Last week I was reading “Surely, You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!“, a wonderful autobiography of the curious and hilarious Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman. I was struck by one of his curiosity kicks: he wanted to see how well the human nose could smell. Were our smelling powers stunted in comparison to those of other animals? Could we take a book off the bookshelf and be able to tell if someone has read it simply by smelling it? Could we tell if someone has merely held it in their hands? He found the answer to be YES! I however, was not so sure. Feynman, after all,Read More →

Warning: This post contains graphic images of a bat dissection. Last month, Kat and I spent quite a bit of time learning about bats and their diets and habitats. One of the highlights of our research was when we compared bat skeletons to the skeletons of other creatures. The most interesting comparisons came when we looked at bats, birds, and humans. The first similarity that comes to mind when comparing bats with birds is their shared ability to fly. Both skeletons are light enough to facilitate that, and some of their bones are fused together in similar ways in order to decrease the amount ofRead More →

Have you ever rubbed a balloon on your head and watched the hair stand up? Have you ever tried to bend water? Did you know that you can turn on a light without flipping the switch? The secret is in the static. Static Electricity! Electricity is all around us. We can see it as lightning in the sky, and we can use it as we power the many electrical devices in our homes. It is even present in our own bodies as the neurons in our brains fire off electrical impulses, resulting in the messages that cause our muscles to move. Electricity is the physicalRead More →