A Science Blog for Families
Fueling discussions about science in families.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The fireflies are out, the smell of grilling is in the air and the sounds of the Little League game are echoing off the trees in the park. Summer is here. Imagine yourself sitting outside when suddenly you hear a persistent, annoying high-pitched buzzing in your ear. You swat it away and then you feel a slight sting on your arm. You look down and see the six-legged predator siphoning blood out of you and you slap it, killing the bug and squishing blood all over your arm. You look at the dead mosquito and know that you are going to have a red, itchy welt very soon. You have been attacked by a vampire. Only the female mosquitos are the...
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
It’s almost here, Leap Day! When? On Wednesday, February 29. That will give us 366 days in 2012 instead of 365. Why do we need that extra day, anyway? Believe it or not, without a leap year about every four years, we would lose days. The problem is that our calendar and the number of the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun do not match. Our calendar has only 365 days in a year but it takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days to make it around the Sun. Even though that doesn’t seem like a big difference, .242199 is about a quarter of a day a year and in four years we would lose almost a day. Think about it! Seasons would start earlier than on the calendar so summer...
Sunday, February 19, 2012
There are primarily three different ways to measure temperature: Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvins. In the United States, we use Fahrenheit. In Europe, they use Celsius. Scientists use Kelvins. These are three very different scales. I just looked at my thermometer and saw that it is 34o. Depending on the part of the world I am in, 34o can mean two terrifically different temperatures. 34o Fahrenheit is equal to 1.1o Celsius and is pretty cold. When going outside today, we are wearing a winter coat, a hat, and mittens. This is a picture of my front yard -- we have no leaves and the grass is brown. 34o Celsius is equal to 93o Fahrenheit and that is really hot! We would be wearing shorts and...
Sunday, February 12, 2012
For Valentine's Day, we made Science Valentine's Day Cards! (We know, they are corny!)
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Have you ever see a sea urchin? The word sea urchin comes from the Old English word that means spiny hedgehog -- that is a pretty good description! It looks like a plant, but it's not one. It is an animal, specifically an invertibrate, that lives in salt water. An invertibrate is an animal without a backbone. If you look closely, you will see that it does not have any eyes. So how does it see? Image from University of Gothenburg Scientists have found that sea urchins have light-senstive receptor cells that act like retinas. These cells are found in sea urchins feet and among their 1,400 spines. Essentially, the sea urchin itself acts like one giant compound eye. By the way, sea urchins...
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Right now a strong storm is taking place on the sun that is releasing solar flares and photons that are bombarding the Earth. On Sunday night, the sun released a coronal mass ejection which is magnetic energy stored in the suns atmosphere. This eruption caused electromagnetic radiation, radiation in the form of protons and finally plasma to be released into space, some of which is hitting Earth. The plasma may cause some problems on Earth by interrupting satellite communications and affecting some aircraft traveling near the poles. This storm is considerably weaker than the a storm in 1989 which caused a massive blackout in Quebec. A pleasant side effect of this storm are some spectacular...
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