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A Moment of Science

Indiana Public Media

A Moment of Science is a daily audio podcast, public radio program and video series providing the scientific story behind some of life's most perplexing mysteries.


A Moment of Science is a daily audio podcast, public radio program and video series providing the scientific story behind some of life's most perplexing mysteries.

37hr 58min
Thumbnail for "A tarantula with the blues".
Blue jays, poison dart frogs, and peacocks—each of these animals is distinct for their same vibrant color. But have you ever seen a blue spider?
Thumbnail for "Brick by magnetic brick".
Did you know that ancient bricks are magnetic?
Thumbnail for "Pandas always know what's for dinner".
These days, pandas have bamboo for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But that wasn't always the case.
Thumbnail for "Emotion differentiation makes you less angry".
Although we all get angry at times, for some people anger turns to aggression, while for others it doesn’t. The reasons for this have to do with how we regulate our emotions.
Thumbnail for "An amphibian mother feeds her offspring with 'milk'".
Human mothers secrete milk to feed their babies. So do other mammals. Biologists now know that many other kinds of animal mothers also secrete milk-like nutritious substances to feed their offspring.
Thumbnail for "Cultured fruit flies".
Fruit flies might not have manners when they invade your home, but they do have culture.
Thumbnail for "The ocean's fish need more clean water".
Making their way through polluted water, fish become disoriented, as sights, smells, and sounds crowd the waters. Chemical and noise pollution, and reduced water clarity, interfere with the senses, as well as the fishes’ natural instincts.
Thumbnail for "Putting science on display at the Great Exhibition of 1851".
These days, you can hear about self-driving cars when you turn on the news, or you can browse store shelves for high-tech gadgets. But in the mid-nineteenth century, there was one go-to place for the public to view scientific achievement: the Great Exhibition.
Thumbnail for "Optics and glue".
A simple exercise to do at home with A Moment of Science
Thumbnail for "Would you drink this?".
Would you drink a mixture of acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, acetone, acetic acid, and a few of the compounds known as hexenals, which give fresh-cut grass is characteristic odor?
Thumbnail for "Schools of fish are silent swimmers".
Swimming in a school has a lot of benefits for fish, from social opportunities to avoiding predators to finding more food.
Thumbnail for "Orangutans talk about the past".
Researchers have heard orangutans make the noise after the danger has passed—a sign that they’re communicating about the past, and the first evidence that primates other than humans have that ability.
Thumbnail for "Making an egg-cellent cake".
Craving dessert? Today’s episode considers some particularly sweet science: the importance of eggs for baking a cake.
Thumbnail for "Giving a gull a break".
It’s a tough world out there, so really, what’s a gull to do?
Thumbnail for "It's not just the heat, it's the humidity".
If the air temperature gets close to our body temperature, something more is needed to keep the skin cooler than the inner body. We sweat.
Thumbnail for "Coprophagy keeps birds healthy".
By human standards, some animals’ eating habits are strange, and even disgusting. One example is coprophagy—eating poop.
Thumbnail for "How to see what soap does to water".
Water molecules attract each other. The molecules at the surface of a body of water make a film under tension. That film is strong enough to support a needle or a small insect like a water strider.
Thumbnail for "Your friendly Amazonian slingshot spider".
Researchers reported that they discovered a tiny spider in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest that has a behavior that’s surprisingly similar to the web-slinging superhero.
Thumbnail for "Reflecting on how others see you".
One mirror is not enough to see yourself as others see you. When you look at a bathroom mirror you see an image of yourself with left and right reversed.
Thumbnail for "The fault that runs through Scotland".
If you look at a map of Scotland, you may notice a line cutting straight through the country. This line, called the Great Glen Fault, is the result of a long geological history that has in turn impacted the history of Scotland itself.
Thumbnail for "Why does cotton wrinkle?".
A cool, dry cotton fiber springs back after being bent. A warm, damp cotton fiber doesn't. Moisture and temperature make the difference.
Thumbnail for "When is yellow really yellow?".
Why a mix of red light and green light looks yellow, in this Moment of Science.
Thumbnail for "Male mammals aren't always bigger than females".
Evolutionary biologists thought it was a general rule among mammals that males are bigger, but that's not always the case.
Thumbnail for "Robert Hook found a surprise in cork".
