Animal Kingdom

The shiny cocoons of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly look like beautiful gold jewels.

No, these golden beauties are not fine jewelry or decorative trinkets. Although they look metallic, they are actually made of chitin, the material that gives some insects their shiny look. And inside these chitin containers, are baby butterflies! The orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly (or mechantis polymnia) lives in the jungles from Mexico down to the Amazon forests. They are colorful orange, yellow, and black butterflies, similar to a monarch butterfly, and grow to about 3-inches wide. The shiny golden cocoons they spin contain pupae, the third stage of baby butterfly’s development. Since pupae cannot move and are unable to defend themselves, they often rely on the appearance of their cocoon to deter predators. It is believed that the shiny surface of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing’s…
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Animal Kingdom

Here’s why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others.

It’s true. Mosquitoes prefer biting some people over others and now scientists know why. As it turns out, about 20% of people are especially yummy to mosquitoes. Here’s why. Mosquitoes smell carbon dioxide Mosquitoes find victims by smelling carbon dioxide. They can smell it from across a large yard. People who exhale more carbon dioxide than others become targets. This is why children, who breathe smaller breaths, are bitten less often than adults. Mosquitoes prefer dark colors Just as we see with human beings, to a mosquito, certain colors stand out more than others. If you wear black, dark blue, or red, mosquitoes will swarm your way. Mosquitoes smell lactic acid Mosquitoes can also smell lactic acid, the chemical excreted when you exercise. They also…
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Space

Here’s what our solar system looks like while flying through space.

We know that planets revolve around the Sun but did you know the entire solar system is moving through space? The Sun and the entire solar system orbit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a speed of about 500,00 MPH. If we take into account the movement of the solar system, the planets movement around the Sun looks more like the animation above.
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Light

The absorption of light by blood experiment – an experiment with blood and colored lights.

The absorption of electromagnetic radiation happens all around us. In fact, this absorption process is the cornerstone for many modern-day technologies. Absorption of electromagnetic radiations allows the conversion of solar energy into electricity. The absorption of microwave electromagnetic radiation is what makes radars work. And our bodies absorb electromagnetic radiation too. Certain frequencies are absorbed easier by our bodies than others. In this experiment, we will demonstrate the body’s absorption of a common frequency range of electromagnetic radiation – visible light. In a darkened room, we will hold a red LED flashlight to our thumb. The thumb will glow bright red indicating much of the light passed right through our thumb. When we hold a green LED flashlight to our thumbs however, almost all of…
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Technology

Watch this Air Force test sled reach a mind boggling 6,599 miles/hour (Mach 8.6).

Hold on tight because this video shows a high-speed test at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico that makes us think the Air Force should be designing roller coasters. The sled in this video reaches a dazzling speed of 6,599 miles/hour. That's Mach for the science nerds.   The Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) is a United States Department of Defense/Air Force aerospace ground test facility located at Holloman Air Force Base in south-central New Mexico. According to the Air Force: "The Holloman High-Speed Test Track is a 10-mile long, precision-aligned track that provides scientists and engineers a platform from which to conduct their various missions. Tests on the track provide valid data on problems which cannot be solved by other ground…
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Space

Here’s what a flame looks like in space, where there is no gravity.

How a flame burns in space When a flame burns on earth, heated gases rise from the fire, drawing oxygen in and pushing combustion molecules out. As the flame burns, it heats the air around it and causes it to expand and rise upward. Denser air sinks downward to fill the void. The process continues in a sort of loop. This upward rising of air is what causes the classic teardrop shape we see in a candle flame. In microgravity however, hot gases do not rise. Air pretty much remains unmoved in all areas around the flame. So an entirely different process, called molecular diffusion, drives flame behavior and gives it an unusual round appearance. Since no flow of air replaces the oxygen that is…
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