Category Archives: Science

Who Really Invented Calculus

leibniz-and-newton

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Calculus involves the study of limits. By the time they were done arguing about who had invented it, Isaac Newton and G. W. Leibniz had probably both reached their limit as well. Science has seen a number of simultaneous discoveries. Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry independently discovered electromagnetic induction. Charles […]

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Blue and Green Pigments Don’t Exist in the Human Iris, So How Do Some People Have Blue and Green Eyes?

womans-eyes

Terran N. asks: Why do some people have different colored eyes? The Basics of Eye Color Eye color is a function of pigmentation both at the back of the iris (iris pigment epithelium) and in its stroma (the front of the iris), as well as the density of the cells in the stroma. In most cases these factors, and hence […]

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Why Fruits Change Color and Flavor as They Ripen

fruit-rainbow

Jay G. asks: Why do fruits change colour and flavour when they ripen? Fruits and vegetables (see: The Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables) come in a wide array of colors that change throughout their ripening process, with the brightest colors often occurring when the fruit is optimally ripened.  But why do fruits change color at all? There are two ways […]

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Why Is Comfortable Air Temperature So Much Lower Than Body Temperature?

cooling-off-in-sprinkler

Jared U. asks: Why isn’t normal body temperature the temperature that humans are most comfortable in? Each summer as temperatures approach 98° Fahrenheit (about 37° Celsius), we hear news stories about people suffering (and sometimes even dying) from overheating. Yet these temperatures are essentially the same as normal body heat. So why isn’t this a comfortable temperature for us? Our […]

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How Anti-Fog Spray Keeps Glasses from Fogging Up

girl-with-foggy-glasses

Roman S. asks: How does spitting in swimming goggles keep them from fogging up? The “fog” you may sometimes experience on your glasses or goggles occurs when atmospheric humidity near the lens condenses; this happens due to a relatively significant discrepancy between the temperature of the lens and the surrounding air. As the surface attempts to reach an equilibrium between […]

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Why Does the Yolk of an Overcooked Hard-Boiled Egg Turn Green?

hard-boiled-egg

Laura K. asks: Why does the yolk of a hard-boiled egg sometimes turn green? The process of hard-boiling an egg involves denaturation. During this process, the amino acid chains found in the proteins in the egg are altered from their original, raw egg state, with the denaturation temperature varying somewhat depending on the specific protein in question (see chart here). […]

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Why Do People Stick Out and Bite Their Tongues When Concentrating?

boy-biting-tongue

Jon K. asks: Why do I sometimes naturally bite my tongue when concentrating on things? The short answer as to why some people bite their tongue when concentrating is that the tongue requires a surprising amount of brain power to manage- beyond general motor control, it’s covered in various types of sensors constantly providing feedback to your brain about what’s […]

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Why Are Some People Claustrophobic?

MRI

Noah R. asks: What causes people to be claustrophobic? If you have a friend who refuses to ride the elevator to his 15th floor office every day, he may be a fitness freak, but chances are, he is claustrophobic. Similarly, when someone’s action seems illogical as shown by their persistent, determined avoidance of enclosed spaces or restrictive clothing, the likely explanation […]

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