The 17th-century English physicist Robert Hooke was curious about the remarkable properties of cork -- its ability to float, its springy quality, its usefulness in sealing bottles. Hooke investigated the structure of cork with a new scientific instrument he was very enthusiastic about: the microscope.
Thumbnail for "A summer night mystery: heat lightning".
One of the more mysterious pleasures of a warm summer evening is the spectacle of lightning from distant thunderstorms, flickering silently on the horizon while stars shine overhead. People usually call it heat lightning.
Thumbnail for "Why one rotten apple can spoil the barrel".
Learn about the role that ethylene plays in ripening fruit with today's A Moment of Science
Thumbnail for "Speedy snails".
Over the past 100,000 years, a snail species has done what it normally takes a species millions of years to do: give live birth.
Thumbnail for "Rediscovered in a museum drawer".
The distant past is poorly known, and paleontologists find fossil evidence for new large animals all the time.
Thumbnail for "The fruit that grows on trees, literally".
Jabuticaba is a fruit native to Brazil. It’s the size and color of a plum, with a white pulp and several seeds
Thumbnail for "What makes dreams so hard to remember?".
Perhaps you’ve heard that the average person dreams four to six times each night. But did you know that most of us are unable to recall 90% of our dreams?
Thumbnail for "Otter heroes with a secret mission".
The carefree southern sea otters of central California’s coast have had a secret mission: working to fight the devastating loss of kelp forests due to anthropogenic climate change.
Thumbnail for "What animals will thrive in the next century?".
Researchers used statistical tools to forecast which characteristics the animals of the future will likely have.
Thumbnail for "Parenting styles and telomeres".
Research suggests there's a link between parenting styles and health effects later in life
Thumbnail for "Saved by the boil".
As any aficionado will tell you, water can be just as important as the tea leaves themselves when it comes to a good brew.
Thumbnail for "Why are glass bottles different colors?".
If the color of the bottles was significant enough to control how they’re recycled, then surely the color was more than cosmetic. So what's the reason why wine bottles are olive-green and beer bottles are amber?
Thumbnail for "The future of New Zealand's birds".
Because of the isolation, New Zealand has evolved a unique set of animals dominated by abundant bird species found nowhere else.
Thumbnail for "A matter of preference".
Exposure to music, art, and architecture can have a formative impact on our sense of self.
Thumbnail for "Humans aren't unique when it comes to fingerprints".
Fingerprints might be unique to one person, but they aren't unique to one species.
Thumbnail for "The starch difference".
Have you ever made rice that was perfectly fluffy and then the next day, taken it out of the fridge only to find it hard and crumbly?
Thumbnail for "How do our organs heal themselves?".
Normally, when tissue gets injured, cells start replicating and make new tissue. But what about the heart?
Thumbnail for "Benjamin Franklin and his fabric swatches in the snow".
In a letter written in 1761, Benjamin Franklin tells how he collected some little squares of broadcloth. Franklin wanted to demonstrate that these colors would absorb different amounts of light from the sun and convert the light to different amounts of heat.
Thumbnail for "Extremophiles go to the ends of the Earth and thrive there".
Just like Goldilocks, humans have searched for a place that's "just right" to live in. That's not the same for all species, though.
Thumbnail for "Colors and their opposites, with paint".
We usually think of paint as a substance that adds color to things. But, from a physical point of view, paint works by taking colors away.
Thumbnail for "Why do people grunt when playing tennis?".
Tennis players are known for the loud grunts they make during a game. Why do they do it?
Thumbnail for "Could being a dog person be in your genes?".
In 2019 a team of Swedish and British scientists published a study claiming that whether we chose to own a dog may be influenced by our genes.
Thumbnail for "Graphene and faster computer chips".
Physicists are searching for new materials with better semiconductor properties so that computers can continue to improve.
Thumbnail for "Where the sky isn't blue".
We just covered why the sky is blue, but there are a few areas without color above us.
Thumbnail for "What makes the sky blue?".
It can't be the atmosphere, or dust, or water droplets. So what makes the sky blue?
Thumbnail for "Temperature: A key variable in making the perfect cup of coffee".
Water temperature is a major element of quality control in making coffee. Why exactly is temperature important?
Thumbnail for "A rattlesnake's rattling trick".
