Do you remember seeing the original Star Wars (now officially Episode IV: A New Hope), which was first released in 1977? Do you recall two suns in the sky over the planet Tatooine? How weird was that? Actually, not weird at all. Our mono-star solar system seems to be more the exception than the rule.
Category Archives: Scientific
I’ve been reading about this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 11-14. As with everything else these days, this edition was virtual, on-line only, but some interesting products were still showcased. It seems the trend toward robotics is continuing. I suppose it’s our lazy side that stimulates our fascination with robots. It’s nice to dream
If you are afraid of spiders (technically that’s arachnophobia), you may want to stop reading now. There’s a lot to be afraid of. As of July 2019, at least 48,200 spider species and 120 spider families have been recorded. They come in a large range of sizes, from a body length of less than 0.015 inches, to tarantulas with body lengths
Mother Nature has this way of deflating our egos. Not only has a lowly virus been totally dominating our lives recently, but I’ve just read the most indestructible animal on Earth is an almost-as-lowly eight-legged segmented micro-animal named a tardigrade. Also more affectionately known as a water bear, tardigrades can survive for up to 30
In this holiday season, our thoughts invariably turn to our families. But astronomers have a much broader definition of family. While the rest of us are researching ancestral histories back through terrestrial years, astronomers are building a family tree on a much broader scale: the origin of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. We are
It’s pretty much accepted that a mass extinction 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, led to the end of the age of the dinosaurs. This catastrophic event has been blamed on an asteroid impact, although volcanic eruptions and gradual climate change may also have been factors. Of course, this was
The astronomical world never ceases to amaze me. You may have heard about another pending near miss of Earth from an asteroid. Except it might not be an asteroid. Astronomers have identified an approaching “space object” — with the catchy name 2020 SO — heading toward Earth. But this one will not go whizzing by.
Dinosaurs are long extinct, right? Not quite. Scientists consider birds to be avian dinosaurs. They first appeared around 150 million years ago as small, raptor-like dinosaurs with feathers, just another branch on the dinosaur family tree. They survived for over 80 million years, occupying virtually every biological niche on the planet. Then came a major extinction
Have you ever wondered why the avocado fruit has such a large pit? It would’ve been so much easier to propagate if it was the size of, say an apple seed. (That’s why we’ve never heard of a Johnny Avocado.) Was this an evolutionary malfunction? Sort of. The current scientific evidence is the avocado plant
Parasites are probably the least popular life-form on Earth. For example, Guinea worm disease is a very painful infection cause by a parasite that can be found in areas of Africa without safe drinking water. The details are too gruesome to detail here and there is no treatment. The only good news is eradication efforts