Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

Defining the Pink Tax

It’s tough being a woman. I suspect my best female friend values our friendship the most when I lift heavy objects for her or reach items off the top shelf. Some are claiming that this gender disadvantage goes beyond the obvious examples and into mundane economics. In other words, women pay more for items simply

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Dividends From The Space Race

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing has brought back a lot of memories. I was a cadet at the Air Force Academy at the time, flying to Charleston AFB, SC to spend a couple of weeks at a “real” Air Force base to see exactly what I was getting into upon graduation. The flight

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The Next Supercontinent

We’ve pretty much figured out there is a cycle to continental drift — periodically on a geologic timescale, the continents come together to form one huge supercontinent, which stays intact for several hundred million years before breaking up. The continental plates move apart, then eventually, say 400-600 million years, they recombine again. The last supercontinent

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Can Plants Get Cancer?

Something you’ve probably never wondered about — can plants get cancer? Not very easily. Proof is all the lush flora growing around the very radioactive remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. To understand why, remember that radiation can cause all kinds of cellular damage, especially to DNA. The common result is that the body’s

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If You Thought We Were Lead-Free…

Lead is a health hazard. Ingesting the metal can cause lead poisoning (also called plumbism) with the symptoms of developmental delays, abdominal pain, and neurologic changes, among others. And it can be fatal if lead levels get too high. Over the years we’ve gone to great lengths to remove lead from our environment. It’s no

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What is the Opposite of a Black Hole?

I’m always amazed by the natural world around us. Especially regarding astronomy. We know black holes exist, especially since we now have photographic proof, as this photo from NASA shows. We know they will suck in anything that gets inside their event horizon. But where does all of that cosmic material go? Could the black

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If You Think This Immigration Battle Is Heated…

As a history nerd, I know that immigration has frequently been a sticky issue in this country. I have occasionally written about this in the past, like discussing the book American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants by Robert E. Bartholomew and Anja E. Reumschussel (http://www.bobwelbaum-author.com/xenophobia-continued/). So what could be worse than demonizing people

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What To Do With An Empty Bedroom?

Serious problems require innovative solutions. For example, affordable housing. Start with a paradox: many cities have a housing shortage, yet as the population ages many households have empty bedrooms. Why not put them together? That is the premise of Nesterly, a new service in Boston that matches residences with extra space (and lacking companionship) with

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Happy Birthday — Sliced Bread

According to The Writer’s Almanac, the first sliced bread was sold on July 7, 1928. One would think the idea would’ve caught on quickly, but this was not the case. It just shows how progress can get delayed by people who are set in their ways. Here is their account — Up until that time,

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