Rattlesnakes modulate their rattling frequency to trick other animals into thinking the distance between them is shorter than it really is.
Thumbnail for "Cud-chewing monkeys".
Proboscis monkeys from Borneo and cows do have something in common: they both chew their cuds.
Thumbnail for "Rain in this desert is deadly".
The Atacama Desert in Northern Chile is the driest desert on Earth. The only life there is microbial, and researchers study it to get an idea of what we might find on Mars.
Thumbnail for "What inspired the Lorax?".
One study proposes that this “sort of a man” described as “shortish, and oldish, and brownish and mossy” could have been inspired by the patas monkey.
Thumbnail for ""Terror beasts" of the early Cambrian".
Paleontologists constantly search for new species of fossilized creatures from the distant past to expand our understanding of the history of life on Earth.
Thumbnail for "How do mosquitoes find us?".
Mosquitoes always seem to find us, no matter how hard we try to get away. How do they do it?
Thumbnail for "Rain on the rear window".
The next time you're driving during a rain shower, glance back at the rear window. You'll notice that while raindrops batter the front windshield, they seem to avoid the back window as long as the car is moving. How is that possible?
Thumbnail for "A giant bee, rediscovered".
Megachile pluto, commonly called “Wallace’s giant bee” is the world’s largest bee. And perhaps its most elusive.
Thumbnail for "Do you start your day with tea or coffee?".
Do you prefer the jolt of coffee or a more gentle start to your day with tea?
Thumbnail for "When every day is opposite day for your organs".
Situs inversus totalis means that all the organs, blood vessels, and nerves in the chest and abdomen are flipped to the opposite side.
Thumbnail for "Why do square waves happen?".
Normally you’d just see waves coming in parallel to the shore. But what if there were also waves moving perpendicular to the shore?
Thumbnail for "Humans have been hanging out with cats for almost 10,000 years".
A grave in Cyprus from 7500 BC shows a furry feline and human owner buried together. It’s the oldest known site of a tame cat.
Thumbnail for "Prehistoric air conditioning".
How did dinosaurs keep themselves cool?
Thumbnail for "Genetic mutation and pain".
Did you know it’s possible to have a gene mutation that really does make bumping into furniture or even getting surgery totally painless?
Thumbnail for "Walking uphill is hard work".
What makes walking uphill so much harder?
Thumbnail for "Why do giraffes need such long necks?".
Have you ever wondered why giraffes have such long necks?
Thumbnail for "How mosquitoes will be impacted by global warming".
Scientists think that as many as a billion people around the world could be newly exposed to the diseases spread by mosquitoes within the next fifty years as global temperatures rise.
Thumbnail for "The unique species of the tufted deer".
This small species lives throughout southern China, from high eastern Tibetan mountains to low coastal mountains, preferring forests and shrubby habitats. And its most interesting feature is its tusks.
Thumbnail for "Virtual reality and yawning".
There’s a big gap between how we act in virtual reality and how we act in real life, as scientists who did an experiment focused on yawning found out.
Thumbnail for "Not all antioxidants are the same".
We've heard a lot about how antioxidants can help prevent disease. Does that mean we should eat as many antioxidant-rich foods as possible?
Thumbnail for "Moths use acoustic camouflage".
Most moth species are active at night. It must be really dangerous to be a moth. Luckily, they've developed a few ways to protect themselves.
Thumbnail for "Why do humans like coffee?".
Scientists think that animals evolved the ability to detect bitter tastes in order to avoid things that are harmful or even poisonous. So why do we like coffee?
Thumbnail for "What makes swatting a fly so hard?".
Where most of us are concerned, the question is not whether we would hurt a fly but whether we could.
Thumbnail for "The mysteries of Oumuamua".
In October, 2017 astronomers at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii discovered something strange. It was an object, moving through the solar system too fast to have been captured by the sun’s gravitational pull.
Thumbnail for "Red cone, green cone".
Did you know that compared to creatures such as dogs and cats, humans can distinguish millions more shades of color?
Thumbnail for "Tsunamis in the oceans of Mars".
There's evidence that the northern lowlands of Mars are the basin of a huge ocean that existed more than 3 billion years ago, and covered about a third of the planet's surface.
Thumbnail for "Fighting back against root rot".
