Science

Cryptophile: Ents

Cryptophile: Ents

Welcome to cryptophile, the series in which I discuss fantastical creatures and the biological mechanisms that might or might not make them plausible. Today I’m going to discuss ents, well, talking and walking creatures that look like trees. Although the ents may be the classic example of this creature that comes to mind, there are equivalents in folklore that predate this name, and go by th... »

The Physics Philes, lesson 126: Kinetic-Molecular Model of Ideal Gases, Part 1

The Physics Philes, lesson 126: Kinetic-Molecular Model of Ideal Gases, Part 1

As promised, this week we’ll start a discussion on the kinetic-molecular model of ideal gases. Be warned: we’ll have to take this in chunks. Now that that’s out of the way…what is the kinetic-molecular model of idea gases? Basically, it’s a way to understand the properties of a bunch of molecules in terms of a material’s molecular structure. In this case, it mod... »

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... »

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