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Emily Sohn's Articles

  • Our plastic world

    Try to count everything you use that’s made of plastic. I dare you.

    Done yet? I didn’t think so.

    Your list may include toys, yogurt containers and pens. But did you remember to include telephones, bike helmets, spatulas and shower curtains? How about straws, food wrappers, picture frames and the seat covers on your school bus?

  • The chemistry of sleeplessness

    When the school year starts, it can be tough to switch from lazy summer mornings to the blaring buzz of an alarm clock. After a few early mornings, extreme fatigue might make you feel like you’re going to fall over. The amazing thing is that you probably manage to stay awake all day long and into the night. But how?

  • Nanomagnets corral oil

    You’ve probably seen some of the cool things magnets can do. Place one near a paper clip, and the clip zooms across the table toward the magnet. Hold one magnet near another, and the second one mysteriously darts in the opposite direction. If you didn’t know about science, magnet tricks might seem like magic tricks.

  • Ear pain, weight gain

    Life is already painful for kids who get lots of ear infections. Adding insult to injury, scientists say that these kids may also have to worry about their weight.

    This may sound like a strange connection. But a new study suggests that children who often get serious ear infections (bad enough to require medication) are twice as likely to become obese later in life than kids with healthier ears.

  • Homework blues

    Homework can put you in a bad mood, and that might actually be a good thing. New research suggests that, in some cases, being too happy can hurt your performance on certain kinds of tasks.

    Researchers from the University of Plymouth in England wondered whether mood might affect the way kids learn. To find out, they performed two learning experiments with children.

  • The tiniest serpent

    The new species is called Leptotyphlops carlae.

    The new species is called Leptotyphlops carlae.

    Hedges

    It may look like a little worm, but a newly discovered creature has earned a spot in the record books: It is the smallest species of snake known on Earth. Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University in University Park found the tiny serpent on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

  • Mice sense each other's fear

    People can usually tell when others are afraid just by the look on their

    faces. Mice can tell when other mice are afraid too. But instead of

    using their beady little eyes to detect fear in their fellows, they use

    their pink little noses.

  • Icy red planet

    The Phoenix Mars Lander's robotic arm (pictured aboved) collected small clumps of Mars' fine, red soil (inset).  Analyses of the soil in one of the lander's miniature ovens revealed that the planet may have once possessed the liquid water required for lif

    The Phoenix Mars Lander's robotic arm (pictured aboved) collected small clumps of Mars' fine, red soil (inset). Analyses of the soil in one of the lander's miniature ovens revealed that the planet may have once possessed the liquid water required for lif

  • Recipe for health

    Everybody wants to be healthy, but today's world is full of roadblocks. You know you should eat broccoli, for example, but it's a lot easier to buy French fries (and they taste better). You know you should exercise, but your friends are playing video games.

    For many people, the temptation to indulge is irresistible. But all of that indulging is catching up with us.

  • Animal CSI or from science lab to crime lab

    Robbery, vandalism, murder: Crimes happen every day. But people aren't the only victims of illegal activity. Bad guys can also target animals. And since animals can't tell police officers what they've seen, these are some of the toughest cases to solve.

    Particularly challenging are the crimes that involve poaching—taking animals from the wild that are protected by law. Poachers can make a lot of money selling meat, tusks, fur, fins, and other parts of protected animals.

From the SSP Newsroom

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