Root rot is a condition of indoor and outdoor plants. Root rot may be caused by poorly drained or overwatered soil, or soil-borne pathogens and nematodes.
Thumbnail for "In the atmosphere, microbes are walking on air".
Microbes are everywhere, from the deepest ocean to the highest mountaintop. They're also in the air all around, riding the breeze up, up, up into sky.
Thumbnail for "The ant with moves like a cheetah".
But a cheetah isn’t the fastest animal in the world, even though a lot of people think it is. The animal that can move the fastest is actually a lot smaller: the Dracula ant.
Thumbnail for "Background noise and sleep quality".
Background white noise can help some peoples’ sleep quality by minimizing the length of time it takes them to get to sleep. So, what exactly is white noise?
Thumbnail for "Different rates of sea level rise".
Mid-Atlantic states such as North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have been hit particularly hard by rising sea levels
Thumbnail for "Ant doctors".
Do other species have healthcare?
Thumbnail for "How your attitude affects your body".
Our attitudes might affect us more than our genes do.
Thumbnail for "Can animals tell time?".
Does your pet give you the evil eye when they get fed a few minutes late? Its like they know...but do they?
Thumbnail for "Could The Gulf Stream collapse?".
The Gulf Stream is a current of warm water in the North Atlantic Ocean that travels up the Eastern coast of North America. Media reports have raised concerns that it may collapse as the climate warms due to human activities like burning fossil fuels.
Thumbnail for "Ice age plant survived the big chill".
Like a science fiction time traveler, an arctic plant of the late Pleistocene age, over 31,000 years old, was resurrected after a long frozen sleep.
Thumbnail for "Every time you eat a fig, remember a fig wasp lost its wings".
Figs have their thousands of individual flowers folded up inside them, so they can't rely on bees or wind to pollinate them with a male fig's pollen. That's where the fig wasp comes in.
Thumbnail for "Study links air pollution and a decline in cognitive function".
Has your brain been feeling foggy lately? Or maybe, smoggy? If you live somewhere affected by air pollution, there might be a connection.
Thumbnail for "The jellyfish that never grows old".
Scientists once thought that aging and death were the inevitable fate of all complex living things. But then, by accident, they discovered they were wrong.
Thumbnail for "The great cilantro debate".
On today's Moment of Science, we'll be sniffing our way through a controversial culinary conundrum: the great cilantro debate.
Thumbnail for "Elephant grandmothers means more elephant calves".
Grandmother elephants are important for the survival of baby calves.
Thumbnail for "Looks delicious! The connection between appearance and taste".
English is full of phrases that connect appearance to taste. However, scientists have been discovering that the connection between the two runs deeper than simple metaphors.
Thumbnail for "Escaping alive from a frog's stomach".
Sometimes, when a frog eats a large insect, you can see it squirming in the frog’s belly, desperate to escape. Lack of air, acids, and digestive enzymes seal its inevitable doom.
Thumbnail for "Copy your neighbors, but only when they're successful".
Scientists looked at the nestbox choices of pied flycatchers after the birds observed the "success" of nesting great tits.
Thumbnail for "Why are operating rooms so cold?".
Is there a reason operating rooms are always so cold and drafty?
Thumbnail for "Starfish are all heads, no tails".
Colorful or plain, skinny or chubby, big or small, the nearly 2,000 species have it all.
Thumbnail for "Skeptics think about vaccines differently".
Vaccine skeptics might see vaccines the way they do because they tend to overestimate the likelihood of rare negative events.
Thumbnail for "Walked or swam? An index can answer".
How do scientists figure out even basic facts such as whether an animal walked on land or swam in the sea?
Thumbnail for "Play and the brain".
Researchers classify an animal behavior as play when it doesn’t involve an external reward, such as food, seems to serve no purpose, occurs repeatedly, and happens when the animal is relaxed and not facing threats.
Thumbnail for "What we can learn from ancient climate records".
Scientists find clues to how the earth's climate is changing by looking to the past.
Thumbnail for "Tetrataenite as a solution to the rare earth crisis".
Demand for rare earth elements is soaring, and it will continue to grow in the future.
Thumbnail for "The effects of bismuth in Pepto Bismol".
When the bismuth combines with the trace amounts of sulfur in your saliva and in your gastrointestinal tract, it reacts to form a black substance called bismuth sulfide.
