Hard Cider Science

Nov 21, 2015

Eight things spiders can do that you’ve never heard of

Nov 18, 2015

They have eight legs, multiple sets of eyes, and build webs in the corners of your house. But arachnologists Lauren Esposito and Catherine Scott say the bizarre world of spiders goes far beyond anything you’ve ever heard of. Here are eight things spiders can do that you've probably never heard of:

1. Some spiders eat their mates during copulation

Catherine Scott, an arachnologist and doctoral student at the University of Toronto says the redback spider, a species in the genus of black widow spiders, is actively eaten during copulation:

Six things you believe about spiders that are totally false

Nov 16, 2015

Lauren Esposito regularly milks scorpions. Catherine Scott lets black widows crawl on her. Both of these spider experts love arachnids, and they want you to love them, too.

Here are six myths about spiders they say are totally wrong, and are giving arachnids a bad rap: 

Myth Number 1: Spiders are aggressive

Microscopic Hairs Keep Some Critters Clean

Nov 14, 2015

Are ALL Minnesotans Above Average?

Nov 12, 2015

World-famous Minnesotan Garrison Keillor often features the fictional MN town of Lake Woebegone in his show “A Prairie Home Companion,” as a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average.”

David Myers, an author of textbooks on Social Psychology has used “A Prairie Home Companion” to coin a term that describes a certain type of social psychology phenomenon in which people believe they are better than the average person.

Is Football Bad for Your Brain?

Nov 12, 2015

At the beginning of his high school football season Blake Ripple’s football coach read aloud a sticker that said the helmets the teenage players would wear would not prevent head injury, only head fracture. 

Science Writer Sam Kean has had real-life experiences worthy of a horror film. During one such recent episode, he woke up from a night of sleep and found that he was unable to move, completely paralyzed, but fully awake. 

Kean isn’t the only one who’s had such an experience. Others have had similar episodes — waking from sleep to what they described as a “demon sitting on their chest” or an alien abduction. One woman in this state was even thought to be dead and was taken to a morgue before recovering the ability to move her limbs. 

He documented his own death by snakebite instead of going to the hospital

Nov 10, 2015

In September 1957, someone from the Lincoln Park Zoo brought a young 30-inch snake to the Chicago Natural History Museum. They asked for help identifying the snake. 

Famed herpetologist Karl P. Schmidt was working at the Natural History Museum at the time, and agreed to take a look at the snake. Schmidt was a well-known snake expert, prestigious in his field, adept at identifying snakes and so successful that he even had many species named after him. 

Did the Kepler telescope just find the first signs of alien life?

Nov 9, 2015

A recent paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society describes a star more than 1,400 light years away that dims and glows in a strange flickering pattern. A number of theories have been suggested to explain why this might be happening, but one of them has gained outsized public notice. 

Could this be an “alien megastructure.” We don't know — but maybe?

Wearable Superpowers for Earth and Beyond

Nov 7, 2015

In 1979, the cult classic sci-fi thriller Alien unleashed one of the most blood-chilling monsters in movie history. When it lurches from a dark spaceship vent (or a human chest), we feel Ripley’s fear.

Colin Ellard is a cognitive neuroscientist, and the author of “Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life.” His work involves studying how city grids, storefronts, and streetscapes effect our mood and our health.

His scientific career wasn't always focused on studying humans, however. At one time he was the world's leading expert on the visual system of the Mongolian gerbil. 

Discovering the Brain’s Ghoulish Glitches

Oct 31, 2015

Spider Stories That’ll Stick With You

Oct 31, 2015

Diary of a Snake Bite Death

Oct 31, 2015

What if scientists were able to forecast the spread of flu the way meteorologists forecast the weather? What if they could track the spread of the virus and predict if it has a 75 or 80 percent chance of striking ... you?

“The flu happens every year, but we still don't have a good idea of [important] factors, like who's going to be affected first, where that will happen and when exactly the peak week might be,” says Rumi Chunara, an assistant professor at the College of Global Public Health and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at New York University.

Monster Microbiome Mash

Oct 30, 2015

File photo

Western New York is becoming greener, thanks to an Albany-based company. Monolith Solar Associates is set to break ground for a Niagara County solar farm that will feature 1,944 solar panels on November 2.

These scientists say they’ve found a cure for a type of congenital blindness

Oct 26, 2015

Just this month, drug manufacturer Spark Therapeutics said it successfully completed a phase III trial for an exciting new gene therapy treatment for inherited retinal dystrophies, a progressive disorder that can cause blindness. This means they're one step closer to putting a cure for congenital blindness actually on the market.

"The trial results are very exciting," says Katherine High, president and chief scientific officer of Spark Therapeutics. 

This parent-led bedtime story app will help your kid rock at math

Oct 25, 2015

A new study in the journal Science finds that a mobile app that prompts parents and kids to solve nightly number problems together greatly improves student achievement in math. The app, Bedtime Math, creates a kind of math story time.