weird science

Myth: Helium makes your voice high-pitched

March 26, 2009

A friend just pointed out an interesting misconception that I hadn’t thought about. When you inhale helium, your voice sounds higher. It turns out that your voice isn’t actually higher-pitched! At least, not in the way that we think it is.  The reasoning is a little convoluted…. read on. Here’s the common misconception: The speed […]

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Magnetic silverware in restaurants

October 2, 2008

Regarding magnetic “silverware” in restaurants from NPR’s Car talk (week of 9/22) PUZZLER: A Magnetizing Dinner Chez Magliozzi Over dinner, Ray’s wife notices that her knife and fork are stuck to each other, her knife was magnetized. Ray’s son’s knife was magnetized too, but the polarity was the reverse of her’s. Ray’s niece offers an […]

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The Physics of the Impossible (Michio Kaku)

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Plenary: PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, MICHIO KAKU]] We heard a delightful plenary last night from Michio Kaku, the co-founder of string theory and a great popularizer of science. He’s written a ton of books including one of the same name as this talk. He’s also got an upcoming series of episodes on the Science […]

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Sound sucker

July 8, 2008

I just read this neat little gem in The Physics Teacher. Take a bunch of coffee stirrers (the kind that look like round straws for wee folke) and set them into a box so they’re all upright (all the little holes are looking up at you). Jiggle them and pack them tightly so that they […]

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Science & the Housewife from an age gone by…

June 6, 2008

The World’s Fair blog just published a post highlighting a study from 1946 — Scientific Analysis Simplifies a Housewife’s Work. They used motion-tracking to analyze the most movements leading to the most efficient method for making a bed. In a similar vein, check out this “Good Wife’s Guide” from Housekeeping Monthly 1955. I originally thought […]

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We’ve got 10X more bacteria than cells

June 6, 2008

check out this item from Science Daily… Humans have Ten Times More Bacterial Than Human Cells: How do Microbial Communities Affect Human Health? ScienceDaily -Jun. 5, 2008 — The number of bacteria living within the body of the average healthy adult human are estimated to outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Changes in these microbial […]

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Synthesia

May 23, 2008

I’ve always been sort of fascinated by synthesia. A brain with a predilection to mix colors and letters and days and feelings and smells sounds kinda trippy. I’ve always thought (and I think I may have read somewhere) that it seems like a very rich way to experience life. I mean, confusion is orange? I […]

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Mystery 1: Is polar bear fur transparent?

January 18, 2008

The answer seems to be yes! Even though polar bears are white, their hair is actually colorless. I found this out by looking at a great site, Everyday Mysteries, run by the Library of Congress. You can browse tons of questions, and their interesting science answers, compiled by the expert reference librarians at the Library […]

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