Category Archives: Articles

Why Doesn’t Wood Melt


Jesse asks: Why doesn’t wood melt? Jesse, I love this question. It seems like everyone knows things are solid at certain temperatures. If you heat them up, they will become a liquid. Heating it further will turn the substance into a gas. This elementary truism of science is every grade school students’ claim-to-fame at their science fair. At some point, […]

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Why is Nicotine Addictive


Ken asks: Why is nicotine so addictive? When someone says a substance is addictive, they can mean two separate things. Physically addictive, more accurately physically dependent, is when your body begins to depend on the presence of a particular substance for its physical well being. It’s begun compensating its normal processes to adjust for the new artificial normal. The sudden […]

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The Parasite that Becomes a Tongue


In warm Pacific waters from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Guayaquil thrives a parasite that has a very twisted relationship with its host. The Tongue-Eating Louse A member of the family Cymothoidae, the tiny Cymothoa exigua, or tongue eating louse, enters its victim through the gills. Once inside, the female latches onto the base of the fish’s […]

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When the U.S. Sent Several Hundred Million Needles Into Space (Project West Ford)


In the midst of the Cold War, forward-thinking military planners realized just how much they had come to rely on international communications. Fearing interference from the Soviet Union, in 1958, the U.S. Air Force commissioned scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory to create a space-based international system for communications by sending up several hundred million needles into […]

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What Do Tonsils Do?


Dale asks: What do tonsils actually do? What most people refer to as “tonsils” are known as Palatine tonsils. These are the two large protruding tissues that reside on the sides of the back of your throat. These are actually part of a grouping of lymphoid tissues (tissue that perform different functions for your immune system) known as Waldeyer’s tonsillar […]

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