Considering the physical forces on precipitation as it falls, drops would probably be more properly described as shaped like a hamburger bun, flat on the bottom but rounded on the top. The shape of the drop as it comes down is ultimately a product of the interaction between the force of gravity acting downward and […]
Rigor mortis is gradual, usually noticeable about three to four hours after death, and the timing varies with several factors, including the person’s activity just before death and the temperature of the body’s surroundings. How long it takes the muscle stiffness to subside also varies, with rigidity usually reaching a peak after twelve hours and […]
How Did Aristotle Help Develop the Scientific Method and What Are the Steps of the Scientific Method?
Aristotle’s scientific research followed several consistent steps. It was his version of the scientific method. His approach consisted of the following: He determined the subject matter of the investigation and stated the problem to be solved. He described traditional solutions to the problem. He presented his doubts about these solutions. He presented his own solution, […]
Would a Penny Dropped From the Top of the Empire State Building Fall Faster When Dropped Flat or On Edge?
If the coin fell straight down on edge and did not catch on the many overhangs and projections of a building of that era, it could build up its velocity to 150 miles an hour. If the penny fell flat, the drag of the air through which it fell would be much higher and the […]
Because the eye has two kinds of receptors, cones for fine resolution and color and rods for dim light, and the rods tend to be located around the periphery, for viewing the edges of the field of vision. Cones are extremely good at high definition and for precise positioning of pinpoints of light. Rods don’t […]
Calling butter a fat is like calling a truffle a mushroom. Butter’s magic arises from its uniqueness, not only in its history and renowned flavor but in its composition. Butter contains a relatively large amount of water, and it’s the water that gives butter its unfat-like properties, such as being able to bring a sauce […]
It is not true to say that nature hasn’t invented the wheel. Bacteria have been using it to get around for millions of years. It is the basis of the bacterial flagellum, which looks a bit like a corkscrew and which rotates continuously to drive the organism along. About half of all known bacteria have […]
The young Englishman Charles Darwin came from a family of wealth. Both his grandfather and father were successful physicians. He was supposed to follow in their footsteps, but the first time he saw surgery being performed, he had to leave the room. At 22, he received a theological degree but soon announced he had no […]
What Was Aristotle’s Most Important Scientific Contribution and How Did Aristotle Classify the Animal Kingdom?
Aristotle did not simply record his observations. His greatest contribution to biology was the creation of a system of classification. He devised a system of grouping animal species by type that remained the best system for over 2,000 years. Aristotle’s classification divided the animal kingdom into two groups: those with blood and those without blood. […]
Designers of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber say that they used radar-absorbing surfaces and a weird shape to outsmart radar systems. However, the more complicated and more disturbing answer is that the much-ballyhooed stealth design works only against a certain class of radar, and that the planes can be detected by newer radar systems. As […]
How Do Animals Get Tooth Cavities, Do Dogs Need To Visit the Dentist, and Do Vets Provide Dental Care?
Animals do get tooth cavities, and for the same reason that people do, even without a sweet diet. Bacteria build up on the teeth and cause decay, although they may be different bacteria from the ones that cause human cavities. It is recommended that most pets including dogs and cats have their teeth cleaned. In […]
Uranium is a metal of the actinide series: a group of large, radioactive elements, represented as an additional row on the periodic table. It is the heaviest of the naturally occurring elements and has 92 protons and 92 electrons. Like every element heavier than lead – which has 82 protons and 82 electrons – uranium […]
In 213 B.C., Rome attacked the beautiful Greek city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. Rome had the greatest army and navy the world had ever known, but they were helpless against the weapons of one old man. The old man was one of the most brilliant scientists of the ancient world. Archimedes was […]
Homemade rock candy is easy, fun, and illustrates the scientific concept of crystallization. It also teaches patience, because you have to wait a long time before you can actually eat the stuff. First get a jar, a pencil, and some twine. Tie the string to the pencil and prop the pencil over the mouth of […]
How Was Parchment For Manuscripts Invented As a Result of the Paper War Between Ancient Egypt and Greece?
In Galen’s time, a strange conflict broke out between the two intellectual centers of the world, Alexandria, Egypt, and Pergamum, Greece. Manuscripts at the time were written on a paper derived from the Egyptian plant papyrus. The Egyptian ruler Ptolemy, not related to the scientist of the same name, tried to sabotage Pergamum by forbidding […]
What Is the Big Bang Theory of the Universe and When Did Alexander Friedmann Propose the Big Bang Theory?
After Edwin Hubble’s galactic discoveries, many scientists felt that for the first time in history we understood the key elements of the structure of the universe. In 1922, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann used Einstein’s theory of relativity and Hubble’s theory of an expanding universe to propose the big bang theory to explain the origin […]
A whale, though its penis is not easily measured to exact inches. Whales don’t have erections exactly, but projections the penis is usually hidden except during intercourse, when it is still partially hidden. But somehow those crafty marine biologists were able to measure it, and here’s what they discovered: the right whale’s penis measures over […]
Is sea salt healthier than ordinary salt? Baloney. The sea salt that’s sold in supermarkets and health food stores is no richer in minerals, no less refined, and no different in flavor from ordinary table salt. But you’ll pay anywhere from four to twenty times as much for it. And it may not even come […]
What makes us cry is all the misinformation going around about onions, primarily about what causes the eye irritation and how sweet onions differ from ordinary ones. The tear-producing chemical (the lachrymator) in onions is not pyruvic acid, as has too often been stated in print. Nor does pyruvic acid “come from sulfur in the […]
While planes occasionally make an emergency landing on a freeway, there isn’t (and never has been) any such policy. “As with Dracula, it is very difficult to put a stake through the heart of this ‘fact,’ ” writes Richard F. Weingroff, an information liaison specialist for the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Infrastructure. “It’s like […]
What Are Gregor Mendel’s Laws of Heredity and When Was the Significance of Mendel’s Work Rediscovered?
