explainer

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 […]

Nov 8, 2012

Stick It to Cankerworms

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Steve Frank, an assistant professor of entomology at NC State. You can learn more about the Cankerworm Project here, and keep up with Steve’s entomological pest alerts and updates by following @OrnaPests […]

Jul 20, 2012

What’s the Deal With Seedless Watermelons?

Seedless watermelons aren’t seedless. They have those little white seeds that don’t have hard black shells, like the seeds in seeded watermelons. How do they do that?  Glad you asked! In seeded watermelons, the seed develops its hard seed coat […]

Jul 3, 2012

The Chemistry of Fireworks

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Steve Townsend, director of communications in NC State’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Just in time for the 4th of July! As they have for well over 200 years, the skies […]