explainer

Aug 21, 2013

Why You Can See the Moon During Daylight Hours

I have a friend whose young son gets incredibly excited when he can see the moon during the day. After several excited shouts of “day moon!” the youngster asks his mom why he can sometimes see the moon when the […]

Jun 19, 2013

How Do Bees Make Honey? (It’s Not Just Bee Barf)

Last weekend, my daughter asked me how bees made honey, and I realized that I didn’t know the answer. How do bees make honey? I did some homework, and can now explain it to her – and to you. Different […]

Jun 17, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Case No. 4: Graveyard Shift

This is the fourth post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with a joint appointment […]

Jun 3, 2013

That Four-Leaf Clover You Found May Not Be a Four-Leaf Clover

Are four-leaf clovers becoming more common? That was the question put to me by a reader recently. Apparently her kids are finding four-leaf clovers on a daily basis as they walk home from school. What gives? While it is possible […]

May 16, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Cases No. 3: Duck(bill) Amuck

This is the third post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with a joint appointment […]

May 1, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Case No. 2, Part 1: It’s a Trap?

This is part one of the second post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained  using fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with […]

Apr 16, 2013

Cretaceous Cold Cases No. 1: A Case With Legs

This is the first post in a series called “Cretaceous Cold Cases” in which the science of taphonomy, or prehistoric forensics, is explained and exemplified by fascinating cases from the files of Terry “Bucky” Gates, a research scientist with a […]

Apr 11, 2013

New Flu Review 2: How Do You Measure Lethality?

Editor’s Note: You may hear about fatality rates or percentages when media report on new and dangerous flu strains, and often times the reports are conflicting. In this post, Barrett Slenning, an epidemiologist at NC State, explains how these fatality […]

Apr 10, 2013

New Flu Review

The new strain of avian flu – known as H7N9 – has only been on scientists’ radar for a couple of weeks, but that’s been long enough to raise some questions.  NC State epidemiology expert Barrett Slenning, who spends a […]

Jan 28, 2013

Why Doesn’t Plastic Dry as Easily as Glass in the Dishwasher?

An Abstract reader recently sent me this question: “Why doesn’t plastic dry in the dishwasher? Or why doesn’t it dry as quickly/easily as glass? This drives me totally nuts.” Good question! That phenomenon drives me nuts too. The answer appears […]