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Interesting Stuff

Why Do Bird Eggs Come in So Many Shapes?

Various bird eggs on display at Natura Docet Wonderryck Twente in The Netherlands. (Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock) When something is described as egg-shaped, the ubiquitous hen’s egg typically comes to mind. But for birds, eggs come in myriad shapes: owl eggs look like ping-pong balls, hummingbird eggs are shaped like jelly beans, …

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A Better Touch Screen, Inspired by Moth Eyes

A close-up of moth’s eyes from order Lepidoptera. (Credit: Muhammad Naaim) Moth eyes and lotus leaves may be important to the future of touch screens. Researchers from the University of Central Florida and National Taiwan University designed an anti-reflective coating that was inspired by moth eyes. The coating reflects about …

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Physicists Tackle the Wobbly Suitcase Problem

(Credit: NChamunee/Shutterstock) Rolling luggage is both a blessing and a curse for hurried travelers. While we no longer need gym-toned biceps to heft our sundries through the airport, the slightest misstep can send a two-wheeled suitcase rocking and spinning into an uncontrollable disaster. Now, scientists think they know why rolling suitcases …

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When Did People Start Using Money?

(Credit: Shutterstock) Sometimes you run across a grimy, tattered dollar bill that seems like it’s been around since the beginning of time. Assuredly it hasn’t, but the history of human beings using cash currency does go back a long time – 40,000 years. Scientists have tracked exchange and trade through …

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Creating a Universe in the Lab? The Idea Is No Joke

(Credit: Shutterstock) Physicists aren’t often reprimanded for using risqué humor in their academic writings, but in 1991 that is exactly what happened to the cosmologist Andrei Linde at Stanford University. He had submitted a draft article entitled ‘Hard Art of the Universe Creation’ to the journal Nuclear Physics B. In …

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Is Science Broken, Or Is It Self-Correcting?

Media coverage of scientific retractions risks feeding a narrative that academic science is broken – a narrative which plays into the hands of those who want to cut science funding and ignore scientific advice. So say Joseph Hilgard and Kathleen Hall Jamieson in a book chapter called Science as “Broken” …

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The Human Project Aims to Track Every Aspect of Life

(Credit: Arthimedes/Shutterstock) If you smoke cigarettes, you’re putting yourself at a heightened risk for heart disease. That correlation is well-known and unchallenged today, but that wasn’t always so. It took an ambitious, years-long project, the Framingham Heart Study to uncover the link, and it only happened because of the study’s …

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