Jun
27
2013
4

Why Did the Chicken Lose Its Penis?

Over-compensation? (public domain image, USFWS)Warning! Dangerous puns below! If you grew up on a farm, you’re probably more familiar with animal genitalia than you care to admit. Even the most casual observer of domestic animals can’t help but be taken aback (and perhaps a bit jealous) at the endowment of some male farm animals, like a horse or bull. [more...]

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Jan
27
2012
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Can I discover a new planet?

keplar_11The technology and techniques involved in hunting for new planets outside of our solar system has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past few years. Finding earth-like planets orbiting neighbouring stars had long been the dream of astronomers, but it was not until 1992 that the discovery of the first exoplanet or extrasolar planet [more...]

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Dec
27
2010
3

How much water does it take to float something weighing a kilogram?

cat-basinIf you want to float a thing that weighs one kilogram in water, how much water do you need? First, of course, the thing must float in water: a piece of wood, a can of peanuts or glass of instant coffee, any closed container  weighing one kilogram (2.2 lb) that is larger than one liter [more...]

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Aug
08
2010
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What was the Gallery of Practical Science, or Adelaide Gallery, in London?

adelaide gallery of practical scienceThe Gallery of Practical Science opened in 1832 in London. Its aim was to inspire an enthusiasm for science, with plenty of working models of science and technology in action. Inventor Jacob Perkins was the driving force in forming a “Society for the Illustration and Encouragement of Practical Science” which ran the National Gallery of [more...]

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Mar
12
2010
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What inventions did people want?

console television antiqueIn the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Popular Science Magazine ran a column called I’d like to see them make?. The magazine invited readers to write in with suggestions on the gadgets, tools and innovations they would like to see invented to make their lives a little easier. It was a popular item, and published suggestions [more...]

Feb
21
2009
1

Do experts ever change their minds?

Change of mind (photo by closelyobserved.com - CC-BY)It takes a lot to get a politican to change their mind. After all, Gordon Brown still considers his management of the British economy to have been prudent. And sometimes it seems that it’s even harder to elicit a change of mind from someone who is an entrenched expert in their field. Every year the [more...]

Feb
17
2009
1

What is an Ig Nobel Prize?

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony 2006 (photo by Jeff.Dlouhy - CC-BY)Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded each year by an organization called Improbable Research. They honor research which first makes you laugh, then makes you think. Serious research about oddball topics, in other words. They like to celebrate the unusual and imaginative, and get people interested in science and technology, by honoring real achievements that are [more...]

Jan
24
2009
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What are stem cells?

Protest on embryo useStem cells have been called the master cells of the human body. Unlike other types of cells, stem cells have the capability, as they reproduce, of becoming other types of cells. So, for example, a muscle cell will always be a muscle cell. But some types of stem cells, though a series of divisions, might [more...]

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Jan
18
2009
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How old is the Earth?

The Earth as seen by the astronauts of Apollo 17. PDNone of us were around when the Earth was formed, but scientists are in agreement that the age of the earth is 4.54 billion years, give or take 1 percent. To determine the age of the earth, scientists use a process known as radiometric dating. It is based on the fact that uranium, a naturally [more...]

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Jan
15
2009
1

Why is Pluto no longer considered a planet?

This drawing, modified by Image Editor from a NASA graphic, shows the orbits of the eight planets. Also shown are Ceres (between Mars and Jupiter) and three dwarf planets in the outer reaches of the solar system: Pluto, Eris and Makamake. CC-BYAll of us who write here at Quezi learned in school that our solar system has nine planets. But if you have kids in school, you might have heard that they’re learning now that there are only eight planets in our solar system. The reason: Pluto is no longer counted as a planet. Pluto has [more...]

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