A Famous Streaker

Long after those physics definitions have faded from memory, we can often recall stories associated with the scientists behind an idea. For example, many people who can no longer state Archimedes’ Principle formally, (that the ratio of a body’s weight to that of the displaced water is called its specific gravity) still remember that Archimedes…

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A Reliable Low-Tech Word Processor

Although I frequently talk about the latest high tech developments, I sometimes write Science Shorts using a very reliable low-tech word processor called a pencil! Far from being made obsolete by the computer, as many as three billion pencils are produced in North America every year. Each is capable of processing around fifty thousand words….

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The Sun’s Spotty Face

Because it’s too dangerous to look at the sun, we don’t notice that it sometimes has a spotty face. Cooler regions of the sun, called sunspots, are depressions that appear as dark patches on the surface of the sun. Sunspots have a typical life span of a few days. They follow a twenty two year…

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In Search of the Perfect Timepiece

Today’s scientific research requires super accurate clocks. The best mechanical clocks are inadequate because they might gain or lose at least four seconds a year. Modern quartz watches are more reliable. They depend on the unvarying frequency of vibration of a quartz crystal when an electric current is applied. But there is still a mechanical…

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More Closet Space for Data

Every home soon faces the problem of overstuffed closets. But an even bigger problem than storing clothes and collectibles is storing data. As computer power improves, doubling as it does approximately every eighteen months, the humble floppy disk has become completely inadequate. A few years ago most of us would have been happy to keep…

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Nature’s Recycling Program

My mother always said “David, fresh air is good for you.” If I’d known more chemistry as a kid, I would have had an excuse to stay indoors. There really is no such thing as fresh air – it’s all very old. Every molecule of oxygen and water is the same as it always has…

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What Makes You Unique?

All of us like to think we are special. That’s O.K., because we are all unique! Although we all have the same kind of molecule at the core of our reproductive system, every person is different from every other person. This is because of the wonders of what is called ‘the genetic code.’ It’s easy…

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Who is Ron Hughes?

Ron Hughes is the Executive Director of FBH International.  He developed his interest in technology and mass communications during his high school years in Peterborough, Ontario.  He received a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University where he graduated as the program’s “outstanding graduate.”  He gained experience working in…

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Nature’s Answer To Noisy Rock Concerts

Among the many kinds of pollution which besiege us today, noise pollution is often overlooked. The human ear is a finely tuned mechanism able to distinguish over 1500 separate musical tones. An important part of our hearing mechanism is the hair bundle found in the inner ear.  These hairs, called stereo cilia, convert the vibrations…

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Wacky Ideas In Science

Occasionally, a highly respected scientist will propose a wacky idea.  I remember in the late 1970s, Sir Fred Hoyle, a famous British astrophysicist, proposed the idea that many diseases were not passed by commonly understood ways, but arrived on Earth from space. Hoyle claimed that the viruses and bacteria responsible for infectious diseases were really…

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