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Staff Writer

Jennifer Cutraro

Jennifer Cutraro's Articles

  • Bug, bug, go away

    Every summer, people all across the country take part in a nightly ritual: covering themselves with insect repellents to ward off bloodthirsty mosquitoes and other pests. It's a good idea. Mosquitoes don't just leave you with itchy red bumps after they bite. They can also transmit serious illnesses, such as West Nile virus and malaria.

  • Girls are cool for school

    Everyone knows by the second grade that boys have germs and girls have cooties. But at least for boys, new research says cooties might actually be good for you.

    According to a new study, preschool boys perform better on tests that measure learning and other important skills when they are in classes that have more girls than boys. The pattern doesn't seem to hold for girls, though. For preschool girls, the presence or absence of boys did not affect learning.

  • Sun Got Your Tail?

    An amateur astronomer made a surprising discovery last spring. He discovered that a comet orbiting the sun appeared to have lost one of its two tails. Scientists are now studying this comet and others in greater detail.

    Comets are balls of ice, rock, and dust that make long, noncircular orbits around the sun. When a comet gets near the sun, part of it melts, creating what looks like a tail.

    In fact, two tails normally stream behind a comet's main body. One tail, made of dust, shines brilliantly as it reflects sunlight. The other tail, called an ion tail, is much dimmer. It forms when something called the solar wind blows past a comet.

  • Fakes in the museum

    New research indicates that this crystal skull, housed at the Smithsonian Institution, was made in the 1950s, not by Aztecs more than 500 years ago as some have thought.

    New research indicates that this crystal skull, housed at the Smithsonian Institution, was made in the 1950s, not by Aztecs more than 500 years ago as some have thought.

  • Don't Eat That Sandwich!

    Oops! In the rush to get to school, you drop a piece of toast on the floor. Do you throw it away or decide it's still OK to eat?

    Food can still look appetizing after it has fallen on the floor. But is it safe to eat?

    Food can still look appetizing after it has fallen on the floor. But is it safe to eat?

  • Young scientists come to Washington

    The Broadcom MASTERS 2011 finalists

    On a chilly, rainy October morning in Washington, D.C., two middle school students from Hawaii sat shivering on a tour bus as they waited to depart for a photo shoot at the U.S. Capitol.

     “I don’t know how people live here,” said Jordan Kamimura, 14, of Hilo, Hawaii, through chattering teeth. 

  • The two faces of Mars

    When you look up at the night sky, it's hard to imagine the violent, chaotic place the solar system was billions of years ago. It looks quiet and peaceful now, but when the solar system first took shape, asteroids and other objects regularly slammed into each other, sometimes knocking off huge chunks of rock. Some of these eventually became moons, and left the surfaces of the planets forever changed.

  • Plastic-munching microbes

    Microbes may soon help make it easier to recycle your soda bottle, helping to create new demand for what has historically been a low-quality recycled material.

    Microbes may soon help make it easier to recycle your soda bottle, helping to create new demand for what has historically been a low-quality recycled material.

  • Young scientists work together and win

    Broadcom MASTERS finalists

    Guests checking into the posh Palomar Hotel in Washington, D.C., recently, might have been surprised to hear pounding footsteps, shrieks and laughter pouring out of a conference room late one evening. And they would have been even more surprised to see what was behind those doors: 30 of the nation’s top middle school science students, flushed and sweaty, playing dodgeball, riding piggyback on their parents and squirting one another with water bottles.

From the SSP Newsroom

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