Does the Full Moon Make People Crazy?
Friday October 6, 2006
Luna was the wife of Zeus, sister of Helios the sun, and the mother of 50 children. Arguably the first lunatic. A word which, by the way, has its roots in a belief that the Moon made people mad.
Even modern studies have managed to associate full Moons with everything from insanity to traffic accidents. But the connections have been thin. Some studies have found weak associations to increased aggression, unintentional poisonings and absenteeism. But other studies have contradicted these findings. Now that's enough to make you crazy!
Perhaps the most well-founded human relationship to the lunar cycle is the menstrual cycle of many women (at least among those who choose to continue having them these days).
Why Does Slicing Onions Make Me Cry?
Wednesday October 4, 2006
When your knife slices through a crisp onion, it tears through cells, releasing the cells’ contents. Chemicals react to produce a sulfur-based gas. Once the gas contacts the water coating your eyes, it forms sulfuric acid, a fiery irritant. To rid your peepers of the intruder, your tear ducts work overtime. If you aren’t game for sporting goggles in the kitchen, try moving your face farther away from the onion so the gas disperses before reaching your eyes.
Why is the Sky Blue?
Tuesday October 3, 2006
The light coming from the sun is made of many colors, each of which has a different wavelength. The atmosphere affects how each color of light passes through, as the light waves encounter molecules, small water droplets and bits of dust.
Blue light has a short wavelength, and the particles in the air scatter it around, making the sky appear blue. Red light has a longer wavelength, which acts more strongly and is not scattered as much.
Sunsets are red because in the evening, the light has more atmosphere to pass through to get to your eye, and only the strong red light can make it. The atmosphere in this illustration is exaggerated in relation to the Earth to show the difference.