Author Archive
How do plants know it's time to bloom?

How do plants know it’s time to bloom?

You might think, ‘Because it gets warm, idiot’. Shut up. The actual answer has to do with the cold, rather than the warmth. The process is called “vernalization”. Plants actually begin this process after a month or so of freezing temperatures, which is a good indicator that spring will be a’comin. One particular specie of...
How many nuclear devices have been detonated?

How many nuclear devices have been detonated?

There have been over 2,000 Nuclear detonations since the first test in 1945. The break down is as follows: United States: 1,054 tests – 2 in war. Former Soviet Union: 715 France: 210 United Kingdom: 45 (21 in Australian territory – take that bloody Ockers.) China: 45 India: 6 Pakistan: 6 North Korea: 2, bless...
Why can't you say 'Macbeth' in a theater?

Why can’t you say ‘Macbeth’ in a theater?

Obviously, you CAN, and SHOULD, simply to fuck with theater folk who look for any excuse for poor performance, accidents, or any other misfortune nobody cares about.You might even make them cry; a double-bonus. It is a common superstition that the play itself is cursed, because Shakespeare used real spells from witches who, not too...
How do Nuclear Control Rods Work?

How do Nuclear Control Rods Work?

The answer is surprisingly (and somewhat unnervingly) simple. First, a quick recap: Nuclear reactors work by using the heat generated by nuclear fission to produce steam that powers a turbine to produce electricity. Fission is when the nucleus of an atom (in most cases Uranium-235) splits in two, creating heat and expelling free neutrons. When...
Why do Goat eyes look so weird?

Why do Goat eyes look so weird?

Turns out it’s not just goats, but most other animals with hooves including deer, some horses, cattle, and many sheep have horizontal pupils. Goats generally have a more pale iris, so their freakish pupils simply show up better. Horizontal slit-shaped pupils give the animal increased peripheral depth perception, as well as increasing their ability to...
What makes curly hair curly?

What makes curly hair curly?

My project manager has a head chock full of the curliest hair this side of Kenny G. So what, aside from the obvious lack of overall manliness, causes hair to be straight or curly? It turns out, it has nothing to do with the hair itself, but rather the hair follicle. “This tiny structure guides...
Why didn't all GIs get a Thompson during WWII?

Why didn’t all GIs get a Thompson during WWII?

You’ve seen it before in the movies – WII infantry plinking away with their M1 Garands until the clip pops out, while some officer or other lucky bastard rapidly sends .45 rounds toward the enemy using his Thompson Submachine Gun. So the question is, Why weren’t more of these available? At face value, they seem...
What makes glass transparent?

What makes glass transparent?

This doesn’t get into refraction, reflection, etc. but it’s an incredibly satisfying answer.