News for Nerds - How Urine Gets Us to Mars

Category: Cool Science
  • 4/18/2014 |
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News for Nerds - How Urine Gets Us to Mars
Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week I'll explain what it means to be 'hangry', I'll show you a snowboarder powered by jet thrusters, and I'll explore the mystery of a cherry tree from space that's got scientists baffled. But first, here are your headlines. * * * * * At this point it seems unavoidable: if we're going to make it to Mars, we're going to have to start drinking our own pee. Maybe I should take a step back. Let me try again: NASA scientists have developed a new filtration system that allows astronauts to recycle their urine, turni …

Building a Better Student: Jynafer

Category: Big Brain Club
  • 4/13/2014 |
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  • 212 views
Building a Better Student: Jynafer
As an author, I’ve signed plenty of books through the years. When people get them as gifts for their kids, I’ve learned to ask for the exact spelling, regardless of the name. What you’re sure is J-e-n-n-i-f-e-r could very well be J-y-n-a-f-e-r. I’m not kidding. At one book signing I had a mom explain to me why she’d intentionally mangled the spelling of her daughter’s otherwise-traditional name. “This gives her an automatic edge in her life,” the mom proudly said. “It makes her unique.” Let’s examine that logic …

News for Nerds - The Power of Repetition

Category: Cool Science
  • 4/11/2014 |
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  • 547 views
News for Nerds - The Power of Repetition
Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll cover an interesting trend in boys' names, some tips for seeing Mars at its brightest, and a very painful bee sting. But first, here are your headlines. * * * * * Here's an interesting stat: 90 percent of the music we listen to is music we've heard before. That little nugget helped inspire music psychologist Elizabeth Margulis to conduct some really interesting research into the mere exposure effect, and it turns out that we don't just like to hear the same songs over and over. We like repetition within our musi …

Building a Better Student: The Textured Life

Category: Big Brain Club
  • 4/6/2014 |
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  • 247 views
Building a Better Student: The Textured Life
A good friend of mine is all about texture. Where my eye is blind to the subtle shades within designs, she’s able to spot an interesting layer or pattern that adds depth and fullness. It’s a talent that I envy. But it occurs to me that texture shouldn’t be confined to clothes or wall furnishings. We’re all guilty of falling into routines that essentially sand down our lives, eliminating the textural surfaces. We take shortcuts and remove the odd things that stand out at weird angles; the weird angles, I suppose, create delays and detours. But the detours br …

News for Nerds - The Shocking Science of Mudslides

Category: Cool Science
  • 4/4/2014 |
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  • 658 views
News for Nerds - The Shocking Science of Mudslides
Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll watch a robot set a world record, we'll have some fun with mousetraps, and I'll introduce you to the 'chicken from hell.' But first, here are your headlines. * * * * * The recent (and tragic) mudslides in Washington have received a lot of attention this week. But what causes a mudslide like that in the first place? How does this even happen? You might be surprised. While major environmental forces like earthquakes sometimes play a role, the most common factor is much less obvious: gravity. That's right, …