Thumbnail for "King Tut's dagger from space".
King Tutankhamen of Egypt has fascinated people ever since archeologist Howard Carter discovered his splendid tomb in 1922.
Thumbnail for "Where does bitterness come from? Ask the sharks".
Bitterness, like sweetness or saltiness, is one of the major taste sensations. And while it makes our food flavorful, detecting bitterness can sometimes be a warning that we’re eating something toxic.
Thumbnail for "Remembering the past, as a baby".
What's your earliest memory?
Thumbnail for "Why are sunrises faster than sunsets?".
It takes much less time for the sun to light up the sky at dawn than it does for all the light to disappear after the sun sets at dusk.
Thumbnail for "The temperature of ice on a hot day".
If you drink a glass of ice water on a hot day, what temperature is the ice?
Thumbnail for "Do brains differ with biology?".
There are some biological differences between the sexes, but do they extend to the brain?
Thumbnail for "Mauveine: The first synthetic dye".
Where does color come from?
Thumbnail for "Can plants hear?".
In 2019 a team of Israeli scientists published evidence that the evening primrose plant can detect the specific sound vibration frequencies of the buzz of an insect’s wings.
Thumbnail for "Patient HM: Henry Molaison and the neuroscience of memory".
Every student who has ever taken a course in neuroscience or psychology has heard of Patient HM.
Thumbnail for "Monkeys can be petty, too".
We share a lot of genetic material in common with our chimpanzee relatives, and maybe some personal characteristics too.
Thumbnail for "Snowshoes and physics".
One frosty morning you awake to a blanket of fresh snow. Adventure awaits! Do you go skiing? Skating? Building snowmen? Or you could do some physics!
Thumbnail for "Dogs can recognize their own species".
French scientists tested dogs to see if they could recognize the faces of other dogs on a computer screen.
Thumbnail for "Being able to stomach bugs".
While not an ordinary part of the cuisine of the United States, insects are a common food source for millions of people around the world. It might be time Americans reconsidered their lack of bug-based eating.
Thumbnail for "Are eyes evolving?".
In evolutionary theory, an inherited trait is favored by natural selection when it helps an individual to produce more offspring than its competitors.
Thumbnail for "The proteins in dinosaur feathers".
Modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. Specifically, paleontologists have shown that birds evolved from a group of two legged dinosaurs called theropods.
Thumbnail for "UFO attack or meteor fragments?".
June 1969. Not one airliner but two, plus the pilot of an Air National Guard fighter plane, report being harassed by a team of UFOs.
Thumbnail for "Beans get their flavor from yeast".
Coffee and cacao beans are fermented. Similar to wine, the flavor of the beans is determined by the type of yeasts and microorganisms present.
Thumbnail for "Solving a new problem with an old remedy".
From DIY oven cleaner to removing odor from rugs, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has long been known as an essential home cleaning agent.
Thumbnail for "Think like a penguin: Finding your niche".
A "niche" is an organism's special "slot" in an ecosystem that allows it to co-exist with other species.
Thumbnail for "Going for a spin and getting dizzy".
When someone moves, fluid sloshes inside the ears’ semicircular canals. The fluid tugs at tiny strands of hair.
Thumbnail for "The risk astronauts take with the Sun".
The Apollo astronauts were at risk of something many people don't know about. The Sun.
Thumbnail for "Are you a tick magnet?".
We all know someone who goes for a walk in the woods, and comes back with many ticks crawling on them.
Thumbnail for "What are contrails?".
Why do airplanes sometimes leave contrails behind, and what are they exactly?
Thumbnail for "How does carbon dioxide impact our ability to think?".
At high levels, carbon dioxide can affect the brain to cause impaired thinking.
Thumbnail for "Dinosaurs may have had malaria".
Scientists discovered a type of malaria in a twenty-million-year-old mosquito fossil from the Dominican Republic preserved in amber.
Thumbnail for "Murphy's breakfast never goes to plan".
If you're eating toast, and you accidentally bump it to the floor, it seems more likely to land buttered side down.
Thumbnail for "Bacteria feel full, too".
We've been hearing a lot about the importance of gut bacteria. Now it seems that bacteria also have a say in how and when we eat.
