male or a female. Male bodies contain more water than female bodies, which have extra lipids. By weight, oxygen amounts to about two-thirds of the body, followed by carbon at 20%t, hydrogen at 10% and nitrogen […]
Why Does a Runny Nose From a Cold Stop Flowing When You Sleep and How Contagious Is Snot From a Runny Nose?
The annoying runny nose that occurs while we’re awake is caused by your head position. When we sleep, almost all the post-nasal drip drains down the throat because we are lying down, sometimes on our sides and sometimes on our backs. Many of us suffer from this problem and, like a massage table that had […]
Who Was Dmitry Mendeleyev and When Did Mendeleyev Create the First Version of the Periodic Table of Elements?
Dmitry Mendeleyev was born the youngest of 14 children in Tobolsk, Siberia, in 1834. His family had been pioneers in desolate Siberia, starting the first printing press, the first newspaper, and the first glass factory. Russia had been under the strict rule of monarchs called czars, since the sixteenth century and revolutionaries were starting to […]
Freeze dried coffee is made by the sublimation of ice. Freeze-dried coffee differs from ordinary instant coffee in an important way. To make either kind of fast-beverage powder, they first brew two-thousand-pound batches of incredibly strong coffee. If they are making instant coffee, they then quick-dry this thick brew by dropping it down through a […]
Cloud-seeding experiments and government programs continue, but in this country at least, they are not regarded as a panacea for drought. The programs are usually subject to strict controls. Some thirty-two states have enacted laws regulating who can practice cloud seeding. Cloud seeding dates from experiments in 1946 at the General Electric Laboratories in Schenectady, […]
The polar bear can breed with the brown bear, and the offspring would probably be fertile. But it would never happen in the wild. The ranges of polar and brown bears do not overlap, and even if two met, they would see each other as competitors, not mates. Such interbreeding has occurred in captivity, but […]
Why Do Clouds Darken To a Very Deep Grey Just Before It Is About To Rain or Before a Heavy Thunderstorm?
Clouds darken from a pleasant fluffy white just before rain begins to fall because they absorb more light. Clouds normally appear white when the light which strikes them is scattered by the small ice or water particles from which they are composed. However, as the size of these ice and water particles increases, as it […]
Tonic water, also known as Indian tonic water, is a carbonated soft drink with dissolved quinine. The amount of quinine in tonic water would not be much help against its original target, the fever of malaria. Quinine, derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, must be administered in very high doses to reduce fevers. […]
The stuff you flush down the toilet doesn’t go to the ocean. At least not right away, unless it rains and the extra liquid seeping into pipes overwhelms the sewage system. Here’s what happens: If you have a septic tank buried in your backyard somewhere, the waste and water go there. The solid wastes sink […]
The record for living out of water by a sea creature is about 10,000 years, set by some brine shrimp. Also known as “sea monkeys” in toy stores, the little crustaceans go into a form of suspended animation when they get caught outside the salt water where they make their home. While they remain in […]
It’s not the rain itself that you smell, but just about everything else. Almost everything smells a little stronger when it’s about to rain. Stormy weather is usually preceded by a drop in atmospheric pressure, or what the TV weather people like to call “barometric pressure.” (Is that what you feel when you’re struck by […]
Latitude and longitude are also used on the moon by the astrogeology department of the United States Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, which maps extraterrestrial bodies. Like the earth, the moon has an axis of rotation and an equator, so latitude is indicated in degrees of latitude north or south of that equator, just as […]
All fish have internal pressures that are equal to the pressures outside their bodies at their normal depths. This is true of both tissues and the gas-filled bladders in the abdominal cavity that many fish have. They would only be in trouble if they changed depth greatly. If they come up a great deal, they […]
Would you believe that they can hide behind picket fences? We didn’t think you would, but it was worth the try. The stripes on a zebra make it quite camouflaged, even in its desert environment. The predators that prey on it, lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs don’t see the same colors we do; the black […]
First, plug the test tube or flask with cotton or plastic cap. Sterilize the inoculating loop or needle, tool used to transfer the bacteria, by heating the wire in the flame of a Bunsen burner or alcohol lamp until red hot. Remove the cotton plugs from the test tubes or flasks and briefly flame the […]
Bees use a bee dance to communicate and tell other bees where the flowers are. Here’s how it works. It’s a pattern they trace in a figure-eight shape, while wiggling periodically and flapping their wings. What tells the story is the speed of the bee, the direction the bee points, and the sounds the bee […]
You might not die right away, but you would eventually be pulled apart by the force of gravity. As you fell in and even afterward, you might not lose consciousness, but the pull of gravity on your feet would be stronger than on your head, and you would be stretched, then torn apart. The difference […]
How Did Carl Linnaeus Acquire Knowledge of So Many Different Plants and Which Flower Was Named After Him?
Before Carl Linnaeus became professor of botany at Uppsala, he traveled extensively. Linnaeus traveled to Holland, England, France, and all over Sweden. On each trip, he carefully studied the new plants he came across and filled his notebooks with his observations. After he became a professor, he often arranged to have his students sent out […]
It’s a theremin, which sounds like it should be one of the B vitamins, but instead it’s a spooky-sounding electronic instrument developed by a Russian scientist named Leon Theremin in 1920. The instrument used two radio wave oscillators to generate the sounds, and musicians obtained its sliding sound by moving their hands along the theremin’s […]
Yes, some animals do snore, according to anecdotal reports and personal observations. Just a few snorers that zookeepers and pet owners have observed are dogs, gorillas and bears. The mechanism of snoring in these mammals probably resembles what happens in people. In human beings, snoring is noisy breathing through the open mouth produced by vibration […]
What you’re hearing is part of the constant ambient sound that we don’t often register because it always surrounds us. The shell reflects and focuses higher frequencies back to our ears. The reason is that high-pitched sounds have short wavelengths, so they tend to bounce when they hit a hard surface. The longer wavelengths of […]
The Pythagoreans-ancient Greek followers of the mathematician Pythagoras-were a brilliant lot. They came up with the mathematical truism, The square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides. They also mathematically figured out the correct shape of Earth. In working out […]
Which Way Would a Compass Point In Space and How Far Above the Earth Would a Compass Stop Pointing North?
The magnetic field of the Earth looks like a dipole, the shape formed by iron filings around a bar magnet, although the Earth’s is rotated about the field’s axis to form a three-dimensional shape. This extends to about 40,000 miles into space. On the ground we use a compass in two dimensions. In space you […]