What Are Gregor Mendel’s Laws of Heredity and When Was the Significance of Mendel’s Work Rediscovered? Gregor Mendel summarized his findings in three laws now known as Mendel’s laws of heredity. The first is called the law of segregation. It states that offspring receive a pair of genes for each inherited trait, one gene from […]
The eyes have a very efficient radiator as well as a surface deicing system, at least in theory. The eye has a system of blood vessels that provides a constant irrigation of warm blood through and around the eyeball to keep it warm. This makes freezing very unlikely. As for the surface of the eye, […]
If you dropped a penny off the top of the Empire State Building, would it leave a hole in the sidewalk?
We’ve all heard the story of the penny falling from the top of the Empire State Building and slicing its way through a parked car (or a pedestrian) below. It never happened, no matter what Jimmy Doofus in the fifth grade may have told you. Have you ever dropped a coin into a wishing well […]
What Was Pangaea, How Did the Supercontinent Pangaea Get Its Name, and What Does Pangaea Mean In Latin?
Alfred Wegener was so sure of his theory on the origin of the continents that he gave the original continent a name, Pangaea, which means “all of Earth” in Latin. In his research, he found much more support for the theory, in addition to the fossil findings in Greenland. Wegener created a map of Pangaea […]
Well, don’t underestimate the time-of-day factor: for most humans, nearly everything looks better at 8:00 P.M. than at 5:30 A.M. However, in this case you’re righton most days, sunsets are much more brilliantly colored than sunrises. It doesn’t make sense, since most of the same conditions are in place for eacha sun in a low […]
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 […]
How Do Accents and Dialects Develop and Change and How Do New Accents Form In Countries Like Australia?
Accents and dialects develop and change for two distinct reasons, one phonetic, the other social. On the phonetic side, speech sounds change because of the way they are produced and perceived. Feel the position of your tongue against the roof of your mouth when you say the K sounds at the beginning of “key” and […]
Can you? Sure you could. Theoretically, anyway. There are 86,400 seconds in every day. If you gave yourself a second per number, this means you could count to a million in just over 11.5 days, and a billion in about 11,574.5 daysor about 31 years and 252 days. Of course, the figures above don’t factor […]
Gelatin is a tasteless, odorless substance extracted by boiling collagen, a jelly-like fibrous protein found in animal bones, tendons, hoofs and connective tissues. When dried gelatin is mixed in warm water, the fine-grained particles do not actually dissolve, but rather become evenly dispersed and remain suspended in the liquid. When cooled to 95 degrees Fahrenheit […]
How Much Mass Does the Sun Lose As It Burns and How Will the Loss of Gravity Affect the Orbit of Earth?
The sun loses about 4 million tonnes per second, which is the mass equivalent of the energy it produces through thermonuclear reactions. Another few million tonnes are lost in solar wind and other particle emissions. However, even after 2 billion years, this loss constitutes only one 10-thousandth of the sun’s mass. So the change in […]
Why is video from the space shuttle clear but audio is scratchy like transmissions from the sixties?
It has largely to do with the fidelity of the microphones, not the quality of space-to-ground communications systems. The astronauts wear wireless mikes that are as light and unobtrusive as NASA can make them. An FM signal goes from the astronaut to a communications device, then is radioed through a satellite system to the ground. […]
How Do Placebos Work, What Does It Mean In Latin, and What Is the Difference Between a Placebo and a Nocebo?
Placebos are substances with no pharmacological properties, such as sugar or dummy pills. The word placebo means “I shall please” in Latin, and was first used in a medical context in the 18th century. They are widely used as a control in experiments to test the effect of medicines, and are made to look and […]
Around 270 B.C., the Greek astronomer Aristarchus proposed that Earth and the other planets revolved around a stationary Sun. He was dismissed as a madman, until Copernicus. Copernicus studied the movements of the planets in the 1,400 years since Ptolemy and found that Ptolemy’s idea of epicycles, secondary orbits within the main orbit, could not […]
Why Were Bromide Salts Used As Sedative For Children and Why Were British Soldiers’ Tea Laced With Bromide?
In the nineteenth century, bromide salts were used widely as sedatives to treat everything from epilepsy to sleeplessness. The bromide salts were said to “reduce the excitability of the brain.” The normal dose was between 5 and 30 grains and was taken several times a day, there are about 437 grains per ounce. In the […]
Oil is a good lubricant, obviously, because it’s so slippery. But what makes a substance slippery? All liquids are slippery to some degree. A wet floor or highway, wet with water, is a well-recognized hazard that keeps many lawyers in expensive clothing. But water isn’t much use as a lubricant in our engines and other […]
Why Did George Washington Carver Find Over 300 Uses For Peanuts and What Products Did He Create From Peanuts?
George Washington Carver really did find over 300 uses for peanuts, and some have become important parts of our lives. Carver wanted poor farmers to grow peanuts both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. He started with different foods he could […]