Thumbnail for "How the motor cortex treats words".
The instant you decide to move your foot, the part of your brain's motor cortex responsible for sending commands to the foot goes into action. So what does this mean?
Thumbnail for "What a steel!".
Have you ever prepared a meal that required lots of garlic and found that after all of that chopping your hands reek of garlic for the rest of the night?
Thumbnail for "Cafeteria plate dispensers reveal facts about atoms".
You take a plate off the top of one stack. The other plates in the stack rise from below just far enough to present the next plate at the same height as the one you just took!
Thumbnail for "Is it ok to swallow watermelon seeds?".
A few seeds from fruits such as watermelons or apples passing through your digestive tract won't hurt you. But they won't help you much either.
Thumbnail for "What exactly was Little Miss Muffet eating?".
Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey. But what even is that?
Thumbnail for "Vampire bats are good at sharing".
It may surprise you to learn that vampire bats are one of the most well-known examples of sharing in the animal kingdom.
Thumbnail for "Testing your reaction time".
How fast are your reflexes? Test them out with a falling dollar.
Thumbnail for "Why don't elephants get cancer?".
Since elephants are so big, they have way more cells than most animals. Which means more opportunities for elephant cells to go crazy and become cancerous. So why don't they get cancer?
Thumbnail for "What events actually make us happy?".
Major events often make people happy, but does this last very long?
Thumbnail for "Desert ants navigate with the magnetic field".
When ants first leave their nest to begin their jobs as foragers, they first have to make sure they can find their way home.
Thumbnail for "Life thrives in the seabed of hydrothermal vents".
From stories of giant monsters to little green Martians, we humans can imagine some pretty strange creatures. Life, however, offers plenty of surprises here on Earth.
Thumbnail for "Moths are evolving to avoid city lights".
Moths are a lot less attracted to artificial light than they used to be. Learn more about what that means with today's A Moment of Science!
Thumbnail for "Recognizing different relatives".
Other animals besides humans learn to recognize their relatives
Thumbnail for "Jellyfish thrive in cold water, too".
Jellyfish, delicate and soft as they may be, thrive even in places you might not go swimming—including the Arctic.
Thumbnail for "Mona Lisa's smile: now you see it, now you don't".
Any list of the world's top ten most famous paintings will surely include da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." Part of the painting's appeal is its mystery.
Thumbnail for "Rethinking dopamine".
Scientists are now considering the role that dopamine plays in our bodies’ response to other stimuli, such as surprising, new, or negative events.
Thumbnail for "The sensitivity of dog noses".
Did you know that dog’s noses can be tens of thousands of times more sensitive than ours?
Thumbnail for "The curious case of microbial invasion".
‘Biological invasion’ is a phenomenon that occurs when a foreign organism establishes within a community of organisms that it otherwise wouldn’t be associated with.
Thumbnail for "What's the difference between hair and fur?".
Hair and fur are practically identical. How can that be?
Thumbnail for "Bees have figured out some sweet, sweet math".
When you think of beehive, your first thought may be of honey oozing out of the iconic hexagonal cells. Remarkable as the honey may be, though, the cells themselves are just as interesting.
Thumbnail for "Making a new mouth for every meal".
Microscopic hydras will trap and paralyze their prey. The next step usually is to stuff their mouths, only hydras usually don't have mouths.
Thumbnail for "DNA and RNA in a genetic museum".
When it comes to researching extinct animals the focus has almost entirely been on DNA because it tends to stand the test of time better, but RNA is the real secret to understanding how animal’s cells functioned.
Thumbnail for "How cockroaches get away".
The all-too-familiar American cockroach almost seems to know where you're going to strike. What's the tip-off that sends the cockroach running?
Thumbnail for "Seeing color out of the corner of your eye".
If you look at a green door at the edge of your field of vision, it's still green. Simple right? Not quite.
Thumbnail for "Tardigrades are even stranger than they appear".
Tardigrades look strange, but they're made up of even stranger stuff.
Thumbnail for "The mermaid, the witch, and climate change?".
Some academics have turned to creative sources to translate what existing research tells us about climate problems and policy responses: fairy tale characters.
Thumbnail for "MRI, CT, and PET scans, oh my!".
What sets MRI, CT, and PET scans apart?
Thumbnail for "You are what you eat, even for extinct Caribbean rodents".
In 2018, scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Cincinnati attempted the first study of extinct Hispaniolan rodents using isotopes. What can isotopes tell us about extinct animals?
Thumbnail for "Firefly flashes are mating signals".
Male fireflies cruise the evening air, flashing their lanterns in a pattern characteristic of their species, looking for females of their own kind.
Thumbnail for "The ocean is changing color".
About 56% of the ocean’s surface has changed in color. An expanse larger than Earth’s entire land surface has become slightly greener.
Thumbnail for "What makes fluorescent colors so bright?".
Have you ever wondered why fluorescent colors -- like you see in highlighters or clothing dyes, for instance - seem so much brighter than other colors?
Thumbnail for "The importance of the magnetic field for life on Earth".
What did the Earth need to become habitable?
Thumbnail for "Why are dogs such messy drinkers?".
Dogs aren't quite as graceful as we humans when it comes to taking a drink. But you might give your pooch more credit if you knew that her lapping method is the most effective one.
Thumbnail for "Wallabies in England?".
Imagine yourself walking through the English countryside. You might expect to come across some squirrels, moles, foxes, and badgers. However, you may find an unexpected animal friend crossing you path: a red-necked wallaby!
Thumbnail for "Rats stay closer together in colder temperatures".
Have you ever watched a bunch of rats hanging out together? You might notice something interesting.
Thumbnail for "Air pressure and drinking straws".
When you sit down to a glass of iced tea with a straw in it, you might say that you are sucking the tea up through the straw. But is this accurate?
Thumbnail for "Today's sturgeon is a blast from the past".
If you want a piece of living history, where would you look? You could visit California’s giant redwoods, or simply watch the birds, those descendants of dinosaurs. But consider, instead, the humble sturgeon.
Thumbnail for "Your skin's thermometer".
What temperature is comfortable for your skin? The answer might be different from air temperature.
Thumbnail for "Don't count out moths when it comes to pollination".
When you think of pollination, you probably think of bees buzzing around on a bright summer day.
Thumbnail for "Why would you drive a cockroach?".
Scientists found a way to drive a cockroach the way you might drive a car. What does that mean?
Thumbnail for "How do insects drink?".
Insects need water just like the rest of us, so how do they drink?
Thumbnail for "Healing damage from a heart attack".
Some medical researchers are looking for new ways to prevent heart attack damage from happening.
Thumbnail for "Does money bring happiness?".
According to that famous Beatles song, no: "Money Can't Buy Me Love." But, of course, the Beatles also had a hit with their cover of the Motown song "Money, That's What I Want."
Thumbnail for "The yeast that was lost and found".
Ask any brewer and they will tell you that yeast is the secret to making beer.
Thumbnail for "Does trampling the lawn really harm the grass?".
Hurting a blade of grass isn't the end of its life. But how does it affect the soil?
Thumbnail for "Stink bugs aren't all bad".
Many species of stink bugs are also pests, but some are beneficial.
Thumbnail for "Don't tie yourself in (muscle) knots".
You might be sitting in your car. Or slouching at your desk. Or hunched over your phone. Take a minute to think: are you comfortable?
Thumbnail for "Gone fishing, virtually".
A lot of the time phishing is used by people who want to steal your personal information and bank account numbers.
Thumbnail for "Stressed out quails and their eggs".
There's been a long debate between nature and nurture. Scientists have found evidence of a quail's environment impacting egg development.
Thumbnail for "Social isolation and inflammation".
There’s research showing that social isolation is associated with increase inflammation in the body.
Thumbnail for "There's plastic dust all over our national parks".
Our national parks are being coated in dust: plastic dust.
Thumbnail for "Wishing on a meteor shower's shooting stars".
If you see a shooting star, make a wish. If you see scores of shooting stars, make a note: you’re witnessing a meteor shower.
Thumbnail for "How do apples get their shine?".
All fruits and vegetables produce a natural, dull waxy coating that acts a barrier to the outside world.
Thumbnail for "Why do we get so enraged?".
Sometimes, something small can really set our anger off. Why does this happen?
Thumbnail for "Chewers, crunchers, smooshers, and suckers. How do you eat?".
While we all have different tastes when it comes to food, the process of chewing seems to be something we share.