Science

Cryptophile: Werewolves

Cryptophile: Werewolves

Welcome to cryptophile, the series in which I discuss fantastical creatures and the biological mechanisms that might or might not make them plausible. Today we’re going to tackle werewolves, a group of extremely sexy men that fall in love with babies at first sight. Or, if you’re not reading Twilight, humans that turn into wolf-like creatures, usually large and bipedal, and usually at ... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 115: The Doppler Shift

The Physics Philes, lesson 115: The Doppler Shift

We’ve been talking, over the last several weeks, about sound and sound waves and how those waves interact with each other. Implicit in those discussions is the assumption that everyone is at rest relative to one another. That’s not always how it works. We know, of course, that we can hear things eve if they are moving. It would be a pretty weird world if we couldn’t. But that doe... »

Modern Mythology: Turn on Your Brain

Modern Mythology: Turn on Your Brain

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Aug. 1, 2011, but the movie Lucy has sadly brought this myth back into vogue. Modern Mythology is a Teen Skepchick feature in which we try to cut through the woo so you can make informed decisions. If you have any questions, contact us here. The other day, while working with some high school students, one of them turned to me and started a... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 108: The Speed of Sound

The Physics Philes, lesson 108: The Speed of Sound

Last week we talked a bit about how our ears work and how they perceive sound. If we’re having a conversation, the sound seems to travel from my mouth to your ears in an instant. But what do you hear in a thunder storm? We know that thunder is the sound we hear as the air around a lightning bolt rapidly expands. We also probably know from experience that we see the lightning bolt before we h... »

‘All the cool historical (and sometimes modern) Ladies!’ : Rosalind Franklin

‘All the cool historical (and sometimes modern) Ladies!’ : Rosalind Franklin

It’s the end of March so after a month of fervent university work, I’m going to jump in with my first instalment of ‘All the cool historical (and sometimes modern) ladies!’. So I’m going to tell you about some wonderfully intelligent and awesome (do I say awesome too much? Probably…) lady scientists. Now these are only tit bits of their contributions to science,... »

Science Sunday:  Biometric Security and the Impermanence of Fingerprints

Science Sunday: Biometric Security and the Impermanence of Fingerprints

Recently, on my spring break (which now that I am not a student, I can take) I met a delightful older nurse who told me many fun stories about patients with bubonic plague and ebola.  That’s not important.  The important thing was that she also told me that at the clinic where she works, there is an atm-like drug dispenser that nurses must enter a passcode and have their fingerprints scanned... »

Fair Lady of Computer Science who Kicks Ass

Fair Lady of Computer Science who Kicks Ass

In honor of women’s history month, I am going to gush about how much I love Frances Allen.  Partly, because I’ve met her.  Well, I’ve attended a lecture she gave, which is not the same thing.  Also, because she has won the Turing Award, the highest honor the computer science community can bestow.  She is, incidentally, the first woman to win it.  It is fair to say that without he... »

Science Sunday: Does the Sum of All Natural Numbers Equal -1/12?

Science Sunday: Does the Sum of All Natural Numbers Equal -1/12?

They say not to write a post with a question if the answer is “no” but I’m going to do it anyway. You may have seen this video floating around the intertubes that claims to show that summing all the natural numbers (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + … all the way to infinity) is equal to -1/12: As you may have guessed by the first sentence of my post, the sum of all the natural numbers d... »

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