There’s so much snow in the movie Frozen that the cold white stuff might as well be the star of the animated film. It falls, flies, piles and melts. Snow sprays through the air as Anna and Kristoff cling to a reindeer-pulled sleigh, barely escaping a pack of snarling wolves. Snow dances in the air as Elsa uses her special powers to build an icy fortress on a lonely mountain. The movie even...
07:15 AM, March 6, 2015
Mathematics, Computers & Electronics, Physics
SCIENCEBefore reading:1. Brainstorm a list of recent movies that feature the use of special effects. Could the movies have been made without special effects? Why or why not?2. What makes a special effect sometimes look fake?During reading:1. What is mathematician Joseph Teran’s Hollywood connection?2. Why is snow so difficult to model?3. What contribution did a physicist...
07:00 AM, March 6, 2015
The 40 Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) 2015 finalists are presenting their research at the National Geographic Society in downtown Washington, D.C. this Sunday.All attendees should remember to sign up for a free three-month digital subscription to Science News, a SSP publication, and a special perk available only at this event to thank the public for joining SSP and Intel in supporting...
08:33 AM, March 5, 2015
Heavy low-lying clouds of water — also known as fog — had been a familiar morning sight along much of coastal Southern California. But fog no longer occurs there as often as it used to. The reason? A half-century surge of building has transformed the area into a heat sink, new data indicate.City planners refer to this building as “urbanization.” The transformation of wildlands into cities and...
07:00 AM, March 5, 2015
Weather & Climate
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Modern museums are filled with eye-catching exhibits. There are movies to watch and buttons to press. Robotic dinosaurs lunge lifelike at passersby. Exciting new exhibits can leave older ones — such as the bone hall in the National Museum of Natural History — in the dust. What can you do to spice up a stodgy exhibit, without spending millions to refurbish it? The Smithsonian...
10:26 AM, March 4, 2015
The chemical that puts the heat in hot chili peppers is capsaicin (kap-SAY-ih-sin). Yet scientists have known for some time that when applied to the skin, this same compound can diminish pain. Indeed, some over-the-counter pain relievers already rely on capsaicin to tackle sore muscles and joints. But how that chili chemical chilled sore nerves has remained somewhat of a mystery. Until now.Tibor...
07:00 AM, March 4, 2015
Body & Health
In their “tuxedo suits,” penguins may appear dapper. Yet these birds have little taste, a new study finds.Penguins can’t taste bitter, sweet or the meaty flavor known as umami. That’s what researchers in China and Michigan reported February 16 in Current Biology. Still unclear, they say, is whether the birds might sense salty and sour flavors. So while these birds can down big meals of fish, they...
07:00 AM, March 3, 2015
Alex Kendrick, a senior physics major at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA and his younger brother Cole, a junior at Los Alamos High School, are alumni of several Society for Science and the Public programs. Alex participated in the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge in 2006 and 2007, as well as Intel ISEF 2009 - 2011. Cole participated in Broadcom MASTERS 2011 and Intel ISEF 2013 and...
14:13 PM, March 2, 2015
Blood-brain barrier (noun, “blood bray-n bare-ee-er”)A layer of cells between the blood vessels and the cells of our brains. The brain is very delicate and can’t be exposed to just anything in the blood. This barrier of cells lets oxygen and nutrients in. But it keeps out foreign substances, such as dangerous bacteria. The barrier is important, but it can also be difficult to deal with. When...
09:00 AM, March 2, 2015
Cosmetics commercials extoll the virtues of long, luxurious eyelashes. They even sell products to make them longer. But, new research indicates, in terms of eye health, long isn’t always better.There’s a so-called “sweet spot” in the range of lash lengths. It is about one-third the width of the eye. And it’s here that lash length appears most helpful. Eyelashes much longer than that will funnel...
07:00 AM, March